CGMagazine https://www.cgmagonline.com Comics Gaming Magazine Thu, 23 Feb 2017 21:52:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.2 58109468 New Video Game Engine, Xenko, coming in April https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/23/new-video-game-engine-xenko-coming-april/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/23/new-video-game-engine-xenko-coming-april/#respond Thu, 23 Feb 2017 21:52:04 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=96499

By Helena Shlapak

Move over Unity and Unreal, a new video game engine is coming to town and its name is Xenko. After undergoing nearly two years of beta testing, a new video game engine developed by Silicon Studio Corporation in Tokyo, Japan will be making its debut in April. Xenko is an open source engine designed for […]

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By Helena Shlapak

Move over Unity and Unreal, a new video game engine is coming to town and its name is Xenko.

After undergoing nearly two years of beta testing, a new video game engine developed by Silicon Studio Corporation in Tokyo, Japan will be making its debut in April. Xenko is an open source engine designed for developing teams of all sizes and styles from AAA to indie and mobile.

What makes Xenko different from other video game engines is that it is currently the only commercial engine that supports the latest C# (a multi-paradigm programming language). The engine also has a built-in prefab system and scene streaming system that allows developers to store, reuse and review deigns (development streamlining scene editor). The engine will even launch with a complete set of tools, including a particle editor, script editor, PBR material editor, a full asset pipeline and more.

“I ported the game from Unity engine over a year ago because I find Xenko's API and software architecture to be far superior,” said Mark Aherne, creator of the upcoming game Universe of Nothing in a press release. “The added benefits of the engine being written entirely in C#, and having access to the source code, just make it a complete winner for me.”

Silicon Studio is even future proofing their Xenko engine for VR so that developers will use Xenko as a future reference and go-to for VR development in their games. Xenko has a built-in 3D audio support system, global illumination, Forward+ rendering support, full support for Vulkan and an advanced rendering set with an intuitive user interface.

Silicon Studio is a Japanese middleware and game engine company that works with rendering, optical effects and post-effects solutions for game developers. Silicon Studio also publishes games across all platforms and publishes non-gaming applications for third parties.

“The decision to move from middleware to a full game engine was actually a fairly easy one for us,” said Terada Takehiko, CEO of Silicon Studio in a press release. “We were in a position to address some of the complaints developers have about the other commercial game engines on the market, and from there we began to see what developers of the future will need to be successful, including VR and mobile support.”

The Xenko engine will be on display at GDC at Silicon Studio’s booth and will be available for purchase on Silicon Studio’s website.

 

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Get Out Movie Review - Smart Horror Satire https://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/get-movie-review-smart-horror-satire/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/get-movie-review-smart-horror-satire/#respond Thu, 23 Feb 2017 21:10:53 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=96496

By Phil Brown

Sometimes the smartest Hollywood satire tends to sneak its way onto screens through genre means. Think of John Carpenter’s They Live a brilliant attack on capitalist culture that also happens to be a hilariously stupid action, horror, sci-fi lark starring a professional wrestler. Comedian Jordan Peele (the one from Key &) has unexpectedly delivered the […]

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By Phil Brown

Sometimes the smartest Hollywood satire tends to sneak its way onto screens through genre means. Think of John Carpenter’s They Live a brilliant attack on capitalist culture that also happens to be a hilariously stupid action, horror, sci-fi lark starring a professional wrestler. Comedian Jordan Peele (the one from Key &) has unexpectedly delivered the latest example of this form with his deftly intelligent, bitingly funny, and damn entertaining horror/thriller/satire Get Out. Essentially a racialized twist on The Stepford Wives with bigger laughs and better scares, Get Out is the type of directorial debut that would be heralded as the arrival of an important new cinematic voice were it not for the fact Peele has been around for years, just working in a very different capacity. God bless Blumhouse for giving him just enough resources to pull it off, and Universal for giving the movie a wide release on a fairly quiet movie weekend. Hopefully, it’ll be a big old hit. Everyone deserves it, especially audiences.

Unfortunately, the trailers have revealed far more than they should about Get Out (though mercifully not too much), but I’ll try to play fair. Daniel Kaluuya stars as a young man nervous about visiting the family of his white girlfriend. They live in the country. It seems like a fair concern. Then when he meets them (Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener) the fears seem founded with plenty of awkward conversations about topics like how they would have voted for Obama for a third term if they could. The cringes pile up and get worse when the younger brother (Caleb Landry Jones) appears and compliments the guy on his “beast” of a physique. Yikes. Even weirder, the family has a pair of creepily sedate African American housekeepers (Betty Gabriel and Marcus Henderson). Something is clearly off, and things get worse fast.

Get Out Movie Review - Smart Horror Satire 1

Peele directs the film with style and confidence, his roaming cameras capturing it all with kinetic energy and at a brisk pace. The atmosphere is uncomfortable immediately, with queasy comedy playing up the casual racism of the family and also keeping viewers trapped in the paranoid mind of the protagonist. Peele’s satirical commentary isn’t subtle, because that’s just not the language of thrillers and horror movies. The film suggests that few things are more frightening than being a black man in particularly white corners of America. At first, it plays it out through the language of comedic microaggressions, but that soon grows into something far more elaborate and nightmarish. The obvious influence is The Stepford Wives, which used camp humour and genre games to explore misogyny in the age of 70s feminism. The more outlandish the film gets, the more cutting the commentary and it’s not the obvious point of attack that seems to emerge at first.

Performances are fantastic, mining the script for all of Peele’s intended creeps and uncomfortable laughs without ever stretching too far outside the realm of credibility. When the movie slips fully into horror, and thriller games in the third act, Peele really cuts loose with his visual imagination and delivers some strong shocks (even though it feels like the MPAA may have removed some of the gore in a choppy climax). It’s clear Peele has a strong grasp of how to craft suspense and scares in his first feature. Though never overly showy, the flick delivers its share of potent images and nasty set pieces. Peele is just clever enough as a filmmaker to never let the style overwhelm the characters, story, or content. It’s all part of a singular piece that should hit viewers hard on a number of levels.

Get Out Movie Review - Smart Horror Satire 2It would be a lie to claim that Get Out is a perfect movie. There are some awkward plot contrivances near the end for the sake of pacing, and one comedy relief character who gets a little too silly at times. However, the problems are quibbles at best. The fact of the matter is that Jordan Peele has unexpectedly delivered one of the most impressive, layered, and impactful genre movies to emerge out of the Hollywood system in years. It’s further proof that Blumhouse is willing to trust talented artists with unconventional projects provided that they meet the budgetary restrictions, and it’s nice to see that the studio built on the classic monster movies has released this smartly satirical genre romp about contemporary race relations on such a massive scale. Hopefully, it’ll succeed. It sure would be nice if Hollywood horror films could be sold on clever concepts laced with social commentary again. That’s probably little more than a pipe dream, but given that Get Out somehow snuck onto screens, maybe it’ll somehow happen again soon and often. Fingers crossed.

Score:9

Final Thoughts: A potent mix of clever satire and effective thrills that hopefully won’t be Jordan Peele’s last stab at genre faire.

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Gumi Inc. and SNK Collaboration Round Two https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/23/gumi-inc-snk-collaboration-round-two/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/23/gumi-inc-snk-collaboration-round-two/#respond Thu, 23 Feb 2017 19:17:20 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=96491

By Helena Shlapak

Brave Frontier and The King of Fighters are collaborating once again for an epic battle with new characters and new events. This second collaboration between the new mobile game Brave Frontier and retro arcade game The King of Fighters has now added new heroes to the roster. The new heroes are;  Leona – the Silent Soldier of […]

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By Helena Shlapak

Brave Frontier and The King of Fighters are collaborating once again for an epic battle with new characters and new events.

This second collaboration between the new mobile game Brave Frontier and retro arcade game The King of Fighters has now added new heroes to the roster. The new heroes are;  Leona  the Silent Soldier of the Ikari mercenary group, Terry Bogard, Iori Yagami, Benimaru Nikaido, Athena Asamiya, Mai Shiranui, and Kula Diamond. The Omni Evolutions of Kula, Mai, Athena, Benimaru will be unlocked and all seven of the fan favourite characters will be available for your team.

The Brave Frontier and The King of Fighters collaboration will also feature three new events.

The Rerun of the Challenging Dungeon “Scarlet Abyss Tournament” where players will have to battle their way to the top of the “Scarlet Abyss Tournament” by facing off against the strongest fighters.

The “Fighter’s Challenge” Dungeon where players will have elemental-focused missions and duels with characters like Mai, Benimaru, Kula, Terry, Athena, Iori, or Kyo. Players who survive the assault will be able to face Leona and acquire Orochi’s Seals and Elemental Essences to craft powerful Spheres.

And the Login and Milestone Campaigns where players can log in daily and get 15 days of rewards including a Summoning Ticket and eight Gems. Players can also contribute to the campaign by getting as many clears as possible from the “Fighter’s Challenge” dungeon and snag Kyo Kusanagi as a reward. Players will also get a Summon Ticket, Legend Stones, Imps and Frogs as bonuses.

The limited time Brave Frontier and The King of Fighters collaboration will be from Feb. 23, 2017 to March. 15, 2017. So if any fans want to get in on the action and fun, they had better hurry and snag their rewards. Brave Frontier and The King of Fighters first collaborated in the Summer of 2016.

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LEGO City Undercover Get a Trailer and Release Date https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/23/lego-city-undercover-get-trailer-release-date/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/23/lego-city-undercover-get-trailer-release-date/#respond Thu, 23 Feb 2017 18:10:47 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=96484

By Helena Shlapak

Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment and TT Games has revealed their newest trailer for LEGO City Undercover today, along with the official release date. The open-world, comedic, sandbox style LEGO adventure, LEGO City Undercover re-release (which has been retitled LEGO City Undercover: Disguises) is set to come out on April. 4, 2017. The re-release will take […]

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By Helena Shlapak

Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment and TT Games has revealed their newest trailer for LEGO City Undercover today, along with the official release date.

The open-world, comedic, sandbox style LEGO adventure, LEGO City Undercover re-release (which has been retitled LEGO City Undercover: Disguises) is set to come out on April. 4, 2017. The re-release will take players back to LEGO City as super-cop Chase McCain as he uses a series of clever and unique disguises (that give him special abilities) to take down the baddies and escaped criminal, Rex Fury.

Along with the disguises, fans will finally be able to play with their friends and family as LEGO City Undercover: Disguises now has a two-person co-op mode. It appears from the trailer that the co-op will have the same scaling split-screen used in all the modern LEGO games. Best of all, fans won’t have to shell out more cash as LEGO City Undercover: Disguises won’t just be available on the Nintendo Switch. The game will be coming to PC, PlayStaion 4 and Xbox One.

New fans of LEGO City Undercover: Disguises will be jumped into LEGO’s hilarious storytelling and witty humour, be able to explore and investigate over 20 unique districts and play a reverse style Grand Theft Auto with the player as the cop. Fans will also be able to uncover hundreds of collectables and pilot various vehicles and aircraft.

The original LEGO City Undercover was initially released on March. 18, 2013 and was only available for the Nintendo Wii U. Unlike other LEGO games published by Travellers’ Tales (which were based on other licenses) LEGO City Undercover is under the LEGO City brand and was the very first LEGO game to be published by Nintendo. It was also the first LEGO game to first released on the Nintendo Wii U.

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Razer Reveals New Six Hour Charge Power Bank https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/23/razer-reveals-new-six-hour-charge-power-bank/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/23/razer-reveals-new-six-hour-charge-power-bank/#respond Thu, 23 Feb 2017 15:15:01 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=96466

By Cody Orme

Those looking to get the most out of their tech, look no further, Razer has announced Razer Power Bank, which holds up to an additional six hours of charge.For those who are looking for an extra power bank, you won’t have to wait long, as Razer announced the Razer Power Bank will be available in […]

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By Cody Orme

Those looking to get the most out of their tech, look no further, Razer has announced Razer Power Bank, which holds up to an additional six hours of charge.For those who are looking for an extra power bank, you won’t have to wait long, as Razer announced the Razer Power Bank will be available in March, exclusively at the Razer Store in U.S.A., Canada, The United Kingdom, Germany,  and France priced at $149.99 USD.

“High-performance mobile laptops like the Razer Blade Stealth are more a part of daily life than ever before, and keeping them charged and ready is a high priority,” says, Razer co-founder and CEO Min-Liang Tan in a press release. “The Razer Power Bank enables true mobility for users who can now quickly and smartly charge their laptop, phone and tablet at the same time when an outlet isn’t an option.”

Razer Announces New Six Hour Charge Power Bank 1 Razer Announces New Six Hour Charge Power Bank 2 Razer Announces New Six Hour Charge Power Bank 3 Razer Announces New Six Hour Charge Power Bank 4

The Razer Power bank comes with a 12,800mAh battery, USB-C laptop charging, dual USB-A ports, intelligent device detection (which allows the device to immediately identify the type of device that connects to it), Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0, and fast charge all wrapped in a light aluminium casing. Weighing at 335g, the Razer Power Bank is pretty lightweight, and small enough to fit in the user’s back pocket.  Those who own the Razer Blade Stealth that can change your battery life to 15 hours. Fortunately, this isn’t restricted just to Razer Products as they company lists the Razer Power Bank works with laptops like the Dell XPS 13 or the Asus Zenbook, as well as other USB-C powered devices.

By Catering to gamers, Razer as a company has a user base of over 35 million users worldwide. Their products span from the popular gaming laptop line, Razer Blade, to the eSports platform Razer Arena, to console and PC peripherals.

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Dexed Review - A Ninja Theory Tech Demo https://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/dexed-ninja-theory-tech-demo/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/dexed-ninja-theory-tech-demo/#respond Thu, 23 Feb 2017 13:00:43 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=96382

By Jed Whitaker

Another virtual reality title, another game that feels like a tech demo—only this time it is from Ninja Theory and costs $10. Yay? Dexed is a PlayStation VR on-rails shooter in the vein of Star Fox or Panzer Dragoon, where players will find themselves locking onto multiple enemies at a time before firing for maximum damage […]

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By Jed Whitaker

Another virtual reality title, another game that feels like a tech demo—only this time it is from Ninja Theory and costs $10. Yay? Dexed is a PlayStation VR on-rails shooter in the vein of Star Fox or Panzer Dragoon, where players will find themselves locking onto multiple enemies at a time before firing for maximum damage and score. Aiming can be done via physically looking around, or via tracking of the DualShock 4, which is what I preferred. Both are serviceable, but personally, I find aiming with my head to be a literal pain in the neck.

There are only two enemies in the entire game: demonic flying skulls and the final boss. The flying skulls can be fire or ice varieties and must be shot with the opposing type of bullets, as shooting them at with the same kind will impact your score and possibly your health.

Dexed Review - A Team Ninja Tech Demo 1 Dexed Review - A Team Ninja Tech Demo 2

Players are tasked with locking onto enemies with the correct bullets before shooting while coasting slowly through uninteresting levels that lack any real detail thanks to the limitations that VR puts on current hardware. There is no story to speak of across the handful of stages here (the game doesn't even tell the player who or what they are), and there is a score based arcade mode that doesn't do much to offer value other than having a catchy soundtrack. At least the final boss fight is fun, if not extremely easy (like the rest of the game).

Overall Dexed is just another pay-to-play VR tech demo with barely any meat on its bones. While the combat is reminiscent of some decent games, Dexed pales in comparison to them. If you're looking for something so easy it is almost zenlike, then maybe Dexed might be worth it for you, there is even a zen mode though I don't see the reason for it as it felt impossible to fail playing on normal mode. For me, though, Dexed is one of the most boring virtual reality experiences I've had which is ironic since everyone seems to bill the tech as the most exciting thing to happen to gaming in a long time.

Score:6

Final Thoughts:Dexed is one of the most boring virtual reality experiences I've had.

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Logan, Han Solo and the Anatomy of an Anti-Hero https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/23/logan-han-solo-anatomy-anti-hero/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/23/logan-han-solo-anatomy-anti-hero/#comments Thu, 23 Feb 2017 12:00:15 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=96437

By Boyd Reynolds

Hugh Jackman and James Mangold’s Logan is about to make its debut in theaters, and with early reviews in, this sounds like the Wolverine stand-alone movie fans have been clamouring for. Wolverine is a beloved comic book character and has been taken to new heights with Jackman’s performances spanning multiple X-Men and stand-alone movies. But […]

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By Boyd Reynolds

Hugh Jackman and James Mangold’s Logan is about to make its debut in theaters, and with early reviews in, this sounds like the Wolverine stand-alone movie fans have been clamouring for. Wolverine is a beloved comic book character and has been taken to new heights with Jackman’s performances spanning multiple X-Men and stand-alone movies.

But he’s also an anti-hero, which makes his rise to fame that much more interesting. What is it about Wolverine, and anti-heroes in general, that make them so endearing? Investigating this question, there are specific qualities anti-heroes have that not only make them anti-heroes but also warms them up to the hearts of fans the world over.

Here’s a look at the anatomy of an anti-hero as found in comic books, movies and television shows.

Outcast

Most anti-heroes begin their hero’s journey on the peripheries of society. Starting with Wolverine, he begins Bryan Singer’s X-Men movie making a living fighting inside a steel cage in a seedy Alberta bar. It’s only until he meets Rouge that he leaves that life as an outcast and moves toward a life a part of the collective, or in Logan’s case, as a card carrying member of the X-Men.

Logan and the Anatomy of an Anti-Hero

Keeping with films featuring Marvel Comics characters, virtually the entire main cast of James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy are outcasts. Peter Quill, Starlord to his close friends, begins the film as a thief, stealing an ancient orb, one that lands a bounty on Quill’s head. Ensuing, Rocket Raccoon and Groot, two bounty hunters try capturing Quill, only to be thwarted by Gamora. The entire band of misfits are eventually arrested and sent to prison, where they run into their final member of the Guardians of the Galaxy, Drax. All five members of the Guardians of the Galaxy are outsiders, all living above or beneath the law, and all eventually being put behind bars until they band together to break out.

Stepping away from comics, Mad Max in George Miller’s The Road Warrior begins the movie as a lonely drifter, completely cut off from society. His life consists of scavenging old vehicles for a few litres of gas, and eating dog food from rusty cans. The successive movies, Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome and the recent masterpiece Max Mad: Fury Road, find Max still roaming out in the wastelands, an outsider looking into a post-apocalyptic society.

Women are not immune to the outsider status either. In Netflix’s Jessica Jones, our favourite leather jacket wearing anti-hero works as a private investigator, working outside the law. Her fledgling P.I. company, questionable business practices and foul mouth keep her on the periphery of New York society, never fully able to be a part of what society would deem successful.

Reluctance

The reluctant nature of many anti-heroes is another common quality. In The Road Warrior, Max wants nothing to do with the resistance fighting against the goalie mask wearing Humungous. He only wants gasoline for his car, and the bare essentials of survival. As events unfold, Max is reluctantly pulled into the fray, but it’s not out of the kindness of his heart.

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Everyone’s favourite space smuggler in a galaxy far, far away falls into this category as well. When we first meet Han Solo in A New Hope, he is hired by Obi-Wan Kenobi for passage to Alderaan. After coming out of light speed, there is no Alderaan and the Millennium Falcon is tractor-beamed into the Death Star. When Solo finds out Princess Leia is also aboard, he wants nothing to do with her rescue. It’s only through dollar signs that he decides to help. Nearing the film’s climax, Han leaves with his loot, not wanting anything to do with the Rebel’s attack on the Death Star. But fear not, reluctance only lasts so long with anti-heroes – Han plays a major last second hand in giving Luke enough space to destroy the Death Star.

Vengeful

For many anti-heroes, there is a side to him or her that no one wants to be on. That side is vengeance. In George Miller’s first introduction to Max in Mad Max, he wasn’t the drifter we know of him today. He is a loving family man. A police officer whose wife and child are run down by an Australian motorcycle gang. This pushes Max over the edge, and leads not only to Max turning to vengeance in that film, but in the film following. In The Road Warrior, Max’s dog is killed by Humongous’ gang – this loss of family is once again the thing that pushes Max to murder and mayhem.

Running with the dog theme, Keanu Reeves in John Wick, turns into a vengeful killer, one that would make Charles Bronson jealous. Wick’s car gets stolen and his dog is killed. The result is a vengeful body count done so well, a second instalment was made and is presently in theatres.

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The Punisher’s entire existence is built on vengeance. First appearing in The Amazing Spiderman #129, the Punisher was a vigilante who readers fell head over heels for. Through the comic years, it was revealed that Frank Castle’s family were all murdered by the mob. As a result, this war veteran enacts his own brand brutal and systemic justice on New York’s worst.

In last year’s smash hit film Deadpool, Wade Wilson’s entire film existence is built upon vengeance when he is mutated and modified to have superhuman regenerative capabilities. Deadpool goes after the mastermind of his altered state and becomes one of the most beloved anti-heroes ever on screen through vulgarity, violence and of course, vengeance.

And we couldn’t have a vengeance category without writing about V from V for Vendetta. Much like Deadpool, V was created by a bad experiment gone horribly wrong. The Guy Fawkes mask wearing V makes it his life’s mission to avenge what happened to him and put the power back in the hands of the British people by eliminating evil doers in government.

Irritability

This is where audiences get to fully enjoy the dark nature of the anti-hero. One of Han Solo’s most loveable qualities is his irritability. Whether it’s a way of masking sexual tension between himself and Princess Leia, or his general disdain for droids (one distinct golden rod comes to mind), Han is at his best with his sarcastic and irritable sensibility.

Guardians of the Galaxy member Rocket Raccoon is beloved for more than being a furry, talking animal. His prickly personality makes him that more loveable. He’s irritable and doesn’t suffer fools gladly. He’s constantly at-wits-end with Groot, and takes great joy in the misfortune of others. There is something endearing about an irritable anti-hero.

Heart of Gold

For the anti-hero to be redeemable in an audience’s eyes, he or she must have something deeper – they must have a heart of gold. When the chips are down, they need to put others before their own selfish needs. A great example of this is Han Solo. Throughout the original Star Wars Trilogy, Han lets us into the size of his heart. He comes back to help Luke destroy the Death Star in Episode IV. He opens his heart up enough to fall for a certain princess. He sacrifices his own self-preservation by joining the Rebellion.

Throughout his time on screen, Wolverine has had perhaps the biggest heart of all. He’s been protective of Rouge, and eventually for all of Professor Xavier’s students. He fell for Jean. To save his mutant brethren, he went back in time to right wrongs in Days of Future Past. Logan protects his heart with his anger and resentment, but that just makes him that more irresistible.

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DF-07871 Hugh Jackman as Logan in X-Men: Days of Future Past.

Much of the anti-hero’s motivations are done out of love. Sure there is vengeance and anger, but the anti-hero also wants to right wrong – wrongs that have hurt his or her heart. Deadpool fights to save the woman he loves, V terrorizes the British government to show the people they don’t have to live in fear, and all the Guardians of the Galaxy decide to band together and do something good, keeping the orb away from Ronan and saving the people of Xandar.

In all, the anti-hero is a complex individual. And these complexities have allowed many of them to have a place in popular culture and in fans’ hearts the world over.

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Shudder Exclusive: We Go On Review - Arty Horror https://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/shudder-exclusive-go-review-creepy-arty-horror/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/shudder-exclusive-go-review-creepy-arty-horror/#respond Wed, 22 Feb 2017 22:12:16 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=96452

By Phil Brown

Shudder was a more than welcome entry to the ever-growing world of movie streaming services, serving up nothing but horror titles with the click of a button. Since the service is starting to claim the exclusive rights to titles to send them straight to horror fans, we here at CGM have decided to keep are […]

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By Phil Brown

Shudder was a more than welcome entry to the ever-growing world of movie streaming services, serving up nothing but horror titles with the click of a button. Since the service is starting to claim the exclusive rights to titles to send them straight to horror fans, we here at CGM have decided to keep are eyeballs glued to what indie and foreign horror flicks Shudder is serving. Previously, we took a peek at their glorious Sadako V Kayako (aka The Ring Vs. The Grudge). Today, it’s all about the new American indie horror offering We Go On.

The film comes from the two heading filmmaking team Jesse Holland and Andy Mitton who wrote, directed, and edited the impressive debut YellowBrickRoad. Now they are back with the creepy afterlife thriller We Go On, adding digital effects and composer credits to their names this time, just to be that much more efficient. Their sophomore filmmaking effort is both an impressively low-fi production and an increase in artistic ambition. This isn’t just a dumb-dumb scare picture, it’s a film with something on its mind, though unfortunately, it’s not always clear exactly what that “something” is supposed to be.

Shudder Exclusive: We Go On Review - Creepy, Arty Horror 1

The movie stars Clark Freeman as a man who is beset by nearly every fear imaginable. He’s unwilling to drive a car, and barely even willing to leave his house, mostly communicating entirely with his mother (Anne O’Toole), while working as an infomercial editor from home. In an attempt to break his fears, Freeman places an ad offering $30,000 to anyone who can prove that there is life after death. At first, that leads him to a researcher (John Glover) hoping to awaken something by reviving a childhood trauma. Then he finds himself visiting a psychic (Giovanna Zararius) who seems more than a little unhinged. Neither pan out. Eventually, it’s an airport maintenance worker (Jay Dunn) of all people who offers Freeman that much-needed glimpse at the other side. Unfortunately, once the door is opened, Freeman can’t close it. Suddenly he’s surrounded by ghosts everywhere he goes, and the guy finally has a reason to be scared whether he likes it or not.

The film is beautifully shot and constructed by the filmmaking duo. The aesthetic falls somewhere between a grungy mumblecore drama, and a stylized haunted horror flick. Performances are all muted and quiet. Jesse Holland and Andy Mitton clearly want to ground their outlandish premise as much as possible, and succeed rather well (for a while anyways). They use sarcastic and skeptical humour to dismiss the ghosties until they appear and ensure that everyone on screen appears pained in a way that makes the movie emotionally difficult. By the time the ghosts arrive, it’s easy to buy into the supernatural premise. Handheld docu-realism combines with stylized suspense and scare sequences to keep viewers off balance (along with some impressively designed dead people). The generously paced 90-minute movie might take a while to get going, but once the scares hit the fan, there are plenty of effective sequences to keep eyes glued on the screen.

Where things fall apart are when the filmmakers get more ambitious than merely freaking out their horror-hungry viewers. The arty visuals and set up isn’t merely just style. The film is also supposed to be about the nature of fear and the lasting effects of trauma. It’s a clever idea, yet never really connects or lands as well as it should. The script is a little too vague and by the end, the plot is a little too melodramatic. It’s certainly more than welcome for Holland and Mitton to aim for more than mere stylish spook-outs, but their higher aspirations never quite gel as intended. At times the We Go On can even feel a little pretentious, which isn’t a great quality in a horror flick.

Shudder Exclusive: We Go On Review - Creepy, Arty Horror 2

Still, there is something undeniably unnerving about the film that sticks. Jesse Holland and Andy Mitton are talented cinematic storytellers, and their mixture of psychological drama and haunted horror makes an impact that’s hard to deny if you give yourself over to the small and unconventional proceedings. It’s always nice when a horror flick struggles while being too ambitious given that outings in this genre frequently aren’t ambitious enough. We Go On might not be a breakout movie for the directing duo, but it further proves their talent and hopefully they’ll be able to show off their stuff on an even bigger canvas next time.

Score:7

Final Thoughts:We Go On is a creepy and surprisingly thoughtful low-budget chiller sure to please fans of unconventional and arty horror yarns.

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Mass Effect Joins Cards Against Humanity https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/22/mass-effect-joins-cards-humanity/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/22/mass-effect-joins-cards-humanity/#respond Wed, 22 Feb 2017 19:53:50 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=96426

By Helena Shlapak

The popular drunk card game, Cards Against Humanity, is adding Mass Effect references to their list of expansion packs. Cards Against Humanity’s Twitter and website was updated today, saying that they would be collaborating with BioWare’s Mass Effect series for an expansion pack to add to their insanely popular card game. The limited edition, one […]

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By Helena Shlapak

The popular drunk card game, Cards Against Humanity, is adding Mass Effect references to their list of expansion packs.

Cards Against Humanity’s Twitter and website was updated today, saying that they would be collaborating with BioWare’s Mass Effect series for an expansion pack to add to their insanely popular card game. The limited edition, one dollar expansion pack will contain 14 new cards referencing the Mass Effect franchise. Three of the cards were already previewed on Cards Against Humanity’s Twitter. One question card asks, “Coming this spring from BioWare, Mass Effect:,” while two separate answer cards say, “Totally f-able aliens,” and “Space Racism.” If three of the cards shown on their Twitter are any indication, the expansion pack will be a riot, and well worth the dollar.

Cards Against Humanity is a party game for horrible people. Actually, the card game is fill-in-the-blank style game based on Apples to Apples but instead, uses words and phrases that are considered rude, taboo, offensive or simply hilarious. The game also references various celebrities, films and TV shows from pop culture.

The card game was invented by alumni from Highland Park High School as a game for New Year’s Eve and was started on Kickstarter.  Cards Against Humanity debuted in May of 2011 after raising its $4,000 goal in just two weeks and gaining $15,000 by the campaign’s end. Cards Against Humanity beat its fundraising goal by over 400 per cent. The game eventually became one of the top-selling games on Amazon and earns about $12 million a year in revenue.

Since nothing is sacred (according to BioWare’s Twitter) the Mass Effect Cards Against Humanity expansion pack is currently available now for purchase on Cards Against Humanity’s website. Mass Effect: Andromeda will not be referenced in this pack as BioWare newest game wasn't given to Cards Against Humanity's team.

If you want to add Mass Effect to your Cards Against Humanity pack, you can do so here.

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Xbox Games With Gold March 2017 Lineup Announced https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/22/xbox-games-with-gold-march-2017-lineup-announced/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/22/xbox-games-with-gold-march-2017-lineup-announced/#respond Wed, 22 Feb 2017 19:37:41 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=96420

By Michael Koczwara

Xbox owners can look forward to picking up four free games this upcoming March as the latest offering for the Games with Gold program has been unveiled. This time around Microsoft is handing out the following freebies: Layers of Fear - Xbox One, March 1, 2017 - March 31, 2017 Evolve - Xbox One, March […]

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By Michael Koczwara

Xbox owners can look forward to picking up four free games this upcoming March as the latest offering for the Games with Gold program has been unveiled.

This time around Microsoft is handing out the following freebies:

  • Layers of Fear - Xbox One, March 1, 2017 - March 31, 2017
  • Evolve - Xbox One, March 16, 2017 - April 15, 2017
  • Borderlands 2 - Xbox 360, March 1, 2017 - March 15, 2017
  • Heavy Weapon - Xbox 360, March 16, 2017 - March 31, 2017

Layers of Fear is a first-person horror title that pits you as a painter stuck in a haunted mansion with the simple goal of finishing your masterpiece. We reviewed Layers of Fear and gave it a 9.5, saying that it "is a horror experience the likes of which I’ve never before experienced, and to not experience it is doing a disservice to yourself, the game, and the people over at Bloober Team SA who created it."

The four-player multiplayer shooter Evolve is also included in the pack, even though the game went free-to-play on PC last year. We gave it a 6 in our review, stating that it "stumbles onto the scene and right into the unmemorable category of unremarkable mediocrity." The lesser known Heavy Weapon is a PopCap title that sees you moving a tank in a side-scrolling shoot 'em up.

Borderlands 2 is another gem in the collection, but do take note that this one is for the Xbox 360. The first-person co-op shooter was given a 9 back when we reviewed it in 2012, saying that it "is an easy game of the year contender with its accomplished mechanics and surprisingly complex RPG and loot systems."

Just like every month, Microsoft splits the list of four free games by including two for the Xbox One and two for the Xbox 360. Those who own an Xbox One will be able to download all four games onto their system, including the backwards-compatible Xbox 360 games. Those who own an Xbox 360 can snag these titles and save them in their game library even if they don't own the required system.

These games will be available for certain times during the month of March, so pay attention to the dates and don't miss a single game!

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New Media Crate and Famitsu Sales Figures Reveal Two Sides of Japanese Market https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/22/new-media-crate-famitsu-sales-figures-reveal-two-sides-japanese-market/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/22/new-media-crate-famitsu-sales-figures-reveal-two-sides-japanese-market/#comments Wed, 22 Feb 2017 15:51:44 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=96373

By Cody Orme

Japanese sales trackers Media Crate and Famitsu have released the region’s sales figures for the period of Feb. 13, 2017 to Feb. 19, 2017, with For Honor and Nioh dominating the charts. Ubisoft’s recent hit For Honor takes the distinction of number one with over 40 000 units (sell through), while Capcom’s Souls-like Nioh took […]

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By Cody Orme

Japanese sales trackers Media Crate and Famitsu have released the region’s sales figures for the period of Feb. 13, 2017 to Feb. 19, 2017, with For Honor and Nioh dominating the charts.

Ubisoft’s recent hit For Honor takes the distinction of number one with over 40 000 units (sell through), while Capcom’s Souls-like Nioh took number two with 25, 776 units moved according to Media Crate or 28,224 Famitsu. While it’s worth noting that a Western title is at the number one spot in the Japanese charts, it’s not unheard of.  Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon continue it's stay on top keeping the number three spot with 14,610 according to Media Crate, and 15, 615 according to Famitsu.  There is a bit of a discrepancy however as Media Crate lists Resident Evil 7: Biohazard in the number five spot with 11,772 units moved, while Famitsu shows Romance of the Three Kingdoms 13 with Power-Up Kit in that spot with 9,752 units.

In terms of hardware, not much has changed in terms of sales, according to Media Crate, the PlayStation 4 moved 27,203 units, which is a slight decrease compared to last week’s 28,975 with over 4 million units sold to date. Famitsu was slightly more generous with their numbers with 28,820 units moved. The 3DS is still solid in second place, with Media Crate showing 22, 924 units sold, and Famitsu recording 27,377.  Most notably, however, is the Xbox One’s continued struggles in the east.  Media Crate records 76 Xbox Ones moved, down from 112 from the week prior with only 76,404 units sold to date in that region. Things don’t look much better according to Famitsu who recorded 110 units moved, down from 178.

Historically, western content doesn’t translate well over in Japan, but last week showed a two completely different sides of the coin in regards to software and hardware.

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AMD Announces Ryzen 7 to Launch Worldwide on March 2nd https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/22/amd-announces-ryzen-7-launch-worldwide-march-2nd/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/22/amd-announces-ryzen-7-launch-worldwide-march-2nd/#respond Wed, 22 Feb 2017 14:45:42 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=96364

By Brendan Frye

It has been a long time since AMD () unleashed a new CPU into the PC landscape, but that is about to change. Today AMD has confirmed that the Ryzen 7 lineup of processors will hit retail starting March 2, 2017, with pre-orders open Today at 1:00 p.m. EST. The Ryzen 7 lineup of CPU's boast […]

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By Brendan Frye

It has been a long time since AMD (AMD 14,32 +0,04 +0,28%) unleashed a new CPU into the PC landscape, but that is about to change. Today AMD has confirmed that the Ryzen 7 lineup of processors will hit retail starting March 2, 2017, with pre-orders open Today at 1:00 p.m. EST.

The Ryzen 7 lineup of CPU's boast an impressive lineup of specs, with the 1800X reportedly out-performing the similarly configured 8-core, 16-thread Core i&-6900K in Cinebench and handbrake video transcoding tests. It is also boasting similar performance when 4K gaming, all at a much lower power consumption and price point.

With the Ryzen, AMD has priced the full lineup at a very affordable point. The highest end in the range, the 1800X with a base clock of 3.6, a boost clock of 4.0 will cost consumers $499USD, while the 1700X running at 3.4 base, and 3.8 boost will cost $399. Finally, the 1700, the lowest in the Ryzen 7 range will run at 3.0, with a boost of 3.7, and an included Wraith Spire cooler will only set you back $329 USD.

“We deeply appreciate the ways in which our partners and customers came together to build a high-performance ecosystem for Ryzen,” said Jim Anderson, senior vice president and general manager, Computing and Graphics Group, AMD. “With an anticipated 82 new motherboards from ODMs worldwide, Ryzen-based designs from top global PC OEMs expected soon, and boutique SIs and OEMs showing extreme-performance PC designs, this will be a launch like no other. Unprecedented pre-order support from etailers globally shows that our ecosystem and partners are fully behind AMD and our commitment to return innovation and competition to high-performance PCs.”

With VR, and the rise of 4K gaming, AMD could not have picked the better time to jump back into the PC CPU race at full force. The Ryzen 7 lineup is looking to be an exciting offering, and if AMD is able to pull off the boosted performance in real world testing it could easily change the enthusiast building market landscape. For more details on the future of Ryzen, along with details on AM4 motherboards and compatible thermal options, AMD CEO Lisa Su will be doing a AMA on March 2, 2017 at 11:30 a.m. CST on the AMD Reddit.  CGMagazine will have a full review of the Ryzen Lineup closer to launch.

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New Futurama Game Featuring New Work from Matt Groening https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/22/new-futurama-worlds-of-tomorrow-game-includes-new-work-matt-groening/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/22/new-futurama-worlds-of-tomorrow-game-includes-new-work-matt-groening/#comments Wed, 22 Feb 2017 14:00:14 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=96346

By Cody Orme

Fans of the hit TV show Futurama surly perk their ears when they hear the phrase made famous by Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth, “Good news everyone”. Today, however, those fans might utter that same phrase themselves as JamCity affiliate TinyCo along with Twentieth Century Fox division, Fox Interactive have announced a new game set in […]

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By Cody Orme

Fans of the hit TV show Futurama surly perk their ears when they hear the phrase made famous by Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth, “Good news everyone”. Today, however, those fans might utter that same phrase themselves as JamCity affiliate TinyCo along with Twentieth Century Fox division, Fox Interactive have announced a new game set in that universe titled Futurama: Worlds of Tomorrow.

Developed for mobile devices, and available for pre-register on App Store, Google Play, and Amazon App Store, Futurama: Worlds of Tomorrow features original content written by the much of same team attached to the series. This includes, but is not limited to: Simpsons creator, and Futurama co-creator and producer Matt Groening, executive producer David X. Cohen, and even the show’s original animation studio, Rough Draft Studios.

“I love this game because it feels just like Futurama," says Groening in a press release. “Except now you get to jab the characters in the face.”

Much of the story is unknown, though it will follow the cast of Futurama, quite possibly in the same vane as Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff, which happens to be developed by the same studio working on Futurama: Worlds of Tomorrow. Though Groening’s comments could suggest that this won’t follow the city sim aspects like Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff, it is important to note that nothing has really been stated regarding genre specifics. Still with a 4/5 rating on Google Play Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff seems to be enjoyed by Family Guy fans, and it seems the team is just as hopeful for another success.

"Futurama is back, bigger and better than ever! Or possibly smaller and equally good. But either way, it’s back!” says Cohen in a press release. "We’ve got completely new stories from the original writers, cast, and animators. This is the real Futurama deal."

Futurama first aired from March 29, 1999, and ran until Aug. 10, 2013. During that period the witty sci-fi cartoon reached critical acclaim winning seven Annie Awards (17 nominations) and six Emmy awards (12 nominations).

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Digimon World Next Order Review - A Stressful Chore https://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/digimon-world-next-order-review-stressful-chore/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/digimon-world-next-order-review-stressful-chore/#comments Wed, 22 Feb 2017 13:00:16 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=96296

By Kenneth Shepard

Digimon World Next Order offers no qualms about throwing the player into the deep end from the very beginning. Harkening back to 1999’s original Digimon World, Digimon World Next Order’s obtuse mechanics made its early hours a stressful blur of time, resource, and party management. The game feels more like a pet simulator than it […]

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By Kenneth Shepard

Digimon World Next Order offers no qualms about throwing the player into the deep end from the very beginning. Harkening back to 1999’s original Digimon World, Digimon World Next Order’s obtuse mechanics made its early hours a stressful blur of time, resource, and party management. The game feels more like a pet simulator than it does a traditional RPG experience like last year’s excellent Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth, which may, justifiably so, be a barrier to entry for all but the most dedicated of players. It’s a punishing experience; one that I found myself equal parts frustrated and enamoured with as it constantly halted my progress.

Digimon World Next Order takes place several years after the events of the original Digimon World. Powerful Digimon called Machinedramon are terrorizing the Digital World, wreaking havoc upon its citizens and downsizing its biggest settlements into shells of their former selves. As the destruction reaches its peak, a group of teenagers from the real world find themselves trapped within the Digital World. These kids all meet citizens of the Digital World, are partnered with their own Digimon, and look to find a way home and restore the Digital World to its former glory in the process.

Digimon World Next Order Review - A Stressful Chore 1

For much of my early time playing Digimon World Next Order I was incredibly overwhelmed by all of its moving parts. Progressing through the game’s story requires you to find the scattered citizens of a hub city called Flotia. As you find and recruit more civilians to join the city, it prospers with new stores and services, eventually becoming a thriving civilization. Ultimately Flotia will basically keep your supplies stocked, with daily supply drops coming from various members of the city—all to help you go out and find more missing Digimon to help bring the city to its former glory.

Watching Flotia flourish is one of the most satisfying parts of Digimon World Next Order. While recruiting Digimon to the city mostly boils down to fetch quests or mini-boss battles, seeing this small group of Digimon grow into a booming city with new features becoming available as they return often left me feeling like I was accomplishing something important even in the most mundane moments.

However, making those steps requires your two Digimon partners to be powerful enough to overcome the dangers of the Digital World, and while I found the act of raising Digimon to be fun on its own, the complex mechanics behind training them and keeping them alive often held me up for hours at a time before I could even consider moving toward a story mission or recruiting more people to Flotia.

In the beginning of Digimon World Next Order, players are given the choice of two of any eleven baby Digimon. These Digimon can evolve into one of many more powerful characters depending on a multitude of factors, including stats, diet, and their relationship with me or whether I was properly caring for them. Maintaining a healthy Digimon is the difference between getting a character I wanted and getting a weaker, less desirable one. This means I had to stay stocked up on food to feed them, stay near a bathroom so they could relieve themselves, and hope I could train them in specific stats before they evolved. This made it difficult for me to get Digimon I wanted, like my longtime favourite Guilmon, but the act of training them and trying to best raise them to get specific Digimon never felt tiresome—unlike when I had to divert my attention to the rest of the game.

Digimon World Next Order Review - A Stressful Chore 2

These systems are all based around the pet simulator-like mechanics of the original Digimon World. However, in that game players only had to take care of one Digimon instead of two, which was not only easier to manage but I never had to worry about one Digimon falling behind holding me back from progressing like it does now. Both Digimon partners in your party have a set lifespan after which they will die and be reset to a baby form. Digimon’s death and rebirth offers higher base stats, eventually to the point where new evolution paths become available. But it does still mean that if one Digimon dies and is reset you have to spend time training them until they’re fit for battle again. This time, training a younger Digimon adds days to the life of the other, effectively shortening the time you have to accomplish anything before starting the process over again. Late game items will let you essentially “kill” a Digimon and get both of your partners on a similar cycle of life and death, but I felt a lot of frustration in early chapters as I constantly staggered the lives of my Digimon in order to get anywhere in Digimon World Next Order.

After I got my two Digimon to a point in their evolutionary line that I could start to progress another incremental step further, I ended up fighting with Next Order’s clunky and convoluted battle system. Unlike last year’s Cyber Sleuth, Digimon World Next Order’s battles play out in real-time. As the tamer of my Digimon I didn’t partake in these battles in a particularly strategic manner, as my role was closer to a coach of a sports team rather than a commander of a party. While both of my Digimon fight a group of enemies, all I could do is cheer them on, adding points to a growing “Order Power” gauge that unlocked more powerful attacks. While I had the power to override my Digimon’s actions, this micromanaging was far less efficient than just letting my partners operate according to set tactics, occasionally interrupting to order one to take a defensive stance or providing support through healing items.

Digimon World Next Order Review - A Stressful Chore 3

In more difficult battles this system worked and felt strategic, like I was cooperating with two other friends as a team to find weak points in powerful enemies’ defenses. But otherwise, I actively avoided battling wild Digimon. Battles on the field felt like wastes of time and resources to me, as there was seldom anything to be gained by partaking in them. Stat increases after battles against wild Digimon were so minuscule it never felt worth the risk of losing to actively seek out battles that weren’t story related. Certain Digimon can only be obtained by winning a certain number of battles, but defeating more powerful enemies didn’t add anything more to that number than beating up weak ones did.

Digimon World Next Order’s complexity is more than a little intimidating, especially for those who may want a more simple and straightforward trip to the Digital World that can be found elsewhere in games like Cyber Sleuth. These isolated systems are interesting in their own right, but Digimon World Next Order as a whole constantly feels like it’s stepping on its own toes, interfering with progression instead of creating a cohesive whole. Next Order is at its best when you’re not trying to move forward, but instead trying to live and prosper in its world.

Score:6.5

Final Thoughts:While deep and captivating on their own, Digimon World Next Order’s bloated mechanics step all over each other and make progressing through the game as a whole a stressful chore.

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Prepare To Get Trolled On Switch This March https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/22/troll-and-i-march/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/22/troll-and-i-march/#comments Wed, 22 Feb 2017 13:00:05 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=96330

By Jordan Biordi

Sometimes it's hard to know what to think about Trolls. When I was growing up they mostly took the form of dolls with outrageous hair and nowadays, they're just angry people on the internet. Last year Maximum Games looked to challenge that conceit with Troll and I and now they're giving gamers a better look at […]

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By Jordan Biordi

Sometimes it's hard to know what to think about Trolls. When I was growing up they mostly took the form of dolls with outrageous hair and nowadays, they're just angry people on the internet. Last year Maximum Games looked to challenge that conceit with Troll and I and now they're giving gamers a better look at what their game has to offer.

Announced via press release, Maximum Games in partnership with Spiral House, has released a brand-new features trailer for its upcoming action adventure game. The trailer shows off some of the in-game mechanics such as foraging, crafting and split-screen co-op.

Troll and I looks to be taking the form of an action-puzzler as players are tasked with strategically utilizing Troll and Otto’s unique strengths to overcome the many challenges they will face in the Scandinavian back-country. Players can use Troll’s massive size and strength to throw boulders at enemies, or Otto’s speed and resourcefulness to stealthily take out enemies.

However, the abilities aren't simply for combat. Players will encounter various natural resources when playing as Otto, which can be foraged for fashioning weapons or used to heal the duo on their adventure. Trolls strength can be used for lifting platforms and helping Otto reach difficult areas.

While co-op allows each player to take control of either Troll or Otto, solo players can seamlessly switch between Otto and Troll in-game, utilizing their unique abilities to solve puzzles and defeat the human enemies hunting Troll or the mythical orcs known as "Ahky" unleashed from the depths of the earth.

Furthermore, according to the release "Maximum Games is proud to confirm that Troll and I will be releasing on Nintendo’s revolutionary new system, the Nintendo Switch, this Spring! The game will be fully playable at home or on the go using the Joy-Con controllers for both solo and split-screen co-op gameplay, allowing players to continue Troll and Otto’s adventure wherever they are."

While Troll and I is scheduled for a March 21st release, additional details for its Switch will be available at a later date.

Prepare To Get Trolled On Switch This March 1 Prepare To Get Trolled On Switch This March 2 Prepare To Get Trolled On Switch This March 3

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Most Anticipated Xbox One Games of 2017 https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/22/anticipated-xbox-exclusive-games-2017/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/22/anticipated-xbox-exclusive-games-2017/#respond Wed, 22 Feb 2017 12:00:48 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=95984

By Helena Shlapak

Despite a couple of cancellations, Microsoft is releasing a handful of games in 2017 that should garner wide-spread acclaim and keep Xbox One owners and fans happy. It appears as though this list is going through the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality as most of the games on this list are sequels. […]

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By Helena Shlapak

Despite a couple of cancellations, Microsoft is releasing a handful of games in 2017 that should garner wide-spread acclaim and keep Xbox One owners and fans happy. It appears as though this list is going through the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality as most of the games on this list are sequels.

Note: Some of these titles were included in our most Anticipated PlayStation 4 Games of 2017 feature.

 

Mass Effect: Andromeda

Developer: BioWare
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Release Date: March 21, 2017

Most Anticipated Xbox Exclusive Games of 2017Five years after the release of Mass Effect III, BioWare Studios returns to their beloved franchise with Mass Effect: Andromeda. While this latest instalment is actually a midquel (taking place between Mass Effect II and Mass Effect III) and fans don't play as Commander Sheppard, the game allows players to see what was going on in the Andromeda galaxy. The player takes the role of Sara or Scott Ryder, and instead of only choosing between six character classes, they will now be able develop their own skills. Mass Effect: Andromeda also removes the morality scaling which allows the player more free reign in their conversations. Despite the mixed opinions of Mass Effect III, Mass Effect: Andromeda looks like it will inject new life into the franchise. Mass Effect: Andromeda launches on March 21, 2017.

Crackdown 3

Developer: Reagebt Ganesm Syni Dugutal, Cloudgine
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Release Date: 2017

Most Anticipated Xbox Exclusive Games of 2017 1Launched in 2007, the original Crackdown was an open world, action-adventure, sandbox that allowed players to take down the criminal originations any way they saw fit. Crackdown was set in the futuristic metropolis of Pacific City where the player takes control of an agent from “The Agency” which sets to help the city’s Peacekeepers after they were overwhelmed by the rising violence. Crackdown 3 will now take place in a new city and aside from being able to do everything you could in Crackdown and Crackdown 2 the game will now have a multiplayer mode and everything in the environment will be destructible. Crackdown 3 is set to come out sometime in 2017.

South Park: The Fractured but Whole

Developer: Ubisoft, Ubisoft San Francisco, South Park Digital Studios
Publisher: Ubisoft
Release Date: 2017

Most Anticipated Xbox Exclusive Games of 2017 2After the astonishing success of South Park: The Stick of Truth in 2014, Ubisoft created a sequel which parodies superheroes. South Park: The Fractured but Whole, takes place after the first game and pits two groups of children superheroes against each other Captain America: Civil War style. The player will once again be tossed into a South Park episode and play a new kid who helps out the group. This time, the player can choose the new kid’s gender. South Park: The Fractured but Whole has been delayed twice now, but the general consensus is that the new game will still debut in 2017 (albeit, later than fans hoped).

State of Decay 2

Developer: Undead Labs
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Release Date: 2017

Most Anticipated Xbox Exclusive Games of 2017 3It’s back to the world of zombies in the action-adventure, survivor stealth horror game, State of Decay 2. The sequel to State of Decay will once again follow the three survivors of the first game and as they struggle to survive and rebuild a community. Exactly like State of Decay, State of Decay 2 will once again allow for three-player co-op and focus on the players leadership skills like group distrust and moral and lack of resources. The player will also be able to recruit more people into the community, be able to trade with others and customize the community however they please. The open-world game is set to come out in 2017.

Outlast 2

Developer: Red Barrels Studio
Publisher: Red Barrels Studio
Release Date: 2017

Most Anticipated Xbox Exclusive Games of 2017 4

The sequel to the terrifying, first-person, survival horror game, Outlast is definitely one fans have been dying for (get it? Because it's a horror game!). Outlast 2 follows a journalist named Blake as he follows the mystery of a murdered pregnant woman. Blake and his wife Lynn, crash in the Sonoran Desert, and now have to go through a remote village that hosts a cult that believes the end of days is upon them. Like this first game, the player won’t be able to fight, but unlike the first game, the player will have a better camera. The player can zoom, have clearer vision and audio detection. The player will even wear glasses that will inhibit Blake’s vision if they fall off. Outlast 2 was initially supposed to release in fall of 2016, and even though it doesn’t have an official date, developer Red Barrels said the game will release in Q1 2017. If you can’t wait, the demo is currently available.

Cuphead

Developer: Studio MDHR
Publisher: 
Studio MDHR
Release Date:
2017

Most Anticipated Xbox Exclusive Games of 2017 5Not only is Cuphead the only non-sequel on this list, this classic run and gun indie platformer might possibly be the most visually interesting. Based on 1930’s style cartoons, Cuphead follows the adventures of Cuphead who loses a bet with the Devil. Now the player must defeat bosses and complete various levels in an attempt to repay the bet. The game can be played with two people in a co-op mode and features branching level sequences. The levels are even accessible through an action RPG-style overworld and will feature secret areas. This Canadian indie game will turn back the clock and overwhelm players with nostalgia. Cuphead is set to release in 2017.

Prey

Developer: Arkane Studios, Human Head Studios
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Release Date: May 5, 2017

Most Anticipated Games of 2017 Coming to PS4 3

Originally developed as a sequel to the 2006 hit, Prey, this version of Prey is now a complete reboot. Set in the year 2032, players takes the role of Morgan Yu, a human aboard a space station called Talos I which orbits the moon. Yu is a key test subject in an experiment that will change humanity forever, but things go terribly haywire. As the space station becomes overrun with hostile aliens, Yu has no choice but to fight for their life and find a way to stop the alien threat. Yu must uncover the dark secrets of the Talos I and their own past, all while trying to survive by using the station's tools, weapons, their own wits and new-found abilities. Prey has an official launch date of May 1, 2017, and here’s hoping the success of this game prompts the sequel fans have waited for.

Sea of Thieves

Developer: Rare
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Release Date: 2017

Most Anticipated Xbox Exclusive Games of 2017 6
Although there isn’t much to go on with this title, Sea of Thieves seems to be an ambitious one. Sea of Thieves is a pirate, open-world, action-adventure game. Players will be able to make custom stories, co-op with friends and also be able to craft items and maneuver their ships by coordinating the crew to sails, steering and more. Sea of Thieves even includes a day and night cycle and real-life simulated water graphics and rendering. Players will also be able to hunt for gold of course. Sea of Thieves will come out sometime in 2017 but in the meantime, there is a Sea of Thieves Insiders Program and community members can apply to play an early access version of the game.

There may not be many Xbox One exclusive games coming in 2017 but that doesn’t mean that there still won’t be a whole slew of games to play that will be coming across all platforms.

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New Humbe Civilization Bundle on Offer https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/21/new-humbe-civilization-bundle-offer/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/21/new-humbe-civilization-bundle-offer/#respond Tue, 21 Feb 2017 19:46:10 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=96304

By Cody Orme

Sid Meier's Civilization is easily one of the most recognizable PC titles on the market, and now, it’s getting the Humble Civilization Bundle. With already over 2000 bundles sold, the Humble Civilization Bundle is packed with classic city sim goodness with around $257 worth of content. The three tiers with the lowest starting at $1. They […]

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By Cody Orme

Sid Meier's Civilization is easily one of the most recognizable PC titles on the market, and now, it’s getting the Humble Civilization Bundle.

With already over 2000 bundles sold, the Humble Civilization Bundle is packed with classic city sim goodness with around $257 worth of content. The three tiers with the lowest starting at $1. They are as follows:

$1 or more

Sid Meier's Civilization III
Sid Meier's Civilization IV

$4.25 or more

Sid Meier's Civilization V
Sid Meier's Civilization V: Brave New World
Sid Meier's Civilization V: Gods & Kings
Sid Meier's Civilization V DLC
20 pre cent off Sid Meier's Civilization VI

$15 or more

Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth
Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth - Exoplanets Map Pack
Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth - Rising Tide

As far as bundles go, this is pretty exciting. Sid Meier's Civilization V received a perfect 10 when it launched in 2010, and Sid Meier's Civilization VI received a 9.5 at its 2016 release, with reviewer Mike Cosimano praising it as “a visually resplendent strategy game that makes every turn feel important and every approach viable.”

As always, users can donate some or all of their funds to DonorsChoose.org, a charity founded in 2000 that has raised over $510 million across 870 000 projects for classrooms in the U.S.A.

As of now, there are still 13 days remaining to pick up this bundle, and with the amount of content you can get from it, it would be well worth the relatively minor investment.  Along with that, Humble Bundle is still running their monthly bundle program. February’s game is Total Warhammer the Total War and Warhammer cross over developed by Creative Assembly and published by Sega. Released in 2016, Total War: Warhammer received a 9 out of 10 with reviewer Jesse Lyle stating “the developers took down a can of paint labelled “WARHAMMER” and poured it on to the Total War franchise. That is exactly what this game is and that is why I love it.”

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Crystal Dynamics Moves to New Facility, Starts Hiring Spree https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/21/crystal-dynamics-moves-new-facility-starts-hiring-spree/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/21/crystal-dynamics-moves-new-facility-starts-hiring-spree/#respond Tue, 21 Feb 2017 18:56:32 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=96298

By Cody Orme

Crystal Dynamics, the developer behind the revived Tomb Raider franchise, have announced they’re expanding into a new studio and going on a hiring spree. The move actually occurred last week, which the studio blogged about, adding this press release on Feb. 21, 2017.  Square Enix states the Redwood, CA facility is state of the art, and […]

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By Cody Orme

Crystal Dynamics, the developer behind the revived Tomb Raider franchise, have announced they’re expanding into a new studio and going on a hiring spree.

The move actually occurred last week, which the studio blogged about, adding this press release on Feb. 21, 2017.  Square Enix states the Redwood, CA facility is state of the art, and features “dailies” review room filled with the newest tech.

“We have some great new amenities, from hydraulic desks for everyone to adjust as they like, to black-out shades and light absorption paint for those darkness-loving developers,” says Scot Amos, co-studio head of Crystal Dynamics in a press release adding the studio includes six sound proofed rooms for audio. “With the growth of our team, we’ve also increased our studio meeting area and naturally outfitted it with tons of next-gen 4K screens, as well as dedicated console and PC gaming stations next to the huge new kitchen. Lastly, we’ve added two specialty rooms for optimal development efficiency: a photogrammetry capture space and our very own, on-site, fully equipped Motion Capture stage!"

Crystal Dynamics Moves to New Facility, Starts Hiring Spree 1Along with this new facility, Crystal Dynamics announced they are hiring for multiple positions.

Crystal Dynamics is coming off a year which saw the release of Rise of the Tomb Raider: 20 Year Celebration. More recently, they announced The Avengers Project, a collaboration with Marvel and Square Enix.

This move happened just one week before the announcement of Studio Istolia, an all-new studio from Square Enix headed by long time Tales producer Hideo Baba. Along with this new studio, Square Enix announced they will develop a brand new RPG adventure, though details, outside of concept art, is scarce.

With NieR on the way, and Hitman season two in the pipeline, Square Enix looks to continue its role of making high quality, top-tier AAA content.

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Tarzan on the Planet of the Apes Comic Review https://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/tarzan-planet-apes-comic-review/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/tarzan-planet-apes-comic-review/#respond Tue, 21 Feb 2017 17:36:26 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=96289

By Boyd Reynolds

Tarzan. Planet of the Apes. Not the two most likely ingredients for a success. But with BOOM! Studios and Dark Horse Comics collaboration Tarzan on the Planet of the Apes, a victory is had. The two entities hold a special place in science fiction and fantasy. Tarzan came about in 1914 at the hand of […]

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By Boyd Reynolds

Tarzan. Planet of the Apes. Not the two most likely ingredients for a success. But with BOOM! Studios and Dark Horse Comics collaboration Tarzan on the Planet of the Apes, a victory is had.

The two entities hold a special place in science fiction and fantasy. Tarzan came about in 1914 at the hand of writer Edgar Rice Burroughs in his novel, Tarzan of the Apes. The book was so successful it spawned 25 sequels as well as retellings on radio, TV and film. As for Planet of the Apes, the original 1968 film was adapted from writer Pierre Boulle’s novel and became an instant sci-fi classic. That movie brought about four sequels, as well as two separate reboots, leading into this year’s War for the Planet of the Apes. The series was so popular it spawned a TV show, cartoon and comics. But putting both sci-fi and fantasy icons together in one story—how could it work? For Tarzan on the Planet of the Apes, it surprisingly does.

Tarzan on the Planet of the Apes Comic Review 2 Tarzan on the Planet of the Apes Comic Review 3

Tarzan on the Planet of the Apes begins with a little time travel. First up is North America 2016, where Tarzan attacks a world ruled by apes. Quickly, we travel to West Africa 1901, where a young Tarzan is playing in the jungle with his ape brother, Milo. While horsing around, the two stumble upon a triceratops. Sound absurd? It is, but as one keeps reading and suspending disbelief, the story works well. The two boys take this finding to their parents, Cornelius and Zira—the same Cornelius and Zira who befriended Charlton Heston in the original Planet of the Apes film. The boys share a tale of the dinosaur and the hole in the sky, one that brought Cornelius and Zira to this time. Not only that, but a human threat has come to West Africa in the form of Greystoke, a relative of Tarzan.

Written by Tim Seeley and David Walker, Tarzan on the Planet of the Apes is a five issue mini-series. Seeley and Walker create a creative and complex storyline. Leaning heavily on the original Planet of the Apes lore, the story is fun for both nostalgia and entertainment purposes. The only detraction is that the storyline gets complex at times with different characters from different times crossing paths, but it’s a small distraction. On the whole, Tarzan on the Planet of the Apes is more than just a quirky crossover; it is a quality story with tight dialogue and fast-paced, high-octane action.

Tarzan on the Planet of the Apes Comic Review 1

Artist Fernando Dagnino does a terrific job bringing Tarzan on the Planet of the Apes to life. His illustrations harken back to the Planet of the Apes film as well as having a timeless feel. The emotion he applies to the characters and his action is his greatest strength in Tarzan on the Planet of the Apes is—mostly in tight, hand-to-hand combat.

All in all, Tarzan on the Planet of the Apes was a delightful surprise. It not only offers a great sense of nostalgia for fans of both franchises but it goes far beyond expectations, taking readers on a lively adventure through both space and time.

Score:8.5

Final Thoughts:Tarzan on the Planet of the Apes is a delightful surprise. For those who love both sci-fi/fantasy classics, this comic mini-series is for you.

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WWE Superstar John Cena Tags With Nintendo to Show off Switch https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/21/wwe-superstar-john-cena-tags-nintendo-show-off-switch/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/21/wwe-superstar-john-cena-tags-nintendo-show-off-switch/#respond Tue, 21 Feb 2017 16:56:13 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=96281

By CGM Staff

WWE Superstar John Cena Greets Visitors at the First Stop in the
California Desert

REDMOND, Wash.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Imagine driving in the middle of the desert and seeing a couch, TV and
video game system in the middle of nowhere, or skiing down the side of a
mountain and seeing another one of these surprising setups sitting there
in the snow, ready for a round of gaming. It’s a striking visual, sure,
but it drives home the message of Nintendo
Switch, Nintendo’s revolutionary new video game system that launches
on March 3. Nintendo Switch is a home gaming system with the portability
of a handheld. The system lets you take home video game experiences
anywhere you go, offering you the freedom to play where, when and how
you like.

To showcase this unprecedented new style of console gaming on the go,
Nintendo is showcasing the versatility of Nintendo Switch across the
country with highly visual, interactive living room-inspired spaces in
places you would never expect, bringing surprises to every stop. The
first Nintendo Switch experience will pop up in the desert at Blue Cloud
Movie Ranch on Feb. 23. Invited guests will get the chance to enter the
interactive space and experience different Nintendo Switch games, as
well as delight in the novelty of playing these games in a completely
unexpected locale.

To make the first stop even more exciting, John Cena will be the special
guest at this location. As a WWE Superstar and actor who is as versatile
as the Nintendo Switch console itself, the performer (and Nintendo fan)
Cena is the perfect person to kick off this unique tour. Known for his
charisma and family-friendly appeal, John Cena will showcase the
face-to-face off-TV functionality of 1-2-Switch,
a Nintendo Switch launch game that features hilarious activities like
milking a cow and participating in a Wild West duel. Cena will play the
game with invited fans and YouTube influencers, highlighting how fun it
is to play 1-2-Switch using the innovative new Joy-Con
controllers.

The second Nintendo Switch experience will pop up in Aspen, Colorado, on
Feb. 27 at the popular Snowmass ski resort. Again, the unexpected
location highlights that Nintendo Switch games can be played anywhere –
even somewhere as remote as the side of a snowy mountain!

The final stop on the Nintendo Switch journey will be in Madison Square
Park in New York on launch day, March 3. Surrounded by excited fans and
curious onlookers, the event will kick off a new era in Nintendo gaming.
Two famous (and super) brothers named Mario and Luigi will also attend
the final event to celebrate launch day.

“The upcoming launch of the unique Nintendo Switch console calls for a
unique series of celebrations,” said Doug Bowser, Nintendo of America’s
Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “These unexpected
locations perfectly highlight the features of the new system, as well as
provide one-of-a-kind surprise-and-delight moments that Nintendo does
best.”

Each of these Nintendo Switch experiences will be an absolute spectacle,
featuring visuals that remind people of home gaming, but set in wildly
unexpected places. Seeing these familiar settings set against dazzling
backdrops like the open desert, snowy mountains and bustling city will
drive home how Nintendo Switch transforms any space into a place to play.

The specific times and locations for each event are as follows:

The Desert – Invite onlyFeb.
23, 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. PTBlue Cloud Movie Ranch20019 Blue
Cloud Rd.Santa Clarita, CA 91390

Aspen – Open to the publicFeb.
27, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. MTSnowmass Village45 Village SquareSnowmass
Village, CO 81615

New York – Open to the publicMarch
3, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. ETFlatiron PlazaBroadway between 23rd
and 24th St.New York, NY 10010

Nintendo Switch launches worldwide on March 3 at a suggested retail
price of $299.99. Two stylish versions of the system will be released: a
version with a set of gray Joy-Con, and a version with one neon blue and
one neon red Joy-Con. Both versions will have the same suggested retail
price.

At home, Nintendo Switch rests in the Nintendo Switch dock that connects
the system to the TV and lets you play with family and friends in the
comfort of your living room. By simply lifting Nintendo Switch from the
dock, the system will instantly transition to handheld mode, and the
same great gaming experience that was being enjoyed at home now travels
with you. The portability of Nintendo Switch is enhanced by its bright
high-definition display. It brings the full home gaming system
experience with you to the desert, on a snowy mountain or even during a
busy city commute.

Remember that Nintendo Switch features parental controls that let adults
manage the content their children can access. For more information about
this and other features, visit http://www.nintendo.com/switch.
For more information about these events, visit http://www.nintendo.com/switch/events/.

About Nintendo: The worldwide pioneer in the creation of
interactive entertainment, Nintendo Co., Ltd., of Kyoto, Japan,
manufactures and markets hardware and software for its Wii U™
and Wii™ home consoles, and Nintendo 3DS™ and
Nintendo DS™ families of portable systems. Since 1983, when
it launched the Nintendo Entertainment System™, Nintendo has
sold more than 4.4 billion video games and more than 696 million
hardware units globally, including the current-generation Wii U,
Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo 3DS XL, as well as the Game Boy™,
Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi™ and Nintendo DSi
XL™, Super NES™, Nintendo 64™, Nintendo
GameCube™ and Wii systems. It has also created industry icons
that have become well-known, household names such as Mario™,
Donkey Kong™, Metroid™, Zelda™ and
Pokémon™. A wholly owned subsidiary, Nintendo of America
Inc., based in Redmond, Wash., serves as headquarters for Nintendo’s
operations in the Western Hemisphere. For more information about
Nintendo, please visit the company’s website at http://www.nintendo.com.

Note to editors: Nintendo press materials are available at http://press.nintendo.com,
a password-protected site. To obtain a login, please register on the
site.
Contacts
GOLINEddie Garcia, 213-335-5536egarcia@golin.comorRich
George, 415-318-4342rgeorge@golin.com

This post is by www.cgmagonline.com read the original post: WWE Superstar John Cena Tags With Nintendo to Show off Switch

]]>

By CGM Staff

Imagine driving in the middle of the desert and seeing a couch, TV and video game system in the middle of nowhere, or skiing down the side of a mountain and seeing another one of these surprising setups sitting there in the snow, ready for a round of gaming. It’s a striking visual, sure, but it drives home the message of Nintendo Switch, Nintendo’s revolutionary new video game system that launches on March 3. Nintendo Switch is a home gaming system with the portability of a handheld. The system lets you take home video game experiences anywhere you go, offering you the freedom to play where, when and how you like.

To showcase this unprecedented new style of console gaming on the go, Nintendo is showcasing the versatility of Nintendo Switch across the country with highly visual, interactive living room-inspired spaces in places you would never expect, bringing surprises to every stop. The first Nintendo Switch experience will pop up in the desert at Blue Cloud Movie Ranch on Feb. 23. Invited guests will get the chance to enter the
interactive space and experience different Nintendo Switch games, as well as delight in the novelty of playing these games in a completely unexpected locale.

To make the first stop even more exciting, John Cena will be the special guest at this location. As a WWE Superstar and actor who is as versatile as the Nintendo Switch console itself, the performer (and Nintendo fan) Cena is the perfect person to kick off this unique tour. Known for his charisma and family-friendly appeal, John Cena will showcase the face-to-face off-TV functionality of 1-2-Switch, a Nintendo Switch launch game that features hilarious activities like milking a cow and participating in a Wild West duel. Cena will play the game with invited fans and YouTube influencers, highlighting how fun it is to play 1-2-Switch using the innovative new Joy-Con controllers.

The second Nintendo Switch experience will pop up in Aspen, Colorado, on Feb. 27 at the popular Snowmass ski resort. Again, the unexpected location highlights that Nintendo Switch games can be played anywhere – even somewhere as remote as the side of a snowy mountain!

The final stop on the Nintendo Switch journey will be in Madison Square Park in New York on launch day, March 3. Surrounded by excited fans and curious onlookers, the event will kick off a new era in Nintendo gaming. Two famous (and super) brothers named Mario and Luigi will also attend the final event to celebrate launch day.

“The upcoming launch of the unique Nintendo Switch console calls for a unique series of celebrations,” said Doug Bowser, Nintendo of America’s Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “These unexpected locations perfectly highlight the features of the new system, as well as provide one-of-a-kind surprise-and-delight moments that Nintendo does best.”

Each of these Nintendo Switch experiences will be an absolute spectacle, featuring visuals that remind people of home gaming, but set in wildly unexpected places. Seeing these familiar settings set against dazzling backdrops like the open desert, snowy mountains and bustling city will drive home how Nintendo Switch transforms any space into a place to play.

The specific times and locations for each event are as follows:

  • The Desert – Invite only
    Feb. 23, 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. PT
    Blue Cloud Movie Ranch
    20019 Blue Cloud Rd. Santa Clarita, CA 91390
  • Aspen – Open to the public
    Feb. 27, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. MT
    Snowmass Village 45 Village Square
    Snowmass Village, CO 81615
  • New York – Open to the public
    March 3, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. ET
    Flatiron Plaza Broadway between 23rd
    and 24th St. New York, NY 10010

Nintendo Switch launches worldwide on March 3 at a suggested retail price of $299.99. Two stylish versions of the system will be released: a version with a set of gray Joy-Con, and a version with one neon blue and one neon red Joy-Con. Both versions will have the same suggested retail price.

At home, Nintendo Switch rests in the Nintendo Switch dock that connects  the system to the TV and lets you play with family and friends in the comfort of your living room. By simply lifting Nintendo Switch from the dock, the system will instantly transition to handheld mode, and the same great gaming experience that was being enjoyed at home now travels with you. The portability of Nintendo Switch is enhanced by its bright
high-definition display. It brings the full home gaming system experience with you to the desert, on a snowy mountain or even during a busy city commute.

Remember that Nintendo Switch features parental controls that let adults manage the content their children can access. For more information about this and other features, visit http://www.nintendo.com/switch. For more information about these events, visit http://www.nintendo.com/switch/events/.

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Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin Review - A Disappointing Return https://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/psychonauts-rhombus-ruin-review-disappointing-return/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/psychonauts-rhombus-ruin-review-disappointing-return/#comments Tue, 21 Feb 2017 15:48:19 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=96253

By Elias Blondeau

Psychonauts is a beloved game most of us never thought would get a sequel, let alone two of them. Yet that’s where things stand, with Double Fine’s PSVR exclusive Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin existing purely to bridge the gap between the first title and the forthcoming sequel. In the opening moments, all the […]

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By Elias Blondeau

Psychonauts is a beloved game most of us never thought would get a sequel, let alone two of them. Yet that’s where things stand, with Double Fine’s PSVR exclusive Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin existing purely to bridge the gap between the first title and the forthcoming sequel. In the opening moments, all the love I felt for the 2005 cult classic came rushing back to me. Coming face-to-face with Lili and Milla in first-person was like seeing old friends for the first time in twelve years, looking better than ever.

Unfortunately, that moment of elation was fleeting. While more Psychonauts is something I’m still on board for, Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin feels like a half-effort on part of Double Fine. To say nothing of the middling gameplay (more on that later,) the writing here is lacking by usual Tim Schafer standards. This is the mind behind some of my personal favourites, and while his love for oddball whimsy and humorous non-sequiturs is still on full display, it feels neither whimsical nor humorous here. In the entire two-ish hours of playtime, I might have chuckled once, but I forget. For me to remember hilarious moments from a game that came out over a decade, and to recall barely anything from something I just played is sad – especially considering how great these characters can be.

Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin Review - A Disappointing Return 3

The narrative itself could be summed up in a sentence or two, so it suffices to say that it primarily concerns Raz, Lili, Sasha, Milla and Oleander going to rescue Lili’s dad. Fans may recall that being the cliffhanger to the first game, and while getting that closure is certainly nice, the whole thing really does feel like a middling epilogue. Frankly, I would’ve rather played through this bit of plot in the proper sequel, not in a one-off VR title with entirely different mechanics.

But perhaps I could’ve forgiven some middling writing if those mechanics were at least interesting. However, Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin suffers from the same thing many VR titles do, in that its mechanics basically amount to a glorified tech demo. Players sit in stasis, looking around linear environments before they click somewhere to move, then do it all over again a few dozen times. There are a few interesting puzzles thrown in, sure, like guiding Lili through an engaging box puzzle, or a climactic final boss that takes place in a shower. Plus there’s some basic satisfaction to using telekinesis in VR, which is something I really hope more games capitalize on. Let’s get on that Second Sight sequel, eh?

But some satisfying bits can’t make up for the rest of the game, which is an exercise in overwhelming tedium. There were several instances where I had to wait to move around because the movement points hadn’t spawned yet. Sitting around and waiting in VR is marginally more interesting than doing it in a traditional game, but at the end of the day it’s still just sitting around and waiting, which isn’t much fun at all.

It doesn’t help that the mechanics don’t always work as intended, either. To interact with objects, players have to guide their head towards said object. Problem is, there’s no reticle of any sort, leaving players to guesstimate where they need to look. This would be fine if it behaved in a consistent way, but it simply doesn’t. Objects often didn’t become highlighted when I was staring straight at them, and I had to exploit weird angles to progress to the next point. In other words, when this game isn’t dull, it isn’t working as intended. This issue reared its head most in two levels, the most egregious one involving a crowded concert hall, where it was next to impossible to fenagle the controls enough to get pick up a mermaid fin I needed to progress.

Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin Review - A Disappointing Return 2

None of this is to say Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin is a particularly awful game, because it isn’t. There are some decent ideas here, the visuals are attractive, and seeing one of gaming’s most memorable casts again is a real treat, as is the brief introduction of the fantastic Darin De Paul as Lili’s father. Yet the whole package is overwhelmed by a stifling atmosphere of tedium and slipshod execution, a middling take on an exceptional property. Both the writing and mechanics aren’t up to snuff to usual Double Fine standards, and after Resident Evil VII’s fantastic use of the medium, it’s kind of difficult going back to this same-y sort of VR experience.

Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin is something that diehard fans might want to check out after a price drop, if only to get the original’s cliffhanger wrapped up at long last. But twenty bucks is a lot to ask for what’s included, especially when there’s a decent selection on the PSVR at this point. My advice is to pick it up on the cheap right before Psychonauts 2 releases – or just read a synopsis.

Score:6

Final Thoughts:It feels dirty to say “no” to new Psychonauts, but Rhombus of Ruin is a half-baked attempt at wrapping up the first game’s cliffhanger bundled with some monotonous gameplay and too little content for the asking price.

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Square Enix Announces New Studio and RPG https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/21/square-enix-announces-new-studio-rpg/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/21/square-enix-announces-new-studio-rpg/#respond Tue, 21 Feb 2017 14:53:30 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=96255

By Cody Orme

Square Enix is keeping busy as they have announced Project Prelude Rune, an all-new RPG. With this comes news of a newly implemented studio to take on the project, Studio Istolia. Former Tales Producer Hideo Baba is tasked with running the ship serving as both studio head and producer for Project Prelude Rune. With over […]

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By Cody Orme

Square Enix is keeping busy as they have announced Project Prelude Rune, an all-new RPG.

With this comes news of a newly implemented studio to take on the project, Studio Istolia. Former Tales Producer Hideo Baba is tasked with running the ship serving as both studio head and producer for Project Prelude Rune. With over 18 years of experience Baba has worked on various Tales titles from Tales of Destiny in 2006 to Tales of Zestiria in 2015.

Square Enix Announces New Studio and RPG 4

Not much is said about the title, however the press release doesn’t seem to stray from typical JRPG tropes reading, “The project aims to build a new RPG with a new fantasy: unfolding across a vast land teeming with life. Nurtured by the earth, the many peoples of this land dare to dream, fighting for what is just—and this is their tale.”

Square Enix seems to believe in the smaller JRPG structure following the success of Tokyo RPG Factory’s  I am Setsuna, and it appears to be taking the same approach with Project Prelude Rune. With I am Setsuna, Square Enix announced Tokyo RPG Factory as a studio whose sole purpose was to bring back the classic JRPG. While it received mixed reviews, we gave it a 9/10 praising the studio for its somber tone, beautiful piano score and minimalist art direction.

While it isn’t clear what Studio Istolia’s mission statement is, Project Prelude Rune’s concept art does seem unique, almost drawing from RPGs like Xenoblade, and even the 2015 Wii U action-adventure title Rodea The Sky Soldier with a touch of that Square Enix beauty that makes their concept art so distinct.

Square Enix Announces New Studio and RPG Square Enix Announces New Studio and RPG 1 Square Enix Announces New Studio and RPG 3

Outside of Project Prelude Rune, Square Enix will be busy with the upcoming releases of Nier, Kingdom Hearts III, and Final Fantasy VII Remake (with the latter two getting delayed). Not much else is known about Project Prelude Rune however, there is no release date or platform announced at this time.

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Berserk and The Band of the Hawk Review - Faithfully Dark https://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/berserk-band-hawk-review-faithfully-dark/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/berserk-band-hawk-review-faithfully-dark/#comments Tue, 21 Feb 2017 14:00:01 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=96244

By Jordan Biordi

Growing up, I was fortunate to have the “cool older cousin;” that relative who is just a little older than you, so they had access to all the cool “older kid” stuff  you knew you weren’t supposed to see, and unlike a sibling, they were outside the realm of responsibility, meaning they could get away […]

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By Jordan Biordi

Growing up, I was fortunate to have the “cool older cousin;” that relative who is just a little older than you, so they had access to all the cool “older kid” stuff  you knew you weren’t supposed to see, and unlike a sibling, they were outside the realm of responsibility, meaning they could get away with showing it to you. They are the reason I knew about stuff like Spawn, Heavy Metal and most notably Berserk.

Berserk was the first manga I ever got into, and thanks to my cool older cousin I was able to read far past where the series was in the West. At the time, my love for anime was blossoming, but I had only known of the few the mainstream animes that ran on cable TV. I was captivated by its perversely dark atmosphere, incredibly tragic storylines, and beautifully detailed artwork.

And while my love of the franchise ran deep, I unfortunately missed out on the series foray into the video game world. Sword of the Berserk: Gut’s Rage released on the Dreamcast in 1999, ensuring very few actually played it, and Berserk: Millennium Falcon Hen Seima Senki no Shō or Berserk Millennium Empire Arc: Chapter of the Holy Demon War released on PS2 in 2004 but only in Japan. It seemed as though I’d never be able to experience my favourite manga in my favourite medium, until Koei Tecmo announced Berserk and the Band of the Hawk, a perfect pairing of the brutal and bloody manga to their signature Warriors gameplay.

Berserk and The Band of the Hawk Review- Faithfully Dark 1I am an unapologetic lover of the Warriors franchise. I love the simple yet nuanced combat, I love the ridiculous fun of hacking hundreds upon hundreds of enemies to bits, and I love how each game manages to feel different while essentially being the same. I think something like Berserk lends itself perfectly to this style of gameplay, being mostly centered around large scale wars and cutting through legions of demons. While players will spend the majority of the game as series protagonist Guts, characters such as Griffith, Judeau, Casca and even Zodd the Immortal can be unlocked and each feel distinctly different from each other with distinct attack styles and combos.

Berserk and the Band of the Hawk does an admirable job retelling the manga almost in it’s entirety, starting at the Golden Age Arc, and ending at the Hawk of the Millennium Empire Arc through a combination of in-game events and cutscenes that blend clips from the 1997 anime, the 2016 OVA, and new cutscenes made specifically for the game. It’s a parsed version, and while newcomers may feel like certain pieces of the plot are missing, long-time fans are sure to appreciate the amount of effort put into telling the complete Berserk story.

While fans may worry that the series’ tone has been sacrificed for over-the-top nature of the Warriors franchise, rest assured it has been not. Berserk and the Band of the Hawk is the bloodiest Warriors game to ever exist, with splashes of blood from enemies drenching the battlefield as well as characters; and while enemies don’t split in half with every sword swing, they do explode into bits from character’s frenzy attacks maintaining the perfect level of gore and silliness for a Berserk flavored Warriors game.

Berserk and The Band of the Hawk Review- Faithfully Dark 2Berserk and the Band of the Hawk looks amazing too. Characters are lovingly rendered in 3D, perfectly resembling their manga style in an excellent cel-shaded design. Special moves are framed in an almost perfect page-to-screen adaptation, and the blood is thick and red adding to the game’s anime style. The music is beautifully orchestrated with booming horns and intense strings to back the scope of the medieval warfare. And little touches add to the game’s overall quality too. As the game progresses, the background of the main menu will change to scenes from the manga like The Band of the Hawk talking together in the barracks to Gut’s sheltering Casca from the storm.

However, I find it odd how the series’ mature themes are oddly handled at times. Some of the more serious moments of the game like Gut’s accidental murder of a child, or the implied incest of Charlotte’s father are left intact, however any trace of nudity or intense gore— like Guts cutting his arm off— are tastefully edited out. While it’s not deal breaking in any way, it seems odd that the game doesn’t commit fully to the series’ darker tone and themes.

While Berserk and the Band of the Hawk is a fantastic experience, it’s not a game without problems. Localization seems a bit lax with some of the translated text either missing words or incorrectly translated, and subtitle text can remain onscreen for a split second during cutscenes. And small technical glitches like characters on horseback running in circles, pushing enemies around making them impossible to hit do make it slightly annoying. However, for each little problem, the game makes up for it in spades with its dedication to the source material, and overall fun.

Berserk and The Band of the Hawk Review- Faithfully Dark 3Berserk and the Band of the Hawk is amazing. It’s perfect for fans of series, it’s perfect for fans of the Warriors franchise, it’s perfect for gamers looking for a fun “mature” game that isn’t Call of Duty. It’s hard to imagine a manga that filled me with horror so many times, filling me with such joy as a game, but it does. Get this game, if only to open the door to a darker generation of Warriors games.

Score:9

Final Thoughts:Berserk is a bloody good time that is sure to please fans of the anime and Warriors games alike.

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New Patch for Final Fantasy XV Fails to Deliver on Promised 60FPS https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/20/new-patch-for-final-fantasy-xv-fails-to-deliver-on-promised-60fps/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/20/new-patch-for-final-fantasy-xv-fails-to-deliver-on-promised-60fps/#respond Mon, 20 Feb 2017 17:52:57 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=96216

By Brendan Frye

Final Fantasy XV has a new update that has hit two days before expected. Update 1.05 brings the promised PlayStation Pro support to the epic JRPG from Square Enix, that was originally scheduled for release in December. The new update offers players two visual modes to take advantage of.  The 1.05 update offers players two […]

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By Brendan Frye

Final Fantasy XV has a new update that has hit two days before expected. Update 1.05 brings the promised PlayStation Pro support to the epic JRPG from Square Enix, that was originally scheduled for release in December. The new update offers players two visual modes to take advantage of. 

The 1.05 update offers players two game modes to take advantage of. The new lite mode that unlocks the framerate allowing the game to theoretically run at 60 fps, and a high-resolution mode, that runs the game up to 30 fps, with a checkerboard 1800p resolution.

The good people over at Digital Foundry have sat down with the new update, and the results are not great. The PlayStation Pro version of Final Fantasy XV already had options for light and high-resolution modes before the update, what patch 1.05 did was removed the framerate lock in the light mode, making for an overall inconsistent experience. The high-resolution mode, on the other hand, offers a better resolution with significant framerate issues.

The full list of changes include:

  • PlayStation 4 Pro console Lite Mode compatibility with a maximum of 60 fps
  • New Timed Quests (limited-time hunts and contests)
  • Higher level cap (up to 120)
  • Increased camera roll capacity (store up to 200 photos)
  • Portable music player for chocobo rides
  • Conclusion of the Moogle Chocobo Carnival
  • Various bug fixes

The press release for the update also lists the addition of two new songs from NieR: Automata to the in-game radio: “Inishie no Uta / Unmei” and “Weight of the World. There will also be a free update called "Booster Pack+" that will be launching at a later in February that is promising a “Boost Sword” weapon, “Dragon Mod” fishing rod among other additions.

Final Fantasy XV initally launched on November 29, 2016 to critical and commercial success. CGMagazine awarded Final Fantasy XV game of the year for 2016 along with giving it a score of 10/10.

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Download Size of Nintendo Switch Launch Lineup Revealved https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/20/download-size-of-nintendo-switch-launch-lineup-revealved/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/20/download-size-of-nintendo-switch-launch-lineup-revealved/#respond Mon, 20 Feb 2017 15:06:07 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=96212

By Brendan Frye

The Nintendo Switch is just weeks away from launching, and as the date comes closer, details are slowly being revealed about the system and the games launching alongside it. The release of some illicit Switch systems into the wild has lead to revelations about the system, the way the interface will work, along with what storage […]

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By Brendan Frye

The Nintendo Switch is just weeks away from launching, and as the date comes closer, details are slowly being revealed about the system and the games launching alongside it.

The release of some illicit Switch systems into the wild has lead to revelations about the system, the way the interface will work, along with what storage players should expect. Every Switch will come with 32GB stock, but with the OS, and the stock apps, users will be limited to 25.9GB of usable storage for games.

With a recent update to the Japanese Switch info page, Nintendo revealed the size of games for many of the launch lineup. While most of the library range from 1GB-7GB in size, there are a few releases that are quote a bit larger.

  • Mario Kart 8 Deluxe - 7 GB
  • Snipperclips - 1.6 GB
  • Dragon Quest Heroes I+II - 32 GB
  • PuyoPuyo Tetris - 1.09 GB
  • Super Bomberman R - 4 GB
  • I Am Setsuna - 1.4 GB
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild -13.4 GB
  • Nobunaga's Ambition: Sphere of Influence - 5 GB

The biggest games being The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Dragon Quest Heroes I+II, the latter requiring expanded storage to be able to install the full download. While this may sound unfair to the consumer when you look at the Switch as a console, it makes much more sense if viewed as a tablet.

The 32GB storage allows Nintendo to keep costs down, at the same time enabling users to pick the Micro SD card size that works for their needs and budget. Unlike the Apple lineup of tablets, it is a trivial matter to upgrade their storage and limits the need to have multiple SKU's on store shelves further confusing the marketplace. With SD card prices coming down, and the sizes on the rise, users should have no problem ensuring the Nintendo Switch will hold all the games they want to play.

The Nintendo Switch is slated to launch March 3rd worldwide at a price point of £280 in the UK, $300 in the US and 29,980 Yen ($260) and  $399.99 Canadian.

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Horizon Zero Dawn Review - Great, Yet Familiar https://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/horizon-zero-dawn-review-great-yet-familiar/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/horizon-zero-dawn-review-great-yet-familiar/#respond Mon, 20 Feb 2017 08:01:50 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=96202

By Brendan Quinn

There was an interview I once watched with Johann Hegg, the lead singer from Swedish Death Metal outfit Amon Amarth. He was discussing the writing process for their concept album, Jomsviking. At one point in the interview, he mentioned how the band was initially worried the album was beginning to sound a bit too much […]

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By Brendan Quinn

There was an interview I once watched with Johann Hegg, the lead singer from Swedish Death Metal outfit Amon Amarth. He was discussing the writing process for their concept album, Jomsviking. At one point in the interview, he mentioned how the band was initially worried the album was beginning to sound a bit too much like Iron Maiden. At some point, however, Hegg said that he stopped caring about that because Iron Maiden makes awesome music, and if their album sounds too much like them, well, it couldn’t really be a bad thing. Horizon Zero Dawn is the gaming equivalent of realizing that sounding too much like the legends—when done well—is just fine.

You don’t have to be entirely original to be “good”, and implementing elements, mechanics, and ideas from well-reviewed and popular franchises can make for a pretty fantastic total package. A little bit Red Dead Redemption, a touch of The Witcher, with a splash of Uncharted and Far Cry Primal, Guerrilla Games’ sprawling new post-apocalyptic RPG feels instantly familiar to a fan of any of the above games. Yet it carves out its own identity with a few cool concepts on top of the added bonus of simply being fun.

Oh, and it’s ridiculously gorgeous as well.

The player takes on the role of Aloy, a brave warrior from the Nora clan, as she navigates a futuristic world populated by warring factions of tribal humans and robot dinosaurs. The storyline is serviceable, and at times quite interesting, but unfortunately falls victim to the “been there, done that” feeling that pervades every aspect of Horizon Zero Dawn. Characters are fairly standard, and often times cliché stereotypes we’ve seen a million times before. However, the plot is engaging enough and the voice actors do a solid job with what they’ve been given. So while it’s nothing remarkable or unique, I still found myself curious to see what would happen next and even felt a smidge of concern for Aloy during her trials and tribulations.

Gameplay in Horizon is a mix of stealth, ranged and melee combat, and crafting. Each robot dinosaur players kill will yield crafting materials that can be used to make ammunition, potions, traps, and weapon upgrades. There are also plenty of plants and flowers to gather (if that’s your thing) and the more rare and difficult enemies will offer more uncommon materials. It’s not the deepest crafting system in the world, but is fluid and simple enough to maintain accessibility for newcomers to crafting systems, while still allowing for plenty of experimentation and collecting for veterans of the genre.

Players are able to upgrade Aloy’s skills in three distinct categories, each focusing on a different play-style approach. Prowler, Brave, and Forager have trees that cater to players who enjoy stealth, straight-up melee combat, and what is basically alchemy. There are no locks preventing players from mixing it up either, and being able to sneak better while also wielding extra strong spear attacks can be a lot of fun. Combat itself is a mix of ranged and melee, with multiple different bows/slings/traps to choose from on top of differing ammunition types.

Picking Apart the World of Horizon Zero Dawn 5

However, the most fun aspect of the combat comes from taking advantage of the dynamic AI found in the wildlife. Early on in Horizon Zero Dawn, players gain the ability to “override” the programming of the mechanical beasts and turn an enemy into an ally. Using this approach to cause chaos in the herd, which then stampedes into some carefully placed traps is incredibly satisfying and tons of fun. This ability is also used to tame certain species and use them as mounts, which makes travel a bit more bearable.

On that note, Horizon Zero Dawn avoids the fan divide of fast travel in a rather clever way. Realizing that some players prefer a more realistic approach to traversing an open world, and others loathe having to spend half the game running from point A to Point B, players are able to craft fast travel packs, which allow them to instantly travel to any destination but keeps the more hardcore players happy by making them a finite resource. Picking and choosing when to use the fast travel pack involves a bit more thought and strategy than in other games, and that’s awesome.

Quests are stock RPG fare – expect to see a lot of the usual “kill/fetch” themes, including such classics as “clear the bandit camp” and “go to the woods and find out what happened to X”. One of my major gripes in this respect comes from a rather blatant rip-off of the “Witcher Senses” mechanic from The Witcher 3. Aloy has a piece of ancient technology that allows her to see an ARG version of the real world, which highlights things like important items, audio logs, and enemy weak points. It’s also used to track footprints and investigate important quest areas, but like Witcher Senses, basically boils down to “hold button and follow the purple”, which is lazy and boring gameplay and something this reviewer is not a fan of.

Visually, the game is stunning. While not quite on the level of Naughty Dog when it comes to player animations (will believable lip-syncing ever become reality?), the environments and lighting are gorgeous, draw distances are super impressive, and dips in frame-rate were pretty rare. It isn’t the fastest or smoothest game on the market, but I found myself pausing on more than one occasion to soak up the atmosphere as the sun peaked through some clouds and lit up a river valley full of cybernetic dinos. The lighting is fantastic, as are the wind and weather affects. For a game that aims to put players in the shoes of a semi-primitive warrior battling nature, Guerilla did a great job in making that world feel both beautiful and hostile.

Mind you, this review was done using a PlayStation 4 classic, and apparently it looks even better on a Pro playing through a 4K TV. If visual fidelity is your thing, this is not a game to miss purely for how pretty it is.

Horizon Zero Dawn is not a game-changer in any sense of the word. There is nothing entirely original in either its setting or gameplay mechanics. The crafting, combat, skill trees, quest formats etc. are all inspired by or influenced by other games. Climbing buildings and cliffs feels very Nathan Drake. Tracking, investigating and traveling the world is instantly familiar to anyone who has played the Witcher 3 or Red Dead Redemption. Even wandering amongst ruined bunkers listening to the last words of former residents is an experience very reminiscent of Fallout.

Yet none of this is ultimately a detriment to the game. Whatever your favourite game is, you will find elements of it in Horizon Zero Dawn. Controlling Aloy feels fluid and flowy, the environments are beautiful, the AI from the animals is fun to exploit and experiment with, crafting potions and traps is exactly what one would expect etc, but it all works, and it’s fun. Horizon Zero Dawn isn’t out to break the mould, but at the end of the day that doesn’t matter. Guerilla has made a sprawling, gorgeous, tight gameplay experience that anyone with a PlayStation should pick up.

Score:8.5

Final Thoughts:Horizon Zero Dawn is the gaming equivalent of realizing that sounding too much like the legends—when done well—is just fine.

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Picking Apart the World of Horizon Zero Dawn https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/18/picking-apart-world-horizon-zero-dawn/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/18/picking-apart-world-horizon-zero-dawn/#respond Sat, 18 Feb 2017 15:30:49 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=95908

By Andrew Ko

Understanding the world and backstory of Guerilla’s AAA beast Horizon Zero Dawn begins with a look at Aloy, PlayStation’s newest heroine portrayed by Ashly Burch. A glance at her hazel eyes and her stoic face can both dazzle with its impressively realistic animations and, simply, surrender the essence of a misunderstood female outcast. A glimmer […]

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By Andrew Ko

Understanding the world and backstory of Guerilla’s AAA beast Horizon Zero Dawn begins with a look at Aloy, PlayStation’s newest heroine portrayed by Ashly Burch. A glance at her hazel eyes and her stoic face can both dazzle with its impressively realistic animations and, simply, surrender the essence of a misunderstood female outcast. A glimmer of Aloy’s hair impresses with its amount of polygons—but the Metis-evoking dreads are also capable of telling a tale of long sunburned hours traversing a green expanse. With Horizon Zero Dawn releasing on Feb. 28, fans are examining the game just this way—at all angles—desperately trying to unearth the answers to the game’s world. And the key seems to lie in the relationship between technology and humanity.The game may seem purely sci-fi on the surface, but a closer look reveals a world where technology masks the very humanness behind it—and it’s made of stardust like the rest of us. So let the following guide be a tour of Horizon Zero Dawn’s universe, one you’ll be exploring soon in all its seamless load-times wonder:

The Game Will Be About Clearing Corrupted Zones

The story of Horizon Zero Dawn takes place 1,000 years into the future and revolves around a catastrophic “corruption event” that sends humanity back to the Stone Age. John Gonzalez, the lead writer of the game, says in an interview with VentureBeat: “The main quest itself is connected to the corruption. The corruption is a major event. But it goes a lot deeper than that and a lot farther than that.” He is referring to the secrets behind what’s going on in the world, secrets that will answer questions like why the enemy robots are self-sustaining animals, or why there were no human survivors who retained modern day technology—or if, perhaps, there were, for that matter.

Picking Apart the World of Horizon Zero Dawn 4

That’s where Aloy comes in. She is a tribal outcast searching for these answers and for her origins. “She’s not just hunting the machines. She’s trying to understand the world around her as well,” Gonzalez continues. So don’t be fooled into thinking Horizon is simply Monster Hunter with machines: there are so many more elements at play in the story, like the mystery of the enemy tribe that can corrupt animals through a type of black magic. As Aloy, players will have to take on the role of the curious cat to sniff out these mysteries. And with fan theories already buzzing about how the machines might be products of a hidden, advanced civilization of survivors, or about how the title could refer to a god-figure named Horizon, there will be no shortage of mysteries to uncover. As Gonzalez puts it, “The narrative ambition has been immense.”

Princess Mononoke Is a Major Influence

Red and black gunk, corrupted animals, a tribe member cast away from safe and sacred lands to go save the world—Horizon Zero Dawn really couldn’t sound more like Princess Mononoke. And Guerilla makes no attempt to mask it: when talking about how the story team came up with the character Aloy, Gonzalez said, “She sort of arose out of the world we were developing. There was no one-for-one reference point. But certainly some things were influences: Nausicaa, Princess Mononoke, the Studio Ghibli heroines, and other strong women action heroes like Ellen Ripley or Sarah Connor.”

Picking Apart the World of Horizon Zero Dawn

If you haven’t seen the movie, Princess Mononoke follows the story of a prince named Ashitaka, who becomes cursed when his village is attacked by a corrupted boar god. When he heads west to find a cure, he gets involved in a war between nature and an industrious iron-armed town lead by a woman named Eboshi, and ends up playing the part of diplomat to try and bring peace to the lands. The game’s resemblance to the movie is especially staggering considering Guerilla suggested that Aloy has the uncommon power to control the forbidden mechs—much in the same way that Ashitaka is endowed with power from his curse. Visually speaking, the corruption in both the game and the movie manifests itself almost identically: as strands of red and black fluid that twist and twine around the affected animal. Assuming that Guerilla will continue to draw from the Princess Mononoke well, it is fair to expect that the game will speak to spirituality and man’s influence on nature. And that no matter how hard people try to overpower and misuse nature, in the end, nature wins out. Nature always wins out.

No One Knows Where Aloy Came From—Except the Machines

The Horizon Zero Dawn E3 2016 trailer shows a tribal elder saying of Aloy, “the girl is a curse. She came from nowhere. She is no one.” It seems like no one around her knows who she is or where she came from, not even Rost, the fellow Nora tribe outcast who took her under his wing and raised her. In the trailer, a child Aloy asks him, “why am I an outcast? Who was my mother?” The Nora tribe is a matriarchy, and so Aloy’s motherlessness must be a cause of particular pain to her. It is also a tribe with strong taboos against the technology of the ancient world, a past that could be entwined with Aloy’s. At the end of the trailer, Aloy is seen interfacing with a mysterious alien-like entrance that scans her and audibly reports, “identity confirmed,” suggesting that Aloy is from this elusive world of advanced machinery. If so, the Nora tribe’s rejection of her makes sense, for it could be that the Nora tribe know of her true origins and are hiding it. After all, a point of contention even between Aloy and Rost is Aloy’s fascination with the technology of the ancient world.

It’s wholly ironic that even in real life, Sony was going to shun Aloy as well. In a Polygon interview with Shuhei Yoshida, president of PlayStation Worldwide Studios, Yoshida said he had worries about whether or not it was too “risky to do a female character.” They even hired a marketing team to conduct focus testing for Aloy to see how well the female character would be accepted.

The Mechs May Not Be What They Seem

Guerilla’s use of David Attenborough documentaries as a reference point in creating the animal-mechs for Horizon Zero Dawn brings to mind the time when Disney went on an African safari to bring Zootopia’s furry friends to life. Although Guerilla might not have had the opportunity to travel to the Jurassic era to take reference photographs of T-rexes, they’ve still managed to capture something impossibly organic about the creatures. From the swift movements of the sabertooth like Sawtooth, to the elegant Tallneck; the prance of the Bambi-like Grazer, to the iconicized Thunderjaw imposing itself on the game’s cover-art, the animals feel very real. “You can look at a creature, and by how it’s animating, how it’s behaving, you can tell what sort of attack it might do” says Jan-Bart Van Beek, the game’s art director, in proud praise of his creations.

But the mechs may not be what they seem. Different sizes and variations suggest a natural evolution to the creatures. The large expanding sacs of the Bellowbacks can be found storing a range of dangerous fluids depending on where you find them. Similarly, the raptor-like Watcher will surprise players, as it comes in different strengths and with different powers, suggesting a natural, geographically-based evolution system. Animals will also tend to group into herds, and the gameplay will be emergent, adding to the illusion of life—maybe what you wanted out of No Man’s Sky, you’ll find in Horizon. Moreover, early on in the game, Aloy acquires the ability to use runes that can temporarily take control of the mech-animals. The enigmatic rune gives an eerie hint that humans are controlling the mechs from a far off place. Similarly, an antagonizing masked tribe (the so-called bad guys) are seen performing rituals that corrupt and control the animals with a voodoo-like magic. Perhaps, in Horizon, the interface between man and animal may be bigger than technology, may involve a live connection between body, soul, and a holy spirit.

Picking Apart the World of Horizon Zero Dawn 1Horizon Zero Dawn’s “Happy New Year” advert has the world meet its end when the calendar strikes 2017. Then, it counts up to the new beginning: the day when players will enter into Guerilla’s world. And what a world it is. A far cry from ours, but utterly familiar. Aspects of Celtic and Nordic culture, as well as the cultures of the indigenous peoples of the Americas, abound. With a touch of the magic of Game of Thrones (developers have said Aloy’s style was inspired by Ygritte), Horizon has learned to blend reality into a believable fantasy: the red braided hair, the ochre facepaint, the tanned leather; the tribe that has learned to respect all living things.

Picking Apart the World of Horizon Zero Dawn 2 Picking Apart the World of Horizon Zero Dawn 3

In the world of Horizon Zero Dawn, humanity descends from their technological pedestal back to the same footings as nature. “Sorry little one, I couldn’t let you call for help,” Aloy can be heard apologizing when she slays an animal-mech. People follow the road of the “waste not, want not”—Aloy carries around a medicine pouch used to collect herbs (which the player can use to restore health), armour is harvested from the mechs you kill, and the architecture of settlements around the game is shaped by the resources directly nearby. Players will traverse a land not bound by borders, but by rock, grass, sand, and soot, and the streaking clouds above. “This was something different, where you have this whole new world that’s grown over the grave of the one that came before. I felt like there was a different sort of resonance to that, a kind of sadness, and a curiosity about our future,” Gonzalez finally says about the world he helped shape. It's a world that may meet another catastrophe, suggested at the end of the Horizon Zero Dawn story trailer: an ominous voice says “There’s so much more to discover before the world ends.” That being said, it’s worth noting that for a game that has the world end once—and plans to end it again—it never fails to express the ceaseless bustle of life.

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New Lands and Samurai Await in Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/18/new-lands-and-samurai-await-in-final-fantasy-xiv-stormblood/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/18/new-lands-and-samurai-await-in-final-fantasy-xiv-stormblood/#respond Sat, 18 Feb 2017 13:17:44 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=96188

By Derek Heemsbergen

The third and final leg of the worldwide Final Fantasy XIV Fan Festival tour kicked off in Frankfurt, Germany early this morning. After the debut of a stunning cinematic trailer for the MMORPG's next expansion, Stormblood, director Naoki Yoshida took to the stage to make several announcements about what to expect when it releases on June 20. Fans have […]

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By Derek Heemsbergen

The third and final leg of the worldwide Final Fantasy XIV Fan Festival tour kicked off in Frankfurt, Germany early this morning. After the debut of a stunning cinematic trailer for the MMORPG's next expansion, Stormblood, director Naoki Yoshida took to the stage to make several announcements about what to expect when it releases on June 20.

Fans have long wondered what role the mysterious Eastern nation of Doma might play in the future of Final Fantasy XIV. We now know that Stormblood will take players beyond the previously-announced land of Ala Mhigo all the way across the ocean to Doma. The story will center around players' involvement in liberating these two nations from the oppressive hand of the Garlean Empire. It was also revealed that players will be able to don the mantle of the Samurai, a brand-new job class that uses Iai sword techniques in conjunction with the art of "Sen" to deal massive damage to enemies.

New Lands and Samurai Await in Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood 3

Yoshida also revealed a number of new field areas and dungeons set to make their debut in Stormblood, including the Asian-inspired hub city of Kugane, the sweeping Azim Steppe, the pirate-infested Ruby Sea, and more. A new beast tribe called the Kojin was also revealed, as was its patron deity, Susano, a so-called "Primal" who stands alongside series mainstays like Ifrit, Shiva, and Ramuh.

Players will also be pleased to know that a fourth housing area, Shirogane, is planned for release shortly after the launch of Stormblood. Yoshida explains that the delay is intended to give players an opportunity to enjoy the new jobs and Stormblood's main scenario before settling down into a new house. However, with the release of the expansion, furnishing capacity will be doubled for all house types, making it easier than ever to create the perfect space for relaxing after a hard day's adventuring.

Veteran Final Fantasy composer Nobuo Uematsu made an appearance at the keynote's conclusion to reveal that his theme song for Stormblood will be titled "Revolutions." It will be sung by Susan Calloway, who previously performed both "Answers" and "Dragonsong," the themes of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn and Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward, respectively.

Stormblood looks to continue in the grand Final Fantasy tradition of rich storytelling, spectacular visuals, and meticulous attention to detail that makes the series stand head and shoulders above its competition. The expansion is slated to release on June 20 for PlayStation 4 and PC. Pre-orders start at $40 and grant early access to the game beginning June 16.

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NIS America's Annual Press Event Brings News of 2017 Lineup https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/17/nis-americas-annual-press-event-brings-news-2017-lineup/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/17/nis-americas-annual-press-event-brings-news-2017-lineup/#respond Sat, 18 Feb 2017 04:03:46 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=96178

By Kenneth Shepard

NIS America held its annual press event today in San Francisco, California, and with it came several announcements regarding the company’s catalog of games coming in 2017. Along with the presentation, SUDA51 and Spike Chunsoft's Kazutaka Kodaka made appearances to promote the localization of The Silver Case and Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony respectively, as well […]

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By Kenneth Shepard

NIS America held its annual press event today in San Francisco, California, and with it came several announcements regarding the company’s catalog of games coming in 2017.

Along with the presentation, SUDA51 and Spike Chunsoft's Kazutaka Kodaka made appearances to promote the localization of The Silver Case and Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony respectively, as well as the PlayStation 4 ports of Danganronpa 1+2 Reload and Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls.

Here's a breakdown of all the announcements and appearances made:

  • NIS America will be releasing 19 games in 2017.
  • Birthday the Beginnings will launch on PS4 and Steam on May 9th.
  • Psycho-Pass: Mandatory Happiness will come to Steam on April 24th.
  • A Rose in the Twilight will come to PlayStation Vita and Steam on April 11th.
  • Caldun Returns This is Sengoku will launch on June 6th for PlayStation 4, PS Vita, and Steam.
  • Operation Abyss New Tokyo Legacy will launch on March 27th on Steam.
  • Operation Babel will come to PS Vita and Steam on May 16th
  • Tokyo Tattoo Girls will launch at some point in 2017 for PS Vita and Steam.
  • Disgaea 5: Complete will launch on Nintendo Switch on May 23rd.
  • Culdcept Revolt will come to Nintendo 3DS in Summer of 2017.
  • RPG Maker Fes will come to 3DS in the Summer of 2017.
  • God Wars Future Past will come to PS4 and Vita on March 28th.
  • Touhou Genso Wanderer is coming to PS4 and Vita on March 21st.
  • Touhou Double Focus will launch on PS4 and Vita on March 21st.
  • Touhou Kabuto V will launch on PlayStation 4 and Vita in the summer of 2017.
  • Danganronpa 1+2 Reload comes to PlayStation 4 on March 14th.
  • Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls comes to PlayStation 4 on June 27th.
  • Danganronpa creator Kazutaka Kodaka takes the stage, along with series mascot Monokuma to talk about the series, along with upcoming Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony.
  • Danganronpa V3 will take place in a new setting separate from the Hope's Peak Academy story from the original games called Academy for Gifted Juveniles.
  • Post-game content for V3 will include mini-games featuring old characters from previous Danganronpa games.
  • Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony will get a demo on PlayStation Network before its official launch.
  • Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony is coming to PlayStation 4 and Vita September 26th.
  • SUDA51 takes the stage to talk the Silver Case remaster.
  • The PlayStation 4 version will feature new illustrations, music,  and scenarios not found in the original game.
  • The Silver Case will come to PS4 on April 18th.
  • Ys VIII will be coming to PlayStation 4, Vita, and Steam this fall. Will feature English, French, and Japanese options.

Those that missed the event but are interested in watching it can check out the archived broadcast on NIS America's Twitch channel.

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Titan to Produce a New Tekken Comic https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/17/titan-produce-new-tekken-comic/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/17/titan-produce-new-tekken-comic/#respond Fri, 17 Feb 2017 21:14:15 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=96170

By Lane Martin

Titan comics publishes an extremely diverse catalogue of comic books ranging from original books like Chimera Brigade and Peepland to its vast collection of licensed properties like Dark Souls and Dishonored. Now, Titan is adding the notable fighting game franchise Tekken to their list of properties. The book has already signed on some interesting talent. The comics are […]

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By Lane Martin

Titan comics publishes an extremely diverse catalogue of comic books ranging from original books like Chimera Brigade and Peepland to its vast collection of licensed properties like Dark Souls and Dishonored. Now, Titan is adding the notable fighting game franchise Tekken to their list of properties.

The book has already signed on some interesting talent. The comics are being written by Cavan Scott, who has previously worked on with both the Star Wars and Doctor Who comic book adaptations, and being illustrated by Audie Tong, who has worked on Spectacular Spider-Man and The Batman Strikes!.

Scott considers himself a fan of the series since he was first introduced to it back in 1995, and looks forward to writing for it in this capacity.

"We're having great fun delving into the series' history to bring back some familiar faces, along with all the fan favourite fighters you'd expect," Scott told CraveOnline. "There's going to be intrigue, danger and, of course, knock-out battles galore!"

Tekken features some iconic characters, that are very near and dear to fans. Though we don't know what part of the lore this comic will deal with, several characters have been confirmed, namely Jin Kazama, Yoshimitsu, Heihachi Mishima, Nina Williams, and Paul Phoenix.

Fighting games have never been seen as the most story-focused video games out there. Tekken has always gone to great lengths to balance heavy-handed melodrama, such as Heihachi being the worst grandfather ever, with the ridiculous, exemplified by haunted trees, fighting bears, and alien samurai. Though I would love to see this series explore the latter, I fear that we'll be regaled with more tales of devil genes and corporate espionage, as we got with previous translations of this franchise.

Titan is looking to release this comic in May of 2017, paving the way for Tekken 7's release on June 2nd.

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Pixels & Ink #236 - Switch and Honor https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/17/pixels-ink-236-swich-honor/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/17/pixels-ink-236-swich-honor/#respond Fri, 17 Feb 2017 19:35:53 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=96163

By Cody Orme

On this episode of the Pixels and Ink Podcast, Cody is tired Jordan gets political and Brendan is sour on Mel Gibson. They discuss Pewdiepie, For Honor and The Switch.

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By Cody Orme

On this episode of the Pixels and Ink Podcast, Cody is tired Jordan gets political and Brendan is sour on Mel Gibson. They discuss Pewdiepie, For Honor and The Switch.

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Fire Emblem Heroes Review - They're Still Learning https://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/fire-emblem-heroes-review-theyre-still-learning/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/fire-emblem-heroes-review-theyre-still-learning/#respond Fri, 17 Feb 2017 17:20:38 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=96151

By Lane Martin

Mobile games are a particularly different beast in comparison to their more traditional big budget counterparts. The screen is significantly smaller than even the tiniest of televisions, the controls are all over the place, and even the prices are vastly different than games made for other platforms. Other developers have been in the mobile space […]

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By Lane Martin

Mobile games are a particularly different beast in comparison to their more traditional big budget counterparts. The screen is significantly smaller than even the tiniest of televisions, the controls are all over the place, and even the prices are vastly different than games made for other platforms. Other developers have been in the mobile space for quite a while, so we’ll have to give Nintendo a bit of leeway when in comes to their recently released Fire Emblem Heroes.

This is technically Nintendo’s second foray into the murky waters of mobile games, the first being Super Mario Run, which elicited a mixed reaction from critics and enthusiasts alike. It’s odd to see Nintendo going through these kinds of growing pains, as it probably would never have happened if they didn’t release the Game Boy so long ago.

Well, in the time between Super Mario Run and Fire Emblem Heroes, it looks like Nintendo has gotten their bearings a bit. Fire Emblem Heroes is an adorable gachapon style strategy role-playing game that delivers some pretty light fun. Players complete a succession of boards employing a simplified version of the series traditional combat system. After completing a quest for the first time players are awarded with orbs, the currency with which they will unlock new heroes.

I really need to emphasize the simplicity here. Fire Emblem has always employed a rock-paper-scissors-like system when determining the effectiveness of units against each other, but that was only one piece of a much more complex tapestry that was its game mechanics. Notable here is the absence the permadeath option, a necessity for some hardcore fans. It makes sense though; as the permanent loss of a character the player invested money into would probably be a bit too much. That’s right, of course there are micro-transactions.

Fire Emblem Heroes Review - They're Still Learning 2 Fire Emblem Heroes Review - They're Still Learning 3

To summon a new hero you need five orbs. You can then continue to summon heroes at a discounted rate, up to five total. Now, while many gachapon games are purely random, Fire Emblem Heroes gives you a chance to narrow down your possible summons by choosing appropriately coloured gems. You’ll need a total of 20 orbs to summon a full batch of heroes, which is a little much. You can use real money to buy more orbs, in case you ever want to go down that route, but I have a really big issue with the exchange rate here. For $1.99, the lowest amount you can pay, you get 3 orbs. You may notice that that won’t even net you a single summon. You can spend actual money on a free mobile game and get no real reward.

Everything else is your typical gachapon fare. The story is simple, though often obnoxious, and spends a great deal of time lauding your amazing summoning powers. Familiar characters are exciting to see, though it always feels like your favourites are one summon away. The stamina is fairly generous, and happily reminds you throughout the day that you should totally play more. Most of the characters I’ve acquired have been useful, and repeat summons can always be fed to other characters for skill points.

Fire Emblem Heroes is by no means a perfect game. It’s a simplified version of its source material, with familiar characters and fun game play. It certainly won’t satisfy your desire for a new game in the serious, but it’s definitely a fun mobile game in its own right.

Score:7

Final Thoughts:Nintendo has learned a lot from their first attempt at a mobile game, but there’s still a ways to go.

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AMC - Humans - 202 Represent Niska Exclusive Clip https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/17/amc-humans-202-represent-niska-exclusive-clip/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/17/amc-humans-202-represent-niska-exclusive-clip/#respond Fri, 17 Feb 2017 17:20:04 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=96152

By Brendan Frye

Laura must decide whether to accept Niska’s request, while Karen and Pete learn about a special synth being sold for unprecedented amounts on the black market. Hester uses questionable means to gain information from their prisoner, and Leo faces a new mission. Mia takes a risk to help Ed but is her secret now in […]

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By Brendan Frye

Laura must decide whether to accept Niska’s request, while Karen and Pete learn about a special synth being sold for unprecedented amounts on the black market. Hester uses questionable means to gain information from their prisoner, and Leo faces a new mission. Mia takes a risk to help Ed but is her secret now in jeopardy?

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Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanda Coming to the West https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/17/samurai-warriors-spirit-sanda-coming-west/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/17/samurai-warriors-spirit-sanda-coming-west/#respond Fri, 17 Feb 2017 16:50:18 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=96141

By Cody Orme

Samurai Warriors fans in North America and Europe can let their excitement be known as publisher Koei Tecmo announces the Western release of Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanda bringing an all new character with it. Coming to PlayStation 4 and (PC on Steam), Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanda will hit Western Shores on May 23, 2017. […]

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By Cody Orme

Samurai Warriors fans in North America and Europe can let their excitement be known as publisher Koei Tecmo announces the Western release of Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanda bringing an all new character with it.

Coming to PlayStation 4 and (PC on Steam), Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanda will hit Western Shores on May 23, 2017.  Along with this announcement, Koei Tecmo announced costumed pre-order bonuses for Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanda for those who pre-order from Amazon, Best Buy, or GameStop.

Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanda is a tale spun around the historical Sanda Clan, whose banner dates back to the 16th century. The story begins Masyauki Sanda, a highly requested character who makes his debut in this title, from his first battle, chronicling the clan’s rise to power up to Yukimura Sanda’s defeat during the Siege of Osaka.

Since its launch in 2004 on the PlayStation 2 and Xbox, Koei Tecmo and developer Omega Force’s Samurai Warriors as a franchise is known for its historical accuracy, so fans interested in the Sanda Clan, their legacy or the mark they made on history should be interested in this title.

The Warriors brand has its toes dipped in a lot of different properties. Most recently, Koei Tecmo released Dynasy Warriors: Godseekers which launched on PlayStation 4 and Vita which worked as a Strategy RPG rather than a hack n’ slash. Aside from that, Koei Tecmo is working with Nintendo to launch Fire Emblem Warriors following the success of Hyrule Warriors which released on both the Wii U and 3DS. And that’s only speaking about some of the titles that are hitting the west, as the publisher/developer duo set to launch Masuo Stars (set in the Warriors Orochi universe) in Japan on the PlayStation 4 and Vita on Mar. 30, 2017.

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For Honor Review - A Great Western Fighter https://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/honor-review-great-western-fighter/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/honor-review-great-western-fighter/#respond Fri, 17 Feb 2017 15:31:43 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=96130

By Cole Watson

Fighting games are one of the hardest genres in the video game industry for developers to tackle. They require countless hours of testing, balance adjustments, and thought out execution to create anything close to a satisfying experience for their players. Ubisoft certainly doesn’t have the best pedigree in the field, but their latest historical fighter, […]

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By Cole Watson

Fighting games are one of the hardest genres in the video game industry for developers to tackle. They require countless hours of testing, balance adjustments, and thought out execution to create anything close to a satisfying experience for their players. Ubisoft certainly doesn’t have the best pedigree in the field, but their latest historical fighter, For Honor, is a golden check mark that shows that they have the talent to craft them now.

If a Viking, a Samurai, and a Knight met on the battlefield, who would be left standing? For Honor is built around this core question that historical buffs and groups of friends alike will continue to discuss for years. Now that answer is left for players to discover as they pit the three warring factions against one another for territorial dominance. The concept may be completely unrealistic, but the immense fun and satisfaction that comes from learning this unique, yet deep, a combat system will leave players focused on the fight at hand instead of why it started in the first place.

For Honor Review - A Great Western Fighter

Starting with the fundamentals, players focus on attacking and defending against their opponents through one of the three directions inputted by the right control stick. If the player attacks where the opponent isn’t guarding the hit connects and if the opponent attacks in the same direction the player’s stick is aiming the attack is blocked. It sounds like a simple system, until you throw two attack buttons, combo strings, unlockables, guard breaks, parries and even a stamina bar into the collective mix.

My first hour of gameplay of For Honor was rough as I struggled with bots and tutorials, trying to absorb every bit of information I could as fast a possible and skip some of the learning curve. Once I took things slow and focused on perfecting the fundamentals first, the rest of the mechanics my character could perform came more naturally with practice. Learning all of the match ups however, is an entirely different beast and it will be interesting to see if a tier list develops in the future.

The 15-character cast is a diverse mix of powerful warriors and weaponry with no faction standing out as the clear powerhouse to play. I recommend starting out with each factions starting warrior because they introduce some of the specializations that each army can perform. Samurai are swift and precise, quickly taking advantage of any mistakes their opponent makes to come out ahead. Vikings are unpredictable and can quickly get players caught in a flurry of wild, yet powerful swings that are hard to block. Lastly, the knights are an equal mix of strength and defense, able to adapt to any opponent with simple attacks, but effective damage.

For Honor plays at its best when it’s just one player against another in a balanced 3 out of 5 death match. The mental chess match that takes place feels just as intense as any current EVO fighter on the market, and because of the changing environments each round, there’s always a new strategy to test out. There are multiple gameplay modes to experience though. Dominion is the first 4v4 mode, revealed originally at E3, which has players capturing points and fighting minions until one team reaches 1000 points. When this occurs the opposing team enters into a break state, where they can no longer respawn and must capture points to keep their team in the game. I like this approach to the end game because the key focus is still on skilful play. The rest of the 4v4 modes are broken down versions of Dominion, removing the capture points and then, later, the minions until the game is just an elimination mode. I would have liked to see one more type of objective game mode to add one last touch of variety to the base game, but surely Ubisoft has something planned for the inevitable DLC.

For Honor Review - A Great Western Fighter 2While the PC version has had some pretty atrocious connection issues, whether from Uplay issues or player-player connections, the console version’s launch has been relatively smooth. The issues will surely be worked out in the coming days, but I hope the next issue addressed is the rage quitters. It’s common in fighters to have rage quitters, but not enough devs penalize them to stop the behavior from running rampant in the community. Games in progress have been stopped half way because of the lack of players, and the winning team doesn’t get any reward or experience except wasting their time.

For Honor’s multiplayer also has some interesting social features. Upon starting up the game, players choose one of the factions as their preferred faction to represent in the Risk-like territorial battle for the season. This doesn’t restrict players from using any of the other 12 characters available so there’s no reason to jump over to the Vikings if you want to try them out (so please don’t leave the knights). By representing a faction till the end of the season, players will get in-game rewards, including customization items like gear and color patterns for that faction.

Single-player gamers will be left disappointed however. While For Honor does feature an 18-mission campaign, its primary function is to get players primed for multiplayer by introducing a handful of warriors to play as from each faction. The overall narrative is very sparse and it tries to add some logic and deeper meaning into a game that excels at dumb fun.

For Honor is a great example that Western developers can make some great innovative twists on a primarily Japanese-built genre. It’s so safe for AAA titles to resort to going action, open-world, or FPS, but this is a real risk that Ubisoft is taking on a brand new IP and I hope it pays off for them. This is the best combat system I’ve had the pleasure to experience since the death of character action games. I hope to see you on the battlefield, even if you fight for Valhalla or the Emperor.

Score:8.5

Final Thoughts:For Honor is a great example that Western developers can make some great innovative twists on a primarily Japanese-built genre.

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XX Movie Review - Highlighting the Women Directors of Indie Horror https://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/xx-movie-review-highlighting-women-directors-indie-horror/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/xx-movie-review-highlighting-women-directors-indie-horror/#respond Fri, 17 Feb 2017 13:00:45 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=96099

By Phil Brown

It’s a common complaint that there aren’t nearly enough women directors in horror. The opportunities are sadly rare, and it’s a difficult industry to slip into. So the folks behind XX came up with a nice concept to help balance out the ledger sheet. They’ve created an anthology horror film with shorts directed exclusively by […]

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By Phil Brown

It’s a common complaint that there aren’t nearly enough women directors in horror. The opportunities are sadly rare, and it’s a difficult industry to slip into. So the folks behind XX came up with a nice concept to help balance out the ledger sheet. They’ve created an anthology horror film with shorts directed exclusively by women, and thank god it’s a good one. Anthology films are tricky beasts. Inevitably they are inconsistent, but generally the format works well for horror. After all, a 20 minute short is just enough time to establish a creepy premise and go for the gizzard before starting again with new rules to break and new scares to explore. There have been many that worked (Tales From The Crypt, Creepshow, V/H/S) and many more that failed (no need to dwell on those titles). Thankfully, XX falls into the former category. It’s not perfect, but the scares are there and it works more often than not.

The film kicks off with former Rue Morgue magazine editor Jovanka Vuckovic’s The Box, an adaptation of a short by cult horror author Jack Ketchum (The Woman, The Lost). It’s a tale of a family who are slowly torn apart when the youngest boy suddenly refuses to eat. Shot in a deliberately cold and controlled visual style a la David Fincher, the movie is an eerie slow burn that is ideally placed at the beginning of the anthology. Thematically, the movie is about the horrors of parents losing connection with their children. Viscerally, it’s a work of unsettling body horror with some deeply disturbing climatic imagery (as is the Ketchum way). The film works like a good horror short should, establishing a premise, teasing it out with a mixture of thematic weight and queasy scares, then disappearing before overstaying it’s welcome. Some bleak humour sneaks in around the edges to give the short even more bite, and by the end, Vukovic certainly establishes herself as an interesting voice in the genre.

XX Movie Review - Highlighting the Women Directors of Indie HorrorThe second short, The Brithday Party, comes from Annie Clark (known as St. Vincent in her music career), and it leans a little too hard on dark comedy. It does boast the typically excellent Melanie Lynskey (Heavenly Creatures, Togetherness) in the lead role, which goes a long way. She’s awkwardly hilarious as a mother who discovers her husband’s corpse on the day of her daughter’s birthday party, and awkwardly attempts to conceal the body until things inevitably go wrong. Lynskey is as charming and hilarious as always, and Clark does show off an idiosyncratic visual aesthetic that’s equally amusing. However, the short is very one-note and feels over long before it actually finishes. Still, it’s about as cute as a tale of a concealed birthday party corpse can be, which is a bizarre achievement of sorts.

XX producer and Southbound director Roxanne Benjamin delivers the simplest story next in Don’t Fall, a tale about a group of twentysomething campers who frequently prank one of their friends until she gets possessed by an ancient demon for a little revenge. There’s not much to the short narratively, but it’s a hell of a talent showcase for Benjamin as a director. It kicks off with a delightfully dramatic show off title shot and then when the monster madness hits, gore splatters across the screen with stunning style. Benjamin delivers a high impact monster romp that shows she knows exactly how to manipulate viewers like putty, and it makes a hell of an impact. Sure, the story is featherweight, but the visceral force of the short should prove to be a heck of a showreel to land the promising filmmaker future projects.

XX Movie Review - Highlighting the Women Directors of Indie Horror 1The final film, Her Only Living Son, comes from the most accomplished director of the bunch Karyn Kusama (Jennifer’s Body). Her movie is essentially a riff on Rosemary’s Baby/The Omen, about a troubled single mother (Christina Kirk) who learned that she had the antichrist in her belly and ran away to try and save the boy. Now a troubled teen, the boy is starting to discover his power, while mommy struggles to keep the kid under control. It’s certainly an effective piece with some strong performances, nice shocks, clever twists, and gentle touches social commentary. But ultimately, there’s a bit of a “been there, done that” quality to the story. It’s not particularly difficult to guess where it’s all heading, even if the destination is worth the repetition. It’s a nice and nasty little satanic short, but probably shouldn’t have been the closer.

The four shorts are wrapped together with some nice n’ twisted stop-motion shorts by Sofia Carrillo that deliver pointedly gendered surreal images that recall the gothic Brothers Quay animated nightmares in the best possible way. It’s a nice bit of twisted icing on the cake of anthology horror flick that’s far more successful than most entries in the subgenre. Sure, there isn’t a particularly masterful stand out short, but at least there’s no glaring failure either. All deliver the goods to varying degrees of success, and the feature is very much worth watching provided that it’s graded on the curve that anthology horror flicks require. The flick should retain a minor cult following, and hopefully, will help launch at least one or two of the directors to bigger and better things. That’s really the best you can hope for with an indie anthology horror film, so XX can’t be labelled as anything other than a success. Seek it out for a little estrogen-charged horror to spice up your genre movie kicks.

Score:8

Final Thoughts: XX highlights the work of for female indie horror directors and proves to be one of the more effective cinematic horror anthologies in recent years.

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The Lego Batman Movie Proves the Need for A Lighthearted Caped Crusader https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/17/lego-batman-movie-proves-need-lighthearted-batman/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/17/lego-batman-movie-proves-need-lighthearted-batman/#respond Fri, 17 Feb 2017 12:00:23 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=95956

By Phil Brown

There are all other superheroes, and then there is Batman. Oh sure, Superman was the first iconic caped hero, and remains the most common name thrown around when discussing the pop gods of the 20th century. However, only Batman has taken over pop culture so dramatically so many times. Batmania first kicked off in the […]

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By Phil Brown

There are all other superheroes, and then there is Batman. Oh sure, Superman was the first iconic caped hero, and remains the most common name thrown around when discussing the pop gods of the 20th century. However, only Batman has taken over pop culture so dramatically so many times. Batmania first kicked off in the 60s when the Adam West TV series was the most popular thing around. Then there was another round of mass Batty obsession in the late 80s and early 90s after Tim Burton’s film and the animated series that followed. Then in the 2000s, Christopher Nolan’s grounded version of the character caused another mass infatuation with the character. That’s ignoring the almost 80 years of monthly comic book stories as well. There’s just something about the wounded orphan boy hiding in a masked vigilante that seems to capture the popular imagination like no other. Every era has their Batman.

The Lego Batman Movie Proves the Need for A Lighthearted Batman 1When it comes to contemporary big screen Batman-ery, we now have two massive Batman hits in the last year. There’s the Ben Affleck/Zack Snyder’s tortured bore and the far sillier Lego Batman that just made $53 million at the box office over the weekend in a solo picture after stealing The Lego Movie away from a near countless array of pop culture icons. Here’s the thing though, while Warner Brothers is desperately trying to sell us Batfleck as the Batman we want, Lego Batman might be the version that we all need right now. In times so dark that the current US president flies around in helicopters with his name on the side and spits out dismissive one-liners to any authority figure who dares challenge the bizarre brain that lives below a mound of even more bizarre hair, the villains from the 60s Adam West Batman era don’t seem so strange anymore. With the news cycle spitting out one contemporary horror story after another every day, maybe we don’t need our most beloved superhero to be so tortured and brooding. Maybe it’s time that we all embraced a goofy Batman once more.

Now to be clear, this isn’t a decision that I came to lightly. There was a time when I liked my Batman to be as dark as possible. It was in the cynical Bush era when superheroes were just starting to regain popularity, but the world was all twisted n’ topsy-turvy. That’s when I couldn’t have been happier with Chris Nolan’s realist(ish) take on the caped crusader and was digging through as many old graphic novels either written or inspired by Frank Miller as possible. In that time, it was nice to have a Batman who was all brutal and brooding and angry at the world. For a while, it even felt like that was the only acceptable Batman. After all, I was one of those kids trying to figure out how to grow up in a world with unjust wars, a collapsing economy, and no one would date me and wah-wah-wah, I liked my superheroes dark because that meant I was an adult, dammit (well, technically at least).

The Lego Batman Movie Proves the Need for A Lighthearted Batman 3Then, of course, those Nolan movies peaked right as the Marvel movie revolution kicked off, and political stability stepped in for a wee while. Suddenly, there were grandiose superhero movies everywhere that took their universes seriously while also having fun. Nolan’s Bat-franchise remained the most consistently intellectually satisfying (as well as the series most littered with nerd-friendly references to Bat-lore), but suddenly there were other options that treated superheroes with respect while also offering, you know, fun. Batman had to be deathly serious in an era when the general public needed help taking stories about costumed crime-fighters more seriously. That’s not the case anymore, even though that’s the brand of grim entertainment that Zack Snyder and co. continue to favour.

The thing is that even with the dark core, the Batman world is still damn fun. After all, those Tim Burton adaptations may have been filled with dark shadows and angry loners frustrated with the world, but they were still goofy. Stories about grown men who wear Halloween costumes reflecting their inner selves are inherently a bit silly, and there’s nothing wrong with acknowledging that. While there was certainly an element of parody to the classic 60s Batman TV series, it was also an accurate reflection of the goofball Batman comics of their era that showcased Bat-mite, and even Batman’s similarly costumed doggie. Contrary to popular belief, that is an accurate reflection of a certain side of Batman’s history. The Adam West series has also become its own popular chapter in the never ending Bat-mythos, earning some big shout-outs in The Lego Batman Movie as well as a delightful animated spin-off featuring the original cast that also hit shelves in the last year (The Return Of The Caped Crusaders).

In an era where superheroes dominate the blockbuster movie landscape so intensely, those characters have become pop art once more. They couldn’t be more mainstream and widely accepted. Can, and should they be used to reflect society? Of course, but that doesn’t mean that writers and filmmakers are required to take them deathly seriously to do so. In fact, by delivering such a pitch-perfect parody of superhero movie pretentions The Lego Batman Movie is weirdly an ideal comic book blockbuster for our era of superhero exhaustion. So once again, there’s Batman at the head of the superhero culture. It’s just in a different form this time. The one we need. Right now we need the silly. We need the escapism. And we need to be reminded that this stuff is all good fun.

The Lego Batman Movie Proves the Need for A Lighthearted BatmanSo, it’s nice to see Batman being a little more fun again. In fact, The Lego Batman Movie and The Return of The Caped Crusaders came as something as a relief. Batman V. Superman should have been a momentous nerd event, not the divisive blockbuster that it was, and there are many ways to lay blame on that movie’s controversies and failures. The big one just might be that this isn’t the time for Batman to be grim n’ brooding right now. That time will come again. It always does. But at this time, the flagship superhero needs to lighten up and entertain audiences who need the escape before the character can become a symbol of pain and political anguish again. We need a lighter Batman, and so we all got a lighter Batman. That’s how the character works. Ever present and constantly evolving to suit the times that turned on the Bat-Signal.

If Warner Brothers is committed to continuing their live action Bat-franchise, they should take stock in the popularity of their two goofball Bat-hits this year and lighten up the Batfleck flicks. They don’t need to be camp, but they certainly could learn a lesson or two from the 90s Batman Animated Series the nimbly mix n’ matched the psychological torment of the character with the broader cartoony fun of his villains and adventures. No one has ever found that balance on the big screen before (well, aside from the brilliant animated feature Batman: Mask of The Phantasm, which bombed in 1993) and the time feels right. We’ve seen the darkest Batman can get and the lightest he can be over the last twelve months. Now it’s time to find that sweet spot in the middle.

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Film and TV News Roundup 2/16/17: Star Wars, Soderbergh, and more https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/16/film-tv-news-roundup-21617-star-wars-soderbergh-and-more/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/16/film-tv-news-roundup-21617-star-wars-soderbergh-and-more/#respond Fri, 17 Feb 2017 01:09:48 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=96122

By Mike Cosimano

Hi everyone! We're trying a different kind of news feature here at CGM, where we round up film and TV news stories that we couldn't expand into a full article but still bears mentioning. The first episode of the My Brother, My Brother, and Me TV show is currently available for free on SeeSo's YouTube channel. […]

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By Mike Cosimano

Hi everyone! We're trying a different kind of news feature here at CGM, where we round up film and TV news stories that we couldn't expand into a full article but still bears mentioning.

  • The first episode of the My Brother, My Brother, and Me TV show is currently available for free on SeeSo's YouTube channel. Based on the popular advice podcast, My Brother, My Brother, and Me follows the three McElroy brothers as they field questions from listeners to -- get this! -- humorous results. The show allows the brothers to take some of their digressions to their logical extremes, with first episode following the McElroys as they attempt to rehabilitate the public's perception tarantulas with a spider-themed parade and a "comedy poison" Facebook page.
  • There are two TV shows currently in production about the 2016 American presidential election. One will be the upcoming seventh season of Ryan Murphy's American Horror Story, for some reason. The other will be a miniseries produced by Zero Dark Thirty producers Mark Boal and Megan Ellison in the form of a "political drama" that will last "between 8 and 10 hours."
  • In an example of life imitating art, Steven Soderbergh has come out of retirement for one last job. Soderbergh's new film, his first since  Logan Lucky, will be released this August 18th. Logan Lucky stars Adam Driver and frequent Soderbergh collaborator Channing Tatum as two brothers who plan to pull off some kind of NASCAR-adjacent heist. The film marks Soderbergh's return to the big screen, as his last credited feature-length project was 2013's sexy pharmaceutical thriller Side Effects. The film has a traditionally stacked cast, including Daniel Craig, Hillary Swank, Sebastian Stan, and many others.
  • Much the merchandise-driven Force Friday held in honor of The Force Awakens, Star Wars: The Last Jedi will receive a similar marketing blitz in the form of Force Friday II, held on September 1st. StarWars.com also revealed the packaging for The Last Jedi toys, where Rey can be seen with a slightly different haircut. I'm going to be honest, I didn't want to wring a full story out of this news, and I'm so happy that I don't have to.

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Vice Chairman of Samsung Lee Jae-yong Arrested https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/16/vice-chairman-samsung-lee-jae-yong-arrested/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/16/vice-chairman-samsung-lee-jae-yong-arrested/#respond Thu, 16 Feb 2017 22:43:10 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=96113

By Helena Shlapak

Vice Chairman, heir, and de facto CEO of the Samsung Group conglomerate, Lee Jae-yong has been arrested for Bribery among other charges. In the wake of a scandal involving the impeachment of South Korean President in December, Park Geun-hye over her friendship with Choi Soon-sil (the daughter of a shaman-esc cult leader), Lee Jae-yong was accused […]

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By Helena Shlapak

Vice Chairman, heir, and de facto CEO of the Samsung Group conglomerate, Lee Jae-yong has been arrested for Bribery among other charges.

In the wake of a scandal involving the impeachment of South Korean President in December, Park Geun-hye over her friendship with Choi Soon-sil (the daughter of a shaman-esc cult leader), Lee Jae-yong was accused of giving millions of dollars in donations to the foundations run by Choi Soon-sil in exchange for government favours. One of these favours revolves around the merger between Samsung C&T (their construction company) and Cheil Industries (an affiliate of the Samsung group). Lee admitted at the parliamentary hearing that Samsung had donated $17.46 million to two foundations owned by President Park and Choi, but denied that they gave him favours.

Lee was questioned along with several other company executives on the charges back in January but the South Korean court ruled that there wasn’t sufficient evidence at the time. However, early Friday morning, the Seoul Central District Court said that “It is acknowledged that there is a need and reason for the arrest, given a newly added criminal charges and additional evidence.” Lee was arrested soon after.

Lee is the first major business man to be arrested over the scandal and is currently being charged with illicit transfer of assets abroad, bribery, perjury, concealment of criminal proceeds and embezzlement.

Samsung has yet to make a statement on Lee’s arrest and it is unclear if the scandal and arrest will be a major blow to the electronics superpower. The company has already had setbacks in terms of leadership after Lee’s father, Lee Kun-hee suffered a heart attack in 2014.

President Park was impeached because of allegations of cult activities, influence-peddling and leaking classified information. Choi was charged with attempted coercion, attempted fraud and abuse of authority among other charges.

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Capcom Renews Trademark for Deep Down IP https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/16/capcom-renews-trademark-deep-ip/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/16/capcom-renews-trademark-deep-ip/#respond Thu, 16 Feb 2017 21:45:38 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=96100

By Helena Shlapak

Good news for Deep Down fans, Capcom, the Japanese video game developer behind the upcoming game has renewed its trademark for the IP. Deep Down is an upcoming single/multiple dungeon crawler for the PlayStation 4 console but little to no information on the game had been released since its 2013 reveal. However, it looks like […]

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By Helena Shlapak

Good news for Deep Down fans, Capcom, the Japanese video game developer behind the upcoming game has renewed its trademark for the IP.

Deep Down is an upcoming single/multiple dungeon crawler for the PlayStation 4 console but little to no information on the game had been released since its 2013 reveal. However, it looks like Deep Down wasn’t abandoned and left for dead as Capcom has renewed its trademark for the title according to a United States Patent and Trademark Office document filed on Feb. 9, 2017.

What this means for fans is this; in order for a trademark on a game to continue, the game has to be released at some point. Since Deep Down hasn’t been released yet, this means that the trademark would have expired as a company only has a limited time to release a game from initial filing. If Capcom had cancelled Deep Down, the video game developer would not have refiled the trademark.

This doesn’t mean of course that Deep Down will never be cancelled or that the game is coming out soon, it just means that it’s not dead and Capcom is ever-so-slowly working on it. Considering that producer Yoshinori Ono told Japanese website 4Gamer (translated by Siliconera) in an interview that the game had been massively expanded, it’s no surprise that Deep Down is taking as long as it is.

“We’re thinking about showing something that looks completely different from what previously shown, although it might be a while from now,” said Ono in the interview.

“The ideas we have for the game is much larger now compared to when we first announced it, rather, the ideas we had before might not have been good enough.”

Deep Down is said to be similar to other games like Dark Souls and Dragon’s Dogma but not as difficult with some parts taking place in a medieval/fantasy setting.

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New Action RPG Songbringer Coming Soon https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/16/new-action-rpg-songbringer-coming-soon/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/16/new-action-rpg-songbringer-coming-soon/#respond Thu, 16 Feb 2017 20:33:46 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=96075

By Helena Shlapak

A new procedurally generated action RPG titled, Songbringer is making its debut at the Game Developer Conference and PAX East. Developed by one-man studio Wizard Fu and published by Double Eleven, Songbringer is a sci-fi insane ride featuring spaceships, drugs, parties, swords and adventure. Set in 13,000 B.C. in the milky way galaxy, Songbringer is […]

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By Helena Shlapak

A new procedurally generated action RPG titled, Songbringer is making its debut at the Game Developer Conference and PAX East.

Developed by one-man studio Wizard Fu and published by Double Eleven, Songbringer is a sci-fi insane ride featuring spaceships, drugs, parties, swords and adventure. Set in 13,000 B.C. in the milky way galaxy, Songbringer is the story of a shirtless hero named Roq. Roq is a carefree man searching for the ultimate party aboard the spaceship Songbringer. However, Roq’s carefree life is turned upside down when he accidentally awakens an ancient evil army and throws the galaxy into chaos and war. Now it’s up to Roq and his number one, robot companion, Jib to save the galaxy and party once more.

Songbringer features a complex and rich, immersive storyline filled with secrets and hidden realms. By eating the rare hallucinogenic cacti found throughout the game, the player will be able to unlock these realms and find loads of other things like hidden doors and items that can’t be seen to help them on their journey. The player will be able to explore 10 dungeons in 3/4 perspective and enter in different codes to explore over 300 million unique level combinations and environments, making no adventure the same unless players share codes with one-another.

But Songbringer’s action-adventure plot wouldn’t be complete without several unique weapons including bombs, the ghost sword projectile, a boomerang top-hat and a humming nano-sword. Songbringer even lets players play in two-person co-op mode to help each other battle crowded mobs, gigantic bosses, virus androids and a series of puzzles.

This game of millions of world combinations, nanoswords, galactic war and hallucinogenic cacti will launch for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Steam for PC, Mac and Linux this coming summer but for those who can’t wait, Songbringer will have a playable demo at the Game Developer Conference and PAX East in March.

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Dark Horse Comics and Mystery Science Theatre Team Up https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/16/dark-horse-comics-mystery-science-theatre-team/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/16/dark-horse-comics-mystery-science-theatre-team/#comments Thu, 16 Feb 2017 20:20:09 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=96090

By Helena Shlapak

It looks like dreams really do come true. Dark Horse Comics is partnering up with Mystery Science Theatre 3000 to produce a series of comics and merchandise. Milwaukie based comic and manga publisher, Dark Horse Comics (Harrow County, Aliens and Hellboy) announced on Twitter today that they would be teaming up with the cult sci-fi […]

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By Helena Shlapak

It looks like dreams really do come true. Dark Horse Comics is partnering up with Mystery Science Theatre 3000 to produce a series of comics and merchandise.

Milwaukie based comic and manga publisher, Dark Horse Comics (Harrow County, Aliens and Hellboy) announced on Twitter today that they would be teaming up with the cult sci-fi comedy TV series, Mystery Science Theatre 3000 for a comic series and product line. While Dark Horse has yet to announce any further details, the comic and manga publisher said that the partnership would be in the not-too-distant future. Mystery Science Theatre’s Twitter re-tweeted Dark Horse’s post in confirmation.

This is fantastic news and perfect timing as the beloved cult classic started filming its newest season in September. This partnership with a world renowned publisher will only mean more advertising and funds to continue the series and boost popularity with a new generation.

Mystery Science Theatre 3000 originally aired in 1988 and was a comedy series centered on riffing and making fun of B-Movies. A janitor by the name of Joel is captured by two mad scientists and sent to space aboard the dog bone-shaped Satellite of Love. There, the scientists force Joel is sit through a series of B-Movies in order to pick the perfect film to be used as a weapon for world domination. To keep himself from going mad, Joel builds several robots over the course of the series that help him mock the films.

Mystery Science Theatre 3000 ran for 10 seasons and had a feature film but was cancelled twice during its run. The show was cancelled for the first time after six seasons in 1997 and again in 1999 after another three seasons. Mystery Science Theatre 3000 was revived once again in 2015 thanks to crowd funding and will be on Netflix in 2017.

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The Great Wall Movie Review - The Best Matt Damon Monster Movie Set in China https://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/great-wall-movie-review-best-mat-damon-monster-movie-set-china/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/great-wall-movie-review-best-mat-damon-monster-movie-set-china/#respond Thu, 16 Feb 2017 19:43:25 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=96083

By Phil Brown

The Great Wall is a massive international production combining the power and cash of the Chinese and Hollywood film industries to create a huge and stupid monster movie. That’s a good thing. In a time when most A productions are actually B movies, and most schlock comes with layers of irony, there’s something undeniably charming […]

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By Phil Brown

The Great Wall is a massive international production combining the power and cash of the Chinese and Hollywood film industries to create a huge and stupid monster movie. That’s a good thing. In a time when most A productions are actually B movies, and most schlock comes with layers of irony, there’s something undeniably charming about the unapologetic sincerity and stupidity of The Great Wall. Viewers will be thrilled by the spectacle, stunned by the gorgeous imagery, and laugh like a lunatic whenever the movie slows down long enough for characters to speak to each other. In many ways, it feels like an old-timey monster movie, equal parts imaginative, corny, and insane.

Matt Damon stars as a warrior of mysterious origin who has travelled from Europe to China and picked up a buddy (Pedro Pascal) along the way. We know they’ve been travelling for a long time because they have massive fake beards and learn that they are searching for black powder that goes boom. One night they are attacked by an unseen beast, with only a scaly claw lopped off by Damon’s sword left behind as proof. When they are discovered by a massive Chinese army led by Zhang Hanyu, Jing Tian, and Andy Lau, they survive only because they have that claw in their possession. You see, that claw belongs to a collection of monsters who blatantly symbolize human greed, and attack China every 60 years (that’s why they built the wall, apparently). The claw means the latest attack is coming a bit early and now Damon finds himself in the middle of a good old-fashioned monster mash.

The Great Wall Movie Review - The Best Mat Damon Monster Movie Set in China 1Good news first: The Great Wall is an absolutely gorgeous movie to behold. Director Zhang Yimou began his career crafting ornate art movies before transitioning into action epics with stunning titles like Hero and The House Of Flying Daggers. His love of rigid compositions, painterly colour palettes, kinetic action, and poetic montage translate beautifully into the blockbuster arena and this, his largest production, is no exception. Scale is massive, extras plentiful, and CGI impressive. The set pieces are downright hypnotic with highlights including a balletic bungee jumping troupe of women warriors, a tense monster fight with whistling arrows, an astounding hot air balloon ride, and a final fight that’s downright hallucinogenic in its use of colour. This is A+ eye candy and the fact that it’s all used for a monster battle on the Great Wall Of China, well, that’s just awesome.

Now that bad news, every time the characters open their mouths the movie becomes less interesting. The dialogue is so stilted that it’s shocking it was written by Hollywood veterans, and not poorly translated. The fairy tale themes about embracing international bonds to fight larger evils and the perils of greed are nauseatingly overstated. The actors rarely get a chance to do more than pose, with Willem Dafoe embarrassingly lost (and awkwardly edited into many scenes that were clearly shot without him) and Damon fumbling through an ill-advised accent that’s occasionally Irish(ish). Basically, the movie is either exposition or spectacle. Stunning epic monster mash action or hilariously earnest nonsense. It’s a real rollercoaster of a viewing experience in both good ways and bad.

Fortunately, the eye-candy accounts for almost half the running time and the flick flies by fast. So there’s rarely enough time to dwell on any of the dull scenes, and Zhang Yimou’s stunning set pieces are always only a few minutes away. If anything, the fact that it leaps from beautiful fantasy silliness to cornball tin-eared earnestness only adds to the old-timey monster movie appeal of The Great Wall.

The Great Wall Movie Review - The Best Mat Damon Monster Movie Set in China 2The film has massive camp appeal when it’s not delivering genuinely jaw-dropping spectacle (including a perfect mix of artistic and eye-poke gimmicky 3D) and is endlessly entertaining, even when it’s maddeningly stupid. It’s a film that will separate the real monster movie fans from the posers. This international blockbuster is trash, but glorious and impeccably constructed trash for folks who love such things. It’s unlikely to be remembered a classic, but is likely to be enjoyed by a few like-minded friends with a sense of irony and a case of booze in joyous WTF screening sessions filled with cheers and guffaws. Simply put, The Great Wall is the best possible movie about medieval monster battles on The Great Wall Of China starring Matt Damon. This thing was never going to be art, but at least it’s beautifully made and gloriously entertaining garbage. That’s rare a beast worth celebrating for genre nuts

Score:7

Final Thoughts:The Great Wall is as stupid as it is pretty. Since it’s a giant monster movie, that’s good thing.

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Pirates of the Caribbean Director Gore Verbinski Talks Bioshock, Calls Jason Isaacs Mr. Delicious https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/16/pirates-caribbean-director-gore-verbinski-talks-bioshock-calls-jason-isaacs-mr-delicious/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/16/pirates-caribbean-director-gore-verbinski-talks-bioshock-calls-jason-isaacs-mr-delicious/#respond Thu, 16 Feb 2017 18:41:01 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=96077

By Cody Orme

Recently, acclaimed director of the Pirates of the Caribbean saga, Rango, and The Ring, Gore Verbinski hosted a Reddit AMA. While nothing groundbreaking was revealed in the community-based question answer period, Verbinski answered pretty honestly, touching on his scrapped Bioshock film on top of calling actor Jason Isaacs “Mr. Delicious”. While he explained Isaacs' nickname comes […]

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By Cody Orme

Recently, acclaimed director of the Pirates of the Caribbean saga, Rango, and The Ring, Gore Verbinski hosted a Reddit AMA. While nothing groundbreaking was revealed in the community-based question answer period, Verbinski answered pretty honestly, touching on his scrapped Bioshock film on top of calling actor Jason Isaacs “Mr. Delicious”.

While he explained Isaacs' nickname comes from his captivating nature, the biggest take away from the AMA to us gamers are his comments about his Bioshock film. Stating he wanted to make an R-rated movie.

"[In] Bioshock…we'd be building an entire underworld universe.” says Verbinski, “I think the combination of the price tag and the rating, Universal just didn't feel comfortable ultimately. At that time also there were some R-rated, expensive R-rated movies that were not working.”

He did give fans a glimmer of hope by saying the landscape for R-rated movies has changed, making it easier to make a successful movie with that rating, so there is a chance it could happen again.

Verbinski spoke about the odds of seeing another Rango movie, to which he seemed doubtful. With that said, Verbinski did mention he is kicking around another animated film idea. Rango wasn’t the hottest topic of discussion for Verbinski however, in fact, It’s not hard to guess that some did ask about Pirates of the Carribean as well. Directing the first three movies, Verbinski brought much of the character the multi-film franchise is known for.  While discussing that he feels it’s time for him to move on from the franchise, he did speak about some of his fears during the then-trilogy’s production.

“I certainly think one of the scariest moments in my career was filming the second and third Pirates movie back to back and at some point realizing that we were no longer making the studio nervous," says Verbinski. "...I think when that happens you start to get nervous yourself because you're quite used to telling stories that maybe are operating on that boundary of the unknown”

While it’s disappointing to hear he doesn’t intend to return to the world of Rango or Pirates of the Caribbean, Verbinski isn’t sitting still. Currently, his upcoming film, A cure for Wellness, its theatres Feb. 17, 2017.

Editor's Note: Some quotes were fixed for grammar.

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Crash Bandicoot Has a Release Date https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/16/crash-bandicoot-release-date/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/16/crash-bandicoot-release-date/#respond Thu, 16 Feb 2017 17:06:01 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=96064

By Helena Shlapak

Fans will return to the Wumpa Islands faster than they thought, the upcoming Crash Bandicoot remake, Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy finally has a release date, according to Activision’s Twitter. Video game publisher Activision -the company behind the insanely popular Crash Bandicoot Franchise, Spyro Franchise and Destiny- announced on Twitter today that the remake of Crash […]

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By Helena Shlapak

Fans will return to the Wumpa Islands faster than they thought, the upcoming Crash Bandicoot remake, Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy finally has a release date, according to Activision’s Twitter.

Video game publisher Activision -the company behind the insanely popular Crash Bandicoot Franchise, Spyro Franchise and Destiny- announced on Twitter today that the remake of Crash Bandicoot, Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, will be released on June. 30, 2017 for the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 4 Pro console, just shy of Crash Bandicoot’s 20th anniversary. The game will retail for $39.99.

The game publisher teased their announcement on Twitter just yesterday, showing a picture of Crash with six mystery boxes hovering overhead. Activision said that they were pretty excited too and concluded the post with the hashtag, crashisback.

Originally developed by Naughty Dog, the first Crash Bandicoot game came out for the PlayStation in 1996, and was about a mutated Bandicoot named Crash as he explores Australia’s Wumpa Islands to stop the evil Doctor Neo Cortex from taking over the world. Since then, the franchise exploded, spawning seven main games, three racing, two party, four spin-offs and a slew of mobile games.

Although the popularity of Crash Bandicoot cooled over the years, the games were definitely something that the creators wanted to revisit. After a series of teases over the years (Crash being in Skylanders and Crash appearing in Uncharted 4) It was revealed at E3 2016 that Crash would come back as a remake. The Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, will be a remake of the first three Crash Bandicoot games; Crash Bandicoot, Cortex Strikes Back and Warped.

With the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy coming out so soon, here’s hoping that the game’s facelift will entice new fans and bring old fans back into the insane world of Crash and his friends.

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Ark: Survival Evolved gets Laser-Cannon-Dinos in New Update https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/16/ark-survival-evolved-gets-lazer-cannon-dinos-new-update/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/16/ark-survival-evolved-gets-lazer-cannon-dinos-new-update/#respond Thu, 16 Feb 2017 16:40:15 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=96067

By Cody Orme

Ark: Survival Evolved developer Studio Wildcard has announced a free update for their sci-fi dinosaur survival title. The “Mega TEK Tier” update is available for download now and brings an array of new content including, but not limited to, the Tek Helmet with three types of vision and oxygen tank, Tek Boots, Tek Pants, Tek Rifle […]

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By Cody Orme

Ark: Survival Evolved developer Studio Wildcard has announced a free update for their sci-fi dinosaur survival title.

The “Mega TEK Tier” update is available for download now and brings an array of new content including, but not limited to, the Tek Helmet with three types of vision and oxygen tank, Tek Boots, Tek Pants, Tek Rifle and dino-mounted-laser-cannons (sometimes I love video games).  Along with this, Studio Wildcard are adding four new creatures: the overgrown weasel like Purlovia Maxima, the Skark-like Basilosaurus Solatiumfecit, a T-Rex but with longer arms Baryonyx Aquafulgur, and a mountain goat called Ovis Aries.

Players are also welcome to take part in the recent Valentine's Day event for Ark: Survival Evolved, which allows for increased mating speed and the chance to find a box of chocolates that unlocks new hairstyles. Along with this news Studio Wildcard released a trailer to hype their update.

Ark: Survival Evolved is still in playable development, but since it’s Dec. 6, 2016 launch, it has sold over a million copies on the PlayStation 4 alone, making it the number one selling game on the PlayStation Network for December 2016 and Janurary 2017.

“We want to say a big THANK YOU to all the fans who have supported us as we march toward completion of this epic game,” said Jeremy Stieglitz, co-founder, lead designer, lead programmer, development director, co-creative director at Studio Wildcard in a press release. “The community is the key part of what makes Ark an exciting, dynamic experience and keeps survivors coming back for more!”

Much criticism has targeted towards Studio Wildcard for their handling of Ark: Survival Evolved, as the game has yet to be complete, but somehow constant updates have dropped. The studio recently settled a lawsuit that threatened the production of the work-in-progress title. Still, the title remains insanely popular, and that’s probably because laser-dinosaurs are the coolest idea in video games.

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VR Theseus Game Coming Soon https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/16/vr-theseus-game-coming-soon/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/16/vr-theseus-game-coming-soon/#respond Thu, 16 Feb 2017 16:00:22 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=96008

By Helena Shlapak

Video game developer, Forge Reply is proud to announce that Greek Myths and video games will once again combine for a virtual reality experience and that game is called Theseus. For those who don’t know the original myth, the Greek hero Theseus is sent to the Labyrinth to kill the Minotaur (a half-man-half-bull creature). Theseus […]

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By Helena Shlapak

Video game developer, Forge Reply is proud to announce that Greek Myths and video games will once again combine for a virtual reality experience and that game is called Theseus.

For those who don’t know the original myth, the Greek hero Theseus is sent to the Labyrinth to kill the Minotaur (a half-man-half-bull creature). Theseus kills the Minotaur and uses string to escape the Labyrinth. Forge Reply’s version however, takes the myth to a dark and disturbing new place with virtual reality for a more immersive experience.

The player wakes up alone in the dark, trapped in a mysterious and frightening place. A mysterious voice by the name of Adriane is your only guide through the darkness and the player wanders through chambers and alleys, venturing deep into the heart of the Labyrinth. Eventually, the player comes across a pillar of light and it beckons you to come closer. The player may just have discovered the truth of the Labyrinth, but they soon realise that they are not alone. With them is the horrifying Minotaur who is the lord of this domain, and that it despises visitors.

VR Theseus Game Coming Soon 3 VR Theseus Game Coming Soon 5

“Forge Reply is investing significant resources in the Virtual and Augmented Reality solutions for the business market. Theseus represents the logical next step and the first VR piece of content that the studio has developed for gamers and enthusiasts. Virtual Reality is the perfect platform for Theseus and the team is working hard to deliver an immersive and compelling experience,” said Flippo Rizzante, Forge Reply CTO in a press release.

Forge Reply is the game studio of the Reply group and develops games for mobile devices, PC and consoles. Aside from the upcoming Theseus, Forge Reply has developed other games like Joe Dever’s Lone Wolf RPG and the multiplayer space shooter In Space We Brawl. While there isn’t a release date set for Theseus, this game could be the next Amnesia in both atmosphere and success.

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First 15: Halo Wars 2 https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/16/first-15-halo-wars-2-2/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/16/first-15-halo-wars-2-2/#respond Thu, 16 Feb 2017 15:27:53 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=96060

By Brendan Frye

CGMagazine looks at the opening minutes of gameplay from Halo Wars 2 on the Xbox One from 343 Industries and Creative Assembly.

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By Brendan Frye

CGMagazine looks at the opening minutes of gameplay from Halo Wars 2 on the Xbox One from 343 Industries and Creative Assembly.

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Paradox Interactive Announces Cities: Skylines – Xbox One Edition https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/16/paradox-interactive-announces-cities-skylines-xbox-one-edition/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/16/paradox-interactive-announces-cities-skylines-xbox-one-edition/#respond Thu, 16 Feb 2017 15:10:28 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=96051

By Cody Orme

City sim fans on the Xbox One don’t need to feel so starved anymore as the Stockholm based game publisher, Paradox Interactive, announces Cities: Skylines – Xbox One Edition. Originally released for PC and Mac in 2015, Cities: Skylines will launch on Xbox One and Windows 10 in spring 2017. Cities: Skylines – Xbox One Edition […]

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By Cody Orme

City sim fans on the Xbox One don’t need to feel so starved anymore as the Stockholm based game publisher, Paradox Interactive, announces Cities: Skylines – Xbox One Edition.

Originally released for PC and Mac in 2015, Cities: Skylines will launch on Xbox One and Windows 10 in spring 2017. Cities: Skylines – Xbox One Edition is designed with controller gameplay in mind, so purists may not have to worry about clunky controls that normally come with these kind of ports. Bundled in with Cities: Skylines – Xbox One Edition is the game’s first expansion Cities: Skylines – After Dark adding nightlife and tourism to the Cities experience.

“Paradox is a company that’s proud to publish and support ‘niche’ games, and we’re happy to be able to bring those specialized experiences to console as well.” said Fredrik Wester, CEO of Paradox Interactive in a press release. “Cities: Skylines has built one of the biggest and most active communities we’ve seen among Paradox’s fans, and that’s saying a lot. We can’t wait to welcome Xbox One players into that group, and I’m eager to see the towns and cities they can build.”

Cities: Skylines – Xbox One Edition will come with an array of features including the ability to plan the cities carbon footprint with the use of renewable resources, or go the route of smoggy progress, the ability to plan roads and transportation lines, along with education, healthcare and safety for the citizens all while managing the cities economy and creating new policies and districts.

Along with this announcement, Paradox Interactive dropped a new trailer for Cities: Skylines – Xbox One Edition to show fans exactly what they can expect from the game. For those who haven’t played the 2015 city sim developed by Colossal Order, Cities: Skylines received praise from both fans and critics alike with an overall critic score of 85 and a user score of 8.9.  While sometimes the simulation genre tends to translate poorly onto consoles, the attempt by Colossal Order to design the game with controller in mind could leave fans feeling satisfied. Recently 343 Industries and Creative Assembly managed to bring the RTS genre to console with Halo Wars 2, which ended up working out pretty well.

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ESA Foundation Now Accepting Applicants for Computer and Video Game Scholarship https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/16/esa-foundation-now-accepting-applicants-computer-video-game-scholarship/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/16/esa-foundation-now-accepting-applicants-computer-video-game-scholarship/#respond Thu, 16 Feb 2017 15:09:09 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=96049

By Brendan Frye

The Entertainment Software Association (ESA), announced it is now accepting applicants for their Foundation’s Computer and Video Game Scholarship Program via a press release. This program will allow up to 30 scholarships to be awarded to woman and minorities entering university-level coursework in the Video Games and Computer based programs. Eligible applicants include woman and minority students currently in […]

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By Brendan Frye

The Entertainment Software Association (ESA), announced it is now accepting applicants for their Foundation’s Computer and Video Game Scholarship Program via a press release. This program will allow up to 30 scholarships to be awarded to woman and minorities entering university-level coursework in the Video Games and Computer based programs.

Eligible applicants include woman and minority students currently in high school as a senior, college freshmen, sophomores and juniors who are enrolled full-time in an undergraduate program at an accredited four-year college or university.

A committee will assess all applicants and select up to 30 students to receive the scholarship. Selection will be based on numerous factors including academic performance, career goals, extracurricular activities, leadership, work experience and special circumstances.

“The ESA Foundation is committed to fostering inclusivity in the video game industry so that everyone who plays games can make games,” said Anastasia Staten, executive director of the ESA Foundation. “Video games positively impact communities, and we are proud to provide the Computer and Video Game Scholarship Program to support the next generation of video game creators.”

The ESA Foundation Scholarship program was created in 2007, and since that time the foundation has awarded 250 scholarships that have helped students achieve their dream of working in the video game field.

The deadline for students to submit applications to the Computer and Video Game Scholarship Program is April 27, 2017. To apply students can go to https://aim.applyISTS.net/esaf, and for more details about the program, the ESA have an FAQ up that can help answer many key questions. To see a complete list of last year's winners, you can go to http://esafoundation.org/scholarships.asp.

Formed by the American entertainment software industry, the ESA Foundation works to make positive changes to youth looking to enter the world of video games and computer and help form the next wave of industry innovators.

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Leaving Lyndow Review - A Beautiful, Facinating Commercial https://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/leaving-lyndow-review-beautiful-facinating-commercial/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/leaving-lyndow-review-beautiful-facinating-commercial/#respond Thu, 16 Feb 2017 13:00:37 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=95982

By Lane Martin

So recently I’ve been thinking about what makes a video game a game. Some people would claim that the interaction between a player and the virtual world within a game is enough to solidify a piece of digital entertainment as a video game, while others maintain that the ability for a player to fail is […]

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By Lane Martin

So recently I’ve been thinking about what makes a video game a game. Some people would claim that the interaction between a player and the virtual world within a game is enough to solidify a piece of digital entertainment as a video game, while others maintain that the ability for a player to fail is necessary for a piece of media to really be a video game. Whether or not either of these ideologies is really the best here is beyond me. The reason for all this esoteric navel-gazing is that I’ve been playing Leaving Lyndow, and I’m not sure it’s really a game.

If anything, Leaving Lyndow is a proof of concept, albeit a beautiful one. Basically, the developer, Eastshade Studios, has been working on another ambitious project and are getting nervous about the upcoming release so they wanted to put a small prequel out to whet the appetites of possible fans and become better acquainted with the mechanics of releasing a game. To be fair, Eastshade, the longer game the appropriately named studio is working on, sounds interesting and I would hate for a shoddy release to set the pace on what could be an intriguing game.

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I can’t judge Leaving Lyndow for the potential of what’s to come, but for what it is now; an extremely short though high quality first person adventure game. Players take on the role of Clara as she prepares to leave her lifelong home for a life of exploration and adventure. Clara wanders through a few locations fondly recalling her memories and saying goodbye to her friends and family. The occasional puzzle or minigame comes about, but none of them are particularly difficult, and the whole experience is reflective and relaxed. Going through notes and conversing with the strange locals allows the player to discover Clara’s history and the nature of her journey.

One thing that I appreciate about Leaving Lyndow is its reluctance to explain itself. In an age of expansive codex entries and novelizations, it takes some degree of courage to release a game set in an alien fantasy world and let the players discover it for themselves. This is a strong theme here, and something meant to bleed over to Eastshade, which is being billed as a something like Firewatch in a fantasy setting. While there is little challenge to Leaving Lyndow, I found knitting the story together from scraps and conversations to be fairly satisfying and the setting itself is evocative and alluring. It’s really a shame that I managed to blow through the whole thing in under an hour.

Score:7

Final Thoughts:Leaving Lyndow is a beautiful experience in a fascinating world, but may be more of a 45-minute-long commercial for the upcoming Eastshade than an actual game.

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Halo Wars 2 Review - The Best RTS Ever Released on Consoles https://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/halo-wars-2-the-best-rts-ever-released-on-consoles/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/halo-wars-2-the-best-rts-ever-released-on-consoles/#respond Thu, 16 Feb 2017 08:01:32 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=96035

By Jed Whitaker

I didn't love the original Halo Wars. It was simple and showed why very few real-time strategy games release on console— the controls just don't translate. Nine years later I reluctantly signed up to review the sequel, thinking it would be more of the same. Surprisingly enough, Halo Wars 2 is easily the best RTS ever […]

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By Jed Whitaker

I didn't love the original Halo Wars. It was simple and showed why very few real-time strategy games release on console the controls just don't translate. Nine years later I reluctantly signed up to review the sequel, thinking it would be more of the same. Surprisingly enough, Halo Wars 2 is easily the best RTS ever released on consoles. The controls are tight, intuitive, and surprisingly easy to pick up. No need for hours of learning, or tons of boring tutorialthough there are three short optional ones if you'd like to do them, they aren't required as the campaign teaches you all you need to know.

The campaign isn't all that strong in the story department, and is a bit convoluted as it’s designed for players who are well versed in Halo lore. As someone that has played every Halo game to completion, I can say it was hard to place where and when on the timeline Halo Wars 2 is set. Regardless,I was still having fun so that was all that mattered.

Blur is back with more breathtaking cutscenes that have nearly uncanny valley levels of detail, facial acting, and thus emotion. As a matter a fact, Halo Wars 2 has my new favourite cut scene in the Halo series that features my new favourite Halo character, the Cortana-like AI named Isabel. The voice-work and acting in the cinematics are top notch, despite the story keeping it simple, without striving to be original, deep, or intelligible even with a Halo encyclopedia or the logs found scattered throughout the campaign.

Halo Wars 2 - The Best RTS Ever Released on Consoles 1Yet, there is a drop in presentation outside of the cinematics. It is a bit jarring going from the beautifully acted and graphically impressive cutscenes to bland in game performances (despite the same characters appearing in both cutscenes and gameplay) in a visually dull in-game world. I'd imagine this discrepancy in the voice department is thanks to different recording directors, while the art direction in RTS games don’t ever stand out. Halo Wars 2 certainly doesn't break that mold. The environments are nothing to write home about, and the character models are bland and lack details. Even the accompanying soundtrack, while decent, just can't match the classic pieces from the core Halo games, but it is still serviceable.

As this is an Xbox Play Anywhere title, I was able to play on both Xbox One and my Windows 10 PC. As one would imagine, the PC version looks far better compared to the Xbox One experience, though Halo Wars 2 is more stable on the console. Halo Wars 2 is installed on my SSD, I have a Nvidia GTX 980, and 32GB of RAM, yet when a lot of units were on screen at the same time near a base I'd have frequent hitching. Performance issues seem to plague Windows Store releases, as this has been a pattern. At one point the game dropped to single digit frames per second, forcing me to restart the game— but that was only one time. Most of the time the frame rate was solid.

Obviously there is a completely different control scheme jumping from PC to Console. I will say I attempted to play with keyboard and mouse on PC after having played around half the game on Xbox One and found it was surprisingly much easier to play with a controller for me. Perhaps it is a preference thing, but to me it just felt more natural.

I didn't get a chance to test out the multiplayer outside of the new Blitz mode that can be played against AI in a Firefight mode. Instead of building bases, gathering resources, and spawning units, Blitz has players select cards from a deck and drop units into the playing field. The whole experience feels a lot more arcade-like and random thanks to the RNG of the draw. The goal in Blitz mode is to capture three bases and keep your opponents from taking them back till a meter fills up and you win.

Halo Wars 2 - The Best RTS Ever Released on Consoles 2While Blitz mode is a lot of fun against AI, it feels like pay to win when it’s time to square up against other players. Card packs are earned by completing stages in the campaign and levelling up your account, but they can also be purchased via microtransactions. This creates a problem as cards can be levelled up, and that's done by collecting multiples of any given card, which encourages players to buy packs to have stronger cards. Compare this to Hearthstone where cards are stagnant and can be crafted from extras you collect, allowing players to build their decks more naturally. It’s a shame, honestly, since I can see this mode being a lot of fun against other players, especially since matches seem a bit shorter in comparison to most RTS games.

Even without playing the new 3 on 3 multiplayer, I feel I can easily recommend Halo Wars 2 to both Halo fans and those hankering for an RTS on console. The controls are tight, the cutscenes are to die for, and there is a new cute AI that I want to be best friends with. If you aren't sold on the whole RTS thing, or it just isn't a genre you're interested in, then at the very least watch these cutscenes somewhere online, because they are damn impressive.

Score:8

Final Thoughts:Halo Wars 2 is hands-down the best RTS on console and a joy to play with a controller.

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Amazon Opening Game Studio in San Diego https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/15/amazon-opening-game-studio-in-san-diego/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/15/amazon-opening-game-studio-in-san-diego/#respond Wed, 15 Feb 2017 19:49:18 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=95999

By Helena Shlapak

The popular electronic commerce and cloud computing company, Amazon, is opening up a another faction of Amazon Games Studio in San Diego and has hired industry veteran, John Smedley as their CEO. Amazon has branched out into other projects over the years that have been met with resounding success. After building a streaming service to […]

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By Helena Shlapak

The popular electronic commerce and cloud computing company, Amazon, is opening up a another faction of Amazon Games Studio in San Diego and has hired industry veteran, John Smedley as their CEO.

Amazon has branched out into other projects over the years that have been met with resounding success. After building a streaming service to go along with their Amazon Prime shipping (and considering all the video games Amazon sells on a daily basis), it seemed fitting that the company would branch out into gaming with Amazon Game Studio. Now that Amazon's new faction is opening in San Diego, there was no one better than former CEO of Daybreak Game Company (formally Sony Online Entertainment) to take the torch.

John Smedley is a game developer that helped define modern MMO games and has been active in the video gaming industry since the early 1990’s when he started a developing company called Knight Technologies. Smedley’s heavy involvement with table-top RPG’s like Dungeons and Dragons helped inspire him to create EverQuestand since its release in 1999, the game has been critically acclaimed was one of the most massively played online games of all time. EverQuest has even won awards including GameSpot Game of the Year in 1999 and the Technology and Engineering Emmy Award in 2007.

While John Smedley and his team are still in early stages, the team are already hard at work on a new project that taps into the power of AWS (Amazon Web Services) Cloud and Twitch to connect players around the world into the new game.

Amazon Games Studio will be based on San Diego, California and the studio is currently hiring artists, engineers and designers in their San Diego, Orange County, Seattle and Austin locations. With this new video games company coming to market, who knows what else a customer’s Amazon Prime Subscription could buy them in the near future.

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Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Force Review - Little Creativity https://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/fairy-fencer-f-advent-dark-force-little-creativity/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/fairy-fencer-f-advent-dark-force-little-creativity/#comments Wed, 15 Feb 2017 19:00:12 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=95965

By Elias Blondeau

The JRPG is in an exciting phase of transition, but don’t tell Compile Heart. While Square Enix continues to reinvent the wheel with games like Final Fantasy XV and the upcoming NieR: Automata, and Atlus doubles down on perfecting old-school cool with Shin Megami Tensei and Etrian Odyssey, Compile Heart is largely content on repeating […]

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By Elias Blondeau

The JRPG is in an exciting phase of transition, but don’t tell Compile Heart. While Square Enix continues to reinvent the wheel with games like Final Fantasy XV and the upcoming NieR: Automata, and Atlus doubles down on perfecting old-school cool with Shin Megami Tensei and Etrian Odyssey, Compile Heart is largely content on repeating the same sort of game they’ve made for the past decade or so. Despite some promise in upcoming releases like Dark Rose Valkyrie, the PC re-release of Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Force reminds me to keep my expectations in check.

Because, despite trying my damnedest to find something positive, there’s nothing but monotony, repetition, and a bit of suffering to be found in this resoundingly awful JRPG.

Connoisseurs of bad anime and anime-related games will feel right at home in this game’s hollow narrative. Players take on the role of an insufferable protagonist who’s the reluctant master of a spunky girl, who just so happens to also be a sword. She tells the protagonist he needs to go on a quest, he says he doesn’t want to and would rather laze around, she makes him go anyway, and that’s about it. There’s some world-building about a dark force and light force being sealed into stone, some ancillary background stuff about a giant corporation, a bit about four legendary kings, etc. It’s all a lot of generic drivel, though, and doesn’t add anything of real substance to the vanilla plot.

Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Force - Little Creativity

The core narrative—featuring a crybaby edgelord and the women who can’t help but fall all over him—is the real focus here. And it’s a bad one, punctuated by unfunny humour, characters that might as well be named Aloof One/Sultry One/Brash One for all the depth they have, and a healthy smattering of Compile Heart’s bold blend of normalized misogyny. Even by the very low standards of the Platinum Dunes of JRPG production, Fairy Fencer F’s narrative is patently awful, and even made me doze off a few times.

But somehow, actually playing the game manages to be worse than slogging through the text boxes and visuals that are a 13-year-old’s idea of “sexy.” Fairy Fencer F basically copy-and-pastes the gameplay from some Hyperdimension Neptunia titles (the Re:Birth entries, in particular,) and doesn’t expand upon it in any major way. Battles take place in a circle where players run around during each turn, positioning themselves for attacks. Once they attack enough, they can build up a special transformation, from which they can launch a special attack. Outside of battle, swapping out “Furies” (demons and fairies, basically) can buff the party and give them an advantage in battle.

It’s all pretty cut and dry, really, and I suspect only the most starved of JRPG fans will find something to genuinely love here. Speaking as a lover of JRPGs, though, the gameplay is anything but impressive to me. Playing Fairy Fencer F feels like a chore, as opposed to something with which players are actively engaging. The whole sad, sorry affair blends together into one homogenous blur, hamstrung by dungeons more linear the worst of Final Fantasy XIII’s corridors. Not helping matters is how easy the game is—I found myself past the halfway point of the narrative in a little less than four hours, having never gotten close to encountering a “game over” screen. This was on Normal, mind you, so one can only imagine how soft the two (!) easier difficulty levels are. While it presents a marginal challenge, that challenge really only means that players may have to heal once or twice during a battle.

Fairy Fencer F also houses an ugly art direction as generic as the narrative. It smacks of cynical focus testing conducted by otaku, coldly produced in an unfeeling attempt to sell body pillows of the moe characters and their heaving bosoms. The dungeons are the same sort of environments we’ve been exploring since 16-bit games, rendered with unsightly textures and samey design choices. The focus is clearly meant to be on the characters and not on anything else around them.

Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Force - Little Creativity 1

One might find it hard to focus on the game, however, when playing this PC port. While the framerate and manoeuvrability of this version is fine, Fairy Fencer F has a tendency to hard crash at random intervals. Unable to figure out what was exactly causing these crashes, I found myself at the mercy of the game deciding whether or not it wanted to stop. As anyone who’s played a JRPG before can attest to, these sorts of games will often only allow saving at certain points. Imagine, then, getting halfway through a dungeon only for the game to up and quit, or to forget saving for an hour before getting punted out of the game by a random crash. It’s a frustrating issue, to say the very least, and makes an already unfun game even less compelling to play.

I always go into games hoping to see the best in them. As anyone will tell you, I’m a pretty forgivable guy when it comes to silly anime tropes and fan service. Yet I can’t see any real good in this title. That earlier Platinum Dunes comparison when talking about Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Force was intended in all sincerity. With this title, Compile Heart has proven to be the Michael Bay of JRPGs. A corporate production house putting out a uniform product pitched squarely at the most gullible of consumers, never bothering to innovate or expand on the medium. Characters are walking tropes, their visuals almost a uniform eyesore, and the gameplay merely rehashes both other titles and their own previous work.

Much like sane humans should skip out on Transformers to see an actual good movie, RPG fans are better off looking to other titles than suffer through Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Force.

Score:5

Final Thoughts:With Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Force, Compile Heart has proven to be the Platinum Dunes of otaku entertainment – an assembly line of titles with similar plots, repeated mechanics, and fan service that feels designed for middle schoolers.

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Hellblazer #1 (Comic) Review https://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/hellblazer-1-comic-review/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/hellblazer-1-comic-review/#respond Wed, 15 Feb 2017 17:00:17 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=88045

By Norbert Daniels Jr.

DC’s Rebirth initiative has been a breath of fresh air for the company. Bringing back solo runs for a lot of fan favorites, the publisher has also given a book to a certain John Constantine, aka Hellblazer, written by Gen 13’s Simon Olliver with art by All Star Western’s Moriat. The book opens on Sarajevo, […]

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By Norbert Daniels Jr.

DC’s Rebirth initiative has been a breath of fresh air for the company. Bringing back solo runs for a lot of fan favorites, the publisher has also given a book to a certain John Constantine, aka Hellblazer, written by Gen 13’s Simon Olliver with art by All Star Western’s Moriat.

The book opens on Sarajevo, circa June 18, 1914. If you know your history, you’d know that as the date Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated, which was the spark that led to the first World War. This is used as a backdrop for what looks to be the main arc. We’re introduced to Adnan and Marid, two seemingly ageless beings who come to blows over whether or not to interfere with humanity.

If you’re already a fan of John Constantine’s adventures, you’ll be happy to see that the first issue has brought back some classic characters, namely Swamp Thing and Mercury. They’re brought into the story when Swamp Thing asks Constantine for a favor. Swamp Thing’s ex-wife, has gone missing, and Constantine recruits Mercury to help track her down.

Hellblazer #1 (Comic) Review 1

So not only do things not happen, but little flourishes like flat political satire and iffy lettering don’t do the package any favors. I’m not asking for The Hellblazer to be epic battles on every page, but I wish it would do something to make me care about anyone. It’s possible this stemmed from the first issue spreading itself too thin by going over so many plot threads and characters. It might have made a bigger impact if it had a smaller scope and used that extra breathing room to really show the reader why John Constantine is such an interesting lead. What we have really doesn’t tell us much about him. He’s a hard drinker, has a troubled past and is a bit sassy. But that’s it, really. And while I haven’t read any John Constantine books before, I know that there’s a lot more to this character.

The Hellblazer #1 doesn’t do a good job of launching a new run. It’s pretty uneventful, and while it spends a lot of time setting up plots for future issues it doesn’t do much to make me care enough to follow it to issue #2. I’m sure longtime fans of John Constantine will be more patient, though.

Score:6

Final Thoughts:The Hellblazer #1 doesn’t do a good job of launching a new run.

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Pokémon Go Introducing New Pokemon, and New Features https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/15/pokemon-go-introducing-new-pokemon-new-features/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/15/pokemon-go-introducing-new-pokemon-new-features/#respond Wed, 15 Feb 2017 13:29:25 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=95949

By Brendan Frye

Niantic and The Pokémon Company announced updates to Pokémon Go that will add new Pokémon along with new features for players to explore. There was a while where it felt as if everyone was playing Pokémon Go. The simple little app that utilised AR (augmented reality) to allow people young and old to experience part of the magic of being […]

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By Brendan Frye

Niantic and The Pokémon Company announced updates to Pokémon Go that will add new Pokémon along with new features for players to explore.

There was a while where it felt as if everyone was playing Pokémon Go. The simple little app that utilised AR (augmented reality) to allow people young and old to experience part of the magic of being a Pokémon trainer, and it worked. It managed to capture the hearts and minds of many people worldwide until it eventually had a major drop in users. Niantic is hoping is looking to revitalize the app with new Pokemon and new features that will go to make the app fresh again.

In a recent update, Niantic outlined a new update to Pokémon Go adding over 80 new Pokémon to the app, including Chikorita, Cyndaquil, and Totodile. The new Pokemon from the Johto region should start showing up in trainers Pokedex's. The ability to catch gender-specific variations of select Pokémon will also be rolling out with this update, so anyone interested should be on the lookout.

Niantic is not stopping there, though. This new update will also add new features to the Pokémon hunting experience. New enhanced encounters will give trainers new experiences when they try to catch Pokemon. As Pokémon react in new ways, trainers will have fresh ways to quickly react in response, hopefully making the overall experience of hunting Pokemon, more fresh and exciting for new and old players alike.

The new update will also unleash a fresh set of barries that trainers can obtain from a PokéStop. The Nanab Berry will slow movement, while the Pinap Berry will double the amount of candy a Pokémon will dish out once they are caught. If that were not enough, there will also be new ways to customise the avatar with new items and accessories.

It is hard to imagine this latest update will spark the same Pokémon fever that was seen as Pokémon Go first launched, nor do I feel it is expected. What Niantic can do is entice old players back to the world of Pokémon Go after getting board of the experience, and that is all anyone could hope for.

Pokémon Go first launched within the month of July 2016, where the app remained on the top download and top grossing charts on the iOS App store and the Google Play store for months.

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Memoranda Review - Means Well, Fails to Deliver https://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/memoranda-review-means-well-fails-deliver/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/memoranda-review-means-well-fails-deliver/#respond Wed, 15 Feb 2017 13:00:23 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=95929

By Derek Heemsbergen

I value narrative and characterization above most other elements in video games; I am drawn to vibrant personalities who have things to teach me about myself and the world I inhabit. It is for this reason that Memoranda, a point-and-click adventure title inspired by the works of world-famous Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami, needed little more […]

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By Derek Heemsbergen

I value narrative and characterization above most other elements in video games; I am drawn to vibrant personalities who have things to teach me about myself and the world I inhabit. It is for this reason that Memoranda, a point-and-click adventure title inspired by the works of world-famous Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami, needed little more than its premise to capture my attention.

Murakami is one of my favourite authors, his "magical realist" style—where the bizarre dances with the mundane in situations that teeter on the brink of rationality—was unlike anything I'd read until I encountered his work. Yet in trying to capture his essence, Memoranda does little more than imitate, demonstrating a fundamental misunderstanding of what makes Murakami's work so special. It's a brief, puzzle-centric excursion into frustration, where threads are left dangling and logic is frequently thrown out the window.

Memoranda Review - Means Well, Fails to Deliver 1 Memoranda Review - Means Well, Fails to Deliver 2 Memoranda Review - Means Well, Fails to Deliver 3 Memoranda Review - Means Well, Fails to Deliver 4

As Mizuki, a woman in her early 20s who has a habit of forgetting her own name, players explore a seaside town populated by strange characters that spout Murakami references with wild abandon. The game's writing clearly aims to evoke his sensibilities, but comes across as awkward, garbled, even borderline unintelligible. This is further compounded by amateur voicework; many actors enunciate poorly, which makes the clumsy writing even harder to digest. Game progression is often illogical, as are puzzles, which rely on contrived connections between characters with wholly unpredictable reactions.

It should be noted that Memoranda is absolutely beautiful. Its vaguely European cityscape and adjacent fields, beaches, and forests carry a handcrafted warmth that frequently inspires awe. The people, animals, and demihumans who inhabit these places are visually striking, too, no matter how incoherently they ramble.

Memoranda is a disappointing homage to one of the world's most celebrated authors that would be more enjoyable as series of illustrations than an interactive piece of media.

Score:5.5

Final Thoughts:Memoranda means well, but fails to execute by relying on verbatim Murakami references and contrived logic.

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Nintendo Should Not Charge for Breath of the Wild Hard Mode https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/15/nintendo-not-charge-breath-wild-hard-mode/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/15/nintendo-not-charge-breath-wild-hard-mode/#comments Wed, 15 Feb 2017 12:00:49 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=95943

By Cody Orme

As of Feb. 14, 2017, Nintendo has finally jumped headfirst into the world of modern gaming practices. Nintendo has a long history of being behind the times in that regard, by both hardware and software creators. But it seems like the company known for blazing its own trail might finally be ready to step into […]

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By Cody Orme

As of Feb. 14, 2017, Nintendo has finally jumped headfirst into the world of modern gaming practices. Nintendo has a long history of being behind the times in that regard, by both hardware and software creators. But it seems like the company known for blazing its own trail might finally be ready to step into the ring with their announcement of an Expansion Pass for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. For around $20 USD (technically closer to $23 but that’s a weird number to throw out), players gain access to three DLC packs that give exclusive content throughout the year starting the day of launch. This is a good look for a company that, from a marketing standpoint, wants to cater to an audience willing to shell out money for season passes. However, the way the House of Mario plans on doing so is a bit of a mixed bag.

Depending on who you talk to, season passes are either great, or terrible to the gaming community at large. On one hand, the chance to buy extra content all at once for a better price than individually shelling out virtual cash for single releases is a bargain. That said, there’s always the slight sense of greasiness that comes with purchasing add ons for an item before it’s even released. By now, most people are aware that DLC is planned and often released in conjunction with the launch of any given title, and there is an argument to be made about what content should be included in the game’s launch.

That isn’t quite the issue here, though. There are some genuinely exciting additions that come with the Expansion Pass that many Legend of Zelda fans should be very eager to try. As a longtime fan of the series, the chance to play the very first DLC story addition to the series is almost as exciting as buying The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild itself. To be frank, that sold me on the Expansion Pass almost immediately. Throwing in extra clothing and map options is just syrup on the pancake after that.  The price point isn’t offensive either. Dark Souls III’s season pass is currently going for $27.99 on Steam right now, while Deus Ex: Mankind Divided launched with a season pass priced at $29.99. Breath of The Wild seems to fall in line with these price-points considering the content provided, but that doesn’t mean this is the perfect buy. In fact, some Nintendo fans might be straight-up confused with one of the DLC Pack feature in particular.

Nintendo Should Not Charge for a Hard Mode 1In DLC Pack 1, one feature advertised was “ A New Hard Mode”.  This isn’t really a new feature to fans of the series considering “Hero Mode” has Legend of Zelda series feature that debuted in Skyward Sword, and has since become a fan favourite as an unlockable reward, or a harder option right out of the gate, is now a paid feature. In this mode, enemies deal more damage and are harder to kill, hearts are harder to come by, and, in titles that have this feature(Skyward Sword), stamina drains quicker. Each game offers something a little different in each Hero Mode. For instance in Twilight Princess, flips the game to a mirrored version akin to the Gamecube variation of the title.  It’s essentially “hard mode” or “Nightmare Mode” for Doom fans. I can’t think of another game that’s actually made player pay for an unlockable difficulty mode.

The only way to make this purchase worthwhile is for Nintendo to present hard mode more like they did with Ocarina of Time’s Master Quest. This would require a little more work on Nintendo’s end, but it would justify actually charging for a hard mode. Mater Quest  was essentially a remix of Ocarina that launched on the Gamecube in 2002 as a pre-order bonus for Wind Waker’s release one month later. This took the assets, story and general layout of the beloved Ocarina of Time, then changed up dungeon layout and offered more secrets all with a ramped up difficulty. It was later included as a post-game feature in Ocarina of Time 3D. As of now though, there isn’t much word on what The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s hard mode actually is.

While it is nice seeing Nintendo join the rest of the industry in providing season passes and interesting DLC for their titles, this is one sticking point that’s hard to swallow. Nintendo needs to provide unique content with their online offerings, and charging for what could be a difficulty mode, on a launch title no less,  is taking advantage of the players who support them. Regardless of your stance on season passes, making players pay for a difficulty mode is completely absurd. It undoes almost every bit of good will Nintendo has built up since the Switch reveal, and takes the excitement out of the Expanded Pass they announced. Unless they have a complete game overhaul tied into that DLC pack, this could be one of the most obtuse uses of the season pass method the industry has seen in a very long time.

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Farming Simulator 17 Recieves Kuhn Equipment Pack DLC https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/14/farming-simulator-17-recieves-kuhn-equipment-pack-dlc/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/14/farming-simulator-17-recieves-kuhn-equipment-pack-dlc/#respond Tue, 14 Feb 2017 19:28:52 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=95921

By Dondre Stewart

Game developer Giants Software has released new downloadable content for the farming simulation game, Farming Simulator 17 titled “The Kuhn Equipment Pack”. The new content will add equipment from Kuhn to the game’s long list of reproduced vehicles and tools. Kuhn was established in 1828, and is a leading manufacturer of farm machinery. The Kuhn […]

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By Dondre Stewart

Game developer Giants Software has released new downloadable content for the farming simulation game, Farming Simulator 17 titled “The Kuhn Equipment Pack”.

The new content will add equipment from Kuhn to the game’s long list of reproduced vehicles and tools. Kuhn was established in 1828, and is a leading manufacturer of farm machinery. The Kuhn equipment pack provides 18 tools giving players more options for working with square or round bales.

The wide range of tools included in the pack will incorporate The ESPRO 3000. It was voted “Machine of the year 2015,” and will be the first three-meter direct seeding sowing machine in Farming Simulator 17. Other tools such as the SW 4014 and FBP 3135 will offer incredible functionality and variety for handling bales on the farm.

Others tools in the pack such as the Kuhn DC 401, HR 4004, BTF 4000 and TF 1500 can be combined. Players can use the TF 1500 as a seed tank in the front of their tractor, while the other three simultaneously cultivate, sow, and add a “plough state” to the field from the back.

Farming Simulator 17 Recieves Kuhn Equipment Pack DLC 1 Farming Simulator 17 Recieves Kuhn Equipment Pack DLC 2 Farming Simulator 17 Recieves Kuhn Equipment Pack DLC 3 Farming Simulator 17 Recieves Kuhn Equipment Pack DLC 4

According to Giants Software, in Farming Simulator 17, players take on the role of a modern farmer. They are set in an open world with loads of land to cultivate. Players can harvest many types of crops like sunflowers and soybeans. They have to take care of their livestock that includes cows, chickens and pigs, take part in forestry, and sell their products to expand their farm. They can also transport their goods with trucks and trailers or load and drive trains to reach their destination.

The Kuhn Equipment Pack DLC is available for download on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and Mac. It is also included in the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One Season Pass offer.

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Vikings – Wolves of Midgard Lands a Release Date https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/14/vikings-wolves-midgard-lands-release-date/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/14/vikings-wolves-midgard-lands-release-date/#respond Tue, 14 Feb 2017 18:20:39 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=95914

By Dondre Stewart

Game developer Games Farm announced the release date of Vikings – Wolves of Midgard. The game will launch on March 28, 2017 on the PlayStation 4. According to Games Farm, the action RPG follows a Viking whose clan is decimated by the Jotan. The player comes back from winter hunts to find his old chieftain […]

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By Dondre Stewart

Game developer Games Farm announced the release date of Vikings – Wolves of Midgard. The game will launch on March 28, 2017 on the PlayStation 4.

According to Games Farm, the action RPG follows a Viking whose clan is decimated by the Jotan. The player comes back from winter hunts to find his old chieftain dead and village in ruins. So now its up to the player to rebuild their home while fighting evil forces.

Games Farm also released a trailer for Vikings – Wolves of Midgard, showing a lot of the Diablo-inspired gameplay while displaying many of the features from game such as boss battles, two player online co-op and how to rebuild the villages.

In Vikings – Wolves of Midgard, players will have to think tactically when fighting bosses and be aware of surroundings as environments can have an affect on you. Freezing cold, poisonous fog and scorching heat can inflict damage on characters. Players can also collect resources and special runes. A key resource players will gather is blood. Players can use blood to level up, earn gift points and unlock a special called Gifts of the Gods.

Players will also have access to an ability called Rage Mode that is pretty much a crazy power up. It enhances many stats and abilities and players can upgrade it to ignore enemy defences or increase the rate of critical hits.

Vikings - Wolves of Midgard support two-player online co-op. There are also two new game modes called “Game+ Mode” and “The Trials of the Gods”. The former is a mode where players can upgrade their characters to the fullest, maxing out abilities, mastering all weapon sets, and collecting all the gear in the game. The former is a mode where players will fight through waves of bosses and characters to get special equipment and runes.

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First 15: Sniper Elite 4 https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/14/first-15-sniper-elite-4/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/14/first-15-sniper-elite-4/#respond Tue, 14 Feb 2017 18:00:27 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=95911

By Elias Blondeau

CGMagazine explores a fifteen-minute segment of Sniper Elite 4 for the PlayStation 4 from Rebellion.

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By Elias Blondeau

CGMagazine explores a fifteen-minute segment of Sniper Elite 4 for the PlayStation 4 from Rebellion.

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PewDiePie Dropped From Network And Reality Show Cancelled https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/14/pewdiepie-dropped-network-reality-show-cancelled/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/14/pewdiepie-dropped-network-reality-show-cancelled/#respond Tue, 14 Feb 2017 16:10:12 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=95888

By Cole Watson

As a result of PewDiePie's latest controversial videos, the most subscribed to YouTuber has been dropped from his network, Maker Studios, and Google has cancelled the second season of the Scare PewDiePie reality show for anti-Semitic behaviour. The story begins with PewDiePie, Felix Kjellberg, uploading videos about the crowd-funding site, Fiverr, in which he requested […]

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By Cole Watson

As a result of PewDiePie's latest controversial videos, the most subscribed to YouTuber has been dropped from his network, Maker Studios, and Google has cancelled the second season of the Scare PewDiePie reality show for anti-Semitic behaviour.

The story begins with PewDiePie, Felix Kjellberg, uploading videos about the crowd-funding site, Fiverr, in which he requested and paid multiple users to say or perform something he thought would be funny for his viewers. The joke went to far for Google and Maker Studios however when Kjellberg requested two Indian men to lift up a sign saying, "Death to all Jews" and subscribe to Keemstar. The video has since been removed and re-uploaded without ads.

PewDiePie Dropped From Network And Reality Show Cancelled 1

"I was trying to show how crazy the modern world is, specifically some of the services available online. I picked something that seemed absurd to me — that people on (crowd-sourcing platform) Fiverr would say anything for 5 dollars," wrote Kjellberg on Tumblr. “I think it’s important to say something and I want to make one thing clear: I am in no way supporting any kind of hateful attitudes."

After Google confirmed the cancellation of the second season of Scare PewDiePie, a YouTube spokesperson further said that Kjellberg's channel has been removed from Google Preferred, which is how the platform handles premium advertising. The complete first season of the reality show is still available on YouTube Red for purchase.

The following statement comes from a Maker Representative in response to Variety. “Although Felix has created a following by being provocative and irreverent, he clearly went too far in this case and the resulting videos are inappropriate. Maker Studios has made the decision to end our affiliation with him going forward.”

Despite having over 50-million subscribers on YouTube, Kjellberg's content may now be considered too toxic to other networks. Once the situation dies down, it will be interesting to see if Kjellberg censors his content and who picks up the channel along with its PR nightmare.

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New Injustice 2 Trailer Shows off Cat Woman, Poision Ivy and More https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/14/new-injustice-2-trailer-shows-off-cat-woman-poision-ivy/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/14/new-injustice-2-trailer-shows-off-cat-woman-poision-ivy/#respond Tue, 14 Feb 2017 16:04:06 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=95902

By Dondre Stewart

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment released a brand new trailer for the upcoming superhero fighting sequel Injustice 2. The new cinematic trailer titled “Here Come the Girls” features Black Canary, Cheetah, Catwoman, and Poison Ivy. It’s full of action and fighting sequences that shows tidbits of gameplay from each of the characters. The trailer starts with […]

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By Dondre Stewart

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment released a brand new trailer for the upcoming superhero fighting sequel Injustice 2.

The new cinematic trailer titled “Here Come the Girls” features Black Canary, Cheetah, Catwoman, and Poison Ivy. It’s full of action and fighting sequences that shows tidbits of gameplay from each of the characters.

The trailer starts with a cool stylistic intro for each character then transitions to Black Canary saying “I fight crime not commit it”. From there the screen splits into 3 showing actual gameplay from Black Canary. She ends it with her patented Canary Cry.

Then the trailer showcases Cheetah with her furious scratches which she has no problem telling her victims about when she shouts “My claws will cut you down.” The screen is split for Cheetah’s onslaught using footage from the actual game. It then shifts to a cinematic between Cheetah and Catwoman that leads to a flying entrance from Batman. This gives players a look at some of the pre-fight sequences in the game. Catwoman is introduced with a deadly assault of her whips and it transitions between a showdown with Poison Ivy. Poison Ivy is showcase doing deadly combos within her gameplay montage.

Lastly, the trailer unveils special moves from each of the DC superheroes, with Catwoman’s motorcycle attack taking the spot of most interesting as she grabs her enemy with her whip dragging them with her across the screen.

Injustice 2 is the sequel to Injustice: Gods Among Us and is being developed by Netherealm Studios, the developer behind Mortal Kombat. Players can choose their favourite super hero or villain from a massive roster of DC characters.  Injustice 2 will be available May 16, 2017 on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in Digital Deluxe, Ultimate, and Standard Edition. Eager Injustice fans can pre-order now and unlock Darkseid.

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Hook A Vulcan Up in Star Trek Timelines Valentine's Event https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/14/hook-a-vulcan-up-in-star-trek-timelines-valentines-event/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/14/hook-a-vulcan-up-in-star-trek-timelines-valentines-event/#respond Tue, 14 Feb 2017 15:00:24 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=95319

By Andrew Ko

After Star Trek Timelines new in-game Valentine’s Day event, “Season of Love,” kicks off this Thursday, player captains will have until February 20 to hook a Vulcan up. A merging of time and space has triggered the mysterious “pon farr” mating ritual, in which adult Vulcans undergo a neurochemical imbalance that takes on a form […]

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By Andrew Ko

After Star Trek Timelines new in-game Valentine’s Day event, “Season of Love,” kicks off this Thursday, player captains will have until February 20 to hook a Vulcan up.

A merging of time and space has triggered the mysterious “pon farr” mating ritual, in which adult Vulcans undergo a neurochemical imbalance that takes on a form of madness, culminating in a plak tow. If by small chance you’re not familiar with the term, the plak tow in Star Trek is a Vulcan phrase literally meaning “blood fever.” It is characterized by irrational and instinct driven behaviour, a combative nature and a high fever. Normally, a Vulcan in this state is unable to speak or think clearly, and the desire to mate was very strong and irresistible. Sound like a familiar Valentine’s Day? Read on.

Any Vulcan left unattended by players is at risk of becoming plak tow. The event runs from Feb. 16, 2017 to Feb. 20, 2017, so it looks like players will only have five days to get their groove on. Special Event Crew includes Ambassador Troi, Kal-if-fee Kirk, and Kal-if-fee Spock. Players have access to unique Federation Faction Missions, and using any version of Kirk, Spock, or Troi will provide a bonus to Federation Faction Missions. In addition, completing these missions will earn players Event Victory Points, which can be collected to unlock special Event Threshold Rewards that will be sent out at the end of the event. Finally, Players in a Squadron may now compete to advance up the Squadron leaderboard.

Disruptor Beam’s Star Trek Timelines is a mobile title featuring hundreds of characters, 3D ship battles, and an immense galaxy to explore. And so, along with the ability to command and upgrade iconic starships, assemble a crew, and explore the galaxy, the game is about to get a blast of a whole ‘lotta love.

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Expansion Pass Announced for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/14/expansion-pass-announced-legend-zelda-breath-wild/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/14/expansion-pass-announced-legend-zelda-breath-wild/#respond Tue, 14 Feb 2017 14:50:40 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=95890

By Cody Orme

With The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild launching on Mar. 3, 2017 on the Switch and Wii U, Nintendo announces fans will be able to purchase an “Expansion Pass” for extra content. In a post by Nintendo UK, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will cost players £17.99 or €19.99, which works […]

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By Cody Orme

With The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild launching on Mar. 3, 2017 on the Switch and Wii U, Nintendo announces fans will be able to purchase an “Expansion Pass” for extra content.

In a post by Nintendo UK, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will cost players £17.99 or €19.99, which works out to $22.42 USD, but no American price has been announced. The Expansion Pass will come in three waves with the first one “Expansion Pass Bonus” launching alongside the release of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. In this pack, players will receive three new treasure chests found in the Great Plateau containing exclusive garments for Link, along with some other items. The second pack is planned for summer 2017 and includes a new Cave of Trials, a hard mode, and an additional Map feature. The third pack launches in winter 2017 with a new story, dungeon and challenges.

Expansion Pass Announced for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

This is the first time Nintendo has gone down the season pass route, but they have regularly brought new content to the online mode for Splatoon, though those were free events, and they’ve brought DLC to other titles like Super Smash Bros. in the form of new characters. Interestingly enough, the hard mode was included in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD for no fee, while the Cave of Trials was included in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD with its packed in Wolf Link Amiibo. This might be a look into the future of how Nintendo will handle DLC going forward.

“The world of Hyrule which we created for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is so large and vibrant that we wanted to offer more for players to experience within it,” said The Legend of Zelda producer Eiji Aonuma in a press release on the Nintendo UK site. “With this new Expansion Pass, we hope that fans will play, explore and enjoy the game even more.”

Considering the DLC Pack 2 contains an all-new story mode, it feels like Nintendo is taking its first serious steps in providing support that players have become accustomed to on other platforms since the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 generation.  It's important to note that only the UK branch has promoted this news, while Nintendo of America has yet to announce anything.

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Opinion - Amazon's Anime Strike Doesn't Work https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/14/opinion-amazons-anime-strike-doesnt-work/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/14/opinion-amazons-anime-strike-doesnt-work/#respond Tue, 14 Feb 2017 12:00:50 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=95226

By Adam Nizam

A few weeks ago, Amazon announced a paid subscription service specifically for anime called Anime Strike. Although Amazon’s previous licensing efforts showed that they already had a clear interest in anime r, this is a new level of commitment to the medium that fans have never seen before. Normally, one of the biggest corporations in […]

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By Adam Nizam

A few weeks ago, Amazon announced a paid subscription service specifically for anime called Anime Strike. Although Amazon’s previous licensing efforts showed that they already had a clear interest in anime r, this is a new level of commitment to the medium that fans have never seen before. Normally, one of the biggest corporations in the world investing in anime would mean good things for fans, but the way that Amazon is approaching this new service is damaging for both viewers and the industry in general. Instead of offering it for free to Amazon Prime subscribers or as a standalone service, they’re taking an approach that demonstrates a blatant misunderstanding of the people who watch anime and what they’re willing to put up with.Opinion - Amazon's Anime Strike Doesn't Work

For those who don’t keep up with the streaming service battleground, there are two big players in anime streaming: Crunchyroll and Funimation. Crunchyroll can be used for free with ads, or as a paid premium ad-free service, while Funimation is exclusively premium. Other more “mainstream” services such as Hulu and Netflix also offer anime, but their library is relatively small in comparison to the big two. Recently, Crunchyroll and Funimation announced a partnership where they would be sharing their libraries, so competition in this arena is, for the most part, relatively scarce.

However, Anime Strike is still a new vendor in a crowded market. In order to access the entire library of legally streaming anime, fans need to subscribe to at least five services: Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Crunchyroll, and Funimation. The reality of the world today is that people don’t want to pay for networks anymore, they want to pay for streaming. So, the average TV watcher who only wants to watch sitcoms and dramas could probably survive with Netflix, Hulu, and one additional service such as HBO Go or Amazon Prime. However, people who want to watch anime legally face a streaming landscape so fractured that they typically have to pay for a service they don’t particularly care for just to watch one or two shows. The partnership between Crunchyroll and Funimation has allowed for less stress in that regard, but with the reveal of Anime Strike, things are only about to get worse from here.

Let me be clear, this is not about an unwillingness to pay for anime. The massive success of Crunchyroll shows that people are very much willing to pay for anime, provided the service functions well and can provide a good library. This about how much people are willing to pay for anime. To access Anime Strike, you have to pay $4.99 on top of the regular subscription price for Amazon Prime, for a total of $15. For comparison, a Crunchyroll premium membership costs $10 a month, while a Funimation membership costs $5 a month. This means that it now costs a total of $30 a month to get access to a full anime library. On its own, that doesn’t sound so bad, but this is assuming that the only thing anime fans spend money on is anime. While some of them do, the majority of them are also spending money on things such as video games, movies, and other streaming services. Plus, anime skews towards the younger audience, and we all know how well they’re doing financially these days. Asking them to pay more for Anime Strike than they do for any other streaming service while singlehandedly doubling the price of keeping up with anime is a tough sell.

Opinion - Amazon's Anime Strike Doesn't Work 1

This is all bad enough, but what is Anime Strike actually selling? Not much. While they do have the exclusive licenses to some great shows (Kino’s Journey, Princess Tutu, and Scum’s Wish being some), it’s nowhere near the extensive library of the cheaper Crunchyroll, Funimation, or even Hulu. The value simply isn’t there. If anything, locking a few good shows behind an expensive paywall will only encourage fans to seek these shows out through other alternative methods, which is the last thing the industry needs right now.

For several years, anime in western circles was a culture steeped in piracy. That’s subsided a bit recently, but it’s business decisions like Anime Strike that allow the culture to persist. Driving away everyone except the most loyal consumers doesn’t help anyone except the people who profit off of stealing other people's’ work. It’s good that Amazon is committing to anime as a business model, but this is not the way to go about it, and if anything will do more harm than good. Anime Strike as a concept isn’t unsalvageable, but if it fails, then Amazon will either have to re-examine their business model or come to the conclusion that anime isn’t worth investing in. Hopefully, it will be the former, because the latter would be a huge missed opportunity for Amazon, anime fans, and the industry in general.

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Most Anticipated PlayStation 4 Games of 2017 https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/14/anticipated-playstation-4-games-2017/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/14/anticipated-playstation-4-games-2017/#respond Tue, 14 Feb 2017 12:00:18 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=95148

By Helena Shlapak

2016 may not have been a great year for some people, but it’s time to make it up in 2017. This year is looking to be fantastic for the gaming industry, and there’s a whole slew of games out there in development. However, there’s plenty that release this year, and we've ranked our 9 (because […]

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By Helena Shlapak

2016 may not have been a great year for some people, but it’s time to make it up in 2017. This year is looking to be fantastic for the gaming industry, and there’s a whole slew of games out there in development. However, there’s plenty that release this year, and we've ranked our 9 (because 10 is too mainstream) most anticipate titles that are coming to the PlayStation 4.

Mass Effect: Andromeda

Five years after the release of Mass Effect III, BioWare Studios returns to their beloved franchise with Mass Effect: Andromeda. While this latest instalment is actually a midquel (taking place between Mass Effect II and Mass Effect III) and fans don't play as Commander Sheppard, the game allows players to see what was going on in the Andromeda galaxy. The player takes the role of Sara or Scott Ryder, and instead of only choosing between six character classes, they will now be able develop their own skills. Mass Effect: Andromeda also removes the morality scaling which allows the player more free reign in their conversations. Despite the mixed opinions of Mass Effect III, Mass Effect: Andromeda looks like it will inject new life into the franchise. Mass Effect: Andromeda launches on March 21, 2017.

Most Anticipated Games of 2017 Coming to PS4

Crash Bandicoot Remastered

The first three Crash Bandicoot games are finally getting the remaster treatment for the PlayStation 4 with the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy. The initial Crash Bandicoot game came out for the PlayStation in 1996, and was about a mutated Bandicoot named Crash as he explores Australia’s Wumpa Islands to stop the evil Doctor Neo Cortex from taking over the world. The insanely popular franchise spawned seven main games, three racing, two party, four spin-offs and a slew of mobile games. Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy is sure to revive nostalgia for adults, and bring new fans into the fold. Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy launches in 2017.

Most Anticipated Games of 2017 Coming to PS4 1

God of War

The God of War franchise is getting a soft reboot with this eighth instalment. The newest God of War game will now take place in the land of Norse Gods with Kratos and his son Arteus as they struggle to survive in this new world. God of War is a massive overhaul from its predecessors as the game will now take a more RPG approach. Some elements of the new game include archery and crafting and that the story will not be branching or have a morality system. With God of War getting this reboot, it will be interesting to see if the game will revive the series while enticing curious fans. Despite not having an official release date, it’s highly possible that God of War launches in 2017.

Most Anticipated Games of 2017 Coming to PS4 2

Prey

Originally developed as a sequel to the 2006 hit, Prey, this version of Prey is now a complete reboot. Set in the year 2032, players takes the role of Morgan Yu, a human aboard a space station called Talos I which orbits the moon. Yu is a key test subject in an experiment that will change humanity forever, but things go terribly haywire. As the space station becomes overrun with hostile aliens, Yu has no choice but to fight for their life and find a way to stop the alien threat. Yu must uncover the dark secrets of the Talos I and their own past, all while trying to survive by using the station's tools, weapons, their own wits and new-found abilities. Prey has an official launch date of May 1, 2017, and here’s hoping the success of this game prompts the sequel fans have waited for.

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Final Fantasy 7 Remake

Square Enix is completely remastering its ground-breaking, fan-favourite of the Final Fantasy Franchise, Final Fantasy VII. The remaster has been a long time coming since the early 2000’s but to be fair to Square Enix, Final Fantasy VII Remake isn’t just an updated port but a game completely built from the ground up. The game will follow the story exactly the same way as the original; Cloud Strife is a formal Shinra soldier who joins an eco-terrorist group to fight the Shinra Corporation who are draining the planet’s energy. It’s been 20 years since Final Fantasy VII initially released, and despite not hearing much on the remake, it’s a belief (and maybe hope) among retailers that Final Fantasy VII Remake will launch sometime in 2017.

Most Anticipated Games of 2017 Coming to PS4 4

Detroit: Become Human

Whether you’re a fan of David Cage games (Indigo Prophecy, Beyond Two Souls, Heavy Rain) or not, the man, at the very least, has some interesting concepts that attract curiosity. Cage is back at it again with his newest game, Detroit: Become Human. The game is about an android named Kara who escapes the factory she was made in to explore her new sentience. There will be several other playable characters in the game (all of them androids) and in David Cage fashion, the story changes depending on your choices. A Dev trailer came out in 2012 for Detroit: Become Human followed by an actual trailer in October of 2015. The game’s mysterious nature makes it highly anticipated and it appears that it will debut sometime in 2017.

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South Park: The fractured but Whole

After the astonishing success of South Park: The Stick of Truth in 2014, Ubisoft created a sequel which parodies superheroes. South Park: The Fractured but Whole, takes place after the first game and pits two groups of children superheroes against each other Captain America: Civil War style. The player will once again be tossed into a South Park episode and play a new kid who helps out the group. This time, the player can choose the new kid’s gender. South Park: The Fractured but Whole has been delayed twice now, but the general consensus is that the new game will still debut in 2017 (albeit, later than fans hoped).

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Outlast 2

The sequel to the terrifying, first-person, survival horror game, Outlast is definitely one fans have been dying for (get it? Because it's a horror game!). Outlast 2 follows a journalist named Blake as he follows the mystery of a murdered pregnant woman. Blake and his wife Lynn, crash in the Sonoran Desert, and now have to go through a remote village that hosts a cult that believes the end of days is upon them. Like this first game, the player won’t be able to fight, but unlike the first game, the player will have a better camera. The player can zoom, have clearer vision and audio detection. The player will even wear glasses that will inhibit Blake’s vision if they fall off. Outlast 2 was initially supposed to release in fall of 2016, and even though it doesn’t have an official date, developer Red Barrels said the game will release in Q1 2017. If you can’t wait, the demo is currently available.

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Horizon Zero Dawn

One of the few games on this list that’s launching this month, Horizon Zero Dawn is an ambitious title that focuses on the contrast between nature and technology. Horizon Zero Dawn is about a hunter and archer named Aloy as she struggles in a world overrun with robots. The player can craft items, explore an open world without loading times, and complete a great deal of side stories along with the main plot. Another new concept to the game is trial and error based play, meaning that there will be no tutorials. Horizon Zero Dawn won Best Original Game at the Game Critics’ Awards in 2015 and 2016 and with those honours, Horizon Zero Dawn is looking to be one of the better games released this year. Horizon Zero Dawn releases on Feb. 28, 2017.

Most Anticipated Games of 2017 Coming to PS4 8

With even more titles slated for a 2017 launch, it's always useful to check out the year's full release schedule.

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Flywrench Review - Addictive, Enthralling, and Ridiculously Difficult https://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/flywrench-review-addictive-enthralling-ridiculously-difficult/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/flywrench-review-addictive-enthralling-ridiculously-difficult/#respond Tue, 14 Feb 2017 07:00:00 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=95481

By Alex Avard

If you haven’t heard about Flywrench, then now’s the time to listen up. An action-puzzle experience from Messhof (the minds behind Nidhogg), Flywrench is addictive, enthralling, and ridiculously difficult all at once. You play as a ship (which, for all intents and purposes, looks like nothing more than a small white line) that can instantaneously […]

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By Alex Avard

If you haven’t heard about Flywrench, then now’s the time to listen up. An action-puzzle experience from Messhof (the minds behind Nidhogg), Flywrench is addictive, enthralling, and ridiculously difficult all at once.

You play as a ship (which, for all intents and purposes, looks like nothing more than a small white line) that can instantaneously transform itself between three different “states”, each signified by a distinct colour and movement pattern. Through the use of two buttons and the left analogue stick, players are able to flap like a bird, tumble and ricochet as a gyroscope, or simply ride with the momentum as the default white line. All of these manoeuvres must be deployed in tandem (usually within the space of a few seconds) to navigate the perilous contours of Flywrench’s 199 levels.

Adding to the challenge, your ship can only pass through certain lines by matching their colour (honestly, it’ll make more sense once you try the game for yourself). These are the rules set by Flywrench, and they provide the building blocks for a near endless possibility of challenging, finely-honed platforming experiences.

Flywrench Review - Addictive, Enthralling, and Ridiculously Difficult 1Flywrench’s tightly tuned control scheme means that, unlike Flappy Bird and the countless “hard” games that followed in its wake, Messhof establishes a steady and fulfilling learning curve, which rewards practice and commitment. Familiarising yourself with the design of each level, mastering your reaction speeds, and generally becoming more receptive to the behaviour of the spaceship all take time and effort, but the payoff is getting to enjoy a near endless number of levels set to a superb audio-visual backdrop.

And the music. Sweet maple, the music. Featuring tracks from a range of talented artists like Daedelus, Machinedrum, and more, the backtrack to the gameplay is a treasure trove of harmonious electronica, establishing a meditative soundscape to soothe the frustrations that accompany the inevitably frequent deaths experienced on the path to progress. What’s more, it corresponds perfectly with the hypnotic visuals of the game’s lo-fi art style.

Disappointingly, the popular level editor from the original PC release doesn’t feature in this transition to the PlayStation 4, but Messhof has admirably tried to sweeten the deal with the addition of 12 exclusive new levels. It’s a poor man’s substitute for the unlimited freedom of crafting and sharing your own designs, but Flywench already offers so much value for money that we’re willing to overlook the omission.

Score:9

Final Thoughts:Flywrench creates complex challenges through simple design structures, absorbing you into to its mesmerising gameplay for hours upon end.

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Freedom Humble Bundle Offers Over 40 Games https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/13/freedom-humble-bundle-offers-40-games/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/13/freedom-humble-bundle-offers-40-games/#respond Mon, 13 Feb 2017 20:42:14 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=95480

By Michael Koczwara

The latest announcement from Humble Bundle is making an impact with its Freedom Bundle, an offering that gives those who donate over 40 different games and 6 digital books. As it goes with every Humble Bundle, those who want to snag all of the games in this bundle have to pay a set price. While you still […]

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By Michael Koczwara

The latest announcement from Humble Bundle is making an impact with its Freedom Bundle, an offering that gives those who donate over 40 different games and 6 digital books.

As it goes with every Humble Bundle, those who want to snag all of the games in this bundle have to pay a set price. While you still get to pay what you want, the minimum this time around is $30 USD, and there aren't any payment tiers. Grouped together the games come to a value of over $600.

All the proceeds go to charity, and Humble Bundle specifically selected three different organizations that they say were "chosen for the work they do in defense of justice, human rights, and civil rights." These charities include the American Civil Liberties Union, the International Rescue Committee, and Doctors Without Borders. Those who pay for the bundle will be able to split the donations to each organization as they see fit. Humble Bundle also promises to match customer contributions up to $300,000.

This comes in light of recent U.S. immigration policy that has even affected the video game industry.

So, what games are included in this bundle? All are listed below, but keep in mind that Humble Bundle may add additional content throughout the week!

  • The Witness
  • Stardew Valley
  • Subnautica (Early Access)
  • Day of the Tentacle Remastered
  • Overgrowth (Early Access)
  • Nuclear Throne
  • Super Meat Boy
  • Octodad: Dadliest Catch
  • World of Goo
  • Mushroom 11
  • No Time to Explain
  • Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP
  • Super Hexagon
  • VVVVVV
  • Guacamelee Super Turbo Championship Edition
  • The Stanley Parable
  • The Swapper
  • Thirty Flights of Loving
  • Spirits
  • Human Resource Machine
  • ROCKETSROCKETSROCKETS
  • 2064: Read Only Memories
  • A Virus Named TOM
  • 7 Grand Steps
  • Mini Metro
  • Retro Game Crunch
  • Tower of Guns
  • Waking Mars
  • Song of the Deep
  • Monster Loves You
  • AI War: Fleet Command
  • Sproggiwood
  • Hot Tin Roof: The Cat That Wore A Fedora Deluxe
  • Ninja Pizza Girl
  • Secrets of
  • Raetikon
  • Girls Like Robots
  • Ellipsis
  • Robot Roller-Derby Disco Dodgeball
  • Streamline (Early Access)
  • Invisible, Inc.

The list of books include:

  • The Smart Girl's Guide to Privacy: Practical Tips for Staying Safe Online by Violet Blue
  • R in a Nutshell, 2nd Edition; The Boys, Vol. 1 by Garth Ennis
  • Any Empire by Nate Powell; A Little Gold Book of Ghastly Stuff by Neil Gaiman
  • Information Doesn't Want To Be Free by Cory Doctorow
  • Chapter One from Walkaway by Cory Doctorow

The Freedom Bundle will run just one week, ending on Feb. 20, 2017. If you have any interest in this awesome selection of games or in donating, jump on the opportunity now!

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Rebellion Wishes to Licence Games from 2000AD Comics https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/13/rebellion-wishes-licence-games-2000-ad-comics/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/13/rebellion-wishes-licence-games-2000-ad-comics/#respond Mon, 13 Feb 2017 19:00:36 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=95266

By Lane Martin

For a video game developer, publishing a popular comic book seems like a pretty good deal. You get invited to all the cool conventions, movies deals, and you don't have to jump through much red tape when you want to put out a game based on your comic. As an added bonus, when your sniper shooter […]

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By Lane Martin

For a video game developer, publishing a popular comic book seems like a pretty good deal. You get invited to all the cool conventions, movies deals, and you don't have to jump through much red tape when you want to put out a game based on your comic. As an added bonus, when your sniper shooter franchise starts taking up most of your time, you can still licence out your characters to other developers. That's exactly when Rebellion hopes to do with its 2000AD comic.

Rebellion has been putting out both the comic, 2000AD, and games featuring those characters since the early 2000's. Notably, these characters include Tharg the Mighty, Rogue Trooper, and, the most universally recognized of the lot, Judge Dredd. Rebellion has been pretty busy with its popular Sniper Elite franchise, and rightfully so. I have it on good authority that the most recent game in this franchise, Sniper Elite 4, is pretty darn good.

However, if the performance of 2012's film Dredd and the public's increasing demand for comic book properties, it seems like a game starring the titular judge doling out justice is practically necessary at this point. Furthermore, Rebellion hasn't been able to put out anything more than a mobile title since the regrettable Rogue Trooper was ported to the Wii in 2009.

So far no one has stepped forward to publicly throw their hat in the arena for this licence, and I'm not terribly surprised. Many of these characters are not terribly well known outside of their fan bases, and those fans can get pretty rabid. Furthermore, even the imposing Judge Dredd has had difficulty in the past make the transition to video games, garnering mediocre reviews and sometimes being thought of as cult classics at best.  Despite these hurdles, I'm sure that there will be some brave developer to take the reins and bring out something worthwhile, the question is who.

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The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Developers to Host GDC Panel https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/13/legend-zelda-breath-wild-developers-host-gdc-panel/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/13/legend-zelda-breath-wild-developers-host-gdc-panel/#respond Mon, 13 Feb 2017 16:13:49 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=95244

By CGM Staff

REDMOND, Wash.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Three developers behind The
Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will host a panel at
the upcoming Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. The panel,
“Change and Constant – Breaking Conventions with The Legend of Zelda:
Breath of the Wild,” will feature game director Hidemaro
Fujibayashi, art director Satoru Takizawa and technical director
Takuhiro Dohta. The panel is scheduled to be held 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
on March 1 at the Moscone Center.

For decades, The Legend of Zelda series has been recognized as a
trailblazer in game design that has influenced countless other games and
developers. The latest game in the series, The Legend of Zelda:
Breath of the Wild for both the Nintendo
Switch and Wii
U systems, introduces wide-ranging changes that break with many of
the traditional conventions of the franchise. The panel will provide an
in-depth look at how these convention-breaking changes were implemented.

The panel will take place two days before Nintendo Switch, Nintendo’s
new home system, and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
launch. For those who are not attending GDC, a video of the panel will
be available at http://www.gdcvault.com
the following week.

For more information about Nintendo Switch, visit http://www.nintendo.com/switch.
For more information about The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild,
visit http://www.zelda.com/breath-of-the-wild.

Note to editors: Nintendo press materials are available at http://press.nintendo.com,
a password-protected site. To obtain a login, please register on the
site.
Contacts
GolinRich George, 415-318-4342rgeorge@golin.comorEddie
Garcia, 213-335-5536egarcia@golin.com

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By CGM Staff

Three developers behind The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will host a panel at the upcoming Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. The panel, “Change and Constant – Breaking Conventions with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild,” will feature game director Hidemaro Fujibayashi, art director Satoru Takizawa and technical director Takuhiro Dohta. The panel is scheduled to be held 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on March 1 at the Moscone Center.

For decades, The Legend of Zelda series has been recognized as a trailblazer in game design that has influenced countless other games and developers. The latest game in the series, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for both the Nintendo Switch and Wii
U
systems, introduces wide-ranging changes that break with many of the traditional conventions of the franchise. The panel will provide an in-depth look at how these convention-breaking changes were implemented.

The panel will take place two days before Nintendo Switch, Nintendo’s new home system, and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild launch. For those who are not attending GDC, a video of the panel will be available at http://www.gdcvault.com the following week.

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Razer Unleashes Latest 2017 14" Blade Laptop https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/13/razer-unleashes-latest-2017-14-blade-laptop/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/13/razer-unleashes-latest-2017-14-blade-laptop/#comments Mon, 13 Feb 2017 14:46:20 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=95224

By Brendan Frye

Razer announced the latest version of the Razer Blade 14-inch gaming laptop, featuring the new Kaby-Lake CPU today.The Razer Blade line of gaming laptops have quickly become go-to laptop for gamers on the go since they were launched in 2011. They are powerful, comparatively light weight, and offer top of the line performance, all in […]

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By Brendan Frye

Razer announced the latest version of the Razer Blade 14-inch gaming laptop, featuring the new Kaby-Lake CPU today.The Razer Blade line of gaming laptops have quickly become go-to laptop for gamers on the go since they were launched in 2011. They are powerful, comparatively light weight, and offer top of the line performance, all in an attractive modern shell. Razer is continuing the trend going into 2017, with their latest offering of the 14-inch Blade.

This new model Blade boasts a series of improvements on last years model. The new, more powerful Kaby-Lake CPU is now under the hood, paired with faster memory, and the Nvidia 1060 GPU ensures even the most intensive gaming experiences should run smoothly and with little trouble. While the Full-HD 1080P screen is great for most players needs, Razer has also added a 4K touch-screen to the lineup, giving the people that demand the latest and greatest an option to experience the highest resolution available.

Razer Unleashes Latest 2017 14" Blade Laptop 4

Razer Unleashes Latest 2017 14" Blade Laptop 2 Razer Unleashes Latest 2017 14" Blade Laptop 3

The Razer Blade 14-inch also boasts 16 GB DDR4 dual-channel memory standard, running at 2400 MHZ, Killer Wireless-AC, Thunderbolt 3 connectivity along with an SSD that can be pushed to 1TB if you so choose.

Similar to past Razer Blade, and Razer Blade Stealth models, the 2017 Razer Blade 14-Inch comes with Razer Chroma standard. Allowing users to customise the look and style of the keyboard with a choice of 16.8 million colours that can be synchronised with in-game events or even work to visualize your favorite music.

“The Razer Blade sets the benchmark for performance in thin laptops,” says Min-Liang Tan, Razer co-founder and CEO. “More users embraced this flagship computer model in 2016 than ever before, and we are excited to make it even more available worldwide this year. Beyond gaming, it has been really gratifying to see people enjoying the power and portability of the Blade for video editing, music creation and software development.”

The new Razer Blade 2017 Full HD model is available from on the RazerZone.com along with the physical RazerStore in San Francisco, California now, with a starting price of $1,899 USD. For people that want to pick up the 4K model, you will need to wait until Q2 2017.

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Sniper Elite 4 Review – A Perfect Shot https://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/sniper-elite-4-review-perfect-shot/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/sniper-elite-4-review-perfect-shot/#respond Mon, 13 Feb 2017 13:00:38 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=95180

By Elias Blondeau

The Sniper Elite franchise has always struck just the right chord for me, personally, but I’ve never been able to wholeheartedly defend them as great games. Even as a fan of the campy violence, pitch-perfect sniping mechanics, and the simplistic thrill of shooting Nazis in the face, I’ve always felt a bit let down by […]

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By Elias Blondeau

The Sniper Elite franchise has always struck just the right chord for me, personally, but I’ve never been able to wholeheartedly defend them as great games. Even as a fan of the campy violence, pitch-perfect sniping mechanics, and the simplistic thrill of shooting Nazis in the face, I’ve always felt a bit let down by everything else about the series. Sniper Elite V2’s maps were often uninspired and linear, and its follow-up threw a bunch of mechanics into the mix that flatout detracted from the core experience. Naturally, then, I figured Sniper Elite 4 would be the same sort of situation – a pretty good game that I liked well enough, but came away wanting a little more from.

Sniper Elite 4 Review – A Perfect Shot 1

Imagine my surprise, then, that Rebellion has taken longtime criticism to heart and delivered a truly great game. Sniper Elite 4 feels like the culmination of this franchise’s potential, untapped since the series debuted twelve years ago. The added fat of Sniper Elite III has been trimmed, and the longstanding issues with non-sniping gameplay fixed – it’s a leaner, meaner take on a series I’ve been invested in for years.

From a narrative standpoint, even, Rebellion has upped the ante a bit. Yes, it’s still about Karl Fairburne acting as a one-man exterminator to a Nazi infestation, but the little bits and pieces surrounding that winning premise are more interesting than previous games. Players snipe, sneak, and stab their way through 1943 Italy, aiding a local resistance effort and enlisting the Mafia to push out the fascist regime. Karl destroys top-secret weapons, uncovers artillery caches, assassinates key Nazi figures, and generally makes himself a thorn in the Third Reich’s side.

But it’s in how Karl accepts these tasks that differs from past entries. There’s actually a supporting cast now, and not just a radio telling you what to do, or a solitary supporting character. These characters, while not deep by any stretch of the imagination, give Karl people to play off of, which in turn makes him a bit more of a compelling protagonist. It’s a similar move to the route Wolfenstein: The New Order took, turning its archetype of a protagonist into something more nuanced and satisfying to take control of. Also similar to that 2013 title is a surprising knack for female characterization, exemplified in Sofia, an Italian resistance leader. In an age where “strong female character” means “sexy and has a lot of daddy issues,” Sofia is a compelling snapshot of a woman in wartime. She’s on the same playing field as all the male characters – gruff, resilient, and not sexualized. Even if she is a side character, I wanted to see more of her, and found her to be one of the more memorable female characters as of late.

Sniper Elite 4 Review – A Perfect Shot 4

That said, Sniper Elite 4’s true strength lies not in its perfectly adequate narrative, but in its exceptional gameplay. In a post-Phantom Pain world, it’s an unenviable task to make a third-person stealth title. Yet Rebellion, with over a decade of experience in this genre under their belt, has produced a mechanically sound game that offers players a wealth of variety and depth. While previous attempts at implementing gameplay other than “aim down a scope and splatter some brains/lungs/testicles” have yielded mixed results, those attempts are knocked out of the park here. Maneuvering Karl never feels clunky or awkward, whether he’s doing parkour, slitting throats, or holding his own in the middle of a firefight. Whether a player wants to lure Nazis into landmines, sneak up behind them with a silenced pistol, or simply engage them head-on, the gameplay holds up across every imaginable situation. In a series sold on one core gimmick, the variety here is kind of staggering, and undoubtedly impressive.

Yet that core gimmick is still great, and better here than ever before. Sniping in Sniper Elite 4 is one of the most satisfying mechanics in a video game, period. It’s a tighter, pared-down version of the mechanics we’ve seen since V2, complete with monitoring Karl’s heart rate and holding breath for accuracy. Gone are the confusing “sniper nests,” the awkward “Ghost” system, the unclear detection by enemies found in III. There are fewer systems to worry about when looking down the sight and firing off a round here – it’s more arcade-esque, in line with something like Konami’s Silent Scope. It’s easy to pick up and learn, but there’s plenty of room to learn how to take the perfect shot.

From that simplification, though, springs a natural depth. Players take a shot, and if the sound isn’t masked, enemies begin to investigate their position. It’s up to them how to progress from there. Do they keep scrambling for new vantage points? Do they fire off a shot only to lure Nazis into traps? Do they want to gun down the investigating troops with an assault rifle or shotgun? The choices aren’t endless, of course, but they are abundant, and make for some fun replays of maps.

Speaking of maps, Sniper Elite 4’s are the biggest in the series. While III flirted with the idea of a more open approach to the franchise, the level of depth present in each area is kind of astounding. Dense forests that give way to housing encampments, trainyards that give way to fully explorable buildings and several dockyards, beaches surrounded by winding towns – every mission managed to surprise me with its sense of scale. It helps that this is a gorgeous game, offering lush textures and dynamic lighting effects that rarely impact the high framerate on consoles. Oh, and the franchise’s hallmark X-Ray kills are better than ever – delightfully bloody and unrealistic, with hilarious splashes of plasma and dramatic bone shatters that magically explode out of people’s bodies.

Sniper Elite 4 Review – A Perfect Shot 6
With Sniper Elite 4, a franchise that I’ve long considered to be “good” has officially become “great.” The myriad improvements to the stealth mechanics, the pitch-perfect sniping, the sprawling maps, the side content – it shows bigger games with more money thrown at them a thing or two about how to do things. It’s a title I’ll be replaying and tooling around in for quite some time to come, and any diehard stealth junkies should follow suit.

Score:8.5

Final Thoughts:Sniper Elite 4 is the best entry in Rebellion’s long-running franchise yet, and a great title for fans of stealth gaming.

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D.Va Explained: From K-Pop Star to Mech Warrior https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/13/dva-explained-k-pop-star-mech-warrior/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/13/dva-explained-k-pop-star-mech-warrior/#respond Mon, 13 Feb 2017 12:00:36 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=95193

By Andrew Ko

Hana Song, the 19-year old ex-StarCraft pro from South Korea, is a celebrity. A poster of Song’s starring role in the movie Hero of My Storm gleams of her star personality in Overwatch's version of Hollywood. She streams all of her combat operations live to a global crowd and advertisements for them are found strewn across […]

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By Andrew Ko

Hana Song, the 19-year old ex-StarCraft pro from South Korea, is a celebrity. A poster of Song’s starring role in the movie Hero of My Storm gleams of her star personality in Overwatch's version of Hollywood. She streams all of her combat operations live to a global crowd and advertisements for them are found strewn across the walls of Hanamura. On them, plastered in large text, is her stage name: D.Va. The name rings with bunny-hopping personality a contrasts the cold reality of other characters like Widowmaker, who says of her, “This is no place for children.” And with flags decorated in her honour, and a virtual production line of fan art, fiction, and cosplay for a game that boasts 25 million players, the celebrity of D.Va reaches far past Overwatch’s fourth wall.

Blizzard gave her this sensationalistic design for good reason. Her design reflects South Korea’s national spirit, which is also sensationalistic. It’s evident the company delved into Korean culture to bring forth a figure with a respect and attention to detail the country deserves. Though this is hard to see at first, considering how easy it is to foxhole D.Va as a made-for-face character model—forgivable, considering her bubble-gum blowing, wink-to-the-fans attitude. But, as opposed to the West, where brazen pop stars could be seen as ditsy byproducts of commercialization, the people of South Korea take great pride in them. Westerners would be surprised to find that the South Korean government is known to earmark “1 per cent of the national budget to spending on subsidies and low-interest loans to cultural industries, launching agencies to promote and expand K-Pop exports.” The line up of girl groups in Korea show similar gun-shot gestures, winky faces, and accentuating half-leans—D.Va would fit right in standing beside superstar Seolhyun Kim of AOA on a soju advert, or participating in celebrity pop star archery games beside Lee Hyeri of Girl’s Day.

D.Va Explained: From K-Pop Star to Mech WarriorThe key to understanding why South Koreans are so involved in entertainment lies in the concept of what they call “Hallyu.” Hallyu literally translates to the “flow of Korea,” and the term originated in the late 90s from Beijing journalists who noticed the incredible speed of the growing popularity of Korean entertainment and culture at the time. Even further back than that, Korea’s deep sense of pride really began following the Korean War, when the country transformed from one of the poorest in the world to a developed, high-income economy in the span of a single generation. The miraculous economic expansion, commonly called the “Miracle on the Han River,” culminated in the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul. Koreans saw the event as a sort of coming-of-age moment for the nation, where they could display their newfound wealth, announcing their presence on the world stage. South Korea remains one of the fastest growing developed countries in the world today, and entertainment is one of their greatest exports. That’s where the role of celebrities comes in; they are the industry’s ambassadors.

Much like how D.Va is seen starring in Overwatch’s Hollywood productions, Korean celebrities are seen crossing multiple mediums in order to get as much exposure and brand-name recognition as possible. So, D.Va’s streams, audacious personality, and hued aesthetic are mired in that culture of spreading the Korean brand. Such star power is then used to forward the consumption and export of other Korean products, from electronics to food, further bolstering the strength of the country. To use statistics to give a sense of all this, a poll conducted by the BBC in 2012 tracked public opinion of South Korea and showed it improved every year since data started being collected in 2009: “in countries such as Russia, India, China, and France, public opinion of South Korea turned from ‘slightly negative’ to ‘generally positive’ and the increase in ‘soft power’ corresponded with a surge in exports of $4.3 billion USD in 2011.”

D.Va’s story of global stardom begins with her professional gaming career. In a clever marketing move by Blizzard, an official StarCraft II World Championship Series profile of D.Va shows that, at age 16, she “became the #1 ranked player in the world and proceeded to go undefeated for the next three years in all competitions.” Meanwhile, 20 years prior to present day Overwatch, the South Korean government developed a mechanized armoured drone unit called MEKA (Mobile Exo-force of the Korean Army) to protect their shores from recurring attacks by a colossal omnic monstrosity that rose from deep in the East China Sea. As the omnic continued to adapt, it eventually disrupted MEKA’s drone-controlled networks, and forced the military to place pilots in the mechs. Suitable candidates were found in professional gamers like Song, who possessed the necessary reflexes and instincts to operate the mechs’ advanced weapon systems, evoking an East-Asian ancestry of young teens using their skills to defend against giant monsters. Traces can be drawn to Hideaki Anno’s Evangelion series, Bong Joon-ho’s The Host, and even Guillermo Del Toro’s interpretation in Pacific Rim.

D.Va Explained: From K-Pop Star to Mech Warrior 1

It introduces yet another national Korean tradition: conscription. South Korea currently administers about two years of compulsory military service for males between ages 18-35. D.Va’s inclusion in South Korea’s militaristic activities in Overwatch’s fictional future paints quite an inspiring picture for women’s equality. It’s this attention to culture and respect for women that has allowed the character to become the mascot for The National D.Va Association, an organization which made headlines recently after their flag appeared in a photo at the Women’s March in Seoul. The National D.Va Association “first started off as a feminist gamer group, gathered to voice our opinions about (currently ex-) President Park Geun Hyu,” a member of the group known as Nine told Polygon in an interview. The group chose D.Va as its symbol owing to an earlier incident where a 17-year-old female Overwatch player named Geguri was accused of cheating for having an 80 per cent win rate. The accusers, professional Overwatch players, could not believe she was so skilled. “So we decided to act for feminism under her emblem, so that in 2060, someone like D.Va could actually appear,” Nine said about the organization.

But beyond being a feminist icon, perhaps D.Va’s greatest aspect is simply being a three-dimensional human. D.Va’s voice actor, Charlett Chung, said of the character, “"in terms of representation of Asian-American characters in video games, particularly women, they might be over-sexualized—and I don't know if I'm being too candid here—I feel like D.Va is more of a real person. She happens to have some sex appeal, but that's not why she's in the game. She's not there to be an exotic lotus." Players can get a glimpse behind the defense-matrix that is the persona of “D.Va,” into the heart of Hana Song, when she says in Eichenwalde map, “The destruction caused by the omnics here reminds me of home”—for a moment, the perception of an ever-smiling D.Va is shattered. It makes the audience remember the loss she must have seen as a child in South Korea. And now, as a streamer, she carries the weight of being a face of hope. It’s a face that must appear positive at all cost because she represents something far beyond her own brand—an experience touchingly reminiscent of the Marilyn Monroe line, “Do you want to see me be her?”

D.Va Explained: From K-Pop Star to Mech Warrior 4

On a more colourful tone, Overwatch’s recent “Year of the Rooster” Lunar New Year’s event further celebrates Korea’s traditional culture by introducing a new skin in which D.Va dons a hanbok; a decorative Korean dress characterized by vibrant colours and simple lines. She stands in front of her mech, which is in the style of an East-Asian palanquin, and holds out a pouch of coins. The coins celebrate a New Year’s tradition in which Elders reward children who give them New Year’s blessings with envelopes or silk bags of money. As for D.Va’s default get-up, the inspiration probably takes from the current popular Korean fashion-trend of wetsuits.

Subtle as the detail may be, it’s the cherry on top of Blizzard’s sensitivity to both the national and stylistic elements of Korean culture. They have created a character Korea can be proud of. And with Koreans as the top Overwatch players in the world, the only irony remaining is that D.Va’s top player is American. But here’s hoping that this deep-dive into D.Va’s relationship with her home country clarifies just a bit as to why she doesn’t look like the stereotypical dorito-munching, mountain-dew guzzling gremlin gamer traipsing around Tumblr-town in all her glory.

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Justice League vs. Suicide Squad Rebirth - Comic Review https://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/justice-league-vs-suicide-squad-rebirth-comic-review/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/justice-league-vs-suicide-squad-rebirth-comic-review/#respond Sun, 12 Feb 2017 16:00:51 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=95172

By Boyd Reynolds

The Justice League (in all its incarnations) has gone up against many formidable foes over the decades. The Legion of Doom, Darkseid and his Parademons, the Crime Syndicate, Doomsday, Despero, White Martians, The Injustice League, Secret Society of Super Villains, and of course their first foe way back in 1960, Starro. But in DC Comics […]

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By Boyd Reynolds

The Justice League (in all its incarnations) has gone up against many formidable foes over the decades. The Legion of Doom, Darkseid and his Parademons, the Crime Syndicate, Doomsday, Despero, White Martians, The Injustice League, Secret Society of Super Villains, and of course their first foe way back in 1960, Starro. But in DC Comics Rebirth, they must face off against their most motley crew yet: the Suicide Squad.

Suicide Squad has come to prominence over the last few years and hit its pop culture zenith with the Suicide Squad feature film last August. Couple that with the release of a Justice League movie this Fall and DC has a no-brainer—pit two of their most popular teams against one another and you might have a hit on your hands.

Luckily for fans of DC Comics, they do.

Justice League vs. Suicide Squad Rebirth - Comic Review 1Justice League vs. Suicide Squad begins with a security breach at a penitentiary hidden away in Death Valley. What has been unleashed will cause a headache for both the Justice League and Suicide Squad, but mostly for Amanda Waller. At this same time, Batman lets his Justice League super friends in on Waller’s secret pet project: the Suicide Squad. They have been working right under the Justice League’s nose and it’s time to pay up. Thus setting up the Justice League vs. Suicide Squad Round 1. But this is only half of their troubles. What has been unleashed from the Death Valley pen will cause the greatest fervour and the fate of the planet is at stake.

Justice League vs. Suicide Squad is a terrific mini-series. Its main storyline follows both teams in Justice League vs. Suicide Squad #1-6. If that wasn’t enough, there are 5 comic tie-ins: Suicide Squad #8-10 and Justice League #12-13. That’s a total of 11 comics. This could easily be too much—a series that goes on and on and on. But it never falls into that routine.  The story is tight and only complemented with the Suicide Squad and Justice League side issues. Those issues add fantastic layers to the main conflict, following the lives of Max Lord, Lobo, Steve Trevor, Killer Frost and the one and only, Amanda Waller.

Justice League vs. Suicide Squad #1-6 are written by Joshua Williamson. Tim Seeley pens the Justice League tie-ins, with Rob Williams and Si Spurrier penning Suicide Squad tie-ins. Williamson, taking on the meat of the storyline, has created a gem. For a story of this magnitude, housing these two colossal teams could have gone sideways fast. Countless stories with too much billing end up falling flat. That never happens with Justice League vs. Suicide Squad. The tie-ins bring a depth to both the main storyline and character development.

The only issue with Justice League vs. Suicide Squad is the climax. Ending the worldwide threat happens a little too quickly and with some predictability. Aside from that, the series is the one to read thus far in 2017.

Justice League vs. Suicide Squad Rebirth - Comic Review 2Justice League vs. Suicide Squad uses a unique approach with its illustrators. Each of the 6 issues utilizes a different artist. Illustrators Jason Fabok, Tony S. Daniel, Jesus Merino, Fernando Pasarin, Robson Rocha, and Howard Porter all have their piece of the superhero pie. Their work transitions so well from one issue to the next it’s hard to tell when there was a change of artist. Not to be outdone, illustrators Christian Duce and Scot Eaton dazzle in Justice League; Riley Rossmo, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Francesco Mattina, and Giuseppe Cafaro do an exceptional job bringing Suicide Squad to life.

Make a new New Year’s Resolution for yourself. If you haven’t read Justice League vs. Suicide Squad yet—do it! It’s time well spent.

Score:8.5

Final Thoughts:If you haven’t read Justice League vs. Suicide Squad yet – do it!

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Candleman Review - A Cute Must Play Masterpiece https://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/candleman-review-cute-must-play-masterpiece/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/candleman-review-cute-must-play-masterpiece/#respond Sat, 11 Feb 2017 15:00:11 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=95166

By Jed Whitaker

Until recently, consoles hadn't been sold in China, but now that they are, we are starting to slowly but surely get games developed for consoles by Chinese developers. Candleman is one such game, and guess what? It is bloody brilliant, and the best 3D platformer I've played since Super Mario 64! You play as Candleman, […]

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By Jed Whitaker

Until recently, consoles hadn't been sold in China, but now that they are, we are starting to slowly but surely get games developed for consoles by Chinese developers. Candleman is one such game, and guess what? It is bloody brilliant, and the best 3D platformer I've played since Super Mario 64!

You play as Candleman, a thick little candlestick with legs attached to his holder who is on a quest to find out the meaning of life and why he exists—deep stuff for a game about a walking and talking candle man (why not a candle person? I don't know).

Not very 'light-hearted' considering you're a candle—pun intended.

Candleman Review - A Cute Must Play Masterpiece 1

Stage titles are verses of a poem that tells the tale of Candleman, with every other line revealed by collecting all the candles in each stage. While this alone is cute and effective, there are also adorable little cutscenes with a female narrator telling us Candleman's feelings and thoughts. The story will surely strike a chord with many people, as who hasn't questioned their purpose in life? I will caution, however, that the ending will surely shock some players, as it did me. I definitely had to take a moment to collect my thoughts after seeing it, which isn't really a bad thing but certainly not what I thought would happen.

To find Candleman's answer players will be platforming across levels that take place in beautiful locales such as a water-logged ship rocking back and forth, a jungle with giant vines and flowers, a library with massive stacks of books, and so on. As these levels are mostly dark so Candleman must burn his wick to momentarily light his path, however, he can only do so for ten seconds total in each stage.

If that sounds annoying, let me assure you that it isn't. Candleman himself can easily be made out pretty much the whole time, and the level is also scattered with non-living candles that players can light to help guide the way. Most of the time I found myself just quickly tapping the button to light up my surrounding for a moment before continuing, just to see any obstacles in my way. Each level offers a new way to use the flame that keeps things feeling fresh and interesting until the thrilling and dramatic end. The jungle level has giant flowers that instantly bloom when lit by Candleman's light, while another level has invisible platforms that only appear for a brief moment after being lit.

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The actual platforming controls are tight and intuitive. I never felt like my deaths were unfair or due to me playing with the controls. That said I didn't have much trouble dying at all as Candleman is pretty easy aside from a stage or two. I even managed to get all the achievements and 100 per cent completion without much fuss as they simply require players to complete levels with all the candles lit, which isn't exactly hard to do. If you're looking for a challenge, look elsewhere.

However, if you're looking for an adorable game with tight platforming, a unique lighting mechanic, fantastic graphics and level design that constantly introduces new gameplay elements, then Candleman is for you. Just be wary of an ending that is possibly the darkest closure to one of the cutest games I've ever played. Pun intended.

Score:9.5

Final Thoughts:If you're looking for an adorable game with tight platforming, a unique lighting mechanic, fantastic graphics and level design then Candleman if for you.

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Pixels & Ink #235 - Justice for E3 https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/10/pixels-ink-235-justice-e3/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/10/pixels-ink-235-justice-e3/#respond Sat, 11 Feb 2017 00:09:05 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=95201

By Cody Orme

On this Episode of the Pixels and Ink Podcast brought to you by Comics Gaming Magazine, Cody, Brendan and Phil talk E3 being open to the public, Nicolas Winding Refn's new project and more. Phil watched Justice League Dark and The Lego Batman Movie, while Brendan played Nioh, and Cody played Urban Empire.

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By Cody Orme

On this Episode of the Pixels and Ink Podcast brought to you by Comics Gaming Magazine, Cody, Brendan and Phil talk E3 being open to the public, Nicolas Winding Refn's new project and more. Phil watched Justice League Dark and The Lego Batman Movie, while Brendan played Nioh, and Cody played Urban Empire.

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Steam Dropping Greenlight, Adopting New Model https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/10/steam-dropping-greenlight-adopting-new-model/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/10/steam-dropping-greenlight-adopting-new-model/#respond Fri, 10 Feb 2017 18:27:31 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=95159

By Cody Orme

While generally, Steam is considered the most efficient way to purchase games for your PC, many users have complaints with the service. In reaction such grievances, Steam announced they are removing Steam Greenlight and replacing it with another style of distribution. In a release on the Steam News page, the company announced Steam Greenlight will […]

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By Cody Orme

While generally, Steam is considered the most efficient way to purchase games for your PC, many users have complaints with the service. In reaction such grievances, Steam announced they are removing Steam Greenlight and replacing it with another style of distribution.

In a release on the Steam News page, the company announced Steam Greenlight will be replaced with the service “Steam Direct”. Steam Direct is slated for a spring 2017 launch and will work as a direct sign-up service for developers. While the service is still being hammered out, the post outlines a set of rules for developers to follow.

“We will ask new developers to complete a set of digital paperwork, personal or company verification, and tax documents similar to the process of applying for a bank account,” reads the news briefing on Steam.

Steam Direct will also require a publishing fee from developers, which, based on conversations with said content creators, could range from $100 to $5, 000, though it doesn’t seem to be concrete yet. Steam admits they want more feedback on that front.

Steam Greenlight has been a bit of a sour point with fans in recent years. Allowing any developer to add their game to the steam market regardless of quality. Steam admitted that the company moved away from more of a storefront model to a “direct distribution” model, making it easier for lesser quality titles to slip through the cracks. “Asset Flipping” became a common theme among many greenlight titles, making it harder for quality games to really make a name on the storefront.

“To solve these problems a lot of work was done behind the scenes, where we overhauled the developer publishing tools in Steamworks to help developers get closer to their customers. Other work has been much more visible, such as the Discovery Updates and the introduction of features like user reviews, discovery queues, user tags, streamlined refunds, and Steam Curators,” reads the news post.

Still, Steam admits they’ve learned a lot from the Greenlight experiment, stating that they’ve learned some of the playing habits of their users.

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The Lego Batman Movie Review - The Best Batman in Almost A Decade https://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/lego-batman-movie-review-best-batman-almost-decade/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/lego-batman-movie-review-best-batman-almost-decade/#respond Fri, 10 Feb 2017 16:31:00 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=95154

By Phil Brown

Right now, Warner Brothers’ big blockbuster The Batman is in trouble, seeking a director and desperately searching for a script that will somehow deliver a Bat-film that will make audiences at least pretend that they are ok with the fact that the Christopher Nolan era is over.The studio shouldn’t be too concerned though because over […]

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By Phil Brown

Right now, Warner Brothers’ big blockbuster The Batman is in trouble, seeking a director and desperately searching for a script that will somehow deliver a Bat-film that will make audiences at least pretend that they are ok with the fact that the Christopher Nolan era is over.The studio shouldn’t be too concerned though because over in the animation wing they just delivered a Batman flick that should please anyone with a passing or unhealthily obsessive relationship with The Caped Crusader. The Lego Batman Movie is a sheer giddy geeky delight. A loving piss-take on the most emo and human of superheroes that pays homage to all of the shadowy secrets and trauma hiding in the Batcave, while also delivering the goofiest rendition of the character since Adam West hung up his sweaty tights. Like The Lego Movie before it, this flick is somehow both a massive plastic toy advertisement and a glorious celebration of playing in a sandbox with pop culture icons. If you like Batman and don’t like The Lego Batman Movie there’s a chance that you don’t have a soul (well either that or you’re Joel Schumacher and are insanely jealous that somehow a good version of Batman & Robin now exists).

The Lego Batman Movie Review - The Best Batman in Almost A Decade 5

Things kick off with a hilarious parody of the super serious superhero blockbusters that Warner Brothers cranks out in earnest as Will Arrnett’s hilariously growly Batman sets up the “dark” world of Gotham City. From there, Zach Galifianakis’ plastic Joker rounds up almost every villain in Batman history (from Catwoman to Condiment Man) for a massive evil attack that good old Batman beats entirely by himself. Then Batty goes home to his massive cave n’ mansion and is utterly alone. The dark loner needs friends. That much is certain. He gets a pair of potential pals in Barbara Gordon’s (Rosario Dawson) new upstart police commissioner, along with a little precocious orphan boy named Dick (Michael Cera). Despite Alfred (Ralph Fiennes) desperately trying to get Batman to make friends, the tortured hero refuses. Obviously, there’s a lesson to be learned there. And he’s going to need to learn it quick too since The Joker’s new plan involves bringing in villains from a variety of other pop culture properties (all conveniently owned by Warner Brothers) that could finally destroy Gotham once and for all. What could possibly happen?

First things first, The Lego Batman movie is absolutely friggin’ hilarious. Unfortunately, commitments to a little franchise known as Star Wars meant that Lego Movie directors Chris Miller and Phil Lord only served as producers on this spin-off, but thankfully they left this baby in the right hands. A five-headed team of veteran comedy writers, and Robot Chicken director Chris McKay gamely stepped in to recapture that magical balance of anarchistic parody and loving homage. The movie throws jokes of every size, shape, and style at the screen seemingly every second. There are goofy visual gags for the kids, deep cut Batman references for the nerds, clever pop culture parodies for the parents, hysterical voice cameos for the comedy nerds, delightful dialogue for the verbally-minded, satire for the smart, farts for the dumb, and everything in between. The movie is relentless in its desire to entertain. The CGI-as-Lego-stop-motion visuals are just as eye-ticklingly delightful as they were in The Lego Movie and the action is every bit as ambitious and exciting. If you’re bored at any time during the proceedings, that’s your fault.

The Lego Batman Movie Review - The Best Batman in Almost A Decade 6

The filmmakers are also clearly enamoured with Batman. There are references to every single form of Batmedia to date in comics, film, television, and cliffhanger serials. Some are remarkably obscure, like the deep cut comic book villains, and the clever in-joke of casting Billy Dee Williams as Two-Face to fill the role he never got to play in the Burton Batflicks. There are certainly references to the dark n’ tortured Frank Miller/Christopher Nolan Batman, but only mockingly. If anything this is a modern equivalent of the old Adam West series. This is pure pop art, unabashedly self-aware and yet mocking everything with a sense of love. It’s complex enough for kids and goofy enough for adults (maybe that should be the other way around. Nope, nevermind. That’s right). If anything, the movie can sometimes be a little too in love with referencing pop culture, especially when the all-star villain team arrives. However, the worst you can say there is that it’s too much of a good thing. It’ll likely take several viewings to catch all the winks and in jokes, even for the most devoted nerd.

Yet, like the old Adam West Batman series, if there’s a problem here it’s that The Lego Batman Movie is so arch, ironic, and self-aware that there isn’t much room for heart. The story about Batman learning to embrace a family is one that’s been told endlessly in the comics, and the message of accepting others over selfish loner-dome is a family film cliché. Sure, it works. Michael Cera’s comically annoying, yet ultimately lovable Robin is the best big screen version of the character since the 60s. In fact, the movie shows that with jokes that are actually funny and a cast that cares, Joel Schumacher’s vision of Gotham might have worked. However, that message making is so telegraphed in the third act that it can feel a bit false and irritating. Sadly, the filmmakers couldn’t match the emotional pull of The Lego Movie and strive for much depth beyond their big old pop art explosion.

The Lego Batman Movie Review - The Best Batman in Almost A Decade 4

That’s OK though. The Lego Batman Movie isn’t pretending to be anything other than pure giddy fun and good lord does it ever deliver. The movie should please those exhausted with superheroes as much as those who can’t get enough of caped crimefighting adventures. It’s somehow both the best superhero movie parody of the era and the best Batman movie in almost a decade. The filmmakers pulled everything that they loved about the character, dressed it in Lego, shoved it in a blender, and delivered the best possible form of blockbuster bliss. Sure, the movie has about as much depth as the face of a Lego figure, but who cares. When a Batman movie can serve up this much fun again, we’re all winners. Instead of struggling to pull together another Ben Affleck Batflick by a rushed release date, Warner Brothers should just make another one of these instead.

Score:8

Final Thoughts:Amongst many other glorious things, The Lego Batman Movie is somehow a good version of Batman & Robin, which shouldn’t be possible.

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Koei Tecmo Releases New Info on Toukiden 2 https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/10/koei-tecmo-releases-new-info-on-toukiden-2/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/10/koei-tecmo-releases-new-info-on-toukiden-2/#respond Fri, 10 Feb 2017 16:01:18 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=95130

By Helena Shlapak

Koei Tecmo, the company behind the Dead or Alive Franchise, has released more information on their newest game, Toukiden 2 including plot details, screenshots, video, weaponry and best of all, a release date. The sequel to the monster-hunting, medieval Japan game Toukiden: The Age of Demons, now centres on the seemingly peaceful village of Mahoroba […]

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By Helena Shlapak

Koei Tecmo, the company behind the Dead or Alive Franchise, has released more information on their newest game, Toukiden 2 including plot details, screenshots, video, weaponry and best of all, a release date.

The sequel to the monster-hunting, medieval Japan game Toukiden: The Age of Demons, now centres on the seemingly peaceful village of Mahoroba but the town is plagued with internal conflict. The town is tasked with protecting the Shrine Maiden, Kagura, but Mahoroba’s two rival clans– the Imperial Guard and Samurai- battle for supremacy and risk the safety and future of the town. In an effort to keep the peace, the Holy Mount sends its own force of Slayers but their presence raises further tensions. However, a new Slayer mysteriously appears on the outskirts of Mahoroba and the question remains; will this Slayer unite the clans or will the conflict tear the world apart?

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As players battle the monsters and other various foes in Toukiden 2, they will be able to customize their weaponry to suit their combat style. There will be a new and wide variety of swords, spears, knives, gauntlets, chain-sickles (kusarigama), bows, clubs, polearms, and rifles. The game is even adding a sword and shield option, along with a chain whip that wasn’t available in Toukiden: The Age of Demons. All the weapons have special abilities and can be personalized and enhanced with the souls of fallen warriors. Those souls can even enhance the player’s powerful Demon Hand in Attack, Defence, Speed, Healing and Control. Also new to Toukiden 2, the player will be able to summon Oni to help them in their battles by either attacking or distracting enemies however, the player will only be able to summon three Oni at a time.

Toukiden 2 is set to release on March 21, 2017 for the PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita and for PC.

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Sony Patents Vive like Tracking System for PSVR https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/10/sony-patents-vive-like-tracking-system-psvr/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/10/sony-patents-vive-like-tracking-system-psvr/#comments Fri, 10 Feb 2017 14:25:40 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=95116

By Brendan Frye

The world of VR has been divided into two camps, the one that is fully immersive such as Oculus and the HTC Vive, and the more accessible but less feature rich PSVR. That all could change following a patent application by Sony Interactive Entertainment for a lighthouse style VR tracking system.  In the patent application, Sony outlines […]

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By Brendan Frye

The world of VR has been divided into two camps, the one that is fully immersive such as Oculus and the HTC Vive, and the more accessible but less feature rich PSVR. That all could change following a patent application by Sony Interactive Entertainment for a lighthouse style VR tracking system. 

Sony Patents Vive like Tracking System for PSVR Sony Patents Vive like Tracking System for PSVR 1

In the patent application, Sony outlines the concept as:

"A method for determining an orientation of a photosensor of a controller with respect to a projector is described. The method includes generating, by a beam generator of the projector, a beam. The method further includes modifying a direction of travel of the beam using a micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) mirror that moves in a pattern, deflecting the beam, calculating a time at which the beam is detected and determining based on the pattern and the time an orientation of the beam to determine the orientation of the photosensor."

While it may sound confusing, it is basically outlining a similar device to what the Vive utilises — a beam projector that determines the player's position in the play-space based on light and mirrors (similar to the way sonar works). For those who do not know difference between an external system such as then HTC Vive, compared to what PSVR has built in; it all comes down to immersion.  At present, the PSVR employs a built-in system that relies on light from the headset and the PlayStation camera to place the player in the virtual world, offering little mobility for the player.

While there are downsides to an external tracking solution, the key point is it would be more accurate, and would place the PSVR in the same league as the Oculus and the Vive. While the PlayStation 4 may not match the power of a gaming computer with the latest technology, it would at very least give developers a similar toolset when porting games.

Sony Patents Vive like Tracking System for PSVR 3

It's unclear if Sony plans to use this patent with the technology that is already present in the PSVR, or if this is part of a plan for a PSVR 2, but it is great to see Sony pushing forward with VR, and not letting it die on the bush as many other projects have in the past. PSVR launched the fall of 2016, with overall good sales when compared to the Vive or the Oculus, but as of yet, have not managed to reach mainstream appeal.

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She Remembered Caterpillars - Beautiful Puzzler, Difficult Learning Curve https://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/she-remembered-caterpillars-beautiful-puzzler-difficult-learning-curve/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/she-remembered-caterpillars-beautiful-puzzler-difficult-learning-curve/#respond Fri, 10 Feb 2017 13:00:09 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=95102

By Lane Martin

Puzzle games are an odd facet of the gaming landscape. Other games are subject to the ebb and flow of market trends in the industry. Genres reinvent themselves over and over again, until it becomes difficult to chart the changes, even within a franchise. Take Final Fantasy XV, the most recent in a long line […]

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By Lane Martin

Puzzle games are an odd facet of the gaming landscape. Other games are subject to the ebb and flow of market trends in the industry. Genres reinvent themselves over and over again, until it becomes difficult to chart the changes, even within a franchise. Take Final Fantasy XV, the most recent in a long line of Japanese style role playing games, and put it next to its progenitor. The two games are vastly different in terms of style, mechanics, and even tone. One could be forgiven for doubting that they belong in the same genre, or even the same franchise. The same could be said for Resident Evil titles, or even Mario, to a lesser extent. Puzzle games, though, don’t stray so far from their roots.

It may be because puzzles cast a pretty wide net and often lack the unifying features that are common, if not necessary, in other playsets. There isn’t even recurring shorthand in most puzzles, no exploding red barrels, no life-giving wall chickens. Sure there are a few subgenres, match three games or escape the room affairs, but puzzles are a wide and diverse field of innovation and fascination.

She Remembered Caterpillars - Beautiful Puzzler, Difficult Learning Curve 1

Incidentally, I can think of no better way to describe She Remembered Caterpillars than as a wide and diverse field of innovation and fascination. The premise is simple enough: navigate your fungal minions to specific points on the small map by simply pointing and clicking. Only certain coloured friends can navigate bridges matching their own colour while being barred from moving matching blockades. Like any good brain buster, the objective is clear from the very beginning, but new variables and mechanics are constantly thrown into the mix to frustrate your day.

First, you have your red and your blue little buddies, and they go where you ask and act as described above. Then you learn that you can combine a red little guy and a blue little guy to make a purple little guy, who can traverse all bridges of either of his component colours while being blocked by obstacles that would block either as well. Then you add in an additional colour, then pressure plates for bridges, colour swapping, and the whole thing gets pretty confounding. In fact, my biggest complaint with She Remembered Caterpillars is how quickly the difficulty gets ramped up. Don’t get me wrong, the nature of the game always makes it feel like a solution is in sight, but the realization that you have literally been moving around in circles for the past 10 minutes and accomplished nothing is both sudden and frustrating.

She Remembered Caterpillars - Beautiful Puzzler, Difficult Learning Curve 2

Mechanics aside, She Remembered Caterpillars is gorgeous, something not always necessary in the puzzle genre. The handcrafted art ranges from awesome to charming with smooth animation to help soothe those frustrations away. Even the music is a joy. The soundtrack is full of soft, somber melodies that feel conducive to deep, meditative thought—just what I want in a game like this. It complements the playstyle and the somewhat cryptic, understated story perfectly as well.

She Remembered Caterpillars is an outstanding example of a timeless genre. It is a puzzle game through and through. Best of all, there is a free demo up one Steam for the curious, though not quite committed of us. If fast paced excitement is what you want out of your gaming experience, then there are plenty of other options out there that will serve you better than this gem. If you want to stare at a level for several minutes as you chart the prospective courses of your colourful pawns set to meditative melodies and inspiring art, then She Remembered Caterpillars might be the perfect fit for you. Do be prepared for a minor oversight to reduce all of your planning to nought and having to start again, though. It happens to us all.

Score:8

Final Thoughts:She Remembered Caterpillars is a beautiful puzzle beset with gorgeous art and music and a somewhat frustrating difficulty curve.

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From Android Nim to Portal - The Evolution of Puzzle Games https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/10/from-android-nim-to-portal-the-evolution-of-puzzle-games/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/10/from-android-nim-to-portal-the-evolution-of-puzzle-games/#respond Fri, 10 Feb 2017 12:00:37 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=95076

By Lane Martin

Trends come and go in the video game industry. Genres mutate to keep pace with modern technology in an attempt to appeal to the ever-changing whims of players, locking themselves into a graphical arms race. While big budget, AAA developers pander to the hottest new trends and indie developers focus on making unique gaming experiences, […]

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By Lane Martin

Trends come and go in the video game industry. Genres mutate to keep pace with modern technology in an attempt to appeal to the ever-changing whims of players, locking themselves into a graphical arms race. While big budget, AAA developers pander to the hottest new trends and indie developers focus on making unique gaming experiences, puzzle games endure it all.

The puzzle genre is an oddity in the vast ocean that is gaming, and you could easily call more strategy oriented board games precursors to our favourite digital pastime. Yet, the names of early games are largely forgotten by the modern audiences. One such experience is the 1979 PC title Android Nim. Android Nim was a competitive puzzler, pitting the player against a computer opponent in an attempt to remove androids from three ranks, hoping to remove the final piece. The game was simple and elegant, so much so that similar puzzles can be found as mini games in larger releases, from time to time.

Old puzzle games were like that; presenting players with novel conundrums and tasking potential puzzlers to stretch their grey matter to overcome these obstacles like their modern counterparts, but without any kind of common language or similar mechanics to simplify things. Games like Towers of Hanoi for the Atari 400 800 had to rely on similarities with existing physical puzzles to effectively communicate its concept, long before it was a Mass Effect mini game.

Then Tetris happened, and the whole gaming landscape changed with it. With Tetris, we see the birth the tile matching subgenre (something that continues to persist to this day) as well as a vast cultural shift. Tetris came from behind the iron curtain during the height of the Soviet Union. The creator, Alexey Pajitnov, had to negotiate with the communist regime of the day to see this historic game sold to Nintendo for release in the capitalist world and even be appropriately credited.

Eventually, Tetris released, bundled with Nintendo’s new handheld, the big grey Gameboy, and everyone played it. One of the more defining moments of my life involved my mother, a school teacher and parent of three, grooving to that iconic music and spinning tetraminos into the early morning. The bundle made the Gameboy a cultural icon. In a roundabout way, you could link the success of Tetris with the proliferation and future iterations of mobile gaming.  People still play the game competitively today, and it’s difficult to find a person who hasn’t played Tetris or doesn’t have an opinion on it. Infinite spin is for cheaters.

I could wax philosophical about clearing lines for days, but that is hardly the only success story puzzle games have given us. In fact, the 90’s were silly with perplexing, puzzling delights. Mario went to medical school, Yoshi made some baked goods, and a great deal of little green-haired rodents needed help not killing themselves, even Capcom’s Street Fighter 2 characters got into more cerebral pursuits in the arcade’s Puzzle Fighter. Eventually, Bejeweled came along, and iterated on the tile matching brought forth from the Russian phenomenon, and gave us what would become the infamous “match-three puzzle” years after cell phones around the world would have access to games like Puzzle Quest and Puzzle Forge, both deeper iterations on the match-three mechanic.

It’s easy to dismiss puzzle games as overly simplistic. So far, the titles I’ve covered largely consist of the player looking at a table and dealing with objects as they present themselves. In fact, given the games I have discussed up to this point, you could see this as simple board game simulations. They all present information openly and exist as a string of rules, sticking to them without fail. The majority of the challenges in these games come from navigating the same rule set within tighter time constraints or with the addition of minor variables. Then there are the physics puzzles.

Physics puzzles are a relatively new development in the genre, but there’s still a pretty lengthy list of games within this subtype. Some games are pure simulation, bordering on educational, like The Incredible Machine, which presents players with Rube Goldberg-esque contraptions and challenges the player to complete it in order to fulfill different objectives.  There’s World of Goo, which asks players to construct various buildings utilizing a strange sticky substance and dealing with how physics interact with them. Most notably, though, there’s the Portal series.

Now, if you haven’t played a Portal game yet, I’m sorry. You should really fix that. Portal presents itself as a first person action game, but this is pure puzzle goodness. The only real mechanic involved in Portal, apart from your standard movement mechanics, is the ability to create an entry portal and an exit portal. Portal debuted as a part of The Orange Box, a bundle of other Valve games, with little mention of the title as nothing out of the ordinary, a tech demo at best. What came about was a smash hit four-dimensional game with mind bending puzzles and amazing writing. Its sequel introduced even more physics based mechanics like reducing friction and making things really bouncy. The audience lapped it up, and continues to want more.

There are certainly more subgenres than I have mentioned up to this point. The mobile market has pushed a myriad of hidden object games for free on any digital storefront. These games are great time killers, but aren’t anything terribly special. You look at a picture, you find the objects the game asks you to find (sometimes randomly generated for replayability), you get some amount of story, and you do it again. These games are a dime a dozen, but can sometimes be enjoyable.

Puzzles were relevant before video games gained popularity in the first place, and have since found their comfortable niche in the digital age. Usually they don’t lean too hard on outrageous visual designs or whatever the current industry trends happen to be, leading them to rely on pure innovation and game mechanics, even when they fall outside of the established subgenres. Almost every game features puzzles of some kind, but only some games can truly call themselves puzzle games. If you’ve ever stared at a screen for several minutes, charting possible moves and their ramifications before the best solution becomes clear, then you’ve found yourself in the midst of one of gaming’s oldest traditions.

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Humble Bundle to Move into Game Publishing https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/09/humble-bundle-to-move-into-game-publishing/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/09/humble-bundle-to-move-into-game-publishing/#respond Thu, 09 Feb 2017 21:19:07 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=95110

By Helena Shlapak

Digital video-game storefront, Humble Bundle, will continue to stay humble by going into the game publishing business according to a press release. As part of Humble Bundle’s new multi-platform funding and publishing plan, the company plans to make a multi-million dollar investment to help developers across all platforms of gaming, including consoles. This will help […]

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By Helena Shlapak

Digital video-game storefront, Humble Bundle, will continue to stay humble by going into the game publishing business according to a press release.

As part of Humble Bundle’s new multi-platform funding and publishing plan, the company plans to make a multi-million dollar investment to help developers across all platforms of gaming, including consoles. This will help developers generate buzz for their new games and encourage upcoming developers to put their work out there. This also means gamers will receive millions of new and interesting games. Developers will receive 75 per cent of sales after donating 10 per cent to charity.

Humble Bundle already has seven games in its new lineup and all of them will release in 2017. A Hat in Time for PC, HackyZack for PC, Ikenfell for PC, Keyboard Sports for PC, No Truce with Furies for PC, Scorn for PC and Staxel for PC. Humble Bundle is also currently looking for more developers for publishing deals at GDC and PAX East and is currently accepting submissions for evaluation.

"Since Humble's launch in 2010, we have earned the trust of over 10 million customers across our products," said Humble Bundle publishing lead John Polson in a statement. "In a time when it's harder than ever for games to find their audience, publishing feels like the next logical step in the services that we can offer to our developer partners."

Humble Bundle launched in 2010 as a means to create collections of games sold at a price determined by the buyer. There are three set prices and the customer can upgrade as they see fit, receiving a better deal while still paying a low price. A portion of these proceeds are donated to a charity of the buyer’s choosing while the rest goes to the developer. Humble Bundle has since donated over $65 million across 50 charities with over $100 million going to hard-working developers.

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Justice League Dark Movie Review https://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/justice-league-dark-blu-ray-review/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/justice-league-dark-blu-ray-review/#respond Thu, 09 Feb 2017 19:59:33 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=95092

By Phil Brown

For its 27th feature (yep, 27, these things just keep coming) the folks over at the DC animated universe decided to opt for something a little different. Well, not that different. Batman is still at the center of the story, and the rest of the Justice League make at least a token appearance. However, this […]

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By Phil Brown

For its 27th feature (yep, 27, these things just keep coming) the folks over at the DC animated universe decided to opt for something a little different. Well, not that different. Batman is still at the center of the story, and the rest of the Justice League make at least a token appearance. However, this isn’t another tale of the superfriends battling a famous villain. Instead, the animation studio has drawn its attention to the creepiest realms of the DC Universe for Justice League Dark. Much like the Assault On Arkham flick from a few years back, this feels like a “proof of concept” project to prove the Justice League Dark can work at feature length like The Suicide Squad before a live action blockbuster hits production. And also like Assault On Arkham, the 76-minute movie is far too overstuffed with characters for them all to get the screen time that they deserve. Still, the fact that obscure DC faces like Swamp Thing, Deadman, and even John Constantine get the animated treatment they deserve is more than enough cause for a few geek-gasms.

The plot starts simple but grows increasingly complex thanks to all of the mythology in play. It starts with citizens all over the world suddenly becoming convinced that people around them are demons and then feeling compelled to kill them (like you do). The Justice League all do their part to intervene but recognize that there is dark magic in play that is beyond their grasp. Batman is conveniently given visions of the name “Constantine” and meets up with his old buddy Zantana for a little magic advice. She then reveals Deadman was responsible for the visions and together they travel to meet Jon Constantine for assistance. Eventually, it turns out that it’s all connected to a magic gem known as the Dreamstone created centuries ago by a sorcerer known as Destiny. Confused yet? Just wait. Not all of the main characters have even been introduced.

Justice League Dark Movie Review 3The biggest flaw of Justice League Dark is that the narrative is so convoluted and littered with mythology. Essentially the flick has been written for DC fans and the team have gone out of their way to cram in as many of the dark magic characters in the Universe as possible. The trouble is that the movie is also meant to introduce new fans to the world, so it’s all overcrowded with backstory and exposition that will irritate the old timers while not quite offering enough information to bring all of the newcomers on board. That’s a problem, but thankfully it’s far from a movie killer. It was inevitable and with a little luck, there will be another one of these Justice League Dark flicks that can take the baton from here and get into a more intriguing story unencumbered by all of the endless exposition.

Thankfully, beyond that Justice League Dark is easily the best movie that the DC Animation has produced within their own continuity (obviously, the adaptations of classic graphic novels remain the best since they come from such undeniably brilliant source material). While in theory, it might seem like Batman is tacked onto this tale to shift some more units, he actually fits in perfectly. Beyond the fact that he is, you know, dark, the script positions him as the Dana Scully to all of the magic madness, constantly looking for rational explanations in a world without any. That allows John Constantine (Matt Ryan, reprising his role from the ho-hum TV series to delightfully grizzled effect) to wearily lead this band of misfits into the fire and his sarcastic frustration towards all the strange scenarios is wonderfully entertaining. Other characters don’t always get the attention they deserve (particularly the underwritten Zantana who tends to feel like an exposition factory and Deadman, who can be downright annoying with all of his one-liners). But at the same time there is a certain undeniably joy to simply seeing characters like Etrigan spring to life in such a pure form. The filmmakers might not have had enough real estate to give all the characters their due, but they clearly respect this odd corner of the DC Universe and relish the chance to play in the sandbox.

Jay Oliva (The Dark Knight Returns) assumed directing duties again, which means the action scenes are spectacular (there’s a reason that he’s part of the storyboard team for all the live action DC features when he’s not cranking out these animated gems). The film has an R-rating again like The Killing Joke before it, and while that feels like a bit of a stretch for marketing purposes (there’s nothing particularly graphic here), Oliva certainly has fun getting gothic. He has a few decent scare scenes, and in particular, he takes great care bringing Swamp Thing to life in the form Alan Moore created. Sadly, Swamp Thing gets but two scenes to strut his green-ruling stuff, but both deliver the character in such an imposing, powerful, and creepy way that you can’t help but hope that somehow, somewhere, someday Swamp Thing will get his own DC animated feature. Who knows? It’s possible. Justice League Dark turned out damn well, so perhaps sales will be high enough to justify more of dark chapters in DC animation.

Justice League Dark Movie Review 2As always, the Justice League Dark looks and sounds great on Blu-ray. The animation might be somewhat limited out of budgetary concerns, but when the movie takes off into its many flights of morbid fantasy it can light up an HD screen, while a pounding orchestral score fills surround speakers. The movie would play well theatrically, even if that dream will never come true. Special features are sadly limited. Despite having only two scenes in the movie, Swamp Thing gets the most attention with a 20-minute documentary about the history of the character featuring creator Len Wein and some DC factory fanboys. It’s a nice ode to the great elemental, but only emphasizes how little he was used in the film for fans like myself. Sadly, none of the other Justice League Dark characters get the same treatment. There are brief (1 min or less) “Did You Know” factoids on a few characters, a 26-minute New York Comic Con panel about the film (that was sadly shot before the film was finished, so it plays like an advertisement for something you already own), and trailers for a few other DC features. The biggest special features of note are two Batman: The Brave And The Bold episodes with Deadman and Etrigan that are fun, but obviously far, far sillier than the movie itself.

Overall, Justice League Dark is definitely worth picking up for anyone who enjoys the DC animated features. Though it might be dogged by exposition and backstory, the flick shows off some long time cult favourite characters in this universe with such style and skill that by the end you’ll be hoping for a sequel. It’s definitely the best feature set within the DC Animation’s continuity, and that’s a huge relief since they tend to be the weakest releases from this company. This certainly falls into the ‘hard nerd” category of comic book features. You have to be willing to accept convoluted mythology at face value and not giggle when people start shooting lasers out of a crystal. But, if you actually know the names of the characters in Justice League Dark, you’ll be prepared for that level of stylized silliness. Even better, you’ll be impressed that these obscure characters were somehow treated with so much respect.

Score:8

Final Thoughts:An amusing chapter in the DC animated film series that gets all dark n’ shadowy for those who like such things (aka CGM editor Brendan Frye).

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South Park: The Fractured but Whole Delayed Again https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/09/south-park-the-fractured-but-whole-delayed-again/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/09/south-park-the-fractured-but-whole-delayed-again/#respond Thu, 09 Feb 2017 18:45:46 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=95085

By Helena Shlapak

One of the most anticipated games of 2017, South Park: The Fractured but Whole, has been delayed again according to Ubisoft. The delay was announced in Ubisoft’s newest earning’s report which stated that South Park: The Fractured but Whole would see a scheduled release for fiscal 2017-2018. In laymen’s terms, this means that fans won’t […]

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By Helena Shlapak

One of the most anticipated games of 2017, South Park: The Fractured but Whole, has been delayed again according to Ubisoft.

The delay was announced in Ubisoft’s newest earning’s report which stated that South Park: The Fractured but Whole would see a scheduled release for fiscal 2017-2018. In laymen’s terms, this means that fans won’t be seeing the game in March as expected but rather anytime between April 2017 to March 2018.

This delay doesn’t come as much of a surprise considering South Park: The Fractured but Whole had been delayed once before. On Sept. 15, 2016, Ubisoft announced in a blog post that the sequel game to the hit South Park: The Stick of Truth, wouldn’t meet its initial December release date.

“The development team wants to make sure the game experience meets the high expectations of fans and the additional time will help them achieve this goal," Ubisoft said.

Ubisoft’s newest report also mentioned two of their other games, Watch Dogs 2 and Steep. The publisher stated that the launch for Watch Dogs 2 wasn’t as dynamic as expected and that Steep had a higher than expected performance. As for Ubisoft’s sales, the publisher saw a 5.7 per cent dip in sales from €561.8 million to €529.9 million for the third-quarter of 2016-2017. Ubisoft now expects their fiscal 2016-2017 sales to come in between €1,455 million and €1,495 million instead of €1,610 million and €1,670 million and this is taking into account that South Park: The Fractured but Whole is delayed and their sales figure for the third-quarter 2016-2017.

At this time, Ubisoft has yet to give a concrete explanation as to the delay however, during Ubisoft’s earnings briefing today, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot, teased a few of the publisher’s upcoming games for the Nintendo Switch. Just dance 2017 will be one of the Nintendo Switch’s launch titles and that they would release multiple other games for the Switch in 2017 that will be “Very strong for the machine.” This may imply that the delay is because of they are working on a Switch version of South Park: The Fractured but Whole.

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No Affleck Directing Batman No Problem – For Now https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/09/no-affleck-directing-batman-no-problem-now/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/09/no-affleck-directing-batman-no-problem-now/#respond Thu, 09 Feb 2017 12:00:57 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=95043

By Boyd Reynolds

The DC Comics Extended Universe (or DCEU) has had its share of bad news in recent memory. Last year, Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice split the DC fan base and was generally maligned by critics, pulling a miniscule 27 per cent on rottentomatoes.com. Later that year, Suicide Squad didn’t fare much better with critics, […]

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By Boyd Reynolds

The DC Comics Extended Universe (or DCEU) has had its share of bad news in recent memory. Last year, Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice split the DC fan base and was generally maligned by critics, pulling a miniscule 27 per cent on rottentomatoes.com. Later that year, Suicide Squad didn’t fare much better with critics, gaining a 26 per cent rating on the tomato meter. While both films made hundreds of millions of dollars, they weren’t universally beloved as Warner Brothers had hoped, or as applauded as their rival Marvel Studios’ films. Adding to these series of unfortunate events, the Flash movie has gone through two directors already and is even getting a page one script rewrite. And now this.

Ben Affleck, one of the few things in Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice that both fans and critics adored, has pulled out of the Batman solo film’s director’s chair.

This has led to a predictable internet frenzy over the state of things with the DCEU and Warner Brothers. Adding to this confusion and fan disappointment, while on Jimmy Kimmel Live Affleck said he was directing the solo film titled The Batman. And now, he’s pulled himself out as director.

But have faith DC fans. All might not be as bleak as it appears.

Reason One

As of today, Ben Affleck is still in the Bat-suit. While the direction of The Batman will go to someone else, Affleck will be not only dawning the cowl, but co-writing and producing the film. Having a multiple Academy Award winner drop out of directing is a big blow to both fans and the film. Let’s be clear, that isn’t good news. Affleck is a top tier director with movies like Gone Baby Gone, The Town, and Argo to his credit. But he hasn’t thrown in the towel on the whole project. Fans who enjoyed his grizzled, burnt out portrayal of the Dark Knight will still get an entire film to watch him in the near future.

For now at least.

No Affleck Directing Batman No Problem – For Now 1Reason Two

Affleck not juggling four jobs on set might work out to The Batman’s benefit. Being the writer, director, lead actor and producer might have negatively affected the movie. Tackling all these roles would be a tremendous burden on anyone. Having someone else come in to direct is a smart move. This will be their sole responsibility and whoever lands in the director's seat might also have a different and unique take on what The Batman is thus far.

And many directors are out there who could bring home a great Batman solo movie. There is Matt Reeves, who has come to prominence with the critical and box office success Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. David Fincher would also have an interesting and dark take on the Caped Crusader. From Se7en to Gone Girl, Fincher has always brought thought provoking and shadowy tales to the big screen. How about George Miller? Coming off the heels of the unbelievable Mad Max: Fury Road, he would not only clearly exploit the visuals in The Batman, but he also has a connection to DC and Warner Brothers. Years back, he was set to direct a Justice League movie, having gone far enough to cast the movie until it was eventually pulled.

Batman is the jewel in the DCEU crown. It will garner much attention from a multitude of directors, all more than happy and willing to take on the mantle of the bat.

Reason Three

Time for a reality check—the DCEU is not Marvel, and this isn’t a bad thing.

Marvel Studios have without a doubt created the most successful comic book movie franchise. Their movies are loved by fans and critics alike, and make a killing at the box office. It appears that those helming the DCEU are comparing franchises—and they shouldn’t.

First, the DCEU has been playing catch up from the beginning. Marvel Studios was first out of the gate with an interconnected universe and began with individual films (Iron Man, Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger) which then gave us the superhero team-up film for the ages: The Avengers. The DCEU rebooted Superman in Man of Steel, then packed the next Superman film with Batman and introduced Wonder Woman, the Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg. It feels like there was an element of catch up from the DCEU. Audiences of Marvel movies had the benefit of getting to really know members of The Avengers before they teamed up. Later in 2017, Warner Brothers will release Justice League, the DC equivalent of the superhero team movie.

No Affleck Directing Batman No Problem – For Now 2

If you are playing some catch-up, you don’t need to expect the same results as Marvel. DCEU films make money. They many not hit some heights as Marvel movies but they are lucrative. As well, they have their own style. This may not be as universally applauded as Marvel movies, but it doesn’t have to. If they are wanting to replicate Marvel’s formula, that seems out of reach.

Let it go DCEU.

Marvel is Marvel. DC is DC. It’s time for DC to embrace what it is and stop tinkering with the product trying to get closer to the ever elusive Marvel-sized formula for success.

DC isn’t the lesser of the comic book siblings. It houses two of the most recognizable superheroes the world over in Batman and Superman. This year alone, Wonder Woman will make her big screen debut. As mentioned before, Justice League is coming. Aquaman is moving forward with director James Wan, and the DCEU will have signed the most bankable star the world over in the Rock, who is playing Black Adam in a future film.

So fans of the DCEU, it’s still not time to panic and jump ship. Not yet anyway. There are still many things the DCEU can do right. And if they aren’t like Marvel movies, well, they don’t have to be. Marvel movies have a formula that works for them. It’s time for the DCEU to find a formula that is truly unique; stop tinkering and run with it.

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Whip It Good: Netflix Announces Castlevania Series https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/08/netflix-castlevania-series/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/08/netflix-castlevania-series/#respond Wed, 08 Feb 2017 22:54:18 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=95052

By Jordan Biordi

I may be one of the few people who didn't hate 2014's Dracula Untold, mainly because it seemed to me, at the time, like the closest thing to a live-action Castlevania movie we were ever going to get. However, that all changed as Netflix announced an exclusive mini-series for the beloved game. Netflix released a press release after […]

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By Jordan Biordi

I may be one of the few people who didn't hate 2014's Dracula Untold, mainly because it seemed to me, at the time, like the closest thing to a live-action Castlevania movie we were ever going to get. However, that all changed as Netflix announced an exclusive mini-series for the beloved game.

Netflix released a press release after it held a massive event in New York to discuss it's upcoming lineup of shows. Within the release was a single line reading:

Castlevania  Season 1, Part 1 Coming to Netflix in 2017.

While the details for the show are non-existent, oddly enough, a year-old Facebook from Dredd executive producer Ali Shankar hinted at his involvement in a Castlevania series.

Shankar confirmed his involvement with another Facebook post after the announcement, detailing the show is already signed on for two seasons and post mentioning the series was written by Warren Ellis.

For those unaware, Ellis was the writer behind the DC comics Transmetropolitan, Planetary, as well as the Image comics Ministry of Space. His works also include the NYT best selling novel Gunmachine as well as the "underground classic," Crooked Little Vein. He also wrote RED (Retired and Extremely Dangerous).

Castlevania has a long and extensive storylines that can all lend themselves to a show incredibly well. The later franchise games: Aria of Sorrow and Dawn of Sorrow star Soma Cruz, a teenage reincarnation of Dracula, battling his inner demons as well as the minions of the Prince of Darkness. This would allow for some serious drama and keep  with Shankar's initial promise of flipping the vampire sub-genre on it's head, showcasing a protagonist who is both hero and villain.

However, the recent reboots to the Castlevania franchise, Lords of Shadow, would better suit Shankar's promise of being both dark and super violent, potentially capitalizing on the success of medieval drama's like Game of Thrones.

If the show were to borrow from Mirror of Fate, this too would lend itself to excellent drama, detailing Gabriel Belmont's transformation into Dracula, and his cursed lineage's endless battle to defeat him.

While no official release date has been set, my guess is an October release, in keeping with the game's theme.

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Nioh Review Round-Up https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/08/nioh-review-round-up/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/08/nioh-review-round-up/#respond Wed, 08 Feb 2017 22:05:16 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=95053

By Dondre Stewart

Team Ninja’s new action RPG Nioh is universally lauded as one of the best games to release this year. It is only February but the game has already left a strong first impression followed by plentiful hours of gameplay. The game currently holds an official score of 88 on Open Critic and is already being […]

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By Dondre Stewart

Team Ninja’s new action RPG Nioh is universally lauded as one of the best games to release this year. It is only February but the game has already left a strong first impression followed by plentiful hours of gameplay. The game currently holds an official score of 88 on Open Critic and is already being pinned by various media outlets as a game of the year contender.

The general consensus of Nioh is that it delivers a real challenging yet engaging combat system combined with over 100 hours of gameplay full of side quests coupled with the main story. This PlayStation 4 exclusive could be the strongest title in a gamer’s library by year end. Here’s a review round-up:

Nioh can be an incredibly rewarding game as long you’re willing to give it the patience and time it deserves. It’s certainly not a game you should approach with a casual mindset, but that’s only because it demands as much respect as it gives,” Gamecrate.

Nioh is exactly the game to reinvigorate those players who a felt a bit fatigued and tired of the traditional Souls formula, with a splash of Tenchu-style level design and hints of old-school Ninja Gaiden to spice things up,” CGMagazine.

“The way it builds on its most obvious inspirations with a highly refined combat system and an unexpected charming, yet gritty style all on its own allows it to boldly carve out its own identity, standing as a shining example of what action RPGs can be,” IGN.

“Everything that Nioh does is masterfully crafted and balanced exactly the way a video game should be. If you’re a fan of action/adventure games. Nioh is a must own. Hell if you’re a fan of video games, I can’t recommend Nioh enough,” PlayStation Universe.

Nioh is a game of highs and lows. It’s a tremendous blast when the combat gets to shine, but it often gets the spotlight after hours of tedium. Instead of crafting a tight 20-hour experience like Ninja Gaiden, Team Ninja has opted to create a title that had me constantly grinding,” PlayStation Lifestyle.

Overall, it seems like Nioh is, at the very least, the latest must-have release for the PlayStation 4.

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Tales of Berseria Review - A Return to Form https://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/tales-berseria-review-return-form/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/tales-berseria-review-return-form/#comments Wed, 08 Feb 2017 20:35:17 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=95037

By Derek Heemsbergen

Forgive the tired sentiment, but Tales games are the RPG equivalent of comfort food. They come out every year or two looking a little bit different—a fresh cast here, a new battle gimmick there—but generally taste about the same when you get down to the chewy centre. Despite that comfort however, recent entries have taken […]

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By Derek Heemsbergen

Forgive the tired sentiment, but Tales games are the RPG equivalent of comfort food. They come out every year or two looking a little bit different—a fresh cast here, a new battle gimmick there—but generally taste about the same when you get down to the chewy centre. Despite that comfort however, recent entries have taken a notable hit in quality. 2013's Tales of Xillia felt conspicuously unfinished, leading to a direct sequel, Xillia 2, that somehow managed to retread old ground so excessively that it fared worse than its predecessor. After Tales of Zestiria released in 2015 to a yawning reception, it seemed the series was doomed to C-tier obscurity for the rest of its days. Then came Tales of Berseria to devour those problems whole.

Tales of Berseria doesn't deviate from the Tales formula in revolutionary ways, but it spins a compelling yarn about a band of anti-heroes using some of the darkest themes in the series. Its opening hours succinctly depict the blossoming of protagonist Velvet's understandable fury; the player watches her twist in anguish as her world is ripped apart by a betrayal that leaves her younger brother dead. Cursed with demonic power and forced to devour people to survive, she spends three years stewing in rage until an unlikely saviour sets her on the path to revenge. The game starts with a bang, more so than any Tales in recent history, and quickly creates an atmosphere of intrigue and uncertainty that propels the story throughout.

Tales of Berseria Review - A Return to Form 1

Refinement, rather than expansion, is the key concept that makes Tales of Berseria stand head and shoulders above Zestiria. Where Zestiria had huge, empty environments, Tales of Berseria has more digestible fields and dungeon corridors filled to the brim with collectable objects. Where Zestiria had a messy equipment system, Berseria allows for straightforward skill acquisition in the vein of Final Fantasy IX. Consumable items enable fast travel between previously visited locations and instant escape from dungeons, while the series-staple cooking system returns with an easy-to-use auto-cook feature to keep the party in tip-top shape. There's even a simple Expedition system that consists of sending out a pirate vessel to explore the seas in real time, adding a pleasant layer of time management to a game already packed with things to do.

A Tales game isn't complete without the action-oriented battle system, and Tales of Berseria is no slouch in that regard. By mapping attacks onto all four controller face buttons, the player can make Velvet and company unleash an array of fast and flashy moves. It's closer to a fighting game than an RPG, and all six playable characters have a delightfully different feel as well as unique combo-extending abilities. Eizen takes to the air to rain draconic fire over stunned foes, for instance, while Rokurou assumes a deadly counterstance and Magilou can convert enemy spells into her own potent magical energy. Like in Xenoblade Chronicles, much of the fun in Berseria comes from switching between characters to mix things up whenever battle starts to become stale, however rare of an occurrence that may be.

Tales of Berseria Review - A Return to Form 2

While Tales of Berseria has the bones of a last-gen title (a PlayStation 3 version was released exclusively in Japan), the visuals are bright, smooth, and run at a flawless 60 frames per second on PlayStation 4. Fans of cosmetic character customization will enjoy seeing new weapons visually represented on each character model, as well as optional side activities and mini-games that reward silly decorations like glasses, cat ears, hats, and more. Tales makes dressing up characters its own activity, with a Fashion menu that allows players to change characters' hair, outfits, and accessories. Say it with me, Final Fantasy XIV fans: glamour is the true endgame.

Tales of Berseria is a refreshing return to form for a franchise that seemed to be on its last legs. Its cast is likeable, its battles are addictive, and its story takes enough sharp turns to make it one of the best in Tales series history. There's a surprising amount of humanity in this blood-soaked tale of revenge.

Score:8

Final Thoughts:Tales of Berseria is proof that with a more thoughtful approach to design, the series still has what it takes to stand tall among its RPG contemporaries.

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John Wick: Chapter 2 (Movie) Review https://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/john-wick-chapter-2-movie-review/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/john-wick-chapter-2-movie-review/#respond Wed, 08 Feb 2017 19:59:59 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=95021

By Phil Brown

A few years ago the world was stunned when a low budget Keanu Reeves action movie turned out to be friggin’ awesome. John Wick seemingly came out of nowhere, but thanks to a delightfully tongue-in-cheek script and some of the finest fight scenes to come out of Hollywood in years, the flick instantly developed a […]

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By Phil Brown

A few years ago the world was stunned when a low budget Keanu Reeves action movie turned out to be friggin’ awesome. John Wick seemingly came out of nowhere, but thanks to a delightfully tongue-in-cheek script and some of the finest fight scenes to come out of Hollywood in years, the flick instantly developed a cult. Co-directed by longtime stunt veterans Chad Stahelski and David Leitch, John Wick mixed the minimalist cool of a classic Walter Hill romp with the neon macho perfectionism of vintage Michael Mann, and the gun-fu ballet of old-timey John Woo in a movie almost too bad-ass for words. Even better, the flick made money while pleasing all the vintage action nuts, so now we’ve all been treated to John Wick: Chapter 2, and thank god it doesn’t disappoint.

The movie kicks off with a little silent movie comedy to remind everyone about origins of the action stunt work we love so dearly, and also as a cheeky checkpoint to ensure none of what follows is taken seriously. From there director Chad Stahelski (David Leitch didn’t join in the fun this time as he had another action movie to direct, plus Deadpool 2 to prepare) stages a goddamn delightfully ridonkulous action scene in which John Wick (Reeves) uses vehicles like weapons to complement his guns, knives, along with his deadly fists and feet. From there the plot kicks in. No dead dogs this time. Instead, an old frenemy from Wick’s past (Riccardo Scamarcio) pops up to demand Wick to a job to pay off a debt. When John politely refuses, a rocket launcher is used to enforce the arrangement. Then Wick returns to Ian McShane’s Continental Hotel to make arrangement for a trip to Rome to fulfil his debt with a murder that obviously leads to dozens of more murders and an endless stream of stylised shootouts. Did you expect anything less?

For a film by a pair of first-time directors, it was unbelievable how much confidence and style went into the original John Wick. Stahelski n’ Leitch might have been building their own oddball action universe, but they did it on the back of a mountain of influences that combined into something fresh yet familiar. John Wick: Chapter 2 dives right back into that world and ramps things up, but not too much. Much of the humour from John Wick comes from all of the unspoken rules and bonds of this strange secret world of international assassins where everyone seems aware of a mythology the filmmakers never bother to explain. That’s continued here as the assassin network grows international with a Rome chapter and suggestions of similar places all over the world. Thankfully the script never explains while expanding the lore. We see more but never have to suffer through exposition. That would delay all the punch-punch, bang-bang.

John Wick: Chapter 2 (Movie) Review 1Instead the movie rockets from one set piece to the next. If there aren’t fists or bullets flying, then Reeves is chatting up some sort of cult character actor in terse one-liners in an increasingly lavish setting. The whole movie whizzes by with a certain deadpan comedy. It’s all treated seriously, despite being ridiculous and the actors are clearly winking along having fun. The cast is crazy this time with everyone from Ruby Rose and Common to Warriors’ legend David Patrick Kelly, straight-faced comedian Peter Serafinowicz, and even Reeves’ old Matrix sparring partner Laurence Fishbourne popping up to steal scenes. The casting all feels self-conscious, often serving as a punchline. When Reeves arrives in Rome to set up his grand assassination, the movie starts to take on the feel of an old Italian Eurotrash action thriller, and then the legendary Franco Nero (aka the original Django) pops up as the Italian equivalent of Ian McShane’s malevolent crimelord to hammer home the reference. Sometimes you laugh just from seeing an actor’s face, then the one-liners and slapstick violence pile on to get the real laughs.

And good lord is the action ever fantastic. Emboldened by the success of the first flick and gifted with a larger budget, Chad Stahelski arguably tops the finale of John Wick in the first scene and then goes about topping himself every 10 minutes or so. Sure, there are some clunkers (a machine gun shootout in the catacombs of Rome goes on a little too long), but for the most part, the action scenes just keep getting bigger and better. It’s always physical, it’s always brutal, and there’s always a certain level or irony and slapstick employed to make it fun. By the climax, Stahelski starts cutting together several fight scenes at once and going public with his ludicrous fisticuffs amongst a sea of extras. It’s all a big glorious bloody ballet guaranteed to put a smile on any action movie lover’s swollen face. Keanu Reeves once again holds it all together with an impressive physical commitment, and a less-is-more approach to acting that confirms his star power and ass-kickery.

John Wick: Chapter 2 (Movie) Review 2John Wick: Chapter 2 is thankfully one of those rare sequels that is undeniably an equal. It takes everything that worked about the first movie, serves up more, amps up what you love, and never slows down long enough for you to consider how absurd it all is. The only thing that prevents Chapter 2 from topping Chapter 1 is a little bit of over-ambition. There was a tight elegance to the last round of dumb-dumb John Wick fun that this sequel can’t match due to sprawling ambition and an embracement of the absurd. It’s not quite as satisfying, especially when it wraps up with a cliffhanger setting up Chapter 3. On the plus side, dumb action movies don’t need to be tightly plotted, and it’s hard not to walk out of the theatre excited for the potential of a bigger, stupider, funnier, and even more insane threequel. Somehow Keanu Reeves has found himself a third franchise worth following. God bless you, sir. That’s an achievement that I must stand back and admire with a stunned, “Whoa.”

Score:8.5

Final Thoughts:John Wick is back. More ass is kicked. Especially that of the audience.

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Orange is the New Black Season 5 gets a Premier Date https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/08/orange-new-blac-season-5-gets-premier-date/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/08/orange-new-blac-season-5-gets-premier-date/#respond Wed, 08 Feb 2017 18:58:03 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=95024

By Dondre Stewart

Streaming service Netflix held a press conference in New York today rolling out big announcements on news and premiere dates from their current lineup. Fans of the critically acclaimed show, Orange is the New Black will be happy to hear that Netflix announced the premiere date for Season 5 of Orange Is the New Black. […]

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By Dondre Stewart

Streaming service Netflix held a press conference in New York today rolling out big announcements on news and premiere dates from their current lineup.

Fans of the critically acclaimed show, Orange is the New Black will be happy to hear that Netflix announced the premiere date for Season 5 of Orange Is the New Black. The series will be ready for binge watching on June 9, 2017.

Netflix has released an announcement trailer for the series. The small teaser sparks emotion with a montage of different character’s faces ending with one inmate holding a gun towards the screen. The end of the trailer shows the launch date.

Netflix doesn’t release information on the ratings of their shows or how many people watch it on average, but according to Nielson Media, Orange Is the New Black is the most popular on the streaming service with 6.7 million people watching on the premiere date of Season 4. That number only rivalled with HBO’s Game of Thrones last year.

In other news from Netflix, the new Bill Nye show Bill Nye Saves the World has a launch date. The show will premiere on April 21, 2017. Netflix is trying to recapture the same magic Bill Nye created with his TV show Bill Nye: The Science Guy in the 90s and early 2000s.

Also, season 2 of the science fiction series The OA has been green lit. Netflix has provided a small 16-second teaser trailer for the new season. It’s not much, but it does build up hype. Thick smoke protrudes the screen with the graphics slowing appearing behind it that says “Part II is coming”. There is no word on when the new season of The OA will premiere.

In recent years, Netflix has made a name for itself as a provider of original content. With a 2017 line up consisting of Orange is the New BlackBill Nye Saves the WorldThe OA, and Marvel's Iron Fist, it seems the company is still keen on presenting unique content.

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E3 2017 to be Open to the Public https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/08/e3-2017-open-public/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/08/e3-2017-open-public/#respond Wed, 08 Feb 2017 16:17:05 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=95018

By Cody Orme

It’s every gamer’s dream to go to E3, and now the Entertainment Software Association (or the ESA for short) are opening the event to the public. The announcement comes from the official E3 Twitter, where they state that consumer tickets are available Feb. 13, 2017, at 12:00  ET (though the trailer does not specify a.m. […]

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By Cody Orme

It’s every gamer’s dream to go to E3, and now the Entertainment Software Association (or the ESA for short) are opening the event to the public.

The announcement comes from the official E3 Twitter, where they state that consumer tickets are available Feb. 13, 2017, at 12:00  ET (though the trailer does not specify a.m. or p.m.) along with a trailer. The video goes on to explain that the consumer passes are in limited supply.

This seems like a progression from last year when there was a public event called E3 Live, which brought players closer to the event, without actually bringing them inside. Still, there was a stage for performances, along with a giant Titan to show off Titanfall 2. Traditionally, E3 is an industry event for those involved in the industry and the press to report on upcoming titles and announcements. The conference’s leading up to the official E3 days is open to the public to an extent as well. For instance, EA’s show is open to the public and press alike.

Making the event public makes E3 more akin to PAX  as an event for publishers and developers to show off their concepts to the public. Still, this is pretty exciting news for fans. The Los Angeles-based show is the biggest industry event in North America, and possibly the world. It’s a place where most of the biggest announcements happen, the biggest names in the industry are present, and there’s even a splash of celebrity for razzle dazzle.

This seems like the next evolution of E3, as more and more companies opt to save announcements for their own liking, instead using E3 to show off their titles instead of announcing new projects. Nintendo is probably the biggest name to step back from the show. While they still have a delegated area to show off their titles, they normally opt to save big announcements for their popular YouTube Nintendo Directs.

This year's E3 will take place between June 13, 2017 and June 15, 2017.

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Seagate 2TB External Hard Drive- Gears of War Edition Review https://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/seagate-2tb-external-hard-drive-gears-war-edition-review/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/seagate-2tb-external-hard-drive-gears-war-edition-review/#respond Wed, 08 Feb 2017 15:00:29 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=94958

By Cody Orme

To say console manufacturers sent out their first wave of next gen hardware woefully underprepared to store the typical library of an average user would be an understatement, to say the least. For the most part, unless you bought a special edition console around the holidays, you’re probably stuck with a 500GB unit—which really won’t […]

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By Cody Orme

To say console manufacturers sent out their first wave of next gen hardware woefully underprepared to store the typical library of an average user would be an understatement, to say the least. For the most part, unless you bought a special edition console around the holidays, you’re probably stuck with a 500GB unit—which really won’t cut it. Even still, if you did opt into a special edition console like the 2TB hard drive Gears of War model Xbox One, it doesn’t hurt to have a little more memory. That’s where Seagate has you covered with the Seagate 2TB External Hard Drive Gears of War Edition.

The thought of 4TB of storage for a system is pretty fantastic. When you do the math, that’s around 50 extra games, all of which fit in a device small enough to fit in your pocket.  It only weighs in around 28 grams, which makes it surprisingly light, but sturdy. Also packed in is a 45 centimetre USB 3.0 cable that ensures faster speeds. In our tests, we noticed it was only a fraction slower than the internal hard drive loading similar games, and the load screens were faster than its peers.

Seagate 2TB External Hard Drive- Gears of War Edition Review 2

Outside of functionality, the Seagate 2TB External Hard Drive Gears of War Edition is made for hardcore Gears of War fans. Aesthetically, this is the most intense looking hard drive on the market with red and black battle worn detail, complete with the iconic COG logo across the middle. If that wasn’t enough, the Seagate 2TB External Hard Drive- geared of War Edition comes with two Gears of War packs that unlock XP boosting bounties, along with special character and weapon skins. Priced at $99.99 USD, the only issue is that this hard drive is only available at Game Stop, and even then it’s hardly an issue.

There isn’t much to dislike when it comes to the Seagate 2TB External Hard Drive Gears of War Edition. In terms of functionality, it is on par and sometimes even better than its peers. With an inexpensive price point, bonus features for Gears fans, and a paint job to complement my favourite Xbox One model, it’s hard to say if fans can find a better option on the market.

Score:9

Final Thoughts:With an inexpensive price point, bonus features for Gears fans, and a paintjob to compliment my favourite Xbox One model, it’s hard to say if fans can find a better option on the market.

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Former State of Decay Artist Danny Weinbaum Talks Latest Project https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/08/former-second-son-artist-danny-weinbaum-talks-latest-project/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/08/former-second-son-artist-danny-weinbaum-talks-latest-project/#respond Wed, 08 Feb 2017 13:00:51 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=94999

By Brendan Quinn

It’s always nice to see someone “chasing the dream” in the video game industry. Not everyone wants to work their way up the ranks of a big company. For some, the idea of creating something entirely original is too alluring to pass up. Danny Weinbaum, an environment artist who formerly worked on AAA titles like […]

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By Brendan Quinn

It’s always nice to see someone “chasing the dream” in the video game industry. Not everyone wants to work their way up the ranks of a big company. For some, the idea of creating something entirely original is too alluring to pass up. Danny Weinbaum, an environment artist who formerly worked on AAA titles like Infamous: Second Son, decided several years ago to pursue his dream of making his own game, Eastshade. However, before he’s finished with that, he is introducing players to his universe with Leaving Lyndow, a first-person adventure game releasing Feb, 8, 2017. CGM recently spoke to Danny about his game, his history with the industry, and what it means to leave a steady paycheque to pursue his own project.

CGMagazine: Hey Daniel, thanks for taking the time to chat with us. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Danny Weinbaum: Before I was indie, I was doing environment art for AAA games. I worked for a couple small companies before Suckerpunch, probably a larger company was Arena Net, but I was just an intern. That was my first gig in the industry. I’ve been doing, my speciality is environment art, making the places, the vegetation, the couches, the fire hydrants, all that stuff. That’s my forte.

Former Second Son Artist Danny Weinbaum Talks Latest ProjectCGM: What led you to leave and spread your wings to branch out on your own?

Weinbaum: I always knew I wanted to make my own game, which is not an uncommon desire in the video game industry; everyone wants to do their own thing. I’d always been really serious about it; I would always save half my income because I always knew that if I wanted to make a game one day, probably nobody was going to give me a bunch of money to try it, so I was going to have to fund it myself, and I always thought that I was going to need a lot of money to do it, so I figured, eh, save my money for ten years and then I’ll spend it all in two years hiring people trying to make a game and if it doesn’t work then maybe I’ll do it again.

It turned out to happen quite a lot earlier than I had expected just because I was seeing so many other people release really cool, large games with very small teams - sometimes just by their lonesome - and that really inspired me, like, “wow if they’re doing it maybe I can give it a whirl too”. I had been working on Eastshade for a little bit already and I was so just impassioned with it that I was staying up until 4a.m. and then going into work again and doing the day job as well, which of course is not healthy and not very nice to your employer either. I decided that I wanted to quit and try my hand at doing it myself.

CGM: Were they cool with that? You seem like a fairly talented artist, was leaving all right with them or was it a battle?

Weinbaum: They were really cool, Suckerpunch was a great employer and they were really nice to me and told that if I ever want to come back into AAA that I should get in touch with them again, so yeah they were really cool about it. And I wasn’t like a lead or anything, I had only been there for a year-and-half so I wasn’t a super integral…I like to think that I did okay but I wasn’t going to break up the team by leaving. I also made sure we were, at the time we were shipping in a few months and I made sure like ”okay when is a good time to leave that isn’t going to step on anyone’s toes” so I tried to make certain that I wasn’t going to mess anything up.

CGM: How long ago was that, and how long have you been working on Eastshade?

Weinbaum: I’ve been working on Eastshade for three years now, for the last 4-5 months Leaving Lyndow, but yeah three years full time on Eastshade.

CGM: How big is your team? I read that you have collaborators, but it seems like it’s mostly a solo project.

Weinbaum: I’m the only full-timer, I pay someone in Romania to do character outfits, and my girlfriend helps a lot with the design and the writing, there’s a lot of writing to do and she’s really good at it. She’s crazy about games too and we like the same type of games so that’s fun. I also have Charlene now who is helping me with the publicity and my composer who is my childhood friend doing the music.

CGM: Leaving Lyndow is set in the Eastshade universe. Is this an entry in the same game?

Weinbaum: There are two angles, two categories of reasons we had for wanting to make Leaving Lyndow. The first is for business reasons, we wanted to make sure we knew how to ship a game before shipping Eastshade because Eastshade is my entire life savings and a long time and I didn’t want to mess things up by doing something stupid, like “oh you shipped on the wrong day” or “you didn’t get in touch with the right people” or maybe a bug that I didn’t foresee because I’ve never shipped a game, so I wanted to make sure that I really knew what I was doing on that front. Leaving Lyndow is a good opportunity to test the waters for shipping a game. Artistically it was a cool break from Eastshade, and this gets into the mechanics, it’s quite different, it’s almost polar opposite. In Eastshade there’s almost no central story, there’s just a lot of little stories and you kind of go wherever you want and do whatever you want and it’s open world and very hands off. LL is an authored story, your avatar has a story, her name is Clara and you learn about her and her story and you’re kind of living her story, kind of like a short coming of age thing about leaving on a long adventure. It’s not open world, it’s quite closed off, we’re hoping that people enjoy getting their feet wet with seeing the world, and learning a bit about the world and experience a neat story and you get to talk to characters and make dialogue decisions and things like that.

 

CGM: What are the gameplay mechanics behind Leaving Lyndow and Eastshade? What are we looking at for length, goals, themes, and things like that? What do the players do?

Weinbaum: Leaving Lyndow, so far, I don’t know how long it’s going to take everyone, but so far, for most of my testers, it takes around an hour or so to complete that game, so just a really short game, and it’s like a first-person adventure game, kind of similar to Gone Home, but the main difference is that there are people to talk to, NPCs, you can say stuff to them - that’s another cool dimension - and then there’s the objects around the world, kind of like in Gone Home, you can pick them up, inspect them, learn about them and how they pertain to your story, and also there are these short minigame segments. I’ll give an example of one because I’m sure that sounds quite nebulous. There’s an instrument you can play, and you have to play a certain melody to progress. They’re really not there to be like, “oh you know these minigames are the funnest thing ever” they’re not like Gwent or anything, they’re just there to serve the greater world to make you feel like you’re more part of the world.

Former Second Son Artist Danny Weinbaum Talks Latest Project 4CGM: What’s been shown off in the trailers so far is absolutely stunning, visually. What kind of aesthetic you were aiming for? What was the visual theme that you wanted to present?

Weinbaum: We’re going for realistic, we like it to look realistic but also not our world, but a different world. As far as we know, unless I add something later, it’s not a very magical world, either. The people look like monkeys, and monkeys aren’t too far off from us so that’s also kind of realistic. They turned out to look pretty creepy though, so if I could do it all over maybe I’d make them look like something a little further than us, a little uncanny valley going on.

CGM: What are some games hit you like “I want to make something like that”? What were your influences as far as popular games go?

Weinbaum: The easy one for me is Elder Scrolls, I really love games that put you in a world…there are games that are extremely mechanical and very addictive like CIV5, and I love those too, but the games that really inspire me to create are games that feel almost like you’re traveling, like you went to a new place, and the fun part of being in the game, for me at least, isn’t getting the best armour or figuring out how to maximize your buffs or whatever, for me it’s almost like experiencing a new place. When you travel to a new place you really just want to see the architecture and meet the people and taste the food…a sight and sound experience, and smell and taste, and I really like those kinds of games and they inspire me to create, and Elder Scrolls certainly does that for me. I found it quite easy to make a game where the combat loop is not the thing that pulls you through the game, it’s not the core loop of the game, exploration itself is the core loop of the game: you explore and as you explore you find new people to talk to, you find new things, and those things that you’re finding and gaining will enable you to expose new parts of the world, so that’s the compelling core loop that is getting you excited.

CGM: How do you find being an Indie developer in today’s marketplace? You have these huge companies and a very crowded Indie marketplace at the same time. How do you make yourself known?

Weinbaum: I have to say, anything I say here will be mostly speculation because I have actually yet to ship my own game. On Feb. 8th I’ll know for sure. I think it’ll be okay, I don’t expect to be able to go buy a nice house or anything, but I expect it’ll just be fine. Which is wonderful for me because this is exactly what I want to do and for me I think that I have it a little bit easier than a lot of Indie devs simply because the type of games that I make, at least LL and Eastshade, they don’t really look Indie. I’m not making a side scrolling 2D platformer, and there are so many cool ones coming out that Indie devs are making, and I think they have a much harder time because the AAA look I could say is something that is not that ubiquitous yet, certainly among Indie devs.

Former Second Son Artist Danny Weinbaum Talks Latest Project 2CGM: Do you think your game not being in a sea of retro-looking games gives you an advantage?

Weinbaum: I think so, I hope so, and two years ago I think I would have been even more arrogant about this. It’s 3D and looks high fidelity. There are not many games like that, so I think it’s going to stand out quite easily. Now, I’m getting the feeling that it’s not quite as easy as I thought it was and that it’s still a lot of work to get people to hear about the game: you still have to do a lot of PR, you still have to talk to a lot of people and really spread the word. Even then, after you do all that, [if] people like the game, even then you’re [just] going to make ends meet [and] MAYBE you’ll make another game. I guess that’s kind of rough, but hey, I’m doing what I want to do, so I’m hoping it’ll be okay.

CGM: Do you plan on continuing with the Eastshade universe? Do you have other games in mind?

Weinbaum: I don’t know. I have some other ideas; I think that I would probably do something. I really like first-person and I really like games where the world is the character, so to speak. I’m not really after, telling a certain story, or making deep mechanics and I know that sounds like I’m speaking little of myself but that’s just not really what excites me. I think it would be similar in the sense that it’s a cool world to explore, and maybe Eastshade, but at the moment I think Eastshade would be early 2018 so that’s quite a long way out for me. I’m actually so excited to get back to Eastshade after Leaving Lyndow. LL has been awesome and I’m super stoked to ship that but I’m also super excited to get back to Eastshade which almost feels like Eastshade 2 at this point for me which is weird but it’s the same game and nobody’s played it yet.

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5 Reasons Why Gravity Rush 2 Is Unpopular in the West https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/08/why-gravity-rush-2-is-unpopular-in-west/ https://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/02/08/why-gravity-rush-2-is-unpopular-in-west/#comments Wed, 08 Feb 2017 12:00:22 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=94927

By Andrew Ko

Perhaps the most telling difference between the reception of Gravity Rush 2 in its Eastern and Western release is its title. For the game’s release in the West, its original Japanese title Gravity “Daze” was changed to Gravity “Rush.” The change seems to perfectly brand the West’s misunderstanding of the game: where the Japanese title reflects lead character […]

This post is by www.cgmagonline.com read the original post: 5 Reasons Why Gravity Rush 2 Is Unpopular in the West

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