CGMagazine http://www.cgmagonline.com Comics Gaming Magazine Mon, 29 May 2017 16:20:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.5 58109468 Nintendo Files Trademark for ‘Super Nintendo World’ In The US http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/29/nintendo-files-trademark-for-super-nintendo-world-in-the-us/ Mon, 29 May 2017 16:20:03 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=102221

By Zubi Khan

Nintendo recently placed a trademark request for ‘Super Nintendo World’ in the U.S. Through the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Nintendo filed a trademark application for ‘Super Nintendo World’ which is currently the company’s game themed park attraction set for Universal Studios Japan, in Osaka. The exact basis of the trademark is listed as […]

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By Zubi Khan

Nintendo recently placed a trademark request for ‘Super Nintendo World’ in the U.S.

Through the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Nintendo filed a trademark application for ‘Super Nintendo World’ which is currently the company’s game themed park attraction set for Universal Studios Japan, in Osaka. The exact basis of the trademark is listed as 1B;44D, which refers to the usage and intent of a foreign application. The new application entered through the Trademark Reporting and Monitoring System or TRAM on May 27, 2017.

From early concept renders, the attractions seem to mainly be focused on the Mario property, with set pieces based on iconic imagery from the franchise such as Peach’s castle, Toad’s house, and more nondescript installations reminiscent of a level straight out of the Mushroom Kingdom. It is unclear whether or not if the Japanese theme park will branch out and feature other prominent Nintendo properties, or just focus on Mario.

Currently, Nintendo’s theme park is still in the planning phases at Universal Studios, Japan, with the expansion to be available sometime in 2020.

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Final Fantasy VII Development Update http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/29/final-fantasy-vii-development-update/ Mon, 29 May 2017 14:57:45 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=102206

By Zubi Khan

Square Enix issued an update regarding the highly anticipated Final Fantasy VII remake, the title has shifted development teams, and will now be done internally within Square Enix. Announced at E3 2015, the Final Fantasy VII remake project was originally planned to be co-developed by CyberConnect2, the developers behind some of the titles based on […]

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By Zubi Khan

Square Enix issued an update regarding the highly anticipated Final Fantasy VII remake, the title has shifted development teams, and will now be done internally within Square Enix.

Announced at E3 2015, the Final Fantasy VII remake project was originally planned to be co-developed by CyberConnect2, the developers behind some of the titles based on the Naruto property, however after a recent broadcast, the remake will now fall under the guidance of Naoki Hamaguchi, who was previously in charge of the development for Mobius Final Fantasy, Square Enix’s mobile Final Fantasy spinoff. Hamaguchi was also the lead for Lightning Returns Final Fantasy XIII, which released in 2013 to a lukewarm reception.

The original Final Fantasy VII launched all the way back in 1997, since then the game has received numerous spinoffs, including movies, animated shorts, and even other games and special guest appearances, with the latest being Cloud in Super Smash Brothers for both the 3DS and WII U. For those who might have never played Final Fantasy VII or are wanting to replay it before the remake drops, can find the game on Steam, the PlayStation Network and both iOS and Android app stores.

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Shenmue III Will Not be at E3 2017 http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/29/shenmue-iii-will-not-e3-2017/ Mon, 29 May 2017 14:07:07 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=102200

By Cody Orme

Those waiting for one of the most anticipated sequels of all time won’t be seeing it at E3 2017. In the form of an email blast developers Ys Net, Shenmue III will not be at the show. The statement, which was shared by Twitter User Wario 64, says the team is dedicating June to game […]

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By Cody Orme

Those waiting for one of the most anticipated sequels of all time won’t be seeing it at E3 2017.

In the form of an email blast developers Ys Net, Shenmue III will not be at the show. The statement, which was shared by Twitter User Wario 64, says the team is dedicating June to game development. Still, for those who are salivating at anything Shenmue, the studio does intend to continue their monthly YouTube updates.

Shenmue III is one of the most anticipated games ever. As a sequel to a pair of Dreamcast classics, fans have been waiting since 2001 for a definitive conclusion to what was once considered to be an epic anthology. Following Sega’s financial issues in the early part of the last decade— which caused them to back out of the console market entirely to focus on publishing— Shenmue fans wondered what to make of a series that the former console manufacturer marketed as a game changer.

That all changed at E3 2015 when Sony brought out series creator Yu Suzuki to announce the title could happen and would be funded, at least partially, through Kickstarter. Fans jumped at the opportunity fund the game, initially overwhelming the crowdfunding services’ servers, causing the site to crash.

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The Long Journey Home Review- A Different Experience http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/long-journey-home-review-different-experience/ Mon, 29 May 2017 14:06:46 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=102189

By Lane Martin

To be completely honest, I did not like The Long Journey Home the first time I played it. The controls were clunky, the learning curve was steep and what I had seen made the universe feel barren and uninteresting. The thing is that I had been playing The Long Journey Home as if it we […]

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By Lane Martin

To be completely honest, I did not like The Long Journey Home the first time I played it. The controls were clunky, the learning curve was steep and what I had seen made the universe feel barren and uninteresting. The thing is that I had been playing The Long Journey Home as if it we strictly a modern RPG, but it tries to do so much more than that. This is a game that does a lot of things, though nothing exceptionally well.

The Long Journey Home is a rogue-like space simulation that emphasizes exploration, negotiation with various myriad alien races, and, above all, patience. Trying to speed through the galaxy will leave players out of fuel, damaged, and likely under the yolk of galactic bureaucracy without the funds or friends to move on. However, if the player takes it slow and explores the universe they’ll be rewarded with resources, colourful alien encounters, and decent controls. Well, mostly decent controls.

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As the name suggest, the player assembles a group of four space travelers with various backgrounds and skill sets. There’s a botanist, an actual astronaut, an engineer, and even a kid with a blog, all the important jobs. Your motley group of explorers is quickly thrust out into the depths of unexplored space, thanks to a convenient engine mishap. Shame about those mishaps, they always seem to happen and the most narratively appropriate times.

The actual gameplay consists of a few different variations of piloting your plucky crew through the universe. You’ll be jumping between star systems on a large map in a way very similar to Out There, a game that shares a great deal of thematic and narrative elements with The Long Journey Home, though presents them as an adventure game rather than a simulation. On a smaller scale, you’ll be jetting around solar systems from planet to planet by applying thrust in different directions to make adjustments to your course and speed. In practice, it falls somewhere between Sunless Sea and Kerbal Space Program, and similarly emphasizes patience and planning.

To be fair, there’s nothing inherently wrong with emulating a few interesting indie games, in fact, utilizing successful mechanics of previous games is a staple of the industry. Not only does the practice promote interesting mechanics, but the articles surrounding the game can help guide players to the games that inspired them. What I’m trying to say it this: those three games are good, if you dig The Long Journey Home you’ll dig those indie titles.

There is another gameplay section, I haven’t really touched on yet that isn’t so great. When you explore a planet you’ll do so by way of a lander. This lander is capable of thrust in several different directions, and tends to drop like a stone. It was very rare that I was able to pilot this little death box to the surface of a planet without sustaining significant damage or injuries. Luckily, while exploring the surface, the player is able to collect various crafting and repair components and interact with local populations in to obtain or complete quests or repair the damage done.

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The planet-side gameplay is frustrating, but one hiccup in an otherwise competent game. It is unfortunate how frequent these sections occur, but they are manageable with patience and practice. The Long Journey Home is a slow burn, meant to be experienced over several playthroughs and numerous different adventures through the farthest reaches of the universe. You’ll fend off space pirates with grand broadside battles akin to games that focus on naval warfare (Sid Meier’s Pirates!, Assassin’s Creed Black Flag, etc.), liaison with the weird and wonderful denizens of the universe (Though they never seem to have enough time for you), and maybe even take part in an intergalactic freak show.

It’s easy to dismiss The Long Journey Home as a subpar pretender, standing on the backs of a few indie games that came before it, as I almost did, but it ends up being more than that. This game is a love letter to the various titles it emulates and a solid game in its own right. Here you’re guaranteed a memorable experience as you meander from planet to planet, just be careful with that landing.

Score:8

Final Thoughts:The Long Journey Home is an interesting exploration game that succeeds in a lot of ways, but never really seems to shine.

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June Comic Bento Mixtape Vol.2: Mixtape Harder Rundown http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/29/june-comic-bento-mixtape-vol-2-mixtape-harder-rundown/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/29/june-comic-bento-mixtape-vol-2-mixtape-harder-rundown/#respond Mon, 29 May 2017 13:17:19 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=102080

By CGM Staff

The latest Comic Bento Box has arrived for the month of June, bringing with it some recognisable issues from publishers Zenescope, Valiant, Archie Comics and Dark Horse. The theme for this box is Mixtape Vol.2: Mixtape Harder, a sequel of sorts from one of Comic Bento’s most popular themes. The Mixtape theme box is all […]

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By CGM Staff

The latest Comic Bento Box has arrived for the month of June, bringing with it some recognisable issues from publishers Zenescope, Valiant, Archie Comics and Dark Horse. The theme for this box is Mixtape Vol.2: Mixtape Harder, a sequel of sorts from one of Comic Bento’s most popular themes. The Mixtape theme box is all about Anthologies, and with the 4 comics provided, readers get over 50 stories from more than 100 writers and artists.

Before we go any further, if you’re interested in a Comic Bento box, head over to comicbento.com and use the promo code CGMAG to receive a five dollar discount on your first box! Now let’s dig in.

Starting at the top of the pile, readers will be excited to crack open Road to Riverdale. Obviously inspired by The CW’s insanely popular show, which also gives the familiar Archie series a fresh coat of paint. This collection features Archie #1, Jughead #1, Betty and Veronica #1, Josie and the Pussycats #1, and Reggie and Me #1.

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Next up is Grimm Tales of Terror published by Zenescope. This is graphic novel packs 12 writers and artists into is pages of retold creepy literature. From classics to modern legends, Grimm Tales of Terror TP will keep readers spooked any time they hear something go bump in the night.

Number three in the pile is Valiant Zeroes & Origins. Featuring over 24 artists and writers, this bundle is a celebration of 25 years of Valiant, which happens to be the largest independent superheroes universe in comics today.  Valiant Zeroes & Origins works as the readers go to guide for their favourite characters in the Valiant Universe.

We also get Hellboy Weird Tales. This hardcover features over 57 artists and writers to tell stories of giant bats, space ships, demon children, and anything else you can think of to bring readers some pulp-style action featuring one of the most iconic characters in the comic industry.  This one is a little thick but well worth the read.

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Finally, tucked away on the bottom of the box, underneath the physical pile and the piece of cardboard they’re placed on is an issue of image’s Saga. While this isn’t an anthology, this single issue features a man with goat horns, a unicorn woman and a woman with bug wings, so it’s probably worth your time as well.

That’s the entire haul for the month of June. It’s a pretty thick stack and will keep most readers looking for longer storylines happy. So what are you waiting for?

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The Walking Dead: A New Frontier Episode 4 Review http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/the-walking-dead-a-new-frontier-episode-4-review/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/the-walking-dead-a-new-frontier-episode-4-review/#respond Mon, 29 May 2017 11:00:06 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=102086

By Jordan Biordi

While playing the fourth episode in the third season of Telltale’s The Walking Dead I thought of a time when zombies actually used to be scary. I look back fondly on a time when they were so sparsely seen in media that they actually had some, well, teeth. Movies like Dawn of the Dead and games […]

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By Jordan Biordi

While playing the fourth episode in the third season of Telltale’s The Walking Dead I thought of a time when zombies actually used to be scary. I look back fondly on a time when they were so sparsely seen in media that they actually had some, well, teeth. Movies like Dawn of the Dead and games like Resident Evil actually presented the creatures as formidable opponents, impervious to pain, who could completely overwhelm you and bring you down with a single bite. I even remember as a kid being genuinely freaked out by Micheal Jackson’s Thriller; even MJ managed to make zombies scary in the funkiest way possible.

But playing The Walking Dead: A New Frontier, you’d never know that. The undead are dispatched so easily that they’re little more than mosquitos on the threat chart. Thankfully, we’re coming into the home stretch here and hopefully, if this review (and almost all others), are any indication, Telltale might take a long-needed break from The Walking Dead once this is over.

In the fourth episode, Javi and the gang go out of the frying pan and into the fire as the situation in Richmond rapidly deteriorates. While the New Frontier’s tyrannical leader Joan stages the public execution of David for his attempts to expose her, Javi must rally what strength he has left to rescue him and possibly bring down the corrupt order of The New Frontier, but the clock is ticking as a massive zombie horde has made it’s way to the gates and the situation outside is getting just as bad as inside.

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In the midst of all this, the romantic subplot between Javi and Kate finally comes to a head as they admit (or don’t depending on your choices) their feelings. Personally, I was pretty pleased to finally see this, and have actual issues like the complicated nature of her marriage to David and the brother’s relationship addressed, but that doesn’t detract from the fact that it took four-out-of-five episodes for someone to finally bring it up.

To give credit where credit is due, episode four: Thicker Than Water was more interesting than any of the preceding episodes, however that may just be a bi-product of three episodes worth of “build up” finally being “paid off.” I put those words in quotes because depending on your level of investment, these things might actually matter. While three episodes couldn’t make me care about any of these characters—save for Clementine— by the fourth, I can still say I don’t really care about anyone not named Clementine. But I can at least say the played out events were fun to watch.

However, that isn’t to say that this chapter was wholly original by any stretch. Once again, it feels like so much of what’s happening has already been played out not only in other Walking Dead games, but other Telltale games. Most notably, revealing the antagonist’s plot and rallying against it here feels a lot like the ending of The Wolf Among Us, but not nearly as well done. But again, hard and complicated decisions are brought to light, and people who have come with you this far turn on you on a dime because the plot required it. am I the only one who’s sick and tired of the terrible writing in these games that has a character turn on you, or act generally terrible towards you, and then acts all surprised or vindicated when you choose to betray them? I’m sorry terrible character, you don’t get the moral high ground when your attempt to betray me blew up in your face, and now, understandably, I’m not feeling so noble to save you. And yet the game still has the nerve to try and make you feel bad about it. Honestly, it’s hacky and it needs to stop.

I know that I’m starting to sound like a broken record here, so many of the same problems persist in the fourth episode. I think I’ve come to realize that it’s not necessarily the lack of options that the four-button dialogue presents, but it’s really how redundant some of the options are. There have been so many moments where two of the four dialogue options, while different in “context” yield the same result and with one of those options always being silence, your ability to make any noticeable decision is always all but nonexistent. On top of that,  there are a few times where the on-screen choice doesn’t give you a clear idea of what might actually unfold, or where it doesn’t even match the tone and dialogue of what follows. Stuff like this seriously diminishes the player’s agency within the story.

As does the “person will remember that” especially when it’s a flashback and that character died in a flashback in the first episode! Honestly, what does it matter that she’ll remember that? It’s completely meaningless.

Much like every entry in this season, the game has performed below average. Lip assignments are laughably bad, some noticeable technical glitches like Javi blinking in and out of existence upon opening a door, a character filling a syringe then handing to Javi whereupon it’s suddenly empty, and an actual game crash at the start of a cutscene.

In conclusion, I’ll concede that the statements I made at the end of my previous review were slightly askew. While Telltale’s The Walking Dead: Episode 4 hasn’t exactly “redeemed” the season for me, it at least gave me a bit of enjoyment. And I’ll mark that as a positive for now. The very fact that things have to happen in episode five may, at the very least, put it above the rest.

Score:6

Final Thoughts:It took four episodes, but things finally happened and are at least mildly interesting.

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Resident Evil 7, Spider Pig, and Lorde an Interview With Michael A. Levine http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/27/resident-evil-7-spider-pig-lorde-interview-michael-levine/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/27/resident-evil-7-spider-pig-lorde-interview-michael-levine/#respond Sat, 27 May 2017 14:00:37 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=102148

By Brendan Quinn

When one thinks of Resident Evil 7, the mind doesn’t automatically go right to the Kit Kat jingle (gimme a break) or Spider Pig from The Simpsons Movie. However, the creepy theme song Go Tell Aunt Rhody, Spider Pig, and that catchy can’t-get-it-out-of-your-head Kit Kat commercial song were all written by the same man: Michael […]

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By Brendan Quinn

When one thinks of Resident Evil 7, the mind doesn’t automatically go right to the Kit Kat jingle (gimme a break) or Spider Pig from The Simpsons Movie. However, the creepy theme song Go Tell Aunt Rhody, Spider Pig, and that catchy can’t-get-it-out-of-your-head Kit Kat commercial song were all written by the same man: Michael A. Levine. Levine is an accomplished musician who has written music for television, film, and now video games. Born in Tokyo but raised in America, Levine has worked with musicians ranging from Lenny Kravitz to the famous composer Hans Zimmer and produced Lorde’s track Everybody Wants to Rule the World from The Hunger Games. CGMagazine recently had a chat with Levine to pick his brain about the music industry and the differences between writing a Kit Kat jingle and the theme song from a Resident Evil game.

CGMagazine: Standard question first. Tell us a bit about yourself! What’s your background in music, when did you decide you wanted to compose soundtracks and such?

Michael A. Levine: I started piano at age 4. My older sister and brother played so I just figured it was something you did. At age 8 I tried to enrol in the school drum program but they were filled up. There was space in the violin program so I became a violinist. All these years later I still think that sometimes I play the violin like a drummer.

I wrote songs back as far as I can remember and had my first song covered on a record at age 16. I did every kind of music job there was including performing on the street and playing fiddle in country western and Irish bands. I got into scoring commercials via musical theater and dance. That led to films and television including Cold Case, and writing the Spider Pig choir arrangement in Hans Zimmer’s score for The Simpson’s Movie.

Commercials were a fantastic way to learn the mechanics of scoring. One of my best-known compositions is still the Kit Kat Gimme A Break jingle. 

CGM: You’ve written music for a variety of different media. What are the major differences between composing a piece for a video game and something like a film or commercial?

Levine: Conceptually, it’s exactly the same – you are using music (and words, in the case of a song) to help tell a story. However, in Resident Evil 7, because I was writing the song before the title was complete, the timing was more general than[it would be] for a commercial or a film with a locked picture. 

CGM: Are you much of a gamer yourself?

Levine: Honestly, no. My son is much more knowledgeable than I am, and tried valiantly to educate me through the years. (I think he taught me what an FPS was.)

But I love puzzles. Right now I am fascinated by the musical cryptograms used in the Cicada 3301 online puzzle.

CGM: When writing music for a narrative experience like Resident Evil, how do you approach crafting a score for something that’s meant to be played rather than watched? Where do you even begin?

Levine: To be clear, I wrote the theme song, not the score. I got the fun part!

CGM: What was it like working with Hans Zimmer? The guy is kind of a legend, what was the major thing you learned during your time with him?

Levine: “Good enough” is not good enough. Hans will make an absolutely extraordinary effort for what seems like a marginal difference. But if you add up all those “marginal” differences you end up with something truly outstanding – and unique. 

CGM: What works are you most proud of and why? What would you say is your biggest goal for the future?

Levine: I am always most excited about what I am doing right now. I just finished recording an album with virtuoso percussionist Evelyn Glennie at Abbey Road with me on violin. I scored two films making the festival rounds that couldn’t be more different. Directed by first-timer Lysa Heslov, Served Like A Girl is a documentary about the women competing in the Ms. Veteran America contest to help homeless women vets. Another first-time director, Saskia Rifkin, helmed Could Hitler Happen Here, a fascinating unreliable narrator feature about an elderly woman whose neighbours are plotting to evict her from her home. Or are they?

Plus, I scored a feature and a series of shorts for Lego DC Super Girls (here’s a link to one of the shorts, Need For Speed). It was a blast swinging from Super Hero orchestral music, to rock n’ roll, to tween pop to Who Knows What.

But maybe the thing I am most proud of right now is producing the first album by Samira & The Wind. The singer is Mariana Samira Barreto, who sang all the background voices on Go Tell Aunt Rhody for RE7 and also all the background voices for the Lorde version of Everybody Wants to Rule the World I produced with Lucas Cantor. It was in the Hunger Games Catching Fire soundtrack and later used in the Assassin’s Creed Unity trailer.

Mariana is also my daughter.

CGM: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Levine: This goes out to all the artists of all sorts out there; from choreographer Martha Graham, whose company I worked for when I was young, and who I once had the honour of meeting. Remember this the next time you get frustrated and want to chuck it all:

“No artist is pleased. No satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.”

That is, unless you’re playing Resident Evil 7 VR. Then you’re more dead than the others.

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Pixels & Ink #250 – Destiny of Baywatch http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/27/pixels-ink-250-destiny-baywatch/ Sat, 27 May 2017 04:35:41 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=102177

By Cody Orme

On this episode of the Pixels and Ink Podcast. Cody, Brendan and Phil go down a rabbit hole of forgotten movie formats while Phil talks about Baywatch and Pirates of the Caribbean. Brendan played Destiny 2, Phil got his hands on Injustice 2 and Cody feels a little different about Breath of the Wild.

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By Cody Orme

On this episode of the Pixels and Ink Podcast. Cody, Brendan and Phil go down a rabbit hole of forgotten movie formats while Phil talks about Baywatch and Pirates of the Caribbean. Brendan played Destiny 2, Phil got his hands on Injustice 2 and Cody feels a little different about Breath of the Wild.

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Sidebar Games Announces Golf Story For Nintendo Switch http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/26/sidebar-games-announces-golf-story-for-nintendo-switch/ Fri, 26 May 2017 20:51:39 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=102167

By Zubi Khan

SideBar Games has announced their first game for the Nintendo Switch, Golf Story. In Golf story, the player assumes the role of a golfer who has sacrificed everything to help realize his dream. Yet, achieving one’s dreams in the world of Golf Story requires not just mastering the course, but the larger world outside of […]

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By Zubi Khan

SideBar Games has announced their first game for the Nintendo Switch, Golf Story.

In Golf story, the player assumes the role of a golfer who has sacrificed everything to help realize his dream. Yet, achieving one’s dreams in the world of Golf Story requires not just mastering the course, but the larger world outside of it. In the game, players will actually be able to explore a large game world, spanning 8 unique environments, chalk full of towns, people, stories and secrets to uncover. Golf Story will be a fully featured RPG and colourful golf game for the Nintendo Switch.

Players will be able to upgrade their golfers by completing challenges, solving puzzles and buying new equipment. Golfers will also be able to partake in many different variations of golf within the game, which include: long driver tournaments, disc golf, mini golf and wee links. For players looking for stuff to do beyond the scope of golfing can also look forward to the games extra challenges such as racing, mowing, drone flying and geocaching.

Golf Story will be available sometime later this Summer, with further details to come soon.

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An Interview with Transfiguration Director Michael O’Shea http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/26/interview-transfiguration-director-michael-oshea/ Fri, 26 May 2017 20:37:13 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=102163

By Phil Brown

The horror genre is often derided for the ways in which it too often relies on formula and cheap scares to stimulate viewers’ spooky centres. Thankfully, that’s far from always the case. This week, the oddball indie art horror film Transfiguration comes to Toronto, and it hardly conforms to genre norms. Eric Ruffin stars as […]

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By Phil Brown

The horror genre is often derided for the ways in which it too often relies on formula and cheap scares to stimulate viewers’ spooky centres. Thankfully, that’s far from always the case. This week, the oddball indie art horror film Transfiguration comes to Toronto, and it hardly conforms to genre norms. Eric Ruffin stars as Milo, a dejected teen struggling through a rough existence in New York housing projects. His escape from the horrors of his regular life are the stylized horrors he experiences through genre movies. Specifically, Milo adores vampire flicks. In fact, he’s begun to think that he’s a vampire, and has even started stalking and possibly even feasting on blood to satisfy his fantasy. His life is shaken up when he meets Sophie (Chloe Levine), an equally lost soul who bounds with Milo over a shared love of horror and then bonds even more deeply. There’s a chance that finding a genuine human connection might be enough for the lost kid to give up his vampire obsession or maybe it just might fuel it further.

The debut feature by writer/director Michael O’Shea is a thrilling love letter to the horror genre and a poignant exploration of brutal teenage alienation. The film was a hit at Cannes last year where the mixture of knowing horror tropes and an empathetic exploration of the traumas of youth went over like gangbusters. Since then, O’Shea has been touring around with the film, getting critical adoration wherever he goes. It’s a remarkably accomplished first feature, both achingly human and disturbingly stylized.

An Interview with Transfiguration Director Michael O’Shea

O’Shea is a clear student of horror, layering his film with horror references from overt dialogue debates and clips of classics (like the conveniently public domain Nosferatu) to cameos from the likes of indie genre legends Larry Fessenden (Habit, Wendigo) and Lloyd Kauffman (Troma Films), or the fact that the whole thing could be considered an homage to George A. Romero’s underrated Martin. Yet, it’s also a painfully personal and human tale, weaved within all the scares and gonzo low budget filmmaking techniques (it was shot on location in New York, typically without permission. God bless them). Transfiguration is a pleasant genre surprise that should please those with a sweet tooth for horror and a heart for art.

CGMagazine got a chance to chat with Michael O’Shea during a visit to Toronto to screen his delightful directorial debut, so we took the opportunity to geek out about our shared love of the genre and the unconventional techniques he used to create Transfiguration.

CGMagazine: So first up, can I assume you are a fan of George A. Romero’s Martin?

Michael O’Shea: (Laughs) Yep. You can indeed assume that. I’m a big fan of Martin. We tried to get John Amplas who plays Martin to play Sophie’s grandfather for a scene. We cold emailed him like we cold emailed everyone. We tried to stunt cast that role with a few different 70s guys, including that “Warriors come out to play” guy, but he turned us down. The first cut of the movie was two hours and twenty minutes long, and we cut in down to ninety minutes. In cutting an hour of the movie out, I didn’t want to change the pace. We wanted a slow methodical pace. So we had to lift entire scenes out and that scene got cut. So it’s lucky we didn’t get him. But yes, I wanted to get Martin to play the grandfather as a shout out because obviously, I love that movie.

CGM: Yeah and you certainly didn’t shy away from horror movie references in general.

O’Shea: (Laughs) Oh yeah. I love horror and I love the idea that when you’re seeing a horror movie all these stories come before it, and overtly referencing that is cool. I love referencing other movies. I remember when I showed someone the script they said, “I don’t like it because you do all this referencing…when you use pop culture references like that, you date your movie.” But I don’t know. I like that stuff. I like the idea of using other people’s stuff and ideas, mish-mashing it together and using it to make your own stew. That’s particularly resonant in horror because as fans, we’re all familiar with the mechanics of the genre and what happens, whether it’s a slasher or a vampire film. As someone who really likes this idea of taking other creative things and mixing them all together, I was really attracted to including nods to the horror myths that came before me.

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CGM: I liked how your movie commented on how horror appeals specifically to outsiders and those who feel alienated. Was that part of how this entire project began for you?

O’Shea: Once I realized that I was writing about a teenager, then suddenly all my teenage sh** came out. When I was a teenager, I was obsessed with horror movies and that was part of my escape from my hometown, and also how I connected with the few other kids like me. Like the kid who showed me Faces Of Death when I was in the eighth grade, which is in the movie. I guess that’s all done through YouTube now. A very different thing, we used to have to trade VHS tapes of Faces of Death.

CGM: Yeah, you don’t even have to look anyone in the eye when you make them watch Faces of Death anymore.

O’Shea: (Laughs) So yeah, all of my feelings of being an outsider growing up all came out when I realized this was going to be a teen movie. I first started writing horror about ten years ago. I wrote a slasher movie first, and I immediately was brought back to being a teenager. That’s when it hit me the most. I had issues of Fangoria all over my wall. I was so sad when I found out last year that Fangoria went away. I realized that there will never be an article on Transfiguration in Fangoria, and I was so sad. So anyways, all my baggage of being a teenager came out in this script. I hate the idea that people think that him watching all these horror movies and videos were what made him become violent. All interpretations of the movie are valid, but that really wasn’t my intent! (Laughs) I love horror and in no way would I ever suggest that it’s horror’s fault. Horror is how he escapes and honestly, his belief that he’s a vampire is what makes him a noble creature. Horror helps!

CGM: I enjoyed the way Milo had his own interpretation of what makes him a vampire and what makes vampire’s “real.” He never really lays it out in the movie though. Did you have that list of rules for yourself and the cast?

O’Shea: I don’t think I gave it to anyone in the cast, but I wrote his timeline early on and I wrote his notebooks early on, which have all his rules in them. But the rules were sort of a confirmation bias. He starts with the notion that he’s becoming a vampire. So after that every rule he sees that applies to him about vampire must be true, and everything that doesn’t apply to him must be false about vampires.  So his rules all come from that prism. You start from a conclusion that could be false, which is “I am a vampire.” So, if I can’t climb walls then Let the Right One In must be false because she can climb walls, and I can’t do that. So I did come up with all that, and wrote it out in his journal pages. My lookbook which I did to sell the movie was basically all his journal pages. I wrote out all of his rules for hunting and everything else out. I love that in the age of Wikipedia, he doesn’t really have to do all that. All the rules are on Wikipedia, so he doesn’t really have to write them all out. He’s just compelled to.  He’s an exhaustive guy, so he wouldn’t trust the Wikipedia page. But it’s out there.

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CGM: With this being your first film, was there any apprehension on your part to make a horror movie that was so unconventional right out of the gate?

O’Shea: No, I wanted to try for a home run. The thing is that it may be my only film too. I think when I was 22 I may have played it safe. But since I’m 44, I thought this could be my only chance and I wanted to do everything that I’d ever wanted to do. My girlfriend was the producer, and she’s produced many other films. So I really trusted her to stop me from being too masturbatory, or too “student-filmy,” or too out of line. So since I had her, I felt free to go out as far as I wanted knowing that she would always slap me back down to earth if I wanted to do something that would lose the audience. The slasher movie that I wrote before this was an attempt to do something more mainstream, but that didn’t get any money. So then I decided to try for something cheaper and weirder. The slasher movie is still a little weird, but it’s not quite as weird as this one.

CGM: I love that you shot live on the streets of New York with real people in the background. It has an effect that’s hard to deny, like an old Larry Cohen movie—

O’Shea: Yeah exactly!

So how was that experience?  

O’Shea: Well, the actors grew to hate it. In interviews, the actors have been very polite and said it helped them get into character, but on set they weren’t quite so happy (Laughs). We shot out the apartment in a week on a closed set, and then we through Eric out in the street and made him do a long monologue while crossing an actual street with traffic, and he was not thrilled (Laughs). The biggest problem is people responding when you don’t hide the camera. I like the idea of shooting across the street on long lenses, but it doesn’t always get the right shot. That’s the biggest problem with live locations is that people notice and look in the camera. So we shot with a small crew, maybe three people around a small camera that looks like a prosumer camera. Then you hide the rest of the crew in a van down the block and hope that no one notices. That’s what ruins takes more than anything else. The hardest one was that movie theatre scene, those were all real store and I loved how they looked and felt, but people were going in and out of the stores and would look right in the lens. Other than that, there weren’t many problems. Part of the legality of shooting live is that the people all have to be in the background. There can never be an interaction with a real human or they have to sign a lot of legal documents. So there was no improvisation with real people.

CGM: I loved the desolate New York locations that you used, which much be harder and harder to find all the time.

O’Shea: They are! That’s why I say it’s sort of a fable. It feels very authentic, but it’s also a bit of a fable because I’m picking specific locations to look like the New York of the 70s and 80s. Luckily I grew up where I shot the movie, so I knew where to find all of those spots. But those lots with nothing in them? There’s little a luxury development being built right next to them. Those were the lots that I played in growing up, empty lots that went on as far as you can see. Those are all being gentrified now, but fortunately, since I grew up there, I knew all the little places left that we could use.  I call it “depressed Peanuts.”

CGM: Did you find you had to schedule certain scenes around disappearing locations?

O’Shea: I mean, we were saying that about the whole film period. The lots were so important to me and they were building on them every year that we couldn’t get the money. I don’t mean to sound horrible, but Sandy hit my hometown and that’s why I wanted to shoot there. I am glad they rebuilt it all, but it was tough to see those spots disappearing while we were struggling to finance the movie (Laughs).

CGM: I really enjoyed seeing Larry Fessenden pop up in the movie because this very much felt like the type of off-kilter horror movie that he specializes in. So how did that come about and did he offer any advice?

O’Shea: I know, right? Because of Habit! I was worried about that, just like I’m worried about Romero ever seeing the movie because of Martin. I don’t want them to feel like I’m encroaching on their territory. But he was great. He’s a friend of Susan, my partner and producer. So she’d worked with him before. I knew I was going to either reach out to him about being in the movie or using Habit in the movie. I couldn’t do both because that’s just weird (Laughs). So, he read the script, and when he showed up he said he loved it and I was so grateful. The shooting day was in a tiny apartment, it was summer, it was 100 degrees, and he was covered in makeup. I felt so bad about it. But no, no, obviously Larry is familiar with low budget filmmaking. It was intimidating for me to work with him that day because he’s such a legend. It was slightly more intimidating than working with Lloyd Kaufman (Laughs). Lloyd I just felt bad because there were no bathrooms on the set that day. We were just in a park, but of course he’s the Troma guy. So I’m sure it wasn’t the first time (Laughs).

CGM: Do you think that you’ll continue to work in horror and push around the boundaries of the genre?

O’Shea:  Oh yeah, everything that I write stays in horror, murders people, and messes with the genre. I also have a guy and a girl on the road with a gun movie, which I still consider exploitation. I also have a ghost story, that slasher movie, and I’m writing a possession movie next. They all play with your expectations in the genre. The slasher I’m going to put aside for a while because Green Room did that so well, I don’t want to touch it. So I’m going to keep writing those things, but my agent also sends me scripts, and I would certainly consider doing something more traditional. You know, I want to work (Laughs). I’m probably not going to say, “my scripts or nothing” because I want to work.

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XSEED Games Announces Senran Kagura: Peach Beach Splash Limited Edition http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/26/xseed-games-announces-senran-kagura-peach-beach-splash-limited-edition/ Fri, 26 May 2017 19:58:23 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=102151

By Remington Joseph

XSEED Games announced a special limited edition for their upcoming game, Senran Kagura: Peach Beach Splash. A limited edition of the newest entry in the Senran Kagura series will be made available at retail when the game launches in North America this summer. The “No Shirt, No Shoes, All Service” edition of Senran Kagura: Peach […]

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By Remington Joseph

XSEED Games announced a special limited edition for their upcoming game, Senran Kagura: Peach Beach Splash.

A limited edition of the newest entry in the Senran Kagura series will be made available at retail when the game launches in North America this summer. The “No Shirt, No Shoes, All Service” edition of Senran Kagura: Peach Beach Splash will cost $69.99, and will be the only retail version of the game available at launch. XSEED Games revealed that the limited edition will include a Blu-ray disc containing a compilation of opening animations from all the Senran Kagura games. An art book containing art of the characters during their summer vacation along with the soundtrack of Senran Kagura: Peach Beach Splash will also come with the limited edition of the game. In addition, In-game bonuses are also being offered, giving players access to exclusive costumes and weapons. A regular edition of the game will be available for purchase digitally, through the PlayStation Store.

The Senran Kagura series debuted in the West in 2013 with Senran Kagura Burst, launching on the Nintendo 3DS. It is a side-scrolling action game, developed by Tamsoft and published by XSEED Games. The plot follows a group of high school girls who are secretly trained in the art of ninjitsu as they go on missions while completing their training, facing off against rival ninjas along the way. A number of sequels and spinoffs have been developed, releasing on Nintendo’s handheld along with different Sony platforms. The series maintains a strong fan base, praising the series many characters, solid gameplay and lewd visuals.

Senran Kagura: Peach Beach Splash places the girls in a mysteriously formed tournament, forcing the girls to face off against each other in a variety of five-on-five team-based combat, armed with water guns. Players can equip a variety of ten different types of weapons and a number of armaments, also gaining access to different usable skills and pets that can be summoned.

Senran Kagura: Peach Beach Splash will launch this summer exclusively on the PlayStation 4.

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Friday the 13th: The Game Review – A Well Made Love Letter http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/friday-13th-game-review-well-made-love-letter/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/friday-13th-game-review-well-made-love-letter/#respond Fri, 26 May 2017 17:48:46 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=102131

By Elias Blondeau

Games based on movies generally don’t fare well, but there’s a special space in hell reserved for games based on horror films – Alien: Isolation notwithstanding. All the major franchises, from Halloween to A Nightmare on Elm Street to Saw, have gotten a crack at the video game bat and whiffed hard. But perhaps one […]

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By Elias Blondeau

Games based on movies generally don’t fare well, but there’s a special space in hell reserved for games based on horror films – Alien: Isolation notwithstanding. All the major franchises, from Halloween to A Nightmare on Elm Street to Saw, have gotten a crack at the video game bat and whiffed hard. But perhaps one of the worst examples is the notorious Friday the 13th for the NES – a miserable slog of a game memorable only for its incredibly broken difficulty and goofy cover art. Widely considered one of the worst games ever made, it’s arguably the epitome of bad licensed games. Undoubtedly, Jason Vorhees is the movie killer most in need of gaming redemption. Redemption is exactly what the old hockey-masked freak of nature has found in Friday the 13th: The Game.

IllFonic is clearly a group of unabashed nerds of Sean Cunningham’s iconic slasher franchise. Speaking as one of those nerds, it’s hard not to look in admiration at this love letter to the celluloid gorefests of the Reagan era. From top to bottom, this is an authentic snapshot of the franchise’s high points, that sweet spot between The Final Chapter and Jason Takes Manhattan. Hodder doing the motion capture, Manfredini behind the score, and Savini at the drawing board – it’s all here. Oh, and it’s also a great game.

Friday the 13th: The Game Review - A Well Made Love Letter 1

Yes, Friday the 13th: The Game is more than just a bunch of fanservice, despite certainly being that. Illfonic’s asymmetric multiplayer game is a title takes the core concept behind the janky Dead By Daylight and does it umpteen times better. It seems as if the developers took note of that game, played it, then figured out what didn’t work and did it better. The result is what feels like the first true marriage of good multiplayer and slasher flicks.

Players have access to a whole smattering of teenagers, all varied in their age, gender, race, appearance, etc. Each character has a different allocation of stats, and has access to three perks. These perks are randomly generated and purchased through points earned by playing matches. Unlike the broken systems found in lesser games, this ensures that players won’t just unlock certain perks at certain levels and then stick to them. That sort of skill stagnation is what kills games’ longevity, and IllFonic was wise to avoid it here. Throughout my several hours of play, I can firmly say I didn’t encounter a game that was identical to another.

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Part of that is thanks to how dynamic the game flow is, and how little is spelled out for the player. At first, the three maps look like they might get stale – but looks can be deceiving. Each playthrough gives players a different experience. There’s always a smattering of things to repair, ranging from escape vehicles to police boxes, but their placement is always radically different, as are the pieces required to fix them. Other items litter the environment, like walkie talkies and a mélange of weapons, but what appeared to be random item and location generation will throw players off every time. It helps, too, that IllFonic doesn’t spell everything out for players. You might get an idea of what the police box does, for example, but it’s only through repairing it, using it, and finding the cops that you’ll truly grasp the system. There’s not a lot of handholding here, and because of that, good communication is encouraged.

Communication might be my favourite part of Friday the 13th: The Game, in fact. If you want to survive, it’s best not to be a total dick, which is really just “Surviving an Evil Killer Dude 101.” Different players will inevitably pick up different components to fixing a car or repairing a boat, and will have to talk to each other in order to get everything squared away and escape. Voice chat is proximity-based, which encourages grouping up and adds a layer of authenticity to the whole “sticking together to live” experience – although people with walkie-talkies can talk to each other wherever. When players die, they’ll join an afterlife voice channel, where they can chat, spectate, and cheer for the surviving members. There’s even a chance that dead players might get resurrected as series stalwart Tommy Jarvis, so it’s worth sticking around for that and the XP bonus.

Friday the 13th: The Game Review - A Well Made Love Letter

It’s also worth sticking around to see exactly Jason will take down his next target. Jason’s a joy to watch and even more fun to play. Players get access to a whole pool of Jason variations, with Part III’s iconic take being the default. Each Jason is armed with a different weapon, and has different strengths to contend with. Some are faster but bad at tracking, others the total opposite. Each one has access to the same four abilities, though, which unlock gradually throughout each match. These include stuff like being able to jump to any point on the map, or stalk other players without being detected. My personal favourite is the Shift ability, which takes the player into first-person and lets them zip around at breakneck speeds like the unseen force from the first two Evil Dead movies. Stuff like this, coupled with some truly hilarious and gratifying executions, make for one of the biggest power trips in recent gaming history.

My only real issue is on the technical side of things. To preface, the PC version is honestly fantastic – the pretty visuals are rendered with the muted hues hallmark to popular 80’s cinema, and the game runs like a dream. Yet I did encounter some interesting bugs. Jason being unable to let go of a counselor he killed or being unable to open a closet where somebody was hiding are just two examples. Some of these, I noticed, were directly correlated to the other players’ pings, so it could very well be that this game just gets wonky when people have bad connections. Makes sense, but that doesn’t explain the absolutely hysterical broken physics. While these are definitely not gameplay impeding, and honestly made the game more fun for me, the physics engine has the tendency to do some of the weirdest stuff this side of Dark Souls. I watched players get smashed into the ground, then bounce back up ten feet in the air. I saw somebody get killed, then spend the rest of the match suspended in stasis above ground. Nine times out of ten, this just made the match more fun – myself and other players got a good laugh out of moments of sheer technical screwiness. Still, some people might be bothered by this admitted lack of polish.

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But in spite of the occasional glitch or physics hiccup, nothing in Friday the 13th: The Game is enough of a knock against the package to keep me from preventing it. This is some of the most fun multiplayer I’ve touched in quite a while, and definitely the most fun I’ve ever had with an asymmetric multiplayer title. It’s a game that seems ripe for both long-term player enjoyment and streaming, with the latter being catered to explicitly with a feature that mutes copyrighted music. On top of that, series fans will be in love with all the effort that went into making this one of the most authentic licensed titles out there. It’s a big, sloppy kiss to Cunningham, Manfredini and Savini, and to everything, they accomplished from Pamela’s head getting lopped off to Jason getting sentenced to eternal damnation. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Now, can we get some Jason X DLC? I won’t be completely happy until I can smash someone’s frozen head to bits as robot Jason.

Score:8.5

Final Thoughts:Friday the 13th: The Game functions both as a gleefully sadistic multiplayer horror title and a love letter to some of cinema’s most beloved schlock.

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Rumor: Sonic Mania Possible Release Date Leaked http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/26/rumor-sonic-mania-possible-release-date-leaked/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/26/rumor-sonic-mania-possible-release-date-leaked/#respond Fri, 26 May 2017 16:36:03 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=102124

By Remington Joseph

New rumours suggest that the upcoming title, Sonic Mania, may have a release date. The official Steam page for Sonic Mania, one of Sega’s newest instalments in the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise went live today and fans were quick to notice a listing for the game’s release date, Aug. 15, 2017. Although the release date […]

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By Remington Joseph

New rumours suggest that the upcoming title, Sonic Mania, may have a release date.

The official Steam page for Sonic Mania, one of Sega’s newest instalments in the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise went live today and fans were quick to notice a listing for the game’s release date, Aug. 15, 2017. Although the release date was quickly removed, some fans managed to capture the information in a screenshot, tweeting it out in order to spread the word.

Sonic Mania is an upcoming Sonic the Hedgehog title that returns the mascot back to his roots in a side-scrolling platformer adventure. The game is being developed by Headcannon, a studio put in charge of many of the recent Sonic the Hedgehog mobile ports and PagodaWest Games. Sonic Mania blends many of the features found in classic Sonic titles such as elemental shields and other power-ups while also including popular stages such as Green Hill Zone but with new additions to its layout. Players will be able to play as Sonic, Tails or Knuckles with each being able to make use their original abilities like flight or wall climbing.

Sonic Mania was originally announced in July 2016 alongside Sonic Forces, the next major console title in the franchise. Sonic Forces features the return of the gameplay featured in Sonic Generations, allowing stages to be played as both Classic Sonic in 2D and Modern Sonic in 3D. Sega recently announced that players would be able to create their own third character for the first time in the history of the series, being offered a wide variety of appearance and equipment options, offering a new play style unique to that character.

Both Sonic Mania and Sonic Forces are planned for launch later this year for PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch.

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8Bitdo Releases Firmware For Switch Compatible Retro Controllers http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/26/8bitdo-releases-firmware-switch-compatible-retro-controlers/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/26/8bitdo-releases-firmware-switch-compatible-retro-controlers/#respond Fri, 26 May 2017 16:16:21 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=102120

By Zubi Khan

8bitdo has released a new firmware allowing their series of popular retro Nintendo inspired controllers to work on the Nintendo Switch. 8bitdo, a China-based manufacturer of retro controllers for PC and mobile devices have released a new patch for all of their firmware updatable controllers, this new patch allows the controllers to be recognized by […]

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By Zubi Khan

8bitdo has released a new firmware allowing their series of popular retro Nintendo inspired controllers to work on the Nintendo Switch.

8bitdo, a China-based manufacturer of retro controllers for PC and mobile devices have released a new patch for all of their firmware updatable controllers, this new patch allows the controllers to be recognized by the Nintendo Switch as Pro controllers allowing for use in many games that have Pro controller support.  The list of controllers that have been updated can be viewed below:

Nes30, Nes30Pro, FC30, FC30Pro, Snes30, Sfc30, the Zero, and a Nintendo 64 inspired pad, simply called the N64 Controller.

In order to update any of the above controllers, one simply has to visit the 8bitdo’s website and download the appropriate firmware file for the corresponding controller, plug in said controller to either a PC or Mac via usb while holding both L+R and start button for about 10 seconds to get the controller into firmware update mode. Once the controller has been updated, simply turn on the Nintendo Switch and go to the manual pair mode from the home screen while holding L+R on the desired 8bitdo controller, it should be detected by the Nintendo Switch as a Pro controller.

Games such as Shovel Knight, Puyo Puyo Tetris and Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap, feel right at home with 8bitdo’s line of classic controllers.

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Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series Ep. 2 Release Date Announced http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/26/marvels-guardians-galaxy-telltale-series-ep-2-release-date-announced/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/26/marvels-guardians-galaxy-telltale-series-ep-2-release-date-announced/#respond Fri, 26 May 2017 15:43:01 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=102117

By Zubi Khan

Telltale Games announced the second episode of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series. Episode two titled ‘Under Pressure’ will be available for download starting June, 6 2017. The new episode will feature the Guardians trying their best to outrun a genocidal maniac trying to hunt them down. The Guardians will team up with […]

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By Zubi Khan

Telltale Games announced the second episode of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series.

Episode two titled ‘Under Pressure’ will be available for download starting June, 6 2017. The new episode will feature the Guardians trying their best to outrun a genocidal maniac trying to hunt them down. The Guardians will team up with the likes of both old, dubious friends and new, more unwilling allies while all the while trying to figure out how to control a mysterious alien relic that is said to hold great power. The new episode also ups the ante causing the tension between the Guardians to rise to an all-time high. Fans can also look forward to the story deep diving into Rocket Racoon’s colourful past which should prove to add to the already high stakes insanity that game has delivered so far.

The second episode, ‘Under Pressure’ will be available June, 6, 2017 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Pc, Mac, iOS and Android.

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Ubisoft Releases Far Cry 5 Debut Trailers and Details http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/26/ubisoft-releases-far-cry-5-debut-trailers-details/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/26/ubisoft-releases-far-cry-5-debut-trailers-details/#respond Fri, 26 May 2017 14:29:34 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=102111

By Remington Joseph

Ubisoft announced a number of new details on the recently announced entry into the Far Cry series, Far Cry 5. Ubisoft revealed a number of trailers today for their upcoming title, Far Cry 5, introducing the game’s world and a few of its central characters along with a few gameplay screenshots. Along with a PlayStation […]

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By Remington Joseph

Ubisoft announced a number of new details on the recently announced entry into the Far Cry series, Far Cry 5.

Ubisoft revealed a number of trailers today for their upcoming title, Far Cry 5, introducing the game’s world and a few of its central characters along with a few gameplay screenshots. Along with a PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Project Scorpio and PC release date on Feb. 27, 2018.

Taking place in Montana, players will find themselves involved in the uprising of a fanatical cult, intent on taking over the country. Players will join the resistance force and assist in defending Montana and its citizens. Marking the first time the series will take place in America, Far Cry 5 will have players visit unique locations throughout the country, offering players a variety of different gameplay experiences. Players can fly planes along with being able to operate a number of different vehicles such as boats and muscle cars. Features introduced in earlier titles such as the map editor from Far Cry 2 will be returning to the series along with the option to play the entire game cooperatively with a friend.

Far Cry began its life as a first-person shooter on PC back in 2004. Developed by Crytek and published by Ubisoft, the game followed ex-special forces soldier Jack Carver as he searched for a missing journalist on a mysterious island where genetic research was being performed on mercenaries, mutating them into monsters. The game followed a somewhat non-linear path, allowing players to tackle objectives in a few different ways.

With Far Cry’s critical and commercial success, a number of sequels and stand alone titles were developed. Far Cry 2 brought the series into an open world setting, featuring a new story set in Africa along with a new cast of characters. Future titles used the same open world first-person shooter gameplay, adding new features to each title while delivering new stories set in different parts of the world.

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Monster Hunter XX Anounced for the Switch http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/26/monster-hunter-xx-anounced-switch/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/26/monster-hunter-xx-anounced-switch/#respond Fri, 26 May 2017 13:43:53 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=102106

By Zubi Khan

Capcom has announced Monster Hunter XX will grace the Nintendo Switch in Japan. Further details surrounding the game will be made available during the Monster Hunter Championship in Sapporo, an annual event held by Capcom.  Monster Hunter XX originally released on the Nintendo 3DS earlier this year in Japan, the game was a direct sequel […]

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By Zubi Khan

Capcom has announced Monster Hunter XX will grace the Nintendo Switch in Japan.

Further details surrounding the game will be made available during the Monster Hunter Championship in Sapporo, an annual event held by Capcom.  Monster Hunter XX originally released on the Nintendo 3DS earlier this year in Japan, the game was a direct sequel of Monster Hunter Generations which released globally. Monster Hunter XX like its predecessor focused on weapon styles and skill focused gameplay, Monster Hunter XX introduced Brave Style and Alchemy Style into the mix of play styles available in the title.

The 3DS version of Monster Hunter XX is currently a Japan exclusive, the recently announced Switch port would be a good opportunity for Capcom to bring the game over globally.  The Monster Hunter franchise sells exceptionally well on Nintendo platforms, with Monster Hunter X selling 4.5 million units. Monster Hunter XX should be a great addition to the Switch’s currently small library while also utilizing the systems hybrid attributes and social aspects to the fullest.

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Aftercharge Preview – A Blend of Ideas http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/26/aftercharge-preview/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/26/aftercharge-preview/#respond Fri, 26 May 2017 11:00:17 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=101977

By Remington Joseph

Aftercharge is a deceptively complex game. Developed by Chainsawesome Games, Aftercharge is a 3 versus 3 asymmetrical shooter. Players are assigned to a team of robots or guards, alternating roles between rounds. The robots are tasked with destroying six structures called extractors while the guards must defend the extractors. The game is still in development, […]

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By Remington Joseph

Aftercharge is a deceptively complex game.

Developed by Chainsawesome Games, Aftercharge is a 3 versus 3 asymmetrical shooter. Players are assigned to a team of robots or guards, alternating roles between rounds. The robots are tasked with destroying six structures called extractors while the guards must defend the extractors. The game is still in development, but in my time trying out the title, I discovered a game that a unique blend of fresh ideas.

Aftercharge Preview 1

What makes Aftercharge so different is that the guards are essentially invincible. Their health recharging so long as they’re within range of an extractor while at the same time, the robots are invisible so long as they’re out of the extractor’s range.

Playing as the guards felt like a more typical team-based shooter. With a limited range of view, it was important to call out what could be seen by each player. As powerful as the guard’s gun is, it’s difficult to defeat one of the robots single-handedly before they destroy an extractor but with the help of one or two of your teammates, robots can be taken down almost instantly.

Playing on the side of the robots can give players an entirely different experience. Unlike the guards, robots aren’t constantly self-healing, putting them at what first seems like a major disadvantage. However, robots are able to revive fallen allies, simultaneously recovering a portion of their own health. The robots use melee attacks, forcing players to balance between their stealth and offensive tactics. Players also need to manage between staying close enough to teammates in order to revive them but far enough so that they’re not all caught and wiped out together.

Aftercharge Preview

Aftercharge feels like a unique marriage between three separate styles of gameplay. The guards offer a tower defence style game while the robots offer a stealthy, almost treading into survival territory. These are both brought together under the umbrella of a team versus team shooter.

Aftercharge is currently planned for launch on PC via Steam in early 2018.         

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Penny Arcade and ReedPOP Announce GC PLAY http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/25/penny-arcade-reedpop-announce-gc-play/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/25/penny-arcade-reedpop-announce-gc-play/#respond Thu, 25 May 2017 20:41:17 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=102101

By Cody Orme

Penny Arcade and ReedPOP have announced they are bringing the PAX experience to one of the largest gaming markets in the world— China. Held in Guangzhou, China, the event will be called GC PLAY Powered by PAX. It will run from Nov. 10, 2017 to Nov. 12, 2017. The event will feature many elements seen at […]

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By Cody Orme

Penny Arcade and ReedPOP have announced they are bringing the PAX experience to one of the largest gaming markets in the world— China.

Held in Guangzhou, China, the event will be called GC PLAY Powered by PAX. It will run from Nov. 10, 2017 to Nov. 12, 2017. The event will feature many elements seen at your regular PAX convention, but will also try to stay true the local culture.

“Just like games powered by 3D engines, the Powered by PAX brand will bring the culture, content, and community of PAX to new shows internationally,” said Guy ‘Yug’ Blomberg, Global PAX Content Director. “We have a strong team and excellent partners in China to make the show awesome and unique, along with international support from Penny Arcade and ReedPOP North America.”

If you play video games, odds are you know what PAX is all about. It’s a celebration of gaming culture for fans and developers alike. The first PAX event was held in Seattle in 2004, and since then the event has expanded to different regions around North America and Australia, so it’s only natural the event is coming to China, the largest market on the planet.

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Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Movie Review http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/pirates-caribbean-dead-men-tell-no-tales-movie-review/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/pirates-caribbean-dead-men-tell-no-tales-movie-review/#respond Thu, 25 May 2017 19:46:47 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=102091

By Phil Brown

This again. Back in 2003, the world was pleasantly surprised when a giant blockbuster based on the Disney World ride Pirates of the Caribbean was actually a rather watchable and entertaining swashbuckler (thanks in no small part to a delightfully lunatic Johnny Depp performance). It made a ton of money, way too much even. Then, […]

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By Phil Brown

This again. Back in 2003, the world was pleasantly surprised when a giant blockbuster based on the Disney World ride Pirates of the Caribbean was actually a rather watchable and entertaining swashbuckler (thanks in no small part to a delightfully lunatic Johnny Depp performance). It made a ton of money, way too much even. Then, two sequels were rushed into production to turn the series into a trilogy. They were horrible but made even more money than the original. So a “fourquel” was made a few years later. It was somehow worse but made another billion dollars. So now we have a new Pirates of the Caribbean movie that’s about as convoluted, pointless, and dumb as the last few. So that means that you likely won’t find anyone who will admit to liking it, but it’ll make another fortune for everyone involved. Such is life. No one said the world was fair, so we have Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.

As is tradition in the Pirates franchise, the plot is a confused and muddled mess with a variety of half-baked story threads and underdeveloped characters competing for attention. Brenton Thwaites pops up as the son of the Orlando Bloom (remember when he was in these movies?) hoping to save his cursed father, while Kaya Scodelario plays a woman accused of witchcraft who is really just interested in the stars. Both of them have a similar goal to find the Poseidon’s Trident. To do so, they need Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow. Why? Just because. Don’t worry about why. As usual, the movie happens to Sparrow with him doing little of consequence other than making silly jokes in the corner of the frames. Oh, and there’s a villain too. Javier Bardem plays a ghost captain of a ghost ship who has apparently been hunting Sparrow for years even though he didn’t turn up in any of the previous movies.  Plus Geoffrey Rush is in this one as well because why not? None of it makes much sense or carries any emotional weight. But it does give the filmmakers an excuse to blow stuff up on the regular.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales does have one thing going for it though: spectacle. The blockbuster has a massive budget and most of it ends up on the screen through massive sets, gorgeous CGI, and a handful of genuinely thrilling set pieces. Directing duties for this “fivequel” landed on the Norwegian duo of Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg, who have made some impressive Euro action flicks like Max Manus. They may have gotten this high paying gig because no one in Hollywood could be bothered, but they’ve got a knack for staging action, and do some solid work organizing the chaos here. Whether it’s the Fast Five knock-off bank heist or a thrilling chase with zombie sharks and ghost pirates racing on water, Ronning and Sandberg keep pulses pounding, action choreography clear, and the explosive visuals beautiful. It’s a damn impressive production with some genuinely exciting sequences (especially one involving a spinning guillotine that’s kind of brilliant). The craftsmanship is second to none. It’s just a shame that the story is such a stinker and the characters are too dull to care about. So any thrills involved in Pirates 5: Oops I Did It Again are entirely superficial.

Oh sure, Johnny Depp prances about in his usually amusing Jack Sparrow ways, the trouble is that the fifth time isn’t a charm. In fact, the once exciting routine is pretty old now and lacking in any sense of surprise. The same can be said for Geoffrey Rush’s snarling shtick. Javier Bardem is an admittedly creepy villain under thick makeup with heavy CGI augmentation, but it’s hard to discern anything about his character beyond the visual elements. The new heroes are pitifully boring, with Thwaites given little to do other than appearing panicked at all times, and Scodelario going through the motions of being a badass heroine without any human component to her grandstanding. There’s no drama or personality here, it just feels like a series of mannequins set up for a theme park ride (which is at least appropriate, I suppose). Even when the much-publicized Paul McCartney cameo pops up, the only possible reaction is a shrug of, “that’s it?”

So, Dead Men Tell No Tales is yet another confused and fumbling Pirates of the Caribbean sequel that spent an absolute fortune trying to convince audiences that it doesn’t matter that the plot is nonsense and the characters are tedious. It leans in deeply to the franchise mythology as if anyone actually remembers it and serves up reheated leftovers masquerading as a worthy bit of summer entertainment. Its disposable trash, yet not particularly better or worse than any of the previous Pirates of the Caribbean sequels. These movies have suffered from franchise fatigue from the second they became a franchise. What could have been a pleasant surprise theme-park blockbuster has grown into a gruelling game of chicken between the studio and audiences. The filmmakers surely know they are scrapping the bottom of the barrel, and viewers can expect mediocrity. Yet they keep making them and people keep coming. Hopefully, at least one of those two unfortunate truths changes soon. If not, I’ll see you back here again for a similar review of a similar disappointment in a few years.

Score:5

Final Thoughts:It’s yet another Pirates of the Caribbean sequel, you know what to expect.

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Injustice 2 Review- A God Among Fighting Games http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/injustice-2-review-a-god-among-fighting-games/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/injustice-2-review-a-god-among-fighting-games/#respond Thu, 25 May 2017 16:13:03 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=102033

By Phil Brown

A few years ago the folks over at NeatherRealm decided to dabble in a fighting game outside of the typical Mortal Kombat bloodletting. They created Injustice, a DC Universe fighting game that instantly found a place in this particular reviewer’s heart. A few years have passed, and we now have a sequel that arguably tops […]

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By Phil Brown

A few years ago the folks over at NeatherRealm decided to dabble in a fighting game outside of the typical Mortal Kombat bloodletting. They created Injustice, a DC Universe fighting game that instantly found a place in this particular reviewer’s heart. A few years have passed, and we now have a sequel that arguably tops its predecessor in any way. This is one of the most beautiful fighting games on the market and thanks to some adjustments to the control and speed of combat, also one of the most satisfying. Sure, the title falls under DC’s peculiar obsession with grimness as gravity (seriously, can the Superfriends ever have fun again?), but that’s to be expected and you’ll likely have so much fun duking it out as these iconic characters for hours on end that it’ll be easy to ignore the extra unnecessary nastiness (Hey, this is DC by way of the Mortal Kombat kings after all).

First off, the fighting—is it ever satisfying. The simple commands hinge primarily on three attack buttons and the game feels like a satisfying pick-up-n-play button masher while also being filled with depth, epic combos, and strategy for the hardcore players out there. It can be a simple party game or the type of thing for which you spend countless sleepless nights training to withstand online tournaments. NetherRealm have also adjusted some balance issues from last time. It doesn’t feel quite so clunky anymore and the fights move with a more frenetic pace without dipping into Marvel vs. Capcom sensory overload. Where the first Injustice felt like a mishmash of Capcom fighters and new school Mortal Kombat, Injustice 2 has a fighting game identity of its own and it feels damn good. The highlights for Kombat/DC nerds like myself are the cutscene super combos that are somehow even more epic and insane than the last game. Did you like when Superman punched his opponent into space last time? Well, this time Supergirl launches people past the sun and then laser blasts them (with her eyeholes) back to earth through an asteroid. My personal favourite would be the Flash, who races his opponent back through time to bounce them off a dinosaur. These combos are wildly amusing and gloriously over-the-top, better than last time and just as satisfyingly insane as a good Mortal Kombat fatality without all the gore.

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It certainly helps that NetherRealm took full advantage of current gen console capabilities to create quite possibly the most beautiful fighting game I’ve ever seen. The graphics are gorgeous, but even better are the character designs and personalized nature of each fighter’s movement. There’s genuine personality in how all of these DC legends were designed and executed. This particularly shows in the story mode, where Ed Boon and co. unleash some cutscene action set pieces so grandiose and deliriously entertaining that they are at least equal to any action scene in the current crop of DC movies. The story is a predictably goofy crossover tale that sees heroes and foes duke it out on the regular thanks to Brainiac’s skill with mind control. However, by the standard of fighting game stories, it isn’t bad. The narrative builds on the clever Superman-gone-bad concept of the previous title and has some fun with it. What’s most impressive is the execution, which is gloriously cinematic and features some of the best facial animation I’ve ever seen in a video game. It’s a blast; well worth playing and never feels tacked on to the fighting game core. Sure, there’s some needlessly dour nonsense and corny fan service tossed in, but it’s so well executed and features enough clever twists on DC mythology (I quite like what they did with Supergirl’s origin in particular) that comics fans won’t feel cheated.

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Beyond that, the game is almost overflowing with content. The new characters all fit in well (especially my beloved Swamp Thing who is an absolute joy to use even if he’s short-changed in the story mode) and the online matches all play smoothly with minimal loading time and frame drops. The unlockable character customization is almost intimidatingly deep; rarely feeling like mere skins with costume and gear items changing character stats and rankings (though that’s all evened out for online matches). There’s also the incredibly deep Multiverse missions that offer challenges (not unlike the Mortal Kombat series’ tower challenges) that change daily and offer up unique in-game rewards. NetherRealm have gone out of their way to ensure that players have reasons to keep coming back to Injustice 2 again and again and again and it all feels like worthy content for fighting game fans looking to lose dozens of hours. Toss in the inevitable DLC that’ll come by the truckload and you have one hell of a package.

Injustice 2 Review- A God Among Fighting Games 1

Now, I do want to briefly discuss one thing about the DLC that bothered me. I know that it’s just a fact of life with fighting games these days that some characters are going to be download-only for extra cash. However, I did find it a bit weird Darkseid was flaunted for months in all the ads and is only playable for a fee. Even weirder, Brainiac is available for sale when you boot up the game even though he’s unlockable upon completing story mode (sure, some people just want the characters right away, but charging for an unlockable character? That’s not cool). Still, it’s just the sad reality of how fighting games work these days; a slow drip of endless buy-ins for players.

Aside from that nonsense, there’s no denying that Injustice 2 improves in every way on an already rock solid fighting game. NetherRealm have delivered a title that ensures the Injustice series will stick around for a while as a consistent force to be reckoned within the fighting game genre. Go out and dig in immediately.

Score:9

Final Thoughts:Injustice is back and good lord is it ever a blast.

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Superdata Reveals Video Game Industry Growth in April http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/25/superdata-reveals-video-game-industry-growth-april/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/25/superdata-reveals-video-game-industry-growth-april/#respond Thu, 25 May 2017 15:00:10 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=102054

By Cody Orme

Industry tracker Superdata released their latest report showing a growth in the video games industry. In the report titled Worldwide Digital Games Market: April 2017, Superdata relieved the digital video game market grew nine per cent year-over-year in April, bringing that number to $7.7 billion. The mobile market grew eight per cent year-over-year, and the […]

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By Cody Orme

Industry tracker Superdata released their latest report showing a growth in the video games industry.

In the report titled Worldwide Digital Games Market: April 2017, Superdata relieved the digital video game market grew nine per cent year-over-year in April, bringing that number to $7.7 billion. The mobile market grew eight per cent year-over-year, and the free-to-play MMO market grew 27 per cent year over year.

Though those numbers are rather impressive, Superdata notes that growth comes in contrast with declines in social, premium PC, console, and pay-to-play markets, though the growth in the free-to-play MMO and mobile markets offset that decline. In with that decline is the U.S digital market, as the revenue in that sector is down compared to March 2017, even still, revenue is up from April 2016.

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League of Legends continues to stay atop the top grossing titles on PC, but PLAYERUNKNOWN’s Battlegrounds sits at number seven with an estimated $34 million in gross digital revenue in April. On console, however, EA took the first two spots with FIFA 17 and Battlefield 1. Grand Theft Auto V is still staying strong sitting at number three, with Superdata attributing that to the Tiny Racers DLC.

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RiME Review – A Fantastical Adventure http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/rime-review-fantastical-adventure/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/rime-review-fantastical-adventure/#respond Thu, 25 May 2017 15:00:08 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=102037

By Elias Blondeau

Adventure games used to be about actual adventuring. Before Nathan Drake’s struggles with his fragile masculinity turned the genre into glorified corridor shooters, the likes of Lara Croft traipsed mysterious ruins and solved elaborate puzzles in the name of exploration. Those sorts of third-person adventure games, like those early Tomb Raider titles, are all but […]

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By Elias Blondeau

Adventure games used to be about actual adventuring. Before Nathan Drake’s struggles with his fragile masculinity turned the genre into glorified corridor shooters, the likes of Lara Croft traipsed mysterious ruins and solved elaborate puzzles in the name of exploration. Those sorts of third-person adventure games, like those early Tomb Raider titles, are all but dead in this day and age. Thankfully, Tequila Works seems to hold a reverence for big rooms loaded with oblique puzzles and minimal handholding. This influence shines through in the exceptional RiME, a long-gestating title that oozes charm and personality throughout its heart-wrenching yarn.

That is, I thought the main narrative was a bummer. Others might find it hopeful, cathartic, or uplifting—it really depends on the player. It depends because RiME is the rare game that doesn’t tell players how they’re supposed to feel about the narrative. There are no cheap tugs at the heartstrings, no dirty shots in the old feels box. Told entirely without dialogue, the story is a surreal journey told out of sequence, one that makes liberal use of deceptive magical realism imagery. Like the fickleness of human memory, the young protagonist’s journey around a mysterious island and scaling of a foreboding tower plays around with time and perspective. While the sombre conclusion is pretty cut and dry, what comes before it makes players question the context of the narrative and the emotional states of the two major characters. The entirety of the plot and the intended emotional impact are both ambiguous and it will undoubtedly be interesting to see different players’ reactions to it. I, for one, was weeping throughout the ending credits—it’s been a little bit since a game hit me quite that hard.

RiME Review- A Fantastical Adventure 1

It’s also been a while since a game of this variety was willing to give players room to breathe. Despite its linear nature, RiME is a game full of sprawls that are chock-full of puzzles. Much like this year’s The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild or last year’s Obduction, these puzzles aren’t the post-Assassin’s Creed fluff that spoons them baby food and pats them on the back for gulping it down. Outside of the occasional obvious camera pan, players have to stumble around in the dark (sometimes quite literally) and come to their own conclusions in order to solve most of the puzzles. Some of them, with the third major area coming to mind, are real headscratchers without coming across as tedious. RiME finds that delicate sweet spot between exploration and frustration in terms of its puzzles, evoking the classic Core Software Tomb Raider games and pretty much anything Rand Miller’s done after Myst.

There are more than puzzles here, too. RiME flirts with Ueda-esque setpieces and Uncharted-style platforming, with results that mostly work. Tequila Works has demonstrated their expertise in unique art direction and gameplay combos before with Deadlight and The Sexy Brutale, but I’d say that RiME is their crowning achievement thus far when it comes to that balance of form and functionality. When players aren’t freewheeling around puzzle rooms, the game sets up a series of visual spectacles that work in favour of the gameplay. The platforming, which generally consists of shimmying from ledge to ledge, always feels perfectly framed in the moment and never comes across as forced mechanics for the sake of padding. When the genderless player-character scales a wall, jumps from platform to platform, or simply runs across a large stretch of land, it’s perfectly in sync with all the audio-visual aspects of the game. It produces a sublime sensation of cohesiveness and congruity that’s hard to describe, but easy to understand when it’s being experienced. Simply put, RiME is a game that balances accessibility and spectacle quite well, while never sacrificing its heart.

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That said, there are some technical warts that occasionally threatened to take me out of the experience. The protagonist can sometimes get very confused about which direction they ought to be going while climbing, which in turn led to me carefully finagle the analogue stick in weird directions to get off a ledge. This was a rare occurrence, and one that’s an anomaly amidst gameplay that is otherwise buttery smooth, but definitely one that irked me whenever it reared its head. Also worth noting is that the PS4 version suffers from occasional dips in framerate, with an occasional stutter or two. It’s nothing too bad, really, and nowhere nearly as awful as the framerate drops in something like, say, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, but it does happen.

But no occasional control hiccup or dip in framerate can undo how sublime RiME is when all is said and done. From sombre moments of exploring ruins infested with creepy ghosts to tense encounters with giant winged beasts, Tequila Works’ latest manages to balance its penchant for whimsy and spectacle with a tangible humanity that most games lack. There’s a potent infusion of quiet introspection into this fantastical adventure, and coupled with gameplay that doesn’t treat the player like an infant, that goes a long way into putting it head and shoulders above anything the genre’s produced in quite some time. The gorgeous, evocative score helps with that, as do the lush and unique visuals.

While, yes, comparisons to other games can be made, there is ultimately nothing else out there quite like RiME. I suspect there won’t be for quite a while. And I suspect that when it’s time to look back on 2017’s best, Tequila Works’ magical, humanistic opus will be at the top of many lists.

Score:9.5

Final Thoughts:RiME is the rare game that balances its spectacle and whimsy with a dose of quiet humanity.

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Microsoft Changes Beam Name to Mixer, Unleashes New Features http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/25/microsoft-changes-beam-name-mixer-unleashes-new-features/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/25/microsoft-changes-beam-name-mixer-unleashes-new-features/#respond Thu, 25 May 2017 13:56:19 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=102034

By Brendan Frye

The streaming space is increasingly becoming contentious, with Twitch, Youtube Gaming, and now Mixer. Microsoft unveiled the future of the Beam platform, and that future involves a name change to Mixer. With the change comes many features that will make streamers on Windows 10 and Xbox One very happy. In the announcement today, Microsoft unveiled […]

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By Brendan Frye

The streaming space is increasingly becoming contentious, with Twitch, Youtube Gaming, and now Mixer.

Microsoft unveiled the future of the Beam platform, and that future involves a name change to Mixer. With the change comes many features that will make streamers on Windows 10 and Xbox One very happy.

In the announcement today, Microsoft unveiled a set of features that will set it apart from Twitch, and Youtube Gaming, one of which is the ability to crowd play games. In the announcement, Microsoft used the example of TellTale Games, and the ability to crowdsource choices as you go through the game.

Microsoft Changes Beam Name to Mixer, Unleashes New Features 1

Jump into a TellTale game on Mixer and you will have the option to solicit choices from the community as you play. It will allow the game to be played by people worldwide, much like the now famous Twitch Plays Pokemon, only built right into the platform. While it is limited to only a selection of games right now, with the interactive 2.0 development kit, more developers can add it to their games.

The features do not stop there though, Mixer will also offer steamers the ability to co-op stream. This will allow up to four streamers to join streams into one stream, showing all aspects of gameplay, from all views, even if you are not in the same location or even the same country. For games such as PLAYERUNKNOWN’S Battlegrounds, or League of Legends this will be an exciting feature and one that should allow group streams much easier, without the need of external software.

Mixer will also offer a mobile option to stream from your phone and allow for self-broadcasting. It will soon also allow you to stream gameplay from your phone ensuring if you are on the go, playing games such as Pokemon Go, you can stream to all your fans, and even be able to join in the aforementioned co-op streams be they on PC, Xbox One or Mobile.

Microsoft Changes Beam Name to Mixer, Unleashes New Features

To top this all off, Mixer will have a place on the Xbox Dashboard, and starting today it will be available to all Xbox Insiders to experience first hand. The new dashboard will be a place to find new streams to enjoy and will feature people from the community. It will be curated by a dedicated team and will feature content that will appeal to a wide range of people.

Mixer is clearly the next major push for Microsoft and Xbox, and with all they have feature wise, it has the potential to be a thorn in Twitch’s side. It will all depend on if people adopt it as the platform of choice. To facilitate this, Microsoft announced today that Mixer will be the place to watch all things E3 from June 11, 2017 to June 15, 2017, and will be streaming the Xbox Press Conference live in 4K on the Mixer platform, with exclusive digital bonuses for people who online.

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Human: Fall Flat Review- Falling Flat http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/human-fall-flat-review-falling-flat/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/human-fall-flat-review-falling-flat/#respond Thu, 25 May 2017 12:00:10 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=102017

By Jed Whitaker

Human: Fall Flat is one of those platforming puzzle games in a similar vein as the brilliant Octodad or the more destructive Goat Simulator.Here, the shtick is that your character walks like the corpse from Weekend At Bernie’s the entire time, and you’ve got to control his hands independently. His hands are used to pick […]

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By Jed Whitaker

Human: Fall Flat is one of those platforming puzzle games in a similar vein as the brilliant Octodad or the more destructive Goat Simulator.Here, the shtick is that your character walks like the corpse from Weekend At Bernie’s the entire time, and you’ve got to control his hands independently. His hands are used to pick up objects and grab onto ledges to lift himself up.

The developers do a nice job of naturally teaching you what to do at the start of the game without forcing you through a dull tutorial, though if you do get stuck an object will drop from the sky to give you said boring tutorial. It is a nice way to not talk down to players while also giving them help if they need or want it.

Human: Fall Flat Review- Falling Flat 1

The controls aren’t so difficult to pick up, but dealing with the purposefully awkward physics of the character sometimes is. Attempting to do basic tasks like carrying a box or rowing a boat can be rather trying. While I get that the physics are supposed to be some kind of funny joke, the joke wears thin pretty quickly when you just want to finish the level and move on but can’t due to fighting with the controls.

Human: Fall Flat Review- Falling Flat 3

The puzzles range from mundane to more thought provoking; many of which gave will surely make you feel brilliant upon solving them, pending you haven’t ripped your hair out from fighting the ‘hilarious’ physics.

Human: Fall Flat uses muted textures and colours instead of any real detail, which when paired with the lack of music or ambience led me to feel bored and wanting to the game to end so I could play anything else. Even with clever puzzles and sometimes funny and/or infuriating physics, I found little enjoyment here.

Score:6

Final Thoughts:Even with clever puzzles and funny physics, I found little enjoyment in Human: Fall Flat.

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Linksys Max Stream EA8300 Hardware Review http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/linksys-max-stream-ea8300-hardware-review/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/linksys-max-stream-ea8300-hardware-review/#respond Thu, 25 May 2017 11:30:47 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=101980

By Cole Watson

When Linksys released the Max Stream EA9500 router last year, I gave it a perfect 10. What fascinated me about this piece of hardware wasn’t just its ability to eliminate every dead zone in my house, but the smart MU-MIMO technology embedded within. The part that scared most consumers off was the intimidating price, but […]

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By Cole Watson

When Linksys released the Max Stream EA9500 router last year, I gave it a perfect 10. What fascinated me about this piece of hardware wasn’t just its ability to eliminate every dead zone in my house, but the smart MU-MIMO technology embedded within. The part that scared most consumers off was the intimidating price, but wave 2 of Linksys’ MU-MIMO routers are seeking to change that by being more affordable without skimping out on features. The subject of this review is the Max Stream EA8300, the youngest sibling in this family of products set on acquiring the hearts of gamers and streamers alike for $199.99 USD.

After unboxing the Linksys Max Stream EA8300 it was obvious that many of the routers aesthetic design choices were borrowed for the EA9500, starting from the bright LCD panel down to the patterning on the chassis. Unlike its older sibling, the EA8300 features a much more space efficient design, coming with a slimmed down quad-network antenna setup and losing nearly half the weight. Set-up took only a few minutes and after a couple more tweaking personalized settings I was in possession of a highly optimized Wi-Fi network.

Linksys Max Stream EA8300 Hardware Review 1

When it comes to specs the Max Stream EA8300 is a clear winner for consumers who live in either a small home or large apartment. Starting with the CPU, the heart of the EA8300 is a quad-core chip running at 716MHz. The router also includes 256MB of both RAM and Flash memory. Perhaps the most important part of these specs though is that this is the first tri-band router in its price range, giving users access to two 5GHz connections with max speeds up to 867 Mbps each, along with a single 2.4GHz connection running at speeds just below 500 Mbps. While these speeds are nowhere near the limit the EA9500 was able to reach, most home networks don’t extend past 100mbps, so there is still plenty of headroom to grow into. Users who prefer having a wired connection, however, will also be able to run at their top internet speeds with 4 Gigabyte Ethernet LAN ports.

Performance, in short, was golden. Just like the EA9500 before it, the Max Stream EA8300 eliminated every dead zone in my house and was able to hit the top speeds supported by my Internet provider. The only real negative was the extent of the range, as the previously reviewed eight-towered beast was able to extend its range past my driveway and still provide coverage to the end of my backyard. The best feature of MU-MIMO products like the EA8300 is the ability for the user to choose what devices are of the utmost priority in the network.

Linksys Max Stream EA8300 Hardware Review 3 Linksys Max Stream EA8300 Hardware Review 2

Traditional routers can’t support many devices at a time because they are all pinging the network simultaneously, overworking the hardware and creating lower speeds, but Max Stream routers don’t suffer from this weakness. Every device is treated separately and through the tri-band band networks, set-up will be able to run at top efficiency with ease. This means heavy online gamers who are stuck with Wi-Fi connections won’t be dropping games as often and will always run at the highest speed possible.

Users who are dependent on a consistent and powerful Wi-Fi network for their devices need a product that delivers user functionality, fantastic range, and network customization all in one tight package, which the Max Stream EA8300 provides. For half the price of its elder sibling, the EA8300 is hard to beat, offering the latest advanced tech available at an affordable price for both families and enthusiasts alike to enjoy.

Score:9.5

Final Thoughts:The Linksys Max Stream EA8300 router is hard to beat, offering the latest advanced tech available at an affordable price for both families and enthusiasts alike to enjoy.

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Crossout Preview – Promising Vehicular Combat http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/25/crossout-preview-promising-vehicular-combat/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/25/crossout-preview-promising-vehicular-combat/#respond Thu, 25 May 2017 11:00:32 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=102009

By Chris Carter

Where have all the good vehicular combat games gone? At one point we had so many to choose from it was almost tough to pick a favourite, but with the sudden and unfortunate death of Twisted Metal (which may or may not be temporary), the genre has taken a nosedive in terms of frequency. Crossout […]

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By Chris Carter

Where have all the good vehicular combat games gone? At one point we had so many to choose from it was almost tough to pick a favourite, but with the sudden and unfortunate death of Twisted Metal (which may or may not be temporary), the genre has taken a nosedive in terms of frequency. Crossout aims to be a saviour of sorts, but with a convoluted free-to-play scheme, it has quite a ways to go until it reaches the promised land.

Crossout‘s Mad Max feel and dentist’s office twangy guitar riffs are grating at first, but it gets the point across that you’re now immersed in a lawless environment where anything goes. This works in the game’s favour the more you dig into it, as it’s abundantly clear the development team had a lot of fun trying to figure out how far they could stretch the absurdity of some of the weaponry and designs.

Crossout Preview - Promising Vehicular Combat 1

But that’s something you’ll experience later on, because at first, Crossout is all about immediacy. You’re put into a queue where you’ll fight right away against some folks, armed only with a trusty pair of machineguns and your old beat up pickup truck—it was way more fun than I thought it would be. But directly following that high note you’re left to your own devices, which mostly involves menus and slowly discovering the game’s monetization efforts. That sobering reality quickly knocked my rush down a few pegs.

I don’t feel any real connection to the “factions,” (where you unlock new gear) mirroring reputation grinds in many popular MMOs—and I really do mean “grind.” Daily login bonuses? Check. Multiple forms of currency, including energy? Check. $60 premium packs that give you a paltry amount of items and some coins? Check. Crossout is billed as an “MMO” but the only use of the “massive” moniker seems to be the total pool of the player base itself.

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Then again, I can see why people would think that way, given the PvE element, which is reminiscent of a horde mode. Appropriately titled “Raids,” it’s like “Brawls” (PvP) by having teams of up to four collaborate and take down a common CPU foe across multiple objective types that cycle in and out. I wish more games had modes like this as sometimes the competitive element of PvP can get to be a little too much, and the sense of progression fits far better inside of a graduating set of difficulties that you can tweak at any time. Repair kits (which allow you to return to the fight if you die) are bound to get annoying on a tougher setting, but the more I played PvE the more I was drawn into the creation aspect of the game.

This is where Crossout has the potential to be interesting long term. There’s also an element of throwing player created vehicles into the mix, and I’ve seen some really cool ones so far (a killer school bus, a giant steam engine train with a minigun, and a scorpion-esque roller machine). You can easily click on them with a straightforward menu and build them yourself if you have the parts. Building anything—even the junkiest rig—is pretty fun actually and very arcadey. You’re just crudely sticking machine guns in places they normally have no business being in (like the hood of your car) in an attempt to constantly one-up yourself.

Crossout Preview - Promising Vehicular Combat 3

The actual vehicle battle bits are promising too. After you’ve waded through all of the microtransactions and potential pay-to-win problems, getting into a death machine and mowing down other players is good old-fashioned fun. I especially enjoy how smooth everything felt with a keyboard and mouse, as independent aiming is possible with the latter but without the sluggish sense of locomotion that some other games require. There’s even a “fire all weapons” button—I love it!

I’m going to keep an eye on Crossout so long as things don’t go overboard with the free-to-play element. I don’t see myself keeping up with the meta that will likely be held hostage by microtransactions and constantly introduced gear or bonuses, but I really don’t mind the idea of logging in every so often to screw around with other players to take down a new AI threat while I pimp my ride a little at a time.

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DC Superhero Girls Animated Series Begins Production http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/24/dc-superhero-girls-animated-series-begins-production/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/24/dc-superhero-girls-animated-series-begins-production/#respond Wed, 24 May 2017 20:40:18 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=102023

By Remington Joseph

Warner Bros. Animation has started production on the televised version of DC Superhero Girls. Cartoon Network’s upcoming animated series DC Superhero Girls has begun production and will debut in 2018. The series is being produced by Lauren Faust, the creator of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, while Sam Register, producer of Teen Titans Go! […]

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By Remington Joseph

Warner Bros. Animation has started production on the televised version of DC Superhero Girls.

Cartoon Network’s upcoming animated series DC Superhero Girls has begun production and will debut in 2018. The series is being produced by Lauren Faust, the creator of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, while Sam Register, producer of Teen Titans Go! serves as executive producer. DC Superhero Girls is an action-comedy that follows Wonder Woman, Supergirl, and Batgirl as teenage girls, attempting to balance living with superpowers, secret identities, and protecting the people of Metropolis while managing their daily lives and attending school. Additional characters will also be featured such as Amanda Waller, acting as the school’s principal. Bumblebee and Zatanna will appear as students, lending the girl’s a hand when it comes to fighting or having fun. Villains such as Harley Quinn will also be featured on the show, attending school alongside the many heroes.

DC Superhero Girls originally debuted in 2015 as a franchise developed by DC Comics and Mattel. It was introduced in a number of different forms of media from books created by Random House, Lego tie-ins and action figures, produced by Mattel along with comics made by DC Comics. A series of animated shorts were uploaded to YouTube, premiering in October of the same year. The web series is currently on its third season with 49 episodes uploaded.

In 2016, a film titled DC Superhero Girls: Superhero High aired on Cartoon Network to help promote the franchise. Its success led to two follow-up direct-to-video films, DC Superhero Girls: Hero of the Year which released in August of 2016 and DC Superhero Girls: Intergalactic Games which released this month.

No further info has currently been released on the DC Superhero Girls TV series.

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New SMITE Patch Brings New God http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/24/new-smite-patch-brings-new-god/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/24/new-smite-patch-brings-new-god/#respond Wed, 24 May 2017 18:15:43 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=102006

By Zubi Khan

Hi-Rez Studios dropped a new patch for SMITE, the new update adds Da Ji, the Nine-TailedFox Goddess to the roster of playable characters. Available in the 4.9 “Nine-Tailed Terror” update for Smite, Da Ji enters the fray and offers players a fast physical and melee focused assassin that has the potential to turn the tides […]

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By Zubi Khan

Hi-Rez Studios dropped a new patch for SMITE, the new update adds Da Ji, the Nine-TailedFox Goddess to the roster of playable characters.

Available in the 4.9 “Nine-Tailed Terror” update for Smite, Da Ji enters the fray and offers players a fast physical and melee focused assassin that has the potential to turn the tides in encounters with groups of enemies.

As an assassin, Da Ji comes equipped with a passive move known as Torture Blades, this passive skill causes additional bleed damage upon every successful hit, the effect lasts two seconds and can be stacked any number of times on the same target.  Da Ji’s first ability, Horrible Burns causes her foes to be inflicted with additional burn damage that lasts 3 seconds on top of the melee damage caused by her physical claw attacks.

Da Ji’s second ability is known as One Thousand Cuts, this move hits 4 times on nearby enemies and also triggers her passive ability, Torture Blades, which causes additional bleed damage. Trickster Spirit, Da Ji’s third ability lets her teleport after a short casting time, towards a friend or foe, attacking all nearby enemy targets with additional damage caused by Torture Blades and granting her additional movement and immunity to slow.

Finally, Da Ji’s ultimate move is known as PaoLao and grants her the ability to fly up into the sky and throw up to three projectiles towards her enemies. The projectile attacks cause chain and slow effects on their targets, chained enemies receive additional damage three times lasting for two seconds. Da Ji the Nine-Tailed Fox spirit aims to provide players of SMITE with a fast character that can quickly corner targets that otherwise might have gotten away with low HP.

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Microsoft Unveils Xbox Games Pass Launch Day and Early Access http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/24/microsoft-unveils-xbox-games-pass-launch-day-early-access/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/24/microsoft-unveils-xbox-games-pass-launch-day-early-access/#respond Wed, 24 May 2017 17:29:10 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=102003

By Zubi Khan

Microsoft and the Xbox team announced that their new program, Xbox Games Pass will be launching internationally soon. Xbox Games Pass has been available since February, but starting from June 1, 2017, the service will be offered broadly in other territories, with Xbox Live Gold members receiving early access to the subscription service as of […]

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By Zubi Khan

Microsoft and the Xbox team announced that their new program, Xbox Games Pass will be launching internationally soon.

Xbox Games Pass has been available since February, but starting from June 1, 2017, the service will be offered broadly in other territories, with Xbox Live Gold members receiving early access to the subscription service as of the time of the writing of this press release.

Xbox Games Pass, for those unaware, is a subscription service that will offer gamers with from over 100 Xbox One and Backwards Compatible Xbox 360 games to choose from and play, some notable games include Halo 5, Gears of War 3, and SoulCalibur II. The service aims to provide easy access to a large number of popular Xbox titles, think Netflix but for Xbox games.

Unlike Sony’s PlayStation Now streaming service, Xbox Gamers Pass subscription service will actually download the game to the user’s console, eliminating any chances of latency or video artifacting caused by compression.

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Sega Europe’s COO and President, Jurgen Post Announces Departure http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/24/sega-europes-coo-and-president-jurgen-post-announces-departure/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/24/sega-europes-coo-and-president-jurgen-post-announces-departure/#respond Wed, 24 May 2017 16:15:23 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=101997

By Remington Joseph

Sega Europe just announced the departure of their COO and President. Jurgen Post served Sega for over ten years as Managing Director and Senior Vice President before being promoted in 2012. After taking on his newly appointed role of COO and President, Post headed a massive shift of the company’s business operation, closing a number […]

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By Remington Joseph

Sega Europe just announced the departure of their COO and President.

Jurgen Post served Sega for over ten years as Managing Director and Senior Vice President before being promoted in 2012. After taking on his newly appointed role of COO and President, Post headed a massive shift of the company’s business operation, closing a number of their European offices in order to focus on delivering quality consumer experiences rather than quantity.

“Jurgen leaving us is a huge loss, but he leaves Sega Europe with the business in a fantastic position and in the capable hands of a superb team who will strive to keep moving it forward”, said Tatsuyuki Miyazaki, CEO for Sega West.

Post reshaped Sega Europe’s business by forming new partnerships with companies like Microsoft, Wargaming and Elex. Sega Europe has also acquired two new studios since 2012, Relic Entertainment and Amplitude Studios. They have since used these partnerships to license existing IP while developing new potential franchises. Sega Europe is also responsible for the recently successful PC ports of games like Bayonetta, Valkyria Chronicles and the upcoming port of Vanquish.

Creative Assembly, a British developer and subsidiary of Sega has grown to be one of the largest development studios in Europe after the support given by Post. The studio is best known for their work on Shogun: Total War, a highly successful strategy game series. Creative Assembly is currently working with 343 Industries to develop Halo Wars 2.

Sega Europe’s CFO, John Ward, will act as interim COO along with the support of the company’s senior management team until a suitable replacement is found. Sega Europe publically thanks Post for his leadership and dedication to his vision for the company.

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Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen Coming to PS4 and Xbox One http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/24/dragons-dogma-dark-arisen-coming-ps4-xbox-one/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/24/dragons-dogma-dark-arisen-coming-ps4-xbox-one/#respond Wed, 24 May 2017 15:19:53 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=101986

By Remington Joseph

Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen will release on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One this fall. The official social media pages for Dragon’s Dogma announced that the action-RPG will be coming to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One later this fall. Developer and publisher Capcom originally announced the upcoming re-release for Japanese audiences, celebrating the series’ fifth anniversary, […]

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By Remington Joseph

Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen will release on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One this fall.

The official social media pages for Dragon’s Dogma announced that the action-RPG will be coming to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One later this fall. Developer and publisher Capcom originally announced the upcoming re-release for Japanese audiences, celebrating the series’ fifth anniversary, selling over 3.2 million copies worldwide since its debut in 2012. Other than the game receiving an upgrade in resolution to match modern consoles, Capcom hasn’t revealed any details behind Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen’s remaster.

Developed for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, Dragon’s Dogma is an open world RPG set in a fantasy world. Players were able to create their character from the ground up, starting from gender and appearance to a variety of classes from warrior to mage. Players were also able to create a pawn, an NPC that would assist in combat and world exploring. Pawns could be uploaded online and borrowed by other players, returning with loot and added experience. An expanded version of the game called Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen was released in 2013, adding new features such as a fast travel system. The new version of the game also added a new location along with quests and equipment. Dragon’s Dogma was well received by critics for its unique hack and slash battle system and interesting single-player story.

In 2015, Capcom announced a sequel titled Dragon’s Dogma Online. The game released exclusively in Japan as a free-to-play game for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and PC. The game featured a new storyline and supported cross-platform play among all platforms. Within its first ten days of release, Dragon’s Dogma Online reached over two million downloads.

Capcom is likely to reveal more details on the re-release of Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen in the near future.

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Lovecraft Homage Conarium Recieves Release Date http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/24/lovecraft-homage-conarium-recieves-release-date/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/24/lovecraft-homage-conarium-recieves-release-date/#respond Wed, 24 May 2017 14:00:38 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=101947

By Cole Watson

After announcing their new project back in 2015, Zoetrope Interactive Studios’ latest Lovecraftian Horror game, Conarium, is set for a PC Release on June 6, 2016. Largely set after the events of H.P Lovecraft’s novella, At the Mountains of Madness, Conarium puts players in the shoes of four scientists on an Antarctic expedition. With the base […]

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By Cole Watson

After announcing their new project back in 2015, Zoetrope Interactive Studios’ latest Lovecraftian Horror game, Conarium, is set for a PC Release on June 6, 2016.

Lovecraft Homage, Conarium, Releases June 6 1

Largely set after the events of H.P Lovecraft’s novella, At the Mountains of Madness, Conarium puts players in the shoes of four scientists on an Antarctic expedition. With the base deserted and your memories lost, the objective of the game is to search for clues throughout the isolated base, discover the truth behind the mysterious device your team uncovered and avoid the hidden Macabre demons at all cost.

The game will feature many things to keep the lovers of the dark occult entrenched in Conarium’s chilling and atmospheric world, including multiple endings for players to experience. Also, it wouldn’t be a true H.P Lovecraft homage unless the game was riddled with secrets and hidden Easter eggs referencing all of the Authors infamous works.

Originally revealed as “Mountains of Madness” and later titled, “Transcend”, Zoetrope didn’t settle on the name, Conarium, for their latest project until the studio announced their publishing partnership with fellow horror enthusiasts, Iceberg Interactive.

While our preview of Conarium was not overwhelmingly positive, Zoetrope Interactive has a strong pedigree in developing Lovecraftian horror games for their devoted audience. The studio is most well known for their work on the Darkness Within franchise, which currently spans two titles. The theming of mystery and the dark occult spans across all of this studios games.

While Zoetrope may still be a small time indie studio located in Istanbul, Turkey, they have reached a new level of awareness by teaming up with Iceberg Interactive, who are known for their quality assembly of both midsize and indie tier developers. A few games of note in their lengthy lineup of diverse titles include the likes of Killing Floor 2, Endless Space, and Rising Storm 2: Vietnam. 

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Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers Switch Review http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/ultra-street-fighter-ii-final-challengers-switch-review/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/ultra-street-fighter-ii-final-challengers-switch-review/#respond Wed, 24 May 2017 13:00:48 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=101954

By Phil Brown

Well, it’s officially been 30 years since Street Fighter first launched in arcades and essentially created an entire genre. Of course, no one really plays or thinks about the original Street Fighter anymore. In fact, it was the 1991 sequel Street Fighter II that changed everything. So to celebrate Street Fighter’s grand anniversary that’s the […]

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By Phil Brown

Well, it’s officially been 30 years since Street Fighter first launched in arcades and essentially created an entire genre. Of course, no one really plays or thinks about the original Street Fighter anymore. In fact, it was the 1991 sequel Street Fighter II that changed everything. So to celebrate Street Fighter’s grand anniversary that’s the one that’s getting a lush new re-release on the Nintendo Switch. At the core, this is the same game that sucked up quarters and broke Super Nintendo Entertainment Systems in sleep over sparring matches throughout the 90s. The joy of this rerelease comes from how well it holds up, and in the loving way that Capcom and Nintendo have teamed up to produce a package that maximizes all the joy that can be wrung out of this stone cold classic on the Nintendo Switch.

Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix Review - A Nostolgic Ride 2The basic mechanics of the game are the same since the Street Fight II Turbo HD Remix that tightened and balanced the old classic slightly. It feels the same. Sure, some of the old moves are pulled off in thumb-busting manners relative to how contemporary Capcom fighters feel, but that just adds to the challenge, and also revives old sense memory motions for those who have grown up alongside this fighting masterpiece. Controls feel great on the Switch in its portable mode where just like the 3DS version of Street Fighter IV, touch screen combos and special moves can be added for beginners.  It’s even better on the pro controller especially if you need that D-pad to feel at home, and is as adequate as possible on the JoyCon. All the right buttons are there and it works, but finger cramp is a distinct possibility. Still, portable local multiplayer Street Fighter II is a dream come true. As part of the games unbelievable depth of customizability, you can also assign any conventional attack, special movie, or combo to any controller button that you choose. That sort of thing is a huge help for new players finding their ropes with Ryu, while others can stick to what the game has always been. It’s a nice option.

In fact, customization is all over this title, from the depths of the control scheme to user created colour schemes for every character (did you ever want a neon pink skinned Blanka with pale blue hair? Time to live that dream!). A quick trip to the options menu can also transform this game to a vintage pixelated arcade screen or the modern HD cell animation style visual. Sound can also come straight from the original arcade songs, voices, and effects, or the new remix to match Street Fighter IV. Players can mix and match whatever they choose— depending on how nostalgic their mood. The game will always feel like Street Fighter II, but it can look crystal clear pretty for modern eyes or as charmingly blocky for ageing purists. It’s all your choice and gameplay isn’t affected either way. A simple option, but a great one for long time fans of the title.

Keeping in line with long-time fan service, all the characters from Street Fighter II: Turbo are present. Questionable stereotyping aside, it’s a brilliant and balanced roster, so there’s no need to mess with perfection. On top of that, there are two additions to the character screen that weren’t around back then. The first is Evil Ryu (from Street Fighter Alpha 2) and the other is his all new blond doppelganger Violent Ken. Essentially they play like their non-evil namesakes with a nightmarish sense of style, Akuma shadow moves, and new super combos. These aren’t exactly game-changing editions, but provide a little something extra for returning players who have been here many times before. The standard Arcade and Versus modes return as well, along with a two-on-one Buddy Battle mode where two heroes (via local multiplayer or 1P + CP set ups) take on one opposing fighter simultaneously, and it’s a surprisingly amusing new addition. On top of that, there’s a motion-control mini-game called “Way of the Hado” where players get to grab JoyCon and do all of Ryu’s classic moves in the first person. This is a fun diversion, but nothing major. The motion controls are sadly a bit wonky with Wiimote-style flailing, and there are very few levels. But getting to unleash your own Hadoukens has giddy party potential. It’s a fun extra for novelty value, but hardly a satisfying game on its own.

Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix Review - A Nostolgic Ride 4

Finally, Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers is obviously set up for online play and competition. Unfortunately, it wasn’t possible to try any of the online features during the review period, so I can’t comment on how well they may or may not work. However, the depth of cataloguing available for online stats suggests that Capcom and Nintendo are hoping for some robust and long-running online competition (and given that this is the friendship-ruining Street Fighter II that we’re talking about, it’s safe to say that players will oblige). Toss in a beautiful art gallery with hundreds of images available for ogling, as well as replay recording for YouTube glory, and you’ve got a re-release of Street Fighter II that is truly special. It’s clear that this anniversary edition was compiled with love and care. It’s a pure and faithful restoration of a classic (possibly THE classic) fighting game with bells and whistles that add to the experience without distracting from the core. Deep customization options will allow players to mess around with aesthetics and controls to their heart’s content, while the core Street Fighter II experience remains as deceptively simple and dangerously addictive as it’s been since 1991.

It might sound strange to call an anniversary repackaging of a decades-old title a “must own” for a new system, but Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers is just that well produced. If you own a Switch and love Street Fighter II, then you quite simply need to have this in your library. Hours of cheers and frustration await all you fine Street Fighting fools. Start getting those thumbs limber. You’re in one hell of a wild nostalgic ride.

Score:8.5

Final Thoughts:It might sound strange to call an anniversary repackaging of a decades old title a “must own” for a new system, but Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers is just that well produced.

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Newest Expansion in 1914-1918 Series Unvieled http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/24/newest-expansion-1914-1918-series-unvieled/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/24/newest-expansion-1914-1918-series-unvieled/#respond Wed, 24 May 2017 12:00:38 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=101948

By Cody Orme

M2H and Blackmill Games, the studios behind the First World War shooter Verdun, announced the latest entry in the 1914-1918 series, Tannenberg. Set for a release later this year, the expansion named after the 1914 Battle of Tannenberg, brings players to an area that is rarely shown in First World War Portrayals, the Eastern front. […]

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By Cody Orme

M2H and Blackmill Games, the studios behind the First World War shooter Verdun, announced the latest entry in the 1914-1918 series, Tannenberg.

Set for a release later this year, the expansion named after the 1914 Battle of Tannenberg, brings players to an area that is rarely shown in First World War Portrayals, the Eastern front.

‘The Russians and AustroHungarians played a huge part in the First World War and we’re looking forward to portraying their contribution,” says Jos Hoebe developer at Blackmill Games. “The Eastern Front didn’t see the same trench warfare as in the West – in Tannenberg, we offer players the experience of a more mobile side of the war which many people may be unfamiliar with.”

Along with this M2H and Blackmill Games announced a new 64 player game mode featuring open fields across multiple terrains like snowy plains, lush forests, villages and mountainous regions for more tactical warfare. Unlike more western based campaigns, players will see less trench warfare, instead, they will play as different squads with unique weapons all of which are crafted with an attention to detail.

The 1914-1918 franchise began in 2015 with the launch of Verdun, allowing players to choose from historically accurate squads and weapons, 1914-1918 is known as one of the more realistic shooters for that era in warfare.

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Conarium Preview – Lovecraftian Axing http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/24/conarium-preview-lovecraftian-axing/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/24/conarium-preview-lovecraftian-axing/#respond Wed, 24 May 2017 11:30:01 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=101933

By Jed Whitaker

First-person horror games are all the rage on Steam these days—anything to get the man-children on YouTube to scream for their impressionable audiences. The developers at Zoetrope Interactive have opted to make a game that, so far, seems to be more atmospheric horror than something with skinny tall men or mechanical bears popping into your […]

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By Jed Whitaker

First-person horror games are all the rage on Steam these days—anything to get the man-children on YouTube to scream for their impressionable audiences. The developers at Zoetrope Interactive have opted to make a game that, so far, seems to be more atmospheric horror than something with skinny tall men or mechanical bears popping into your face. That game is Conarium, a Lovecraftian game inspired by and set after the events of H.P. Lovecraft’s novella At the Mountains of Madness.

As I’ve never read any Lovecraft (shame on me I know) I can only assume this or all of his books deal with Cthulhu, as the Conarium preview build I played started in a submarine that slowly moved through murky water before a giant tentacle darts through the water and encases it. The character then wakes in a dark room with a white glowing portal into what appears to be a small hallway in a ship, where they will catch a ghostly glimpse of a doctor discovering the Necronomicon and recording the events that happened. If this scene wasn’t inspired by Evil Dead, then Evil Dead must be inspired by Lovecraft, as this scene pretty much happens in three of the four Evil Dead films.

After listening to a few sentences about out of body experiences that seem to transcend universes, I returned to the door through which I entered only to find another white portal leading to a dark wet cavern. Here I slowly walked along, finding different trinkets and the places they are supposed to go in order for me to proceed to the next area. Nothing very interesting or fun happened, other than finding a series of fully preserved lizardmen glued to open coffins.

Conarium Preview - Lovecraftian Axing 2 Conarium Preview - Lovecraftian Axing 1 Conarium Preview - Lovecraftian Axing 3

While interesting, the thirty-minute preview I played hasn’t inspired me to want to play the full game. Not only did basically nothing happen, but for a horror game, it wasn’t all that scary. Sure, the atmosphere is there, with great sound effects and ambient music, but there just didn’t seem to be a payoff. Worse, the gameplay is basically ‘find the square peg and put it in the square hole’—rinse and repeat. The thing that irked me the most, however, was that I came across an axe early on, which was required to break a stone wall, then another, and then some ice away from a part of a puzzle. Using the axe means clicking every single time you need to swing it, which is quite a few swings per area. It just isn’t fun or interesting as far as gameplay goes.

Obviously, what I played of Conarium is an early ‘vertical slice’ of gameplay (which typically highlights the best bit of the game) so things could change and be far better. It is clear the developers want to keep a lot of the mystery, well, mysterious. I can’t blame them, but if the final product is as lacklustre as this, then this is one mystery I don’t intend to investigate further.

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Remembering the Legacy of Sir Roger Moore http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/23/remembering-legacy-sir-roger-moore/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/23/remembering-legacy-sir-roger-moore/#respond Tue, 23 May 2017 20:25:00 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=101966

By Phil Brown

This morning we learned that evil bastard cancer claimed yet another beloved pop culture icon in 2017. This one really hurts because the man was a bit of a legend. He played one of the greatest of all big screen heroes for longer than any other actor to take on the role. He was Roger […]

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By Phil Brown

This morning we learned that evil bastard cancer claimed yet another beloved pop culture icon in 2017. This one really hurts because the man was a bit of a legend. He played one of the greatest of all big screen heroes for longer than any other actor to take on the role. He was Roger Moore, and for a few generations of blockbuster aficionados who prefer their international espionage romps with a side of cheese, he was the best James Bond to ever don a tux. Moore lived his life like a roving party that anyone in his orbit was invited to join. He did it for 89 years. He was irreplaceable, and he will be missed sincerely by everyone who enjoys an eyebrow arched in irony.

Born in 1927, and a Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts Graduate, Moore bounced around for much of the early of his career. After his attempts to break through as an actor didn’t take off in England as planned, Moore moved to America and found himself working in the growing television industry. There were bit parts in series and big roles in TV movies before Moore got his first starring role in Ivanhoe, a medieval knight and swordplay bit of nonsense that lasted for two years and is remembered now almost entirely for Moore’s presence. That was followed by major roles in The Alaskans and Maverick before Moore finally got his breakout role in The Saint. Starring as a handsome thief and master of disguise was the perfect vehicle for Roger Moore’s deadpan sense of humour, refined charm, and winking irony. The series was immensely popular, ran for seven years and gave Moore his first taste at stardom.

The success of The Saint almost immediately drew the attention of the producers behind the James Bond franchise. After all, the show premiered right as Bond took off, and Moore’s winking sense of humour and dashing British charm factory certainly seemed like it would fit into Bond’s tux rather well if Sean Connery decided to hang up his bow tie and PPK. When Connery’s relationship with the Bond brigade grew troubled, Moore’s name was always discussed as a possible replacement. It didn’t work out the first time Connery dropped out for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, but by the time Sean finally had enough in the 1970s, Moore was willing and waiting to jump in. He was 46 when he took on the role, easily the oldest actor at the start of a Bond run, and he also stuck with it longer than any actor, chasing women and henchmen on screen as the iconic superspy well into the 1980s. Moore was never particularly gifted at the physical demands of action movie stardom, but his sense of humour, charm, and undeniable screen presence owned the role. The stuntmen took care of the rough stuff. Moore inhabited Bond and defined the character during the franchise’s most playful years.

Roger Moore kicked off his tenure as Bond with the back-to-back productions of Live and Let Die and The Man With the Golden Gun in 1973 and 1974. They were cheaper movies by Bond standards, oddly influenced by exploitation subgenres like Blacksploitation, Kung Fu, and horror flicks. They were damn weird but damn fun, with Moore somehow making the silliness work thanks to his appreciation for camp comedy and one-liners. The franchise grew bigger and sillier around his persona with 1977’s The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker qualifying as the biggest Bond productions of their era (the former is a sumptuously silly celebration of Bond movie excesses, the latter is a goofball Star Wars knock-off that’s worth a watch for the laughs alone). He tried to build a more serious Bond movie around him in 1981 with For Your Eyes Only and while it’s not exactly Casino Royale, it does capture the more dramatic side of Ian Fleming’s character rather well and is one of Moore’s finest Bond outings. That was followed swiftly by the pure cheese of Octopussy (the title is easily the highlight) and A View to a Kill (which was certainly a Bond movie too far for the rapidly aging Moore, but also an absolute riot to watch for all its 80s excesses and Christopher Walken vamping it up as the villain). By the end, Moore was Bond for over a decade and left behind a string of movies that will screen regularly on cable for as long as television exists.

Roger Moore made other movies during his tenure as Bond, but none of them really took off. He was an actor left in the shadow of Bond-like few others, yet at least seemed to always have fun when Bond left his career. Moore never stopped working after the 80s, but he was almost exclusively stunt cast. He would appear as his own goofy persona regardless of the role, and engage in self-parody in projects as varied as Alias, Spice World, Cats & Dogs: The Revenge Of Kitty Galore, and Jean-Claude Van Damme’s directorial opus The Quest. Sure, the movies weren’t exactly high art but Roger Moore was always having fun. He knew who he was and how to flaunt it. He regaled talk shows with hilarious anecdotes and poked fun at himself whenever given the opportunity.

In his own way, Roger Moore helped usher in the era of the ironic celebrity and actor alongside the likes of William Shatner and Adam West. He didn’t let the shadow of Bond ruin his career, but basked in the goofy glow of the perpetual fame machine that would never leave him. In a way, the character of Roger Moore was his greatest creation, even over James Bond. He was always a welcome, winking presence on any screen, and will be sincerely missed. There have been many James Bonds, but there was only one Roger Moore and he played that role well enough to become an icon.

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Digital Extremes Announce New FPS Keystone http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/23/digital-extremes-announce-new-fps-keystone/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/23/digital-extremes-announce-new-fps-keystone/#respond Tue, 23 May 2017 15:37:41 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=101925

By Brendan Frye

Canadian developer Digital Extremes, known for Warframe have formed a new second internal unit to work on a new title, Keystone. Keystone, a new Competitive First Person Shooter with a blend of shooting, and deck building strategies. The game will feature a 1970’s era pulp fiction aesthetic and will task players to journey through the multiverse that […]

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By Brendan Frye

Canadian developer Digital Extremes, known for Warframe have formed a new second internal unit to work on a new title, Keystone.

Keystone, a new Competitive First Person Shooter with a blend of shooting, and deck building strategies. The game will feature a 1970’s era pulp fiction aesthetic and will task players to journey through the multiverse that begins on the starting square of a mythical board game.

“The long-running success of Warframe has enabled us to build up a second internal team to create a wholly different but equally satisfying game concept that we’re really excited about,” said Sheldon Carter, studio head at Digital Extremes. “Keystone originates from our roots in the FPS world and mixing genres like we have done with Warframe. We believe there’s room to expand the confines of what defines a good FPS and hope our community will see the potential and get on board for the ride.”

Closed alpha sign-ups now open on the game’s website, with the game launching for beta testers, later this week on PC.

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Rakuen Review – Beautiful and Emotional http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/rakuen-review-beautiful-emotional/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/rakuen-review-beautiful-emotional/#respond Tue, 23 May 2017 15:24:37 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=101917

By Derek Heemsbergen

I’ve often said that my favourite video games are the ones that help me cultivate a deeper understanding of the human condition. I don’t necessarily pick up any game with the aim of bettering myself or anything so pretentious; it’s simply a welcome consequence of having such a voracious appetite for storytelling. I find deep […]

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By Derek Heemsbergen

I’ve often said that my favourite video games are the ones that help me cultivate a deeper understanding of the human condition. I don’t necessarily pick up any game with the aim of bettering myself or anything so pretentious; it’s simply a welcome consequence of having such a voracious appetite for storytelling. I find deep pleasure in that moment of asynchronous connection— when a spark of humanity shines through and becomes a compass that I can use to navigate my own turbulent waters. Rakuen, the first game by composer-turned-developer Laura Shigihara, is precisely the sort of experience that generates these rare moments of wondrous epiphany.

A cursory glance might lead one to mistake Rakuen as RPG Maker riffraff. This could not be further from the truth. While it was developed using the ageing engine, Rakuen is a rare example of a game that transcends its limitations to become something more than the sum of its parts. It is the story of an ailing Boy—so named, and never given a more specific identifier—indefinitely confined to a hospital. Together with his doting Mom, he discovers a door to a parallel world inhabited by talking animals who resemble his fellow patients. Kind and affable, the Boy eagerly sets to unravelling their respective stories, helping each person find closure while moving closer to his own truth in the process.

Rakuen Review - Beautiful and Emotional

In terms of gameplay, Rakuen keeps things light. There is no combat. The Boy and his Mom bounce from the hospital to the other world, and from past to present, by solving the puzzles posed by each world’s inhabitants. These range from simple “go find me an apple”-type errands to logic problems that require a bit more finesse, though none are so insurmountable as to interrupt the story’s flow. There is an adorable side quest that allows the boy to decorate the hospital lounge with objects and pets he finds throughout his adventure, but otherwise, Rakuen is a linear affair.

Rakuen presents itself as a colourful, child-friendly sort of game, and while it is doubtlessly so on the surface, its themes are decidedly heavy. Giving away too much in a review would spoil the experience, of course, but it strikes a delicate balance between silly and serious, joyful and melancholy. Each patient’s tale is exceptionally well-plotted, small enough in scope to be digestible while contributing to the overarching narrative. One vignette depicts a woman coming to terms with her husband’s dementia; another draws upon the real-life tensions between Japan and Korea (the latter slyly rendered as “Kanko,” a play on the Japanese word for Korea, 韓国) that drive a wedge between two star-crossed lovers. These characters radiate a beautiful energy despite their generally tragic circumstances, and their stories carry an authenticity that is rarely realized in this medium.

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Befitting Laura Shigihara’s background as a composer, the music in Rakuen is integral to the narrative, and the game is better for it. The vaguely Celtic, Yasunori Mitsuda-esque village theme “Welcome to the Forest” is a real earworm, and a smattering of plaintive piano melodies punctuate all the right moments. The real stars of the soundtrack, however, are Shigihara’s vocal pieces. Her voice is delicate, her lyrics heartfelt, posing sombre queries with every verse. “If we jump into the water,” she asks, “Would we swim, or would we drown?” My answer is uncertain, like ripples on the surface. The screen fades to black and I’m still thinking.

That’s not to say that every moment of Rakuen is agony; far from it. Moments of levity are plentiful, thanks to bizarre and memorable characters like a D&D-playing onion and a dandy flower with a fondness for powdered wigs. The Mom, in all her warmth and silliness, stands out as not only one of Rakuen‘s best characters, but as one of the best video game moms ever (Step aside, Miranda from Grandia III.).

Rakuen is ultimately an optimistic story, but it is also deeply human, and that duality is what makes it so unforgettable.

Score:9.5

Final Thoughts:Don't be fooled by its unassuming facade: Rakuen is a one-of-a-kind adventure that brings tears and smiles in equal measure.

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Microsoft Announces New Surface Pro with 13.5 Hours Battery http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/23/microsoft-announces-new-surface-pro-with-13-5-hours-battery/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/23/microsoft-announces-new-surface-pro-with-13-5-hours-battery/#respond Tue, 23 May 2017 14:34:37 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=101904

By Brendan Frye

Microsoft announced they will launch a new Surface Pro. The new hybrid laptop/tablet will carry on in the tradition of previous Surface Pro models, maintaining the iconic design, with the detachable keyboard, and have some powerful new specs under the hood. The new Surface Pro will have a 12.3” PixelSense display, and will reportedly last […]

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By Brendan Frye

Microsoft announced they will launch a new Surface Pro. The new hybrid laptop/tablet will carry on in the tradition of previous Surface Pro models, maintaining the iconic design, with the detachable keyboard, and have some powerful new specs under the hood.

The new Surface Pro will have a 12.3” PixelSense display, and will reportedly last a total of 13.5 hours, making it a solid travel laptop. Continuing the tradition of past iterations in the Surface Pro line, it will come with the option of the new Surface Pen and the signature Type Covers that will ensure you can be as creative or productive as you want on the go.

Ranging from around $799 USD to a staggering $2,699 USD comes in a similar price point to last year’s Surface Pro 4. For that money, the Surface Pro will offer a lighter and ultimately more powerful unit. The new Surface Pro features Kirby Lake chips under the hood that should boost performance around 20 per cent when compared to last years offering.

Microsoft has also opted to have a new fanless option in the Surface Pro range. With the Core m3 model that only weighs 1.69lbs, making it one of the lightest hybrid laptops currently on the market. At the high-end, the Surface Pro will offer the new Kirby Lake i7 with Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640 and 16GB Ram, ensuring you can do any work you can think of on this device.

While the Surface Pro is not a gaming PC even, on the high-end, for anyone looking to do some light gaming, along with word processing or even video editing, this new offering should get the job done with little to no trouble.

Operating System Windows 10
Microsoft Office 30-day trial
Exterior Dimensions: 11.50” x 7.9” x 0.33” (292mm x 201mm x 8.5mm)
7th Generation Intel® Core™ m3 weight: 1.69lbs (768g)
7th Generation Intel® Core™ i5 weight: 1.70lbs (770g)
7th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 weight: 1.73lbs (784g)Mechanical features: Magnesium body, kickstand with full-friction multi-position hinge to 165 degrees, magnetic attach for keyboard fold stability
Color: Platinum
Physical buttons: volume, power
Display Screen: 12.3” PixelSense™ Display
Resolution: 2736 x 1824 (267 PPI)
Aspect Ratio: 3:2
Touch: 10 point multi-touch
Processor 7th Generation Intel® Core™ m3 7Y30
7th Generation Intel® Core™ i5-7300U
7th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-7660U
Graphics Intel® HD Graphics 615 (m3)
Intel® HD Graphics 620 (i5)
Intel® Iris™ Plus Graphics 640 (i7)
Memory 4GB/8GB/16GB RAM 1866Mhz LPDDR3
Storage Solid State Drive (SSD) 128/256/512GB or 1TB PCIe NVMe
Security TPM 2.0 chip for enterprise security
Enterprise-grade protection with Windows Hello face sign-in
Network Wi-Fi: IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac compatible, Bluetooth Wireless 4.1 technology
Battery Up to 13.5 hours of battery life
Cameras, Video and Audio Windows Hello face sign-in camera (front-facing) 5.0MP front-facing Camera with 1080p HD video
8.0MP rear-facing autofocus camera with 1080p HD video
Dual microphones
Stereo speakers with Dolby® Audio™ Premium
Ports Full-size USB 3.0
microSDXC card reader
Surface Connect™
3.5mm Headphone jack
Mini DisplayPort
Cover port
Sensors Ambient light sensor
Accelerometer
Gyroscope
Power supply 24 W power supply (Intel® Core™ m3)
44 W power supply with USB charging port (Intel® Core™ i5 and Core™ i7)
In the box Surface Pro
Power Supply
Quick Start Guide
Safety and warranty documents
Warranty One-year limited hardware warranty

The new Surface Pro is currently up for pre-order and will be available in June at a starting price of $799 USD.

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Legendary Actor Sir Roger Moore Passes Away http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/23/legendary-actor-sir-roger-moore-passes-away/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/23/legendary-actor-sir-roger-moore-passes-away/#respond Tue, 23 May 2017 13:58:28 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=101906

By Cody Orme

Sir Roger Moore, the actor most notable for his stint as James Bond in iconic films like Live and Let Die, The Spy who Loved me and Moonraker (just to name a few) has passed away at the age of 89. The news came from Moore’s official Twitter handle, written by his children.  Battling cancer, Moore […]

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By Cody Orme

Sir Roger Moore, the actor most notable for his stint as James Bond in iconic films like Live and Let Die, The Spy who Loved me and Moonraker (just to name a few) has passed away at the age of 89.

The news came from Moore’s official Twitter handle, written by his children.  Battling cancer, Moore died surrounded by family in Switzerland.

“The affection our father felt whenever he walked on to a stage or in front of a camera buoyed him hugely and kept him busy working into his 90th year,” reads the statement.

To keep in line with his wishes, Moore’s funeral will be privately held in Monaco.

Born in London, Moore started his acting career in 1945, making his first appearance in television appearance in 1949, in The Governess by Patrick Hamilton, playing a small role.  Throughout the 50s and 60s, Moore appeared TV shows, most notably The Saint, where Moore played Simon Templar from 1962 to 1969. His fame only grew from there, eventually landing the role of James Bond, appearing in seven films as the character from 1973 to 1985.

CGM offers our condolences to his friends and family at this difficult time.

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Io-Interactive Announces Studio Layoffs http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/23/io-interactive-reveals-studio-layoffs/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/23/io-interactive-reveals-studio-layoffs/#respond Tue, 23 May 2017 13:21:17 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=101900

By Cody Orme

Io-Interactive, the studio behind the Hitman and Kane and Lynch franchises announced the studio will be restructuring. In a tweet from the studio’s official Twitter handle, Io-Interactive revealed they will be parting ways with some talent, though they are doing all they can to ensure the transition is as smooth as possible for those affected. […]

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By Cody Orme

Io-Interactive, the studio behind the Hitman and Kane and Lynch franchises announced the studio will be restructuring.

In a tweet from the studio’s official Twitter handle, Io-Interactive revealed they will be parting ways with some talent, though they are doing all they can to ensure the transition is as smooth as possible for those affected.

This statement comes just weeks after publisher Square Enix revealed they stepped away from the studio at the end of March. This news came as a surprise to many casual fans as IO-Interactive’s most recent title, the episodic Hitman 2016, was received very well by critics and fans alike. CGM editor Brendan Quinn reviewed the title giving it a nine out of 10 stating “each level feels like a real place, inhabited by real people with their own goals and routines.”

Io-Interactive has yet to state the exact number of employees leaving the studio, but we here at CGM wish them the best of luck in their careers.

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Red Dead Redemption 2 Pushed to Spring 2018 http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/23/red-dead-redemption-2-pushed-spring-2018/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/23/red-dead-redemption-2-pushed-spring-2018/#respond Tue, 23 May 2017 12:47:03 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=101890

By Brendan Frye

RockStar Games have announced via a blog post, that Red Dead Redemption 2, the follow up to the 2010 smash hit, will be delayed until spring 2018. In a statement on their official site, they state “This outlaw epic set across the vast and unforgiving American heartland will be the first Rockstar game created from the ground […]

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By Brendan Frye

RockStar Games have announced via a blog post, that Red Dead Redemption 2, the follow up to the 2010 smash hit, will be delayed until spring 2018.

In a statement on their official site, they state “This outlaw epic set across the vast and unforgiving American heartland will be the first Rockstar game created from the ground up for the latest generation of console hardware, and some extra time is necessary to ensure that we can deliver the best experience possible for our fans.”

The post goes on to outline that they are “excited to bring you more details about the game this summer.” With E3 just around the corner and Gamescom this August, there are plenty of opportunities for RockStar to reveal more details about Red Dead Redemption 2.

Red Dead Redemption 2 Pushed to Spring 2018 Red Dead Redemption 2 Pushed to Spring 2018 1 Red Dead Redemption 2 Pushed to Spring 2018 2 Red Dead Redemption 2 Pushed to Spring 2018 3

Red Dead Redemption 2 is slated for a PlayStation 4, and Xbox One release. At the time of writing, no PC version has been announced, although if this game follows Grand Theft Auto V trajectory, it may be announced at a later date after the console release.

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Boss Key Productions’s ‘Lawbreakers’ coming to Playstation 4 http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/22/boss-key-productions-lawbreakers-coming-playstation-4/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/22/boss-key-productions-lawbreakers-coming-playstation-4/#respond Mon, 22 May 2017 15:57:12 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=101881

By Christopher Whan

Objective-based shooters like Overwatch and Battleborn will have a new competitor entering the ring as the long-awaited and gravity-defying Lawbreakers will finally be coming out later this year and not just to PC. Boss Key Productions, founded by long-time developer and Gears of War creator Cliff Bleszinski, have announced today that along with the Steam […]

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By Christopher Whan

Objective-based shooters like Overwatch and Battleborn will have a new competitor entering the ring as the long-awaited and gravity-defying Lawbreakers will finally be coming out later this year and not just to PC.

Boss Key Productions, founded by long-time developer and Gears of War creator Cliff Bleszinski, have announced today that along with the Steam release of “Lawbreakers” there will be a PS4 version as well.

“With LawBreakers, we wanted to honor the skill-based FPS games of yesteryear, all while embracing the new and pushing the genre in our own unique way,” said Bleszinski. “We found that messing with gravity, and having it mess with the player, adds a dynamic vertical element that will challenge players of all skill levels to go above their limits. Add in a variety of character role play-styles that go beyond the basic ‘tank, sniper and medic,’ a price point that we feel is fair to the player and the fact that it’s just damn fun to play – we’re confident LawBreakers will be one of the best valued and most challenging FPS games on PC or console.”

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Boss Key will be partnering up with NEXON Co., Ltd to bring the shooter to consoles. Previously the company has only developed for PC and Mobile so this will be their first foray into the console world.

“We’re thrilled to be partnering with Cliff and his team to bring such a unique and challenging combat experience to PS4,” said Owen Mahoney, President and CEO, NEXON Co., Ltd.  “This marks a major milestone for Nexon as we launch onto a home videogame console for the first time in the company’s history.”

So far there is no release date schedule for Lawbreakers but the PC and PS4 versions will launch simultaneously. The PS4 and PC version will be available for preview at E3 this June.

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Cosmic Star Heroine Review – Fun for Retro RPG Fans http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/cosmic-star-heroine-review/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/cosmic-star-heroine-review/#respond Sat, 20 May 2017 14:00:19 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=101792

By Derek Heemsbergen

Evaluation by comparison is one of the most straightforward strategies a critic can employ. It’s also one of the least nuanced. I say this knowing full well that I often do it myself, so I’m not pointing any fingers here; there are only so many ways to approach reviewing a video game, after all. I preface […]

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By Derek Heemsbergen

Evaluation by comparison is one of the most straightforward strategies a critic can employ. It’s also one of the least nuanced. I say this knowing full well that I often do it myself, so I’m not pointing any fingers here; there are only so many ways to approach reviewing a video game, after all. I preface my critique of Cosmic Star Heroine, a retro-styled JRPG styled after a particular pair of SNES and Genesis classics, with this statement because it doesn’t simply draw inspiration from those games—it explicitly demands to be compared to them.

The product of a successful Kickstarter campaign that concluded in 2013, Cosmic Star Heroine arrives at last in 2017 amongst a plethora of other high-quality RPGs. Rather than go toe-to-toe with its high-budget contemporaries, Cosmic Star Heroine instead seeks to carve out a niche by appealing to people who, like me, grew up during the “golden era” of 16-bit gaming. But by pitching its concept as a fusion of Chrono Trigger and Phantasy Star, two games hailed as seminal works in the world of RPGs, Cosmic Star Heroine sets a bar it cannot clear.

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This doesn’t mean it’s a bad game; far from it, in fact. Developer Zeboyd Games’ affection for the turn-based RPGs of yesteryear is clear, as is their commitment to minimizing the more frustrating aspects of classic game design. Every encounter is scripted, penalties for death are minimal, and combat is tuned for four distinct difficulty levels that either eliminate grinding or highlight it depending on the player’s preference. Moreover, each of the game’s eleven playable characters has a robust suite of abilities that emphasize synergy, highlighting the care Zeboyd put into designing the battle system. It’s easy to forget how unforgiving RPGs used to be, and Cosmic Star Heroine does much to bring their aesthetic sensibilities into the modern era while leaving less savoury aspects behind.

Yet for all of its posturing, Cosmic Star Heroine doesn’t discard the rose-tinted glasses of nostalgia entirely; it’s more like it pops one lens out and looks back at the player with a cheeky grin. I had hoped for a more serious take on an RPG after Zeboyd’s previous work on Cthulhu Saves the World and the final two episodes of Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness. I didn’t expect it to be a grim piece of science fiction, certainly, but nor did I expect it to be so suffocatingly bogged down in tired attempts at humour. The writing in Cosmic Star Heroine frequently goes beyond homage and into The Big Bang Theory style of referential comedy. “Remember that thing you like? So do we! Here it is again!” Cue laugh track.

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In an early dungeon, a puddle of blood is described as “possibly belonging to someone named Chris”. Eyeroll. One sequence requires the player to obtain a dress, Honeybee Inn-style, for the main character to sneak into a minor villain’s mansion—a villain who, incidentally, is known across the galaxy as “The Connoisseur” for his collection of rare artifacts. Eyeroll. Another sequence takes the player to a zombie-infested police station that copies Resident Evil 2‘s R.P.D. down to its statue and piano puzzles. Eyeroll. All of this is punctuated by a relentless deluge of one-liners from the game’s cast, which might be fine if it ever stopped moving long enough to let any plot point simmer. It doesn’t. The writing lacks any sense of restraint or poise.

Don’t even get me started on Dave, the smug, computer-hacking hipster that’s about the most obvious self-insert character this side of DeviantArt. Yikes.

It’s a shame that the writing has such a propensity for inelegance, because Cosmic Star Heroine is rich in sci-fi atmosphere. While its runtime is brief (I earned a Platinum trophy in under ten hours), the game stretches across three small-ish planets, each with distinct biomes and lovingly crafted environments to explore. At times, it evokes Blade Runner and Shadowrun, at others, Chrono Trigger and Terranigma. The Sega CD-inspired anime cutscenes don’t always impress to quite the same degree, but they’re evocative nonetheless.

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Complementing the fantastic visual design is a soundtrack by Hyperduck Soundworks, a duo of Irish rockers known for their work on Dust: An Elysian Tale. Saxophone and synth take the lead in warm ambient pieces that sizzle like neon lights, perched high above dystopian city streets; elsewhere, a bass-heavy battle theme is a delicious slice of prog rock heaven. There’s even a vocal rock track by Laura Shigihara (Plants vs. Zombies, Rakuen) that feels like a bilingual riff on Emily Haines of Metric fame. It’s excellent.

Having played all of Zeboyd’s previous games, I can say with certainty that they’ve topped themselves with Cosmic Star Heroine in terms of game mechanics and art design. I only hope they’ll hire a writer next time—the parody approach is tired, and I had to fight to stay interested in the story at every turn. With a little less Dave and a little more attention to detail, the next Zeboyd game has the potential to truly shine bright.

Score:7.5

Final Thoughts:The next Phantasy Star this is not, but Cosmic Star Heroine is still a worthwhile detour for the retro-inclined RPG fan.

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Sony Finds Star and Director for Venom Film http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/19/sony-finds-star-director-venom-film/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/19/sony-finds-star-director-venom-film/#respond Fri, 19 May 2017 20:15:47 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=101874

By Remington Joseph

Sony officially announced the new star and director for the upcoming Spider-Man offshoot, Venom. Tom Hardy is currently in final negotiations with Sony to star in their upcoming movie, Venom. To direct the film, Sony is undergoing negotiations with director Ruben Fleischer. Hardy is best known for his performance in The Revenant, a Western film […]

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By Remington Joseph

Sony officially announced the new star and director for the upcoming Spider-Man offshoot, Venom.

Tom Hardy is currently in final negotiations with Sony to star in their upcoming movie, Venom. To direct the film, Sony is undergoing negotiations with director Ruben Fleischer. Hardy is best known for his performance in The Revenant, a Western film which premiered in 2015 where he won an award for best-supporting actor. Other notable roles Hardy’s played are Bane in The Dark Knight Rises and Inception. Ruben Fleischer is an American film director best known for his work on the 2009 comedy horror film, Zombieland.

In March last year, Sony announced that they would be creating a standalone film for Venom, a popular villain in Marvel’s Spider-Man universe. Sony hired Dante Harper to write the film’s script with Arad and Matt Tolmach working as producers. The new Venom movie will take place in its own continuity, having no effect on the Marvel cinematic universe’s version of Spider-Man. The film is planned to premiere in 2018.

Marvel and Sony made a deal in 2015 over the usage rights of Spider-Man. The deal stated Marvel Studios wouldn’t pay Sony to include the character in Captain America: Civil War or the Avengers films. At the same time, Marvel Studios wouldn’t receive any cut of the box office profits made by any of Sony’s Spider-Man films and vice-versa.

Marvel and Sony are currently preparing to release Spider-Man: Homecoming. The movie is the second reboot of the franchise, this time including the character into Marvel’s Cinematic Universe as he tries to balance his double life as Peter Parker and Spider-Man. Sony Pictures will be distributing the film in theatres. The film is planned for July 7, 2017. A sequel to the movie is already being planned, scheduled to be released on July 5, 2019.

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Blizzard Continues Teasing Overwatch Anniversary Event http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/19/101857/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/19/101857/#respond Fri, 19 May 2017 19:17:39 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=101857

By Chelsea Rothman

Gear up, heroes, because Blizzard is bringing a whole bunch of new cosmetic goodies to Overwatch. In preparation for next week’s Overwatch Anniversary event, international Overwatch social media has been teasing new character skins, voice lines, emotes, and even arena maps that will hit the live servers on May 23rd. To kick things off, the […]

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By Chelsea Rothman

Gear up, heroes, because Blizzard is bringing a whole bunch of new cosmetic goodies to Overwatch.

In preparation for next week’s Overwatch Anniversary event, international Overwatch social media has been teasing new character skins, voice lines, emotes, and even arena maps that will hit the live servers on May 23rd.

To kick things off, the European Overwatch twitter account posted a short video teasing some of the new Arena maps that will be coming to the game. Arena maps are smaller than the main game maps, and are designed for the 1v1, 3v3, and special event game modes.

Something interesting about these maps is how well they align with the lore; in one, Sombra’s room (as seen in her Origin video) is clearly shown, and another showcases what may be the Anubis Facility that Pharah infiltrated with her team in her tie-in comic, Mission Statement.

Next up is a small preview of some of the new Legendary skins posted by the Chinese Overwatch facebook page. The new skins previewed are for Bastion, Pharah, Soldier: 76, and Zarya.

The North American Overwatch Twitter account has also posted a short video teasing some of the new voice lines that will be a part of the event. A few of them reference popular Overwatch memes, such as the popular “Dad76” and Symmetra’s “carwash”, which is also referenced in one of her in-game achievements.

Finishing off the in-game cosmetic teasing explosion, the Latin American Overwatch facebook page posted a video showcasing some dancing emotes for Sombra, Symmetra, Lucio and Zenyatta.

Blizzard has also announced a special, European-led livestream that will feature many popular European Overwatch content creators. The livestream is set to start on May 24th at 4 a.m. EST, and end approximately at 2 p.m. EST.

Launching on May 24th, 2016, Overwatch is one of the fastest growing eSports titles with over 25 million players logged into its servers. With an incredibly diverse cast and simple, yet hard to master gameplay, it’s no question why Overwatch has gotten so popular over the past year. You can check out CGM’s review of the game right here.

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Destiny 2 Preview – Promise of New Beginings http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/19/destiny-2-preview-promise-new-beginings/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/19/destiny-2-preview-promise-new-beginings/#respond Fri, 19 May 2017 19:05:59 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=101836

By Brendan Frye

Bungie is a studio that knows how to build games. They are a studio whose work I have loved since the early days of Myth on the PC and Mac, and while not every game they build is a knockout success, they all have a level of quality and polish that few studios can boast. […]

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By Brendan Frye

Bungie is a studio that knows how to build games. They are a studio whose work I have loved since the early days of Myth on the PC and Mac, and while not every game they build is a knockout success, they all have a level of quality and polish that few studios can boast. Yet, when Destiny launched, I could not get hooked. Sure, I spent hours playing through the story, joining my friends on some raids and pushing my character slowly up in stats, but somehow it always felt like something was missing. It was a well-crafted experience that had some astounding ideas, but it always felt it could be more. Bungie has taken note of these shortcomings, and Destiny 2 shows how you can take a good idea, and make it something truly memorable.

The world of Destiny 2 follows close on the heels of the first title. Humanity has to rebuild civilisation; where there was once nothing, humans have built a stronghold that can stand against the forces trying to kill them. Yet it is here, in humanity’s triumph, that the great fall and the stripping away of all hope by the Red Legion takes place. With the Red Legion trapping the power of the traveller, Humanity is once again pushed back into darkness.

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Starting with the first mission of Destiny 2, titled “Homecoming”, I jumped into the shoes of the Guardian as I tried to defend against an oncoming onslaught of the Red Legion. Digging myself out of the rubble of the once great tower, the first thing that I noticed was the spectacle that was on display. Destiny has always had great combat and brilliant level design, but it never managed to capture the moments of wonder I experienced when I first played Halo—at least, not until now. From the start to the very end of Homecoming I was on the edge of my seat, talking down the legion as it tried to tear away the power of humanity. It was nothing short of brilliant.

From the combat to the moments of tension and even the look of the engine, Bungie has taken what was good about Destiny and made it great. The fire and smoke swirling around your character as you push through the waves of creatures that are throwing everything they have at you was an experience that kept me wanting more. There was a magic Bungie brought to Halo, that somehow was lost in the first Destiny, and they managed to find it once again with Destiny 2.

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Moving on from the wreckage of Earth, you are taken to the Red Legion capital ship where you try to take the fight to the enemy. As you work your way through the spacecraft, you witness a battle taking place on the planet’s surface as well as the struggle humanity is facing. It all works to build a narrative that gives you what is needed to not only care about the story, but the drive and urgency to push forward.

The campaign was the only segment I managed to play while at the event in LA, but they also gave plenty of time to experience Strike game mode, PVP and what Destiny 2 was like running on PC. But before we get ahead of ourselves, touching on Strike is important. This is the mode that most excites me about Destiny 2. A team of players jumping into a mission as a team is always the most fun way to play online games. While yes, PvP is fun, and often a good way to sit down and enjoy a game, if I want to play for hours on end, I need some co-op gameplay. This is the itch that Strike scratched. The mode was fast, fun and enjoyable.

The strike mission on display was one that takes place on the planet of Nessus. Filled with rich colours, floating platforms, and ancient alien technology, the planet felt as if it were a fully realized planet from No Man’s Sky. From the vegetation to the architecture, it was a planet that was a wonder to witness and explore.

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These missions push the over-arching narrative that permeates throughout Destiny 2, the idea that humanity must rise from the ashes to reclaim their lost power. As you fight through wave after wave of enemies, you and your team finally make it to a massive digging machine. The massive construct, moving and changing the world as you try and push past it, shows the scale and scope that Destiny 2 allows. Trying to avoid the crushing blades while fighting everything that stands before you made for some of the best moments at the event and gave an example of how Destiny 2 is trying to push the envelope on what co-op gameplay can be—and it was spectacular.

The segment ends in a multi-stage boss fight deep underground. As you take down the enemy’s life, the floor breaks away, plunging your party deeper into the planet. Eventually, you will find yourself on a small platform in a silver pool that is deadly to the touch. It is a good finale to a mission that gave a great vertical slice of what Destiny 2 has to offer.

While I personally have never been a fan of PvP in a game like Destiny, and there are far too many amazing offerings already in the space, it is hard for a new game to offer what a game like Overwatch already does. That being said, Bungie knows how to build fun shooters to play against other people. So, I went into the new 4v4 excited to see what they have to offer.

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The mode we managed to play in PvP was a control point based mission. The attacking players must choose from two control points on the map and place a mine. The match ends for the attackers if the time ticks down, or if they eliminate the other team. The defenders, on the other hand, win once they defuse the mine or if they manage to eliminate all the other attacking players.

It is a mode that keeps both teams guessing, with a constant sense of tension no matter what side of the battle you are on. The map design ensures there are no safe moments—with plenty of choices in how you attack or defend—and shows the skill of the level design team at Bungie. It is hard to say if this mode can replace a game like Overwatch, but I would argue it does not need to. It offers players a way to enjoy Destiny 2 with a game mode that is crafted by one of the best shooter teams in the business. It is sure to be enjoyable for anyone willing to jump in.

With Destiny 2 hitting the PC via Battle.net, it is amazing to see it running so well. After some time with the PC version of the game, it quickly became clear this would be my new preferred way to play the game. The mouse controls are spot on, and with the precision the mouse allows, Destiny 2 quickly became a game that was more about accuracy and speed rather than the auto aim experience that is found on consoles. The visuals are also noticeably crisper, and with the buttery smooth framerate on the PC it was hard to go back to the console version. While I was not sure if Destiny would translate well to the PC, Bungie has exceeded all expectations and this platform will be where I personally play the game come release.

Destiny 2 is a game that lives up to all the promise of the first Destiny. Bungie has fixed every issue I had with the first game, at least in the demos I played in LA. Beyond that, they have made me care about the Destiny universe again. Humanity is back to being the underdog, and it is a story that makes me want to fight alongside my friends until we find the ultimate victory. With improved graphics, new modes, and much-needed refinements, Destiny 2 is a game that improves on the first game in every possible way. While it is hard to say if the final product will live up to these demos, if it does, Destiny 2 will be a must own game this holiday season.

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Pixels & Ink #249 – Alien and Destiny http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/19/pixels-ink-249-alien-destiny/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/19/pixels-ink-249-alien-destiny/#respond Fri, 19 May 2017 18:42:35 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=101858

By Brendan Frye

This week’s episode of the Pixels and Ink Podcast brought to you by CGM and Bunz Network, we have a two man band as Brendan Is in L.A. trying out Destiny 2. Phil saw Alien: Covanent, and previews Street Fighter II on the Switch, while Cody needs to talk to Phil about Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.

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By Brendan Frye

This week’s episode of the Pixels and Ink Podcast brought to you by CGM and Bunz Network, we have a two man band as Brendan Is in L.A. trying out Destiny 2. Phil saw Alien: Covanent, and previews Street Fighter II on the Switch, while Cody needs to talk to Phil about Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.

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Ranking The Alien Franchise http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/19/ranking-alien-franchise/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/19/ranking-alien-franchise/#respond Fri, 19 May 2017 16:45:30 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=101830

By Phil Brown

37 years ago a little acidic alien burst his way out of John Hurt’s chest and into all of our hearts. Back in 1979 the world had never seen anything like Alien. The concept of science fiction films being treated seriously and budgeted generously was still a Star Wars-funded novelty. The marketing was brilliant. Aside […]

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By Phil Brown

37 years ago a little acidic alien burst his way out of John Hurt’s chest and into all of our hearts. Back in 1979 the world had never seen anything like Alien. The concept of science fiction films being treated seriously and budgeted generously was still a Star Wars-funded novelty. The marketing was brilliant. Aside from that great tagline (“In space no one can hear you scream”), no one knew a thing about the alien life cycle. The brilliant concept that Dan O’Bannon dreamed up, Walter Hill polished, HR Giger designed, and Ridley Scott directed was an instant pop culture phenomenon. Audiences were terrified, special effects took a huge leap forward, awards were passed out, icons were born, and Sigourney Weaver proved that women could kick alien ass and carry blockbusters as well.

A few summers later (well, seven to be precise) a young Canadian buck named James Cameron was hired to make a sequel, and in addition to pluralizing the mysterious title he ensured that Alien would become a franchise with legs. Since then, the xenomorph and its belly impregnating brethren have never left pop culture. There have been comics, video games, action figures, and probably tea cosies. Alien is one of the great sci-fi franchises of the 20th century and quite possibly the greatest movie monster that has ever been conceived. These are facts. You can look em’ up.

This week, the franchise returns to screens with Alien: Covenant and to celebrate, we here at CGM decided to provide you fine readers with a conclusive list of the alien franchise up to and including the latest flick. This is the definitive ranking. All other rankings are false. More importantly, aside from one title on this list, all of the flicks are a blast and very much worth watching.

8) Alien Vs. Predator: Requiem (2007)

Remember one sentence ago when I said that only one Alien movie qualifies as outright crap? Well, here it is. The studio decided that one Alien Vs. Predator just wasn’t enough and rather than deliver a more ambitious battle between Fox’s most famous sci-fi monsters, a pair of special effects designers got a tiny budget to make the beasts battle again. So, the Alien and the Predator held a rematch in small town America. The plot was nonsense. The human characters were so two-dimensional that it would be an insult to cardboard to call them that. Worst of all, the movie was so cheap that one of the big battles between the iconic Aliens and the Predators took place in a grocery store. Alien Vs. Predator: Requiem is absolute garbage, but unlike its predecessor it was R-rated. So you get more gore. That’s something. Plus there’s the Alien/Predator hybrid… that was cool right? Ugh…let’s just pretend this one doesn’t exist and move on.

7) Prometheus (2012)

After years of promises, director Ridley Scott finally returned to the franchise he created in 2012. He’d long promised to tell the origin tale of the mysterious alien ship that the passengers of the Nostromo stumbled upon many years ago. We showed up for answers, but what we got was a pilot episode for a new franchise that wouldn’t actually provide those answers for several sequels (thanks Damon Lindelof, you always know how to tease and disappoint). However, if you can look beyond the braindead characters and pretentious dialogue, there is quite a bit to enjoy within Prometheus. After all, Ridley Scott delivered a deep, dank, dark, and meticulously detailed sci-fi world the likes of which few filmmakers could create. Michael Fassbender was fantastic as possibly the creepiest android in a franchise filled with them. The scares were solid, the new alien goo villain was memorable, and there were some intriguing philosophical concepts buried within all of the babbling nonsense dialogue. Sure, Prometheus was a disappointment, but it was also the most beautiful, thoughtful, and frightening R-rated horror/sci-fi Hollywood blockbuster since…well…the previous Alien sequel. Hype killed Prometheus’ reputation more than anything else. It could have been worse. Sure, it also should have been better…but it still could have been worse.

6) Alien Resurrection (1997)

Long considered the bastard failure of the initial run of Alien sequels, Alien Resurrection actually isn’t as bad as you remember. Sure, the concept of Ripley returning from the dead as a clone with a lil’ alien DNA was absurd (even though Sigourney Weaver clearly enjoyed the hell out of crafting her performance) and the “twist” to Winona Ryder’s character was a groaner. But other than that, this cartoony Alien romp is quite a bit of fun. Joss Whedon’s script is filled with his usual quips, delivered by an eccentric cast who are visibly having a blast (Ron Pearlman, baby!). The suits and effects are stunning (especially that nightmarishly bizarre Alien baby). French auteur Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Amelie, Delicatessen) gave the film a pleasing Eurotrash comic book aesthetic and a breathless adventure movie pace splattered with gore. Sure, it’s a pretty empty trip through the Alien motions, but goddamn it, Alien: Resurrection is filled with colourful fun if you give yourself over to the silliness. Ain’t nothing wrong with a romp with chestbursters.

5) Alien 3 (1992)

Now we come to a fraught sequel that no one hates more than its own director. David Fincher was just a music video and commercial director when he accepted the gig to make an Alien sequel. Rushed into production without a finished screenplay and filled with fights amongst its creators, Alien 3 was a troubled production that was disowned by almost everyone involved (especially Fincher, who has tried repeatedly to have his name removed from the credits). However, the truth is that Alien 3 isn’t as bad as its reputation suggests. Oh sure, the plot is wonky and the effects are dated, but Fincher shot the hell out of the movie. It’s one of the most morbidly beautiful and brutal films in the franchise, filled with stunning imagery and some absolutely terrifying Alien set pieces. Had the whole series ended here as intended, it may have been with the weakest movie, but it still would have been an appropriately harsh coda for one of the most horrific major franchises in Hollywood history.

4) Alien: Covenant (2017)

Ah yes, the latest edition to the storied Alien series. As much a remake of the original film as a direct sequel to Prometheus, Alien: Covenant is often an awkward mix of fan service and a stubborn continuation of rejected mythology. However, it’s also one of the most technically stunning blockbusters in the franchise and a viciously nasty exercise in horror from Ridley Scott. The sequel/prequel is mean and bleak, not just terrifying but downright depressing and unsettling in its exploration of life and death. It fills in some of the Prometheus blanks and sets the stage for further sequels that may or may not arrive. While it’s clear that Ridley Scott crammed in some extra Alien highlights to appease fans confused by Prometheus’ refusal to include any of the iconic monsters, there’s also no denying that this is an improvement over its predecessor in almost every conceivable way and proof that there may still life left in the series (provided that Scott fulfills his inexplicable dream to keep cranking out Alien prequels until the day he dies).

3) Alien Vs. Predator  (2004)

That’s right, we’re ranking Alien Vs. Predator in the top three. Is it a flawed movie? Oh absolutely, the plot takes far too long to get going and pretty much all of the human characters are a waste of space until they die. However, other than the top two entries on this list, all of the Alien movies are flawed and at least Alien Vs. Predator is a hell of a lot of fun. Written and directed by guilty pleasure specialist Paul WS Anderson (the Resident Evil franchise, Event Horizon), AVP is a relentless blast of geeky goodness. The flick serves up a steady stream of Alien and Predator battles that are as giddily entertaining as promised and also serves up quite a clever concept for why these two iconic movie monsters tear out each other’s throats. This flick gets a bad rap. Sure, it’s not perfect. But what movie could possibly live up to the fan boy dream of an Alien Vs. Predator flick that was decades in the making? It’s about as amusing as any massive blockbuster titled Alien Vs. Predator was ever going to be and has been dismissed for far too long. This flick is a damn good time, provided that you can turn your brain off and let the nonsense unfold as the filmmakers intended.

2) Aliens (1986)

And now we get to the two stone cold masterpieces that created an icon. Aliens and its predecessor are essentially interchangeable as the high points of the franchise. What James Cameron did with his “more is more” and “more is war” sequel was turn a sci-fi/horror mash-up into a sci-fi/horror/action movie mash-up that is in the running for the most entertaining movie ever made. This is the movie where Sigourney Weaver became the badass action heroine to rule them all (earning a well deserved Oscar nomination in the process). This is the movie with iconic supporting performances from the likes of Lance Hendrickson, Michael Biehn, and the late great Bill “Game over, man” Paxton. This is the movie that introduced the Queen alien. This is the movie created the “third act as extended action set piece” blockbuster formula. This is the movie that really leant into the feminist reading of the entire franchise and spawned a million thinkpieces. Aliens is a work of spectacle filmmaking perfection and even though James Cameron would go on to become the king of the world in the 30 years following Aliens, he never made a more relentlessly inventive and entertaining movie than this. This is a genre movie masterpiece, pure and simple. If you haven’t seen Aliens, then you haven’t really lived. Fact.

1) Alien (1979)

Finally…yep…we’re putting the original Alien at the top of the list. It’s the most obvious choice, but also the correct one. This is simply one of the most perfect Hollywood productions ever mounted; a magical combination of young talents working at the peak of their powers on a scale that no science fiction or horror film had ever been mounted before. It’s a masterpiece of horror, featuring some of the most iconic scares ever committed to film that still work to this day. It’s an extraordinarily influential science fiction flick with world building and effects that have rarely been topped. The script is expertly constructed and tersely told by a magical team of Dan O’Bannon and Walter Hill. The cast is brilliant from top to bottom, headlined by Sigourney Weaver in a star-making role and anchored by brilliant character actors like John Hurt, Ian Holm, Yaphet Kotto, and Harry Dean Stanton. The direction by Ridley Scott is perfection. Almost every scene is iconic. It’s viscerally thrilling and deceptively deep. Alien is a perfect movie. It hasn’t aged a day and will still hit with maximum impact if you can somehow find a person who knows nothing about the franchise mythology. The Alien series might never die, but the original film will never be topped either. Quite simply, Alien is a masterpiece, genre or otherwise. It doesn’t get any better than this.

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First 15: Destiny 2 – Strike Gameplay http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/19/first-15-destiny-2-strike-gameplay/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/19/first-15-destiny-2-strike-gameplay/#respond Fri, 19 May 2017 12:58:15 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=101827

By Brendan Frye

CGM was down in Los Angelas for the world premiere of Destiny 2 and managed to capture some video of the new Strike co-op mode.

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By Brendan Frye

CGM was down in Los Angelas for the world premiere of Destiny 2 and managed to capture some video of the new Strike co-op mode.

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Wonder Woman Commemorative Edition Blu-ray Review http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/wonder-woman-commemorative-edition-blu-ray-review/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/wonder-woman-commemorative-edition-blu-ray-review/#respond Fri, 19 May 2017 11:00:45 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=101816

By Phil Brown

We are but a few short weeks away from DC’s iconic female empowerment superhero receiving a long awaited feature length blockbuster. For years Princess Diana has sat on the sidelines in DC’s live action feature film realm, but she’s always been kicking appropriate levels of butt in animation. In fact, way back in the ancient […]

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By Phil Brown

We are but a few short weeks away from DC’s iconic female empowerment superhero receiving a long awaited feature length blockbuster. For years Princess Diana has sat on the sidelines in DC’s live action feature film realm, but she’s always been kicking appropriate levels of butt in animation. In fact, way back in the ancient days of 2009 (when DC was still carving out a place in the direct-to-DVD animated film market), there was an entire DC animated film dedicated to Wonder Woman strutting her stuff. In the years since, she’s mostly been sidelined to supporting roles while Batman and Superman reigned supreme in DC animation. But to celebrate Wonder Woman’s upcoming shot at box office dominance, that old animated flick has been rereleased and despite its flaws, the film shows just why this character deserves some more attention in the age of the superhero blockbuster.

The animated flick is an origin story, one that at least based on the trailers seems like it will be echoed substantially in the upcoming Wonder Woman live action flick. We open in Themyscira, the mystical Amazonian land where queen Hippolyta (Virginia Madsen) has been battling with the Ares, the god of war (Alfred Molina). None other than Zeus himself intervenes to stop the war and spare Ares’ life, bounding him in indestructible armlets and imprisoning him under Hippolyta, then moving Themyscira to another plane of existence where mankind will never threaten it again. Fast forward a few centuries and Hippolyta leads her land in peace with her daughter Princess Diana (Keri Russell) at her side. Trouble arrives when an American fighter pilot from named Steve (Nathan Fillion) lands in Themyscira and Diana fights to earn the right to return him to the outside world, res-establishing contact between earth and her land for the first time in centuries. Then wouldn’t you know it? Ares is busted out at the same time and plans to cause a ruckus. Obviously, Diana and Steve must join forces to bring him down, right? I mean, that just makes sense even if it will be an awkward partnership.

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So, there’s obviously a lot of ground to cover in Wonder Woman given the above is merely the set up to this trim 74-minute adventure. At times the movie can feel overstuffed and a little stilted as a result of cramming so much mythology into such a short running time. It doesn’t help the way the mythological Themyscira royalty and warriors speak to each other can feel a bit heavy-handed and wooden, but that’s more than made up for by the lively and engaging vocal performances by Keri Russell, Nathan Fillion, and Alfred Molina in less histrionic roles. After being burdened by backstory, the film takes off once that trio of characters takes control. The script overtly addresses issues related to gender roles and the uneven balance of power in contemporary society. It’s a movie with a message told in blatant comic book tones without much subtlety, but it all works in the manner of the proto-feminist fable that Wonder Woman was conceived as decades ago. The story still has power, even jammed into an action-centric cartoon.

While this Wonder Woman flick is certainly burdened by exposition and heavy mythology, it also explodes off of the screen as a giddy action adventure. Director Lauren Montgomery keeps the spectacle flowing constantly with the surprising grit and violence that often slips its way into these DC animated features. It’s a rush and surprisingly graphic at times, yet always tasteful in that DC way. Retelling Wonder Woman’s origin story with all the thematic depth and sincere world-building required isn’t easy to do for contemporary audiences, especially since it must all be crammed in and around a thrilling action narrative. This animated feature proves what’s possible despite some stumbling and we can only hope that the live action Wonder Woman feature barrelling towards theatres gets as much right as the DC animated team manages here. It ain’t perfect, but the flick works on all the necessary levels. If it happened here, it can happen again with $150 million riding on the line.

As always with these DC animated features, Wonder Woman looks and sounds fantastic. The house DC animation style that walks a line between Bruce Timm’s iconic simplified designs of the DCU and a more wild anime-inspired action aesthetic was already in place in 2009 and still looks great today. The sound mix and score also hold up well in a home theatre to provide an aural experience worthy of a theatrically released animated feature. On a technical level, this Wonder Woman is an absolute blast on Blu-ray.

The special feature section is also stacked. Carried over from the previous release is an audio commentary featuring the main filmmaking team (including director Lauren Montgomery and Bruce Timm) discussing the challenges and joys of making this project in thorough and playfully amusing detail. There are also two old documentaries from the last release about the legacy of Wonder Woman and her mythology that run about an hour in total and discuss the character’s historical importance and power with great detail and reverence. New to this release is a brief yet satisfying 10-minute update on Wonder Woman’s legacy featuring the director and a few stars of the upcoming live action feature. It’s undeniably cross-promotion, but should give Wonder Woman fans some comfort in knowing those in charge care passionately about the project and should give us something worthy of Diana’s legacy. So that’s nice. The disc wraps up with a preview of the next DC animated feature Batman And Harley Quinn, which still looks excitingly nostalgic for Bruce Timm junkies. Sadly, there are no classic Timm-verse Wonder Woman centric cartoons included like the original release of this flick, but they weren’t exactly vital.

So, what we have here perhaps a slightly overambitious Wonder Woman animated feature, yet also arguably the most sincere and successful rendition of that character outside of comics to date. Hopefully, this animated flick will be topped in a few weeks and this release will serve as an appetizer. If not, then the disc will serve as a comforting reminder of what could have been. Either way, Wonder Woman fans that didn’t pick up this disc the first time shouldn’t make that mistake twice.

Score:7.5

Final Thoughts:Wonder Woman fans that didn’t pick up this disc the first time shouldn’t make that mistake twice.

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Destiny 2 Event Rundown- Story, Features and Where to Play http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/18/destiny-2-event-rundown-story-features-and-where-to-play/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/18/destiny-2-event-rundown-story-features-and-where-to-play/#respond Thu, 18 May 2017 20:18:50 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=101809

By Zubi Khan

Fans who can’t wait to get their hands on Destiny 2, had a chance to wet their appetites during Bungie’s Destiny 2 event. The event opened with a new story trailer for the game which featured Commander Zavala, one of the more prominent NPCs from the original Destiny. In the mythos of Destiny, the Traveller […]

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By Zubi Khan

Fans who can’t wait to get their hands on Destiny 2, had a chance to wet their appetites during Bungie’s Destiny 2 event.

The event opened with a new story trailer for the game which featured Commander Zavala, one of the more prominent NPCs from the original Destiny. In the mythos of Destiny, the Traveller is an omnipotent construct which has bestowed the players, known as Guardians. In Destiny 2, a Cabal Leader, part of the Red Legion, known as Gall has attacked the Tower, the main hub city from the first game. Commander Zavala accompanied by several other key NPCs soon become overwhelmed by this unprovoked attack on the city, in the end the Tower is lost, and this sets up the beginning of Destiny 2.

Players will discover that the Traveller has been encroached by the new Cabal threat which has zapped the players of their powers, this plays into the game as players will now have to seek out new powers, which include brand new super moves, it is unclear if these new moves will replace the existing nine super moves present in the original Destiny for the three available classes. The new super moves include:

  • The Dawnblade for the Warlock class, a projectile based super move where the player momentarily becomes airborne while shooting large fire spears that hail down on enemies.
  • The Sentinel, for the Titan class, gives the player a shield that acts as a large melee weapon that can be flung around and ricocheted from enemy to enemy, akin to the likes of Marvel’s Captain America.
  • The Arcstrider, for the Hunter class, gives players access to a large electrically charged staff which can then be used to take out large groups of enemies in fast succession, similar to the archblade special from the original Destiny.

Destiny 2 Event Rundown- Story, Features and Where to Play 1Bungie has taken strides to make the game more accessible for all players, one of the ways Destiny 2 will accomplish this is by making the game’s competitive mode, known as the Crucible, four on four for all available modes present within the Crucible. The HUD for players will also now feature more information such as knowing when your opponents have their supers ready or if they have power ammo at their disposable, giving players smarter and more strategic ways to approach encounters on the battlefield. One of the new competitive introduced into the Crucible will be known as Countdown, Destiny’s first take on an attack and defence mode for the game.

As far as cooperative gameplay modes are concerned, Bungie promised that raids will also be coming back, but as of right now, details pertaining to it are being kept quite. Exploring the game world has also been improved according to Bungie. In the first game, players were able to explore various planets and take on small side missions known as Patrols, which ultimately boiled down to collecting resources, eliminating hordes of enemies or a single, more powerful target. In Destiny 2, Patrols will remain, but in addition, players will also have things such as treasure maps, lost sectors and revamped public events to look forward to. Lost Sectors will be new missions given to the player from NPCs within the game world that let the player explore uncharted dungeons that have bosses waiting for them to defeat, which unlock keys players can use to further explore the Lost Sectors. All of the cooperate and single player modes can now be accessed without the player returning to orbit, the main menu in which players usually pick an activity to partake in from the first game.

Destiny 2 introduces 4 new planets for gamers to explore, Titan, Nessus, IO and the European Dead Zone on Earth, it is unclear if the previous planets from the first game will be accessible on top of the new ones. Players will be tasked with finding and reuniting the scattered remnants of the Vanguard who have fled to the new planets after the attack on the Tower. Within the European Dead Zone, Guardians will discover a camp-like settlement made by the denizens who have fled the Tower, this new area may likely act as the new hub world for players to congregate in, similar to how the Tower worked in-game from the previous Destiny.

  • Titan will place players in a large methane ocean, with the only land being dilapidated human constructs from the Golden-Age. Players will be tasked to locate Commander Zavala, the Titan Vanguard from the opening of cinematic.
  • Nessus, a planet converted by the Vex, a deadly machine race from the previous game will task Guardians to explore this machine hellscape in the hopes of reuniting with Cayde-6, the Hunter Vanguard.

Finally, players will be able to touch down on IO, the planet that within the lore of Destiny, was the last place that contact with the Traveller was made, transforming it to a mysterious labyrinth of light. This sacred planet will be where players will be able to find Ikora Rey, the Warlock Vanguard.

One of the biggest hurdles faced by the original Destiny has been the lack of matchmaking for the games end-game content, particularly the raids. Bungie announced that in Destiny 2, players will not only be able to create in-game clans, but also partake in a new feature known as Guided Games. Guided Games will allow players within a clan to pair up with solo players that might be interested in experiencing a raid, or some of the other end-game activities such as the weekly Nightfall, but do not have anyone else to play with.

Destiny 2 Event Rundown- Story, Features and Where to Play 2

This new mode will not only allow new players or players who tend to play alone to partake in raids and other game modes that require larger groups of players, but also eliminate the need for third-party applications in order to find enough players for these challenging modes. Additionally, the new clan system has been implemented in a way that all players within an established clan will benefit and earn rewards, regardless of how much they play, as long as some of the members of a clan actively play the game. Other plays who may not be as dedicated will also receive bonuses just by being part of the clan.

Finally, Bungie has announced that Destiny 2 on PC will be available to gamers through Battle.net, Blizzard’s online storefront.

Destiny 2 will be available September 8, 2017 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. The beta of the game will take place sometime later this Summer to those who pre-order the game at participating retailers.

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Portal Knights Review – Solid Foundation for Expanding http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/portal-knights-review-solid-foundation-expanding/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/portal-knights-review-solid-foundation-expanding/#respond Thu, 18 May 2017 18:37:59 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=101785

By Cole Watson

Portal Knights is yet another drop in the bucket of Minecraft-like RPG’s that have been hitting the marketplace in recent years. My last experience with this type of game was Trove, which left a sour aftertaste in my mouth due to its poor optimization and restrictive build mechanics. The difference with Portal Knights however, is […]

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By Cole Watson

Portal Knights is yet another drop in the bucket of Minecraft-like RPG’s that have been hitting the marketplace in recent years. My last experience with this type of game was Trove, which left a sour aftertaste in my mouth due to its poor optimization and restrictive build mechanics. The difference with Portal Knights however, is that it’s quickly apparent Keen Games has put effort into developing a worthwhile experience for its players, who won’t be left feeling disappointed after only a few hours of play.

Portal Knights begins by introducing some light exposition. After a catastrophic event, known as the Fracture, the Peaceful Realm has shattered and ripped apart into a world of floating islands. With the world plunged into darkness, the player must traverse the ancient portals to unite the lands together again and become the ultimate Portal Knight. What’s disappointing with many of these Minecraft RPG’s is that this is the full extent of the story. While there’s no meaningful NPC’s to find or Quests to embark on in Portal Knights, there are some fun arena styled boss battles set up to make the player want to progress and find new worlds rather than just staying in one spot. The game also features co-op for up to 4 players online and even features split screen if the user prefers an offline experience at home.

RPG lovers who jump into Portal Knights will find a great deal of character customization options, but a weak selection of classes and skills. Portal Knights launched out of Early Access with only the bare necessity of classes to choose from; warrior, archer and mage. While not as expansive in choice as I expected, the real weakness is levelling up and obtaining new skills, which are just a mix of passive abilities instead of an in depth move set. This makes fighting enemies feel like a grind, which is a shame because Portal Knights has a decent combat system at its core. The easiest way to describe the combat is by comparing it to The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Players have access to dodges and rolls when they lock onto an enemy, but attacking them can feel lacklustre rather quickly because there are no unique techniques to learn and spice up the action. The real variety of the game comes from loot, which both regular mobs and bosses drop as crafting recipes to expand the player’s arsenal of weapons and gear.

What Keen Games accomplished immediately with Portal Knights is giving the player a quality toolbox of building mechanics and the freedom to craft wherever their heart desires. The beginning tutorial is smartly designed and introduces every gameplay mechanic within the first half hour, letting the players hand go immediately so they can experiment crafting new things through trial and error. Living off the land and building an expansive mansion is still a fun experience, but in order to gain access to new materials and more powerful weapons, players must build new portals to other worlds. Thankfully, players can transport back to any world they previously visited so there’s no fear of losing any materials or worthwhile creations as they progress further.

Portal Knights feels like a barebones experience. While the foundation Keen Games created is solid, there is so much more that could be expanded on and fleshed out to create an even better experience for its players. Portal Knights may not have hooked me in, but I believe that with a dedicated fan base, the game can grow into something bigger and more elaborate. In its current state, however, Portal Knights lacks depth, especially when it comes to its RPG classes and skills.

Score:7

Final Thoughts:While the foundation Keen Games has created for Portal Knights is solid, there is so much more that could be fleshed out to create an even better experience

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New Life is Strange is in Development http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/18/new-life-strange-development/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/18/new-life-strange-development/#respond Thu, 18 May 2017 17:12:03 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=101775

By Cody Orme

Players who can’t get enough adventure titles will be happy to hear that DONTNOD’s Life is Strange is getting a sequel. Revealed via YouTube, Life is Strange the team revealed that a sequel has been in the works since the release of the boxed version of the game released last year.  The episodic title was […]

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By Cody Orme

Players who can’t get enough adventure titles will be happy to hear that DONTNOD’s Life is Strange is getting a sequel.

Revealed via YouTube, Life is Strange the team revealed that a sequel has been in the works since the release of the boxed version of the game released last year.  The episodic title was popular among, reaching three million unique players worldwide.  While a sequel is announced, DONTNOD is holding off on any details for now, but don’t expect to hear much at E3 2017 either, as Square Enix confirmed the title will not be at the event.

Upon its release, Life is Strange received favourable reviews, sitting at an 85 overall on Metacritic, though many who reviewed the title criticized its dialogue and lip synching issues. CGMagazine reviewed the first episode, giving it an eight out of 10, saying “Chrysalis, Life Is Strange’s debut episode, introduces a fascinatingly weird tone where the ordinary is coupled with the bizarre.”

Life is Strange first launched ON Aug. 11, 2014, for PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. Upon its initial release, the title was only available through digital channels. Eventually, the title received a limited physical release featuring an artbook, soundtrack, and director’s commentary.

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Call of Duty: Black Ops III: Zombies Chronicles Review http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/call-duty-black-ops-iii-zombies-chronicles-review/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/call-duty-black-ops-iii-zombies-chronicles-review/#respond Thu, 18 May 2017 16:29:09 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=101761

By Chris Carter

Call of Duty: Black Ops III is quite literally back from the dead. In an uncharacteristic move by Activision, who typically only supports individual Call of Duty games up to a year, the third Black Ops (released in 2015) is getting new content. It’s in the form of eight remastered zombie maps, but it’s something! […]

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By Chris Carter

Call of Duty: Black Ops III is quite literally back from the dead. In an uncharacteristic move by Activision, who typically only supports individual Call of Duty games up to a year, the third Black Ops (released in 2015) is getting new content. It’s in the form of eight remastered zombie maps, but it’s something!

Hate it or love it, there’s a cult following for the limitless horde-like Zombies mode in the Call of Duty series. So much so, in fact, that whenever Activision’s stable of developers try something new with an extra mode, they usually just circle right back to Zombies the following year in comical fashion. At this point, all three core teams have incorporated Zombies into their annual entries — it’s that big.

Naturally, a remaster collection should bring us full circle, which is exactly what Treyarch did by including “Nacht der Untoten,” the original that started it all in World at War. It warms my heart to see the first ever zombie map, which I spent many a night playing years ago in the dorm, back again. It’s only three rooms with no sprawling Easter egg quests to speak of, but it highly benefits from the tweaked AI in this new coat of paint. Some might feel like it’s too cramped, but that’s what sets it apart from the labyrinthine mode zombies is known as today and is a fun diversion from the archetypal overwhelming complexity.

Speaking of the visual upgrades (mostly the lightning) and the AI improvements, the first three legacy maps (“Nacht der Untoten,” “Verruckt” and “Shi No Numa”) actually benefit the most from the upgrade given that they were formally introduced in 2008. The latter two are a bit bigger than the former but they’re still streamlined, even if the Gobblegum (read: temporary power-ups) system has been shoehorned in, (optional, albeit annoying) microtransactions and all.

By the time the fourth map, Kino Der Toten rolls around, the Zombies mode starts to show some grit. The arenas get bigger, the miniature quests and nods start leaking in, and by the time you hit “Ascension” and “Shangri-La,” it gets even more tense as you start to complete quests on top of the ever-present stress of merely surviving. While said adventures are finicky, and require a lot of guesswork (or meticulous studying with printed Wikipedia pages in hand), they’re still just as satisfying to pull off with a group.

Moon is the exact same way, but you might hit a wall with “Origins,” one of the most complicated levels in the DLC (which is good or bad depending on your dedication). I felt this way both at the time of its release, and during my testing with Zombies Chronicles, and it wasn’t necessarily related to the subseries’ constant attempts to one-up itself. The original Second World War era cast has its charms, but only in short bursts. Playing as them yet again, even in younger form with some nuanced quirks in Origins, is a bit too much. I would have loved to have seen some of the more out there squads from other add-ons too.

Due to reasons that are likely related to licensing issues with the personalities involved, the George Romero “Call of the Dead” and “Mob of the Dead” are omitted, along with several others like “Green Run,” “Nuketown Zombies,” “Five, Die Rise,” and “Buried” — and the entire Exo Zombies catalog from Advanced Warfare (“Outbreak,” “Infection,” “Carrier, Descent”). But along with “The Giant” (a Der Riese remake) and a few others in the base Black Ops III as well as the other optional DLC, you basically have the entire zombies experience. I’m mostly perplexed as to why “Five” wasn’t included though, which, along with the aforementioned “Call of the Dead,” makes the attempt to chronicle the original Black Ops incomplete  —  did the depiction of US presidents (and officials) not go over well?

While a standalone game that also offered “Extinction” (the short-lived alien variant) would be even better, Zombies Chronicles gets the job done and hits most of the high-notes the subseries has given us over the years. It’s going to be a little awkward if you sold your copy of Black Ops III, but otherwise, it’s worth booting up with some friends.

Score:7.5

Final Thoughts:Zombies Chronicles gets the job done and hits most of the high notes the subseries has given us over the years.

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Bungie and Razer Announce Partnership for Destiny 2 http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/18/bungie-razer-announce-partnership-destiny-2/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/18/bungie-razer-announce-partnership-destiny-2/#respond Thu, 18 May 2017 15:53:16 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=101756

By Tyler Jones

The world’s leading lifestyle brand for gamers, Razer, announced that they have partnered with esteemed video game developer Bungie. The partnership is to promote the upcoming Destiny 2. When the game is officially released to the public on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows PC on Sept.  8, 2017, Razer will be releasing unique Destiny-themed […]

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By Tyler Jones

The world’s leading lifestyle brand for gamers, Razer, announced that they have partnered with esteemed video game developer Bungie.

The partnership is to promote the upcoming Destiny 2. When the game is officially released to the public on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows PC on Sept.  8, 2017, Razer will be releasing unique Destiny-themed products that will fall around that timeframe.

For players who will invest in the PC version, they have more incentive to be excited about this partnership. After all, the products that Razer revealed make up a PC gamer’s dream world. Among them, the press release indicated, is the Raza Ornata Chroma (a mechanical keyboard with membrane keys), the Razer DeathAdder Elite (a pinpoint mouse), the Razer Goliathus Speed (a gaming mat), and the Razer ManO’War Tournament Edition (an elite gaming headset that accommodates each gaming platform). In September, these peripherals will go on sale.

For the executives and members of each company, this was a no-brainer. For Razer, as the CEO (Min-Liang Tan) noted, Destiny 2 is one of the most highly anticipated games of 2017 and players will finally get a chance to play it on PC. In the perspective of Bungie, they will give fans the chance to own premium gear when the game officially launches. This is a win-win-win for everyone involved (Bungie, Razer and PC players).

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Samsung Galaxy A5 Smartphone (2017) Review – Another New Start http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/samsung-galaxy-a5-smartphone-review-another-new-start/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/samsung-galaxy-a5-smartphone-review-another-new-start/#respond Thu, 18 May 2017 15:21:41 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=101747

By Cody Orme

There’s no doubt that the Samsung needed to step up its game in 2017 or risk fading into obscurity following the PR nightmare that was theGalaxy Note 7. If their flagship model (theGalaxy S8) is anything to go by, they’ve done all right for themselves, but while their crown jewel is obviously very important, Samsung’s […]

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By Cody Orme

There’s no doubt that the Samsung needed to step up its game in 2017 or risk fading into obscurity following the PR nightmare that was theGalaxy Note 7. If their flagship model (theGalaxy S8) is anything to go by, they’ve done all right for themselves, but while their crown jewel is obviously very important, Samsung’s mid-tier models are just as essential to the company’s success, and with the Samsung A5, they’ve produced a quality smartphone.

Priced at $399 USD, the Samsung A5 is one of the sleekest devices on the market.  Samsung’s new commitment to minimalism is on full display with a glossy finish at the back, with only the camera and the company logo apparent. The front continues that trend with a single button on the bottom of the 5.2 Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen that rocks a resolution of 1920 x 1080 (FHD).  Everything feels sleek, to the point where the bezel is almost unnoticeable.  We were given the “Black Sky” model, but there are options for “Gold Sand,” “Blue Mist,” and “Peach Cloud.” As far as appearances go, this is a device that won’t look embarrassing whether you’re a businessperson or a teenager looking for the best device. Even in terms of weight, the Samsung Galaxy A5 is relatively light weighing in at only 157 g.

Samsung Galaxy A5 Smartphone Review – Another New Start 1

Underneath the hood, the Samsung Galaxy A5 is no slouch either, though not the best on the market.  With an Exynos 7880 Octa chipset, Octa-core 1.9 GHz Cortex-A53, Mali-T830MP3 GPU, and running on Android 6.0.1 (Marshmallow), the device has no issues running the latest apps like Fallout Shelter, Super Mario Run, or Mortal Kombat X, nor does it chug while running multiple apps. The device didn’t even really heat up when used intensely. When running these apps the non-removable Non-removable Li-Ion 3000 mAh battery isn’t too bad either. With up to 16 hours of life for talk time and 53 hours of music play, Samsung Galaxy A5 users won’t have to worry about constantly stopping to recharge their device. Memory might be a bit of an issue however with only 3 GB of RAM, 32 GB of internal memory. It’s not that it’s particularly lacking in that department, but there are competing models that offer more.

Samsung Galaxy A5 Smartphone Review – Another New Start 2 Samsung Galaxy A5 Smartphone Review – Another New Start 3

Aside from the specs of the device, the Samsung Galaxy A5 offers a solid 16 MP camera as well f/1.9, 27mm, autofocus, LED flash, the camera can take solid photos, though, like most devices, the Samsung Galaxy A5 struggles in low light and with action shots. Still, for what it is, it’s a functional camera for its tier. Along with that, the Samsung Galaxy A5 is still rocking (literally) a 3.5 mm headphone jack, giving users an alternative to Bluetooth. If the user so chooses, the speakers located at the bottom of the device offer decent sound as well, but it struggles with bass and clarity. Still, it can get loud if need be, just don’t expect something like the Axon 7 Mini.

Still, with that being said, the Samsung Galaxy A5 is a very good phone and a step in the right direction for a company that could have lost it all last year. From a functionality standpoint, it works great and offers solid battery life. In every way shape and form the Galaxy A5 works as a good to great device for its tier and price point.

Score:8

Final Thoughts:In every way shape and form the Galaxy A5 works as a good to great device for its tier and price point.

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The Silver Case PlayStation 4 Review – A Solid HD Release http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/silver-case-review-solid-hd-release/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/silver-case-review-solid-hd-release/#respond Thu, 18 May 2017 13:35:29 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=101736

By Brendan Quinn

There are certain video game styles from each generation that while critically acclaimed and innovative for the time, do not carry over well to the next generation. As control schemes evolve, we as players grow accustomed to certain domineering forms of virtual movement and interaction. On the other hand, captivating stories, unsettling atmosphere, and memorable […]

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By Brendan Quinn

There are certain video game styles from each generation that while critically acclaimed and innovative for the time, do not carry over well to the next generation. As control schemes evolve, we as players grow accustomed to certain domineering forms of virtual movement and interaction. On the other hand, captivating stories, unsettling atmosphere, and memorable characters are aspects of a game that age a bit more gracefully. Suda51’s debut PlayStation game, The Silver Case, has been updated for the HD era and is now available on PlayStation 4. For fans of the original release, or those people for whom the name Suda51 is an automatic sell, this re-release will be right up your alley. It’s weird, awkward, and very different. For everyone else, The Silver Case isn’t exactly the most enjoyable video game on the market, especially when viewed through the hindsight of 20 years of video game evolution.

The Silver Case Review - A Solid HD ReleaseThe Silver Case is part point-and-click adventure, part visual novel, and attempts an interesting approach to pacing and paneling. The story takes place in a cyber-punk city called the 24 Wards where a serial killer has resurfaced to continue their grisly lifestyle. Players take control of both a detective investigating the murders and a journalist covering the story. The plot of the game can be a bit hard to follow at times, and thanks to the endless amount of scrolling text, crucial (and not so crucial, there’s a lot of that) information can be missed—crucial if you want to follow the story. Gameplay isn’t really affected. Unfortunately, as is standard for a Suda51 game, the dialogue often spirals from plot centred conversation into banal and unrelated monologues that just bring the vibe down and the pacing to a screeching halt.

The gameplay itself—or what little there is between text panels, FMV, and animations—primarily consists of walking through small rooms and doors, waiting for a little icon to appear which means, “this object can be interacted with”. Once in a while, there are puzzles or event triggers that require the use of a tool, but most of the time the player will spend their time walking around, looking up and down, until they find whatever object or person is needed to continue the story. With a mouse and keyboard this might work, but with a PlayStation 4 controller, simply navigating the environment is an exercise in frustrating tedium. There is a wheel to select the player’s action, whether that be movement, contact, use tool, or save menu. After selecting movement (which must be done again each time you interact with something) the player can move in four directions, or look up and down. Despite the boredom that comes with reading figuratively five million pieces of dialogue, I was glad that the actual gameplay sections were short because of the archaic and counter-intuitive control scheme.

The Silver Case Review - A Solid HD Release 1

Visually, The Silver Case is like nothing else on the market right now. The HD release has been snazzed up, and now includes some moving retro-future code backgrounds behind the story panels. This is pretty nifty for all of five seconds before it becomes distracting and irritating on the eyes. On top of this, when in “play” mode, the actual window size for seeing and interacting with the environment is about 1/3 of the screen. If you have a big TV, you’ll be wasting a lot of that screen with blank space or flashing background text. The good news is that everything is the right ratio, colours are bright and crisp, and what textures there are look clean (but dated, for obvious reasons). The game does use a huge variety of visual art styles to present its story, which is a unique and interesting attitude. In most cases, I prefer consistency over variety when it comes to visuals, I find games that have a cohesive style to their presentation to look better than a mishmash of anime, CGI, manga, FMV etc. But for The Silver Case, it really helps break things up into more manageable chunks.

By today’s standards, The Silver Case is not a great game. It’s a chore to navigate, the pacing is dreadfully slow at times, and the visual presentation, while unique, begins to grate on the eyes after a while. However, when this came out in 1999, it was unlike anything else available at the time, and allowed Suda51 to begin his career as one of the most original developers in the industry. The story is bizarre but cool, the setting is fun, and the style bounces all over the place (in a good way). Not the best game when looked at in a 2017 context, but for an HD re-release of a genre-bending convention breaker, it does its job.

Score:6

Final Thoughts:A solid HD release of a game that remains not for everyone.

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The Power of the Cloud – An Interview with LiquidSky http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/18/the-power-of-the-cloud-an-interview-with-liquidsky/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/18/the-power-of-the-cloud-an-interview-with-liquidsky/#comments Thu, 18 May 2017 11:00:54 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=101719

By Brendan Frye

The dream of a cloud gaming computer has been around for many years now. The idea—that with any laptop, or low-powered PC you could jump online and be able to play some of the most powerful games—was something that sounded too good to be true. The infrastructure was not there and ultimately, every company that […]

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By Brendan Frye

The dream of a cloud gaming computer has been around for many years now. The idea—that with any laptop, or low-powered PC you could jump online and be able to play some of the most powerful games—was something that sounded too good to be true. The infrastructure was not there and ultimately, every company that offered this service early on slowly fell to this crushing reality. Yet, with improved networks and even more powerful rack-mounted computers, this dream is slowly becoming a reality. Sony is doing it with PlayStation Now, Nvidia is doing it with GeForce Now and recently, a new player in the market, LiquidSky, is doing it in a very unique way.

Unlike the competition, LiquidSky is offering players access to a virtual gaming PC, one that can access all the games they currently own on Steam and other services, and letting them play those games on any compatible platform. The credits model ensures you only ever pay for what you use, and the ability to set up the virtual PC to suit your needs ensures there is no waste in your gaming. Being able to play today’s most powerful games without framerate drops, even on a low-powered laptop, did not seem possible until I actually did it at my desk. LiquidSky are offering something very exciting and to this end, we reached out to Jason Kirby, Chief Revenue Officer to discuss what technology powers LiquidSky and what people can expect when they jump in.

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CGMagazine: Could you go into detail regarding the backbone that powers LiquidSky?

Jason Kirby: Only at the very high level. We provide cloud-based access to very high-performance Windows PCs, allowing customers to do pretty much whatever they would be able to do on a powerful local desktop, but can do so from low-spec Windows PCs and soon Mac, Android and even Linux devices, including playing the latest Windows PC gaming titles.

CGM: Could you discuss the business model, and how it will allow a variety of ways for people to jump into this experience?

Kirby: LiquidSky 2.0 offers Free, Pay-As-You-Go and Monthly plans so that anyone interested can dive in based on what type of experience they’re looking for. With our new free plan, SkyCredits can be earned by viewing un-intrusive advertisements available from our growing list of ad partners.

SkyCredits are redeemed for playtime and cost is based on the type of performance plan: Gamer, Pro or Elite. Those who want to boost the performance of their SkyComputers can take advantage of our paid plans and spend more SkyCredits per hour.

Across the board, we have dramatically reduced the entry level for PC gaming, especially with our free plan.

CGM: Many services like this have existed in the past, how do you feel LiquidSky stands above them, and what does it offer that players can’t find anywhere else?

Kirby: LiquidSky actually works and continues to improve. We don’t require any proprietary hardware, don’t demand that users only use applications or games from a particular storefront, and don’t need developers or publishers to do anything to make all the latest PC games and applications compatible with our service. We also have very reasonable pricing plans—starting with a completely free offering—that match all budgets and levels of gamers.

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CGM: What can Liquidsky offer want-to-be gamers who can’t buy a powerhouse PC?

Kirby: LiquidSky offers the capabilities of a powerful gaming PC without the premium cost, with an unprecedented level of accessibility. Instead of investing in high-end hardware that can quickly become obsolete, or rack up large electricity bills, users can simply subscribe to a virtualized SkyComputer as needed that they can connect to from a low-spec notebook or even an Android phone. Our free plan makes it easier for anyone, regardless of finances, to enjoy PC gaming.

CGM: For games that require low latency, how do you manage to avoid the normal pitfalls associated with this sort of experience?

Kirby: We’ve been thinking about—and then developing—LiquidSky for quite some time. The early goal was always to solve the core challenges that tripped up others in the cloud gaming space. Our extremely low latency algorithm is part of our secret sauce. Since the operative word is “secret” we’d like to focus less on how we’re making it possible, but rather show that we are. With that said, making sure that we pair users with the most optimized data centre that provide optimal conditions is one big factor.

CGM: Can you talk a little bit about what AMD brings to LiquidSky and how this is an advantage to the players on your service?

Kirby: We have a number of strategic partners. It’s still very early days and, at this point, it would be premature to single out any one partner or even to share exactly how and where they are integrated with LiquidSky.

CGM: How do you see the service expanding and growing over time?

Kirby: While we have not yet shared a roadmap for expansion, we’re constantly reducing our average latency, improving client stability, optimizing game experiences, and developing new features that make the LiquidSky clients across platforms more robust.

CGM: For people that may not be near a datacenter, will there be solutions for them in the going months/years?

Kirby: Yes! Our plan is to support as many gamers as possible across the globe and continually improve the experience over time.

CGM: For people that may already have a gaming PC, what would be the sales pitch for LiquidSky?

Kirby: For existing PC gamers we offer something no remote desktop client can offer: a solid PC gaming experience on-the-go. Many of us find ourselves in situations where we’re unable to bring our heavy gaming PCs with us while travelling, so LiquidSky keeps PC gaming accessible from a multitude of devices. We’ve seen this of interest in particular to hardcore gamers who don’t want to be limited to just handheld gaming while away from home.

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Nintendo Direct Shows More ARMS http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/17/nintendo-direct-shows-arms/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/17/nintendo-direct-shows-arms/#respond Wed, 17 May 2017 23:53:57 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=101744

By Zubi Khan

Nintendo just dropped their latest Direct, which focused heavily on their latest upcoming Nintendo Switch fighting game, ARMS. The direct opened with Biff, the games announcer giving some light exposition for the game, followed by the introduction of weights and attributes, weight referring to the three available weight classes available for every kind of Arm, […]

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By Zubi Khan

Nintendo just dropped their latest Direct, which focused heavily on their latest upcoming Nintendo Switch fighting game, ARMS.

The direct opened with Biff, the games announcer giving some light exposition for the game, followed by the introduction of weights and attributes, weight referring to the three available weight classes available for every kind of Arm, which were light, medium and heavy classes. Attributes referred to the types of elements that each Individual Arm can posses, which were fire electricity, wind, ice, stun, explosive, and blind. Different arms have different attributes; each individual arm can be equipped with different combos of attributes. Existing characters were mentioned, but new and unique weapons for some of the fighters were also highlighted, amongst them there were chakrams, something called the Retorcher a fire based weapon, and another known as a Popper, a weapon that mimics crackers or party poppers popular during holidays. Some of the more unique weapons are known as signature weapons that certain characters have available to them from the get-go.

Several new characters were also introduced into the fray, the first being, Kid Cobra, who is a more “hip” fighter with a charging dash. Byte and Bark, two new characters introduced act as one fighter, similar to the ice climbers from Smash Brothers. The character seems to be based on a Police officer and his dog. Finally, to round out the new characters, Twintelle was shown off for the first time, a glamorous movie actress inspired female fighter, with her hair actually being her Arms or weapons rather than her physical arms.

A verses mode was also showed off, starting with Fight mode, a basic one on one arena battle mode, bombs and healing items were shown to occasionally drop in during the fight to add tension, Team Fight was also showed off which features two on two battles, with team members actually being tied together making things much more challenging. Several other modes were shown off which include V-Ball, the mode looked reminiscent of beach volleyball, Hoops a game loosely based around basketball, Skill shot mode which lets player test their accuracy while trying to take out targets, 1 On 100, which pits the player against an onslaught of enemies, and finally Arms Test and Training mode which allow players to go through various challenges in order to better understand the game, with Arms Test mode focusing on giving the player a random assortment of various Arms to play around with.

Prize money can be earned through playing that lets players unlock new Arms, duplicate Arms can sometimes be received, however occasionally duplicate Arms can actually have better stats than the original Arm. Battle Mode was the next mode highlighted in the direct, starting with Grand prix, which will allow up to two players to play through the games single player mode, tournament mode was also shown off which highlighted the games ability to create tournaments that can be played both offline and online with a local friend or solo. Finally, Ranked match was shown which is meant to satisfy people who want to challenge themselves.

Local wireless mode was also highlighted that will allow up to eight Switches to connect to play together. The directed also mentioned the inclusion of free DLC to hit the game shortly after launch. Fans rearing to play Arms can look forward to several betas will be available for the game, similar in fashion to the Splatoon 2 test fire that recently took place, known as the Global Test punch. The dates for the Global Test punch are as followed: May 26, 2017 to May 28, 2017 and June 2, 2017 until June 4, 2017, more information is available on Nintendo’s official site.

Finally, the end of the direct showed off a new surprise trailer for Splatoon 2 that highlighted some of the story elements fans should expect in the upcoming sequel set to hit store shelves and the Nintendo E-Shop later this year.

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Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality Review – A Must Play for Fans http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/rick-morty-virtual-rick-ality-review-must-play-fans/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/rick-morty-virtual-rick-ality-review-must-play-fans/#respond Wed, 17 May 2017 20:30:03 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=101633

By Jed Whitaker

First and foremost let me say that Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality is strictly a game for fans of the show—others will be very confused and perhaps a bit annoyed with some of the gags they’ll encounter. Non-viewers of the show might appreciate the drunkard scientist Rick constantly telling them how stupid they are and […]

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By Jed Whitaker

First and foremost let me say that Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality is strictly a game for fans of the show—others will be very confused and perhaps a bit annoyed with some of the gags they’ll encounter. Non-viewers of the show might appreciate the drunkard scientist Rick constantly telling them how stupid they are and even killing them, but fans of the show will definitely be laughing their butts off.

You play as a clone of Morty in Rick’s lab in the family garage, where you’re given tasks by Rick, much like Owlchemy Labs’ previous VR hit Job Simulator. You’ll have to do things like Rick’s laundry, combine objects to make new objects and a whole bunch of easy but fun to solve puzzles—all while surrounded by tons of fan service and all new voice work by Justin Roiland and team. The gameplay is about what you’d expect if you’ve played Job Simulator, only with more swearing and a smidgen of gunplay at one point. Otherwise, it’s mostly teleporting around the garage or using the portal gun to go to different areas and collect objects.

Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality Review - A Must Play for Fans 1

The main draw here isn’t so much the gameplay as it is being submerged in the world of Rick and Morty. You’ll be yelled at in person by both lead characters, you’ll interact directly with the popular Mr. Meeseeks, and you’ll find a plethora of references to things that have happened on the show as well as hidden cassette tapes with recordings of your favourite characters. Story wise there isn’t much to tell as the game can be completed in less than 2 hours on a blind playthrough, and I could spoil the entire story in a single sentence. So if you were worried you were missing out on story or character development, you’re not. Other than the fact that the game makes a point for Morty to declare “I’m vegan now and that is canon in season 4” at one point.

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If you’re in the niche group that is both a fan of Rick and Morty and owns an expensive VR headset, then you’ve got to pick up this game as it features of the best fanservice out there. That said, at $30 the price tag is a bit steep for a game that can be completed in a couple hours—but by this point, you’re probably used to the ‘VR tax’. Completionists will probably get a lot more time out of the game finding all the secret Easter eggs and references to the show that are available, as you can continue playing after finishing the story.

Oh, and if you’re offended by swearing, this game is totally uncensored, unlike the TV show. It is a bit jarring to hear obscenities come out of Morty’s mouth without a beep, but you get used to it pretty quick. Otherwise, “oooooh weeee” it’s a good time.

Score:8.5

Final Thoughts:Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality is the must-play game for fans of the show that own a VR headset.

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Blizzard Celebrates Overwatch’s One-Year Anniversary http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/17/blizzard-celebrates-overwatchs-one-year-anniversary/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/17/blizzard-celebrates-overwatchs-one-year-anniversary/#respond Wed, 17 May 2017 19:34:17 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=101726

By Remington Joseph

Blizzard revealed their new plans to celebrate Overwatch’s anniversary. In celebration of Overwatch’s first birthday, Blizzard announced their upcoming plans for the title. To start things off, an in-game seasonal event called “the Anniversary Event” will be held for players to celebrate. No details on the event were given on what the event will entail but […]

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By Remington Joseph

Blizzard revealed their new plans to celebrate Overwatch’s anniversary.

In celebration of Overwatch’s first birthday, Blizzard announced their upcoming plans for the title. To start things off, an in-game seasonal event called “the Anniversary Event” will be held for players to celebrate. No details on the event were given on what the event will entail but it will begin on May 23, 2017. On the same day, a digital version of Overwatch: Game of the Year Edition will release on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. This version of the game will come with 10 bonus loot boxes as well as a number of different unlocked hero skins. Collectables for other Blizzard titles will also be available for those who purchase Overwatch’s game of the year edition such Tracer as a hero in Heroes of the Storm, a pet version of baby Winston in World of Warcraft and more. A free weekend for Overwatch will be offered starting on May 26, 2017 until May 29, 2017, allowing players to experience the full game without having to pay. Player progress made during the free weekend will be transferable for those who purchase the game afterwards.

Since its launch last year, Overwatch has become a universally acclaimed hit among critics and fans. Only a week after launch, Blizzard reported that the game saw over seven million players, reaching a total playtime of over 119 million hours. In Activision-Blizzard’s quarterly earnings report for the first quarter of 2017, the company reported that Overwatch revenues exceeded one billion dollars. Last year, Blizzard announced plans to create an Overwatch League, expected to start sometime this year.

Blizzard released a video today on their Overwatch YouTube channel. The video looked over the events the game has gone through over its first year and thanked its fans for their support.

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Hugh Jackman and James Mangold Talk Logan at Noir Screening http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/17/hugh-jackman-and-james-mangold-talk-logan-at-noir-screening/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/17/hugh-jackman-and-james-mangold-talk-logan-at-noir-screening/#respond Wed, 17 May 2017 18:27:42 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=101677

By Phil Brown

It’s not every day that you get flown to New York just to watch a movie. Yet, somehow that’s just what happened to your trusty CGM film critic (aka me, Phil Brown esq.). The film was one that I’d seen before— Logan. James Mangold’s pained, personal, and Western-tinged farewell to Hugh Jackman’s version of clawed […]

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By Phil Brown

It’s not every day that you get flown to New York just to watch a movie. Yet, somehow that’s just what happened to your trusty CGM film critic (aka me, Phil Brown esq.). The film was one that I’d seen before— Logan. James Mangold’s pained, personal, and Western-tinged farewell to Hugh Jackman’s version of clawed and flawed X-Man Wolverine. I loved the film on release, but this time things would be different. This was a one night only screening of Logan Noir, a black and white version of the film that will be included on the upcoming Logan Blu-ray set to hit shelves on May 23, 2017. The screening was in the new Brooklyn edition of the fabled Austin movie nerd haven the Alamo Drafthouse (you know, that magical land where you can order themed food while watching a Fulci retrospective). Along with that, both Hugh Jackman and James Mangold were in attendance for a Q&A afterwards.

First up, Logan Noir was projected in all of its monochrome glory before my primed and welcoming eyeholes. In the Q&A after the screening, director James Mangold was the first to point out that this isn’t his preferred version of the movie. Logan was never designed for black and white. It was a concept that came up long after release as fans mused how that project would feel stripped of colour after seeing a series of stunning behind the scenes photographs and of course following the “black and chrome” release of Mad Mad: Fury Road. So it’s more of an aesthetic shift and bonus feature that any sort of grand design to extend the theatrical life of Logan. But even though it wasn’t intended for the black and white treatment, Logan Noir works surprisingly well.

Hugh Jackman and James Mangold Talk Logan at Noir Screening 1

While I’ll certainly continue to watch Logan with that new-fangled colour feature that talkies have been flogging at the cineo-plex lately, there’s no denying that the muted and baron aesthetic of Logan suits a black and white version. While director James Mangold makes movies for contemporary audiences, he also pulls liberally from the past. The film always had certain shots and lighting cues reminiscent of classic moody black and white cinematography, and that really shines here. It adds to the murky morality of the piece with every character painted in shades of grey. It suits the morbid twist of super heroics that the filmmakers explore so thoughtfully. But more than anything else, the flick just looks gorgeous in black and white. It’s clear this wasn’t just produced by switching the colour off in Aftereffects. It was carefully timed and coded. Logan Noir looks gorgeous, and is an interesting twist on an already harshly beautiful comic book tale well worth exploring for fans of the film. It’s just an ideal Blu-ray special feature or special screening material than a transformative new cinematic experience.

When the monochrome edition of this Wolverine elegy wrapped up, Hugh Jackman and James Mangold took the stage to discuss Logan Noir as well as the origins and legacy of their latest film. Here are a few highlights from the chat (slightly edited for space, flow, and clarity).

James Mangold on the origins Of Logan Noir.

James Mangold: It very much came from fans. I released a lot of black and white photos of the production and the fan response was huge. I thought Hugh [Jackman] and all the characters look fabulous in black and white. It occurred to us that it might work well on home video. There are a lot of film fans out there, and people are looking for things that connect to the past while also offering something new. I think studios are noticing. They think you guys need bright colours and loud sounds at all times to stay amused, and I don’t think that’s true. Audiences are sophisticated and respond to creativity explored in all sorts of different ways.

Hugh Jackman and James Mangold Talk Logan at Noir Screening
Hugh Jackman stars as Logan in LOGAN. Photo Credit: Ben Rothstein.

Hugh Jackman and James Mangold one the origins and inspirations for Logan.

Hugh Jackman: I’ve come to a new formula after 20 years in this business that it takes a few people who fight hard to make a movie that you’re proud of. I knew I wouldn’t have anything if Jim [James Mangold] was on board. I think I mentioned The Wrestler

Mangold: Yeah, we started talking about The Wrestler and talking about Westerns. We talked about different things. But I think we were more inspired by what we didn’t want. We were coming from a place of, “We don’t want to make another one of ‘those’ movies.”   We wanted to make something different and more human. Movies like The Wrestler and Unforgiven, they were all united by one thing. They were personal movies, not cookie cutter movies. We wanted to make something that was a personal movie first as opposed to a superhero film. That informed everything.

Hugh Jackman and James Mangold on the challenges of selling such an uncompromising and R-rated superhero project to the studio.

Jackman: This is my third film with Jim and we wanted to provide a blank canvas for him. We had a meeting early on [to explain the concept to the studio] that I thought would be tough, but it took about three minutes.

Mangold: We kept bracing for people to be opposed to us. Certain things conspired in our favour. One was that Deadpool finally came out and was a massive success, which made it easier for our film to be rated R. Also, we promised to make the film for less money, which always helps. But one of the main reasons that I wanted this to be R wasn’t the language or the violence. It was really because when you make a movie of this scale, there’s a lot of pressure on the movie in the marketplace. And if the movie is rated R, it gets graded on a curve. Not everyone is going to be able to buy tickets. It reduces the box office, which is why we made it cheaper. But it also does something else. Suddenly, you’re not making a movie for six-year-olds, or seven-year-olds, or eleven-year-olds. And the kind of story that you can tell when you’re telling it to adults is different. Most of the audience for graphic novels are adults, not children. That’s who reads them. At some point, making all these movies PG-13 cheats grownups out of having some part of their comic book experience honoured with adult themes and ideas. I think getting an R-rating gave us a driver’s licence to make a more sophisticated movie.

Hugh Jackman and James Mangold Talk Logan at Noir Screening 2[Spoiler Alert] Jackman and Mangold talking about the ending of Logan.

Jackman: I’m going to be honest and say that I was a bit of a pain in the ass for Jim with this stuff, and was probably wrong 98 per cent of the time. We had a lot of discussions and then when I finally saw the movie, it was a litany of “yeah, you were right, you were right, you were right.” We were pretty open about whether it would be the end for Logan or not because Unforgiven was a huge influence for me, and it’s actually more devastating that he just rides out of town, unforgiven and somehow damned in his heroism. I thought it was such a beautifully and poetic image that I said, “Whatever we finish with it has to feel earned and in keeping with that.”

Mangold: It was about earning that right. But I think we wanted to make sure that a curtain came down at the end. We didn’t want people speculating that we left the end open for anything else. Just like a regular movie, we’re not leaving something out there. The story is over.

Jackman: The highlight for me is the ending with the cross turning into an ‘X.’ That was all James Mangold. I thought it was beautiful on the page, but when I saw it for the first time I cried. I sat next to Patrick Stewart and both of us wept. I hope he doesn’t mind me saying this, but Stephen Colbert told me that he saw it three times in the cinema and cried every single time. There was something so patient and courageous as a filmmaker to allow everything to culminate in that moment. It was a privilege to be under the ground during that moment.

Hugh Jackman on what he’s learned from playing Wolverine over the years.

Jackman:  X-Men was my first film in America 17 years ago. I have learned so much since then and continue to learn. But in the end, I was left with this incredible feeling of confidence that if you are lucky enough to surround yourself with the right people, you can bring the best out of yourself. One of the reasons that I wanted Jim, selfishly, was because he gets the best performances out of people. I wanted him for The Wolverine because that was already my 7th or 8th movie as the character, and I wanted to dig deeper. When you have people around you that are honest and aren’t afraid to push you, then as an actor you feel free. I used to find it quite daunting. I realized that I do love the feeling of theatre, that feeling of family. That’s what I’ve learned is the most important thing, to have that faith in the people around you on a film set as well.

Hugh Jackman and James Mangold Talk Logan at Noir Screening 3

James Mangold on whether or not Logan Noir is his preferred version.

Mangold: I have to be honest and say ‘no.’ I made Logan as a colour movie, so I’d be lying if I said all that work wasn’t important. I wanted to see the movie as a black and white film, but if I were making a black and white film we would design it that way from the very beginning, which in this world right now is very unlikely. It’s very difficult to get anyone to launch a major production in black and white. I have friends who have made black and white films, and they have to produce a colour version for some territories who absolutely refuse to distribute anything in black and white. So the global film marketplace isn’t quite ready for that yet. But I love this version. It’s just that my production designer and DP and costume designer would literally faint if they heard this was suddenly my favourite version after all of the work that we did. Let’s just say that I love all of my children.

Hugh Jackman on the emotions of his final day playing Wolverine.

Jackman: It took me a bit by surprise. I remember that last day. It was a “bits and pieces” kind of day, which often happens. The end scenes were not the last scenes that we shot. We finished last August, so we still had seven or eight months. Honestly, I don’t think it sunk in until I watched it in Berlin with Patrick Stewart, and that cross turned into an ‘X.’ I think that’s when I finally woke up. I think I was a pain in the ass because this movie meant so much to me after 17 years. I really believed in it, and I’m so grateful to the studio that they backed Jim’s vision. It meant so much to me that I didn’t relax until I finally saw it. I remember saying to Jim, “I will never ever be able to express how grateful I am.” He delivered something better than I ever could have expected.

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Devolver Digital Anounces First Ever E3 Presentation http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/17/devolver-digital-anounces-e3-presentation/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/17/devolver-digital-anounces-e3-presentation/#respond Wed, 17 May 2017 17:52:14 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=101709

By Zubi Khan

Devolver Digital, known for games like Hotline Miami has announced that they will host their first ever E3 press conference this year. Currently, there is no further information in regards to the date and time of the conference, however, this press conference won’t be the only presence Devolver Digital brings to E3. In past expos, […]

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By Zubi Khan

Devolver Digital, known for games like Hotline Miami has announced that they will host their first ever E3 press conference this year.

Currently, there is no further information in regards to the date and time of the conference, however, this press conference won’t be the only presence Devolver Digital brings to E3. In past expos, the publisher has hosted an event called the Indie Picnic, which has always been outside of the actual E3 building and instead, in the parking lot.  The Indie Picnic, for those unaware, is a means for the press and other E3 attendees to check out the slew of Devolver’s new games that are currently in development.

The fact that they have announced an actual press conference is quite exciting, most of their previous games have been on a smaller scale, with the Shadow Warrior series and The Talos Principle being some of their bigger more triple A releases, their announcement to host a press conference on top of their usual Indie Picnic event may indicate that they have something bigger to announce than the usual fair of indie titles that they are known for.

The Indie Picnic will take place outside of the L.A convention centre, and will run from June 13, 2017, to June 15, 2017 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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South Park: The Fractured But Whole Receives Release Date http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/17/south-park-the-fractured-but-whole-receives-release-date/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/17/south-park-the-fractured-but-whole-receives-release-date/#respond Wed, 17 May 2017 17:34:22 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=101703

By Remington Joseph

Ubisoft announced the release date for their upcoming title South Park: The Fractured But Whole. After multiple delays, Ubisoft and South Park Digital Studios announced that South Park: The Fractured But Whole will release on Oct. 17, 2017. Following after the events of South Park: The Stick of Truth, The Fractured But Whole follows the […]

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By Remington Joseph

Ubisoft announced the release date for their upcoming title South Park: The Fractured But Whole.

After multiple delays, Ubisoft and South Park Digital Studios announced that South Park: The Fractured But Whole will release on Oct. 17, 2017. Following after the events of South Park: The Stick of Truth, The Fractured But Whole follows the children of South Park on a new adventure— this time as role-playing superheroes. After a falling-out between the children, the boys split into two groups and engage in civil war. Players once again take control of The New Kid, interacting with popular characters in the series. As a new feature of Fractured But Whole, players will now be able to select the gender of their customizable character. The game will have extra customization features, allowing them to create their own unique hero costume and choose from a number character classes. South Park: The Fractured But Whole also features revamped battle and loot systems, offering more tactical gameplay and letting players craft their own equipment.

South Park: The Fractured But Whole is available for pre-order in four editions: Standard, Gold, Steelbook Gold and Collectors. Details of each version can be found on the game’s website. Pre-orders from certain retailers will also include a digital copy of South Park: The Stick of Truth for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.

Based off the animated series, South Park: The Fractured But Whole was originally announced in 2015. The game is being developed by Ubisoft San Francisco rather than Obsidian Entertainment, the developers behind South Park: The Stick of Truth. Fractured But Whole had a planned release date of Dec. 6, 2016 but was delayed for quality assurance, dated for the first quarter of 2017. In February, the game was once again delayed with a new release window of Ubisoft’s 2018 fiscal year. Players who originally pre-ordered the title were given a full refund.

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Gwent: The Witcher Card Game Public Beta Announced http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/17/gwent-witcher-card-game-public-beta-announced/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/17/gwent-witcher-card-game-public-beta-announced/#respond Wed, 17 May 2017 16:41:06 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=101696

By Remington Joseph

The public beta for Gwent: The Witcher Card Game will begin May 24, 2017. CD Projekt Red, developers of The Witcher series announced that the public beta for their upcoming free-to-play title Gwent: The Witcher Card Game will begin on May 24, 2017. In preparation for the game’s transition, the currently available closed beta will […]

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By Remington Joseph

The public beta for Gwent: The Witcher Card Game will begin May 24, 2017.

CD Projekt Red, developers of The Witcher series announced that the public beta for their upcoming free-to-play title Gwent: The Witcher Card Game will begin on May 24, 2017. In preparation for the game’s transition, the currently available closed beta will go offline for maintenance from May 22, 2017, until its relaunch on May 24, 2017. During this time, the game’s official Facebook and Twitter pages will provide updates on its status. In order to ensure that all players start the game on equal footing, existing player’s progress and card collections will be erased when Gwent goes into public beta. Players who took part in the game’s closed beta will receive a number of in-game bonuses. A list of these bonuses can be found on Gwent’s official website. Gwent: The Witcher Card Game’s beta will be available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. The Xbox One and PC versions of the game will feature cross-platform play.

Gwent: The Witcher Card Game is a turn-based card game between two players. Using a deck of 25 to 40 cards, players must take turns playing one card each turn. Cards are separated into different factions, offering unique abilities and play styles. Games are divided into three rounds where players try to win two out of three by playing the strongest cards possible in order to control the game’s board.

Gwent was originally created as a game within The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Last year it was announced that it would receive a full release, using a free-to-play model. By winning rounds, players are rewarded with either ores, scraps or additional cards. Players can use ores to purchase card packs or by using real-world money. Scraps can also be crafted into new cards.     

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Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 Switch Version Information Along With DLC http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/17/101681/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/17/101681/#respond Wed, 17 May 2017 16:08:13 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=101681

By Remington Joseph

The Nintendo Switch version of Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 will launch this fall in Japan. New information regarding the Nintendo Switch version of Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 along with upcoming DLC plans were revealed in a recent issue of V-Jump, a Japanese magazine that covers popular manga and their related games, and translated by Gematsu. […]

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By Remington Joseph

The Nintendo Switch version of Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 will launch this fall in Japan.

New information regarding the Nintendo Switch version of Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 along with upcoming DLC plans were revealed in a recent issue of V-Jump, a Japanese magazine that covers popular manga and their related games, and translated by Gematsu. The new Switch version will feature six-person ad-hoc play for up to six players. Two-player battles will also be possible by using the Joy-Con controllers. Using the console’s motion-sensor, players will be able to use the Kamehameha skill by performing the proper gesture. Included as an exclusive bonus, buyers will receive a code to unlock all of the playable characters from the main story of the previous Xenoverse title early.

V-Jump also revealed that Super Saiyan Blue Vegito and Fused Zamasu, two characters featured in the new Dragon Ball Super anime are the next characters that will be brought to Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 as DLC characters. These characters will be made available globally for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC versions of the game in the near future.

Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 is fighting role-playing game developed by Dimps that released fall of last year. Based off the hit anime series, players are given the chance to create their own customizable character in an original storyline set in the series universe. Players can travel through the series’ timeline as they go on quests, taking part in many of the famous battles featured in Dragon Ball. Since its launch, Dimps has developed and released a number of DLC pack, adding characters, skills and story expansions based off the latest anime series for the franchise.

The Nintendo Switch version of Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 was announced early this year with no details originally released. A western release window for the game has yet to be announced.

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Project Rap Rabbit Reveals New Switch Goals on Kickstarter http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/17/project-rap-rabbit-reveals-new-switch-goals-kickstarter/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/17/project-rap-rabbit-reveals-new-switch-goals-kickstarter/#respond Wed, 17 May 2017 15:48:31 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=101684

By Zubi Khan

The minds behind the recently revealed Project Rap Rabbit unveiled a new $1.5-million-dollar stretch goal for a Nintendo Switch version of the game. Pcube, Nanaon-Sha and INiS J the developers behind the PaRappa the Rapper inspired, Project Rap Rabbit has officially put out a new stretch goal for a possible Nintendo Switch port, this news comes […]

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By Zubi Khan

The minds behind the recently revealed Project Rap Rabbit unveiled a new $1.5-million-dollar stretch goal for a Nintendo Switch version of the game.

Pcube, Nanaon-Sha and INiS J the developers behind the PaRappa the Rapper inspired, Project Rap Rabbit has officially put out a new stretch goal for a possible Nintendo Switch port, this news comes after the team had put into consideration the feedback from fans and the press who criticized the original $4.95 million dollar goal for being too high and unrealistic for a Switch edition. This new goal will also be reflected in a lower priced digital tier of Project Rap Rabbit. Additionally, anyone who has already backed the project’s White Label Edition will receive a free digital copy of Project Rap Rabbit’s soundtrack.

On the Kickstarter page for Project Rap Rabbit, the team behind the game has stated that all future stretch goals will now be determined by the community to ensure the likelihood of meeting said goals. Finally, NanaOn-Sha and iNiS have also put out a new early-bird tier that will include a digital copy of the game for just £20.  For further details, readers can visit the games official Kickstarter page.

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AMD Ryzen 5 1400 and 1600 Hardware Review http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/amd-ryzen-5-1400-1600-hardware-review/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/amd-ryzen-5-1400-1600-hardware-review/#respond Wed, 17 May 2017 14:20:30 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=101632

By Cole Watson

Where AMD’s Ryzen 7 processors have made their homes in the dens of workstation PC’s, the Ryzen 5’s are slowly gravitating towards the dwellings of enthusiast gamers. The flagships of the R5’s are the previously reviewed quad-core 1500X and 6-core 1600X, but with two other cheaper alternatives to choose from in the product line, consumers […]

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By Cole Watson

Where AMD’s Ryzen 7 processors have made their homes in the dens of workstation PC’s, the Ryzen 5’s are slowly gravitating towards the dwellings of enthusiast gamers. The flagships of the R5’s are the previously reviewed quad-core 1500X and 6-core 1600X, but with two other cheaper alternatives to choose from in the product line, consumers have been left confused as to which CPU offers the best performance for their budget.

The easiest way to describe the cheaper R5 1400 and 1600 is that they are the alternative CPUs aimed at tinkerers who love to push their processor to the highest overclock setting possible. For a 10 per cent difference in price from the premium X edition chips, users can expect a 10 per cent deficit in performance out of the box. Yet, by messing with bios settings and adjusting voltages, it doesn’t take much work before the 1400 and 1600 reach the same level of peak performance as their respective flagship models, the 1500X and 1600X. This is possible because AMD created the Ryzen line to be fully unlocked, giving users complete control over how much power they want to get out of their components.

(AofS is Ashes of the Singularity, Total War WH is Total War: Warhammer)

Benchmarks were fairly lax this time around because of the lack of performance difference. After I overclocked the chips to the base speeds of their X related counterparts, the 1400 and 1600 were showing nearly identical results as the ones achieved in the previous reviews. The only titles to see any substantial loss in performance were Grand Theft Auto V and the Witcher 3 while running at their highest settings at 1080p, which resulted in an average deficit of 5 FPS. Productivity benchmarks were largely unaffected because the Ryzen processors have the same single core values as our previous tests.

Users who have no interest in overclocking their components and simply want the most stable experience possible out of the box should shift their eyes to Ryzen 5’s X titled processors, which come with a higher base-clock with no hassle to the user. Now it all comes down to the core decision of picking out the quad-core R5 1400 or 6-core R5 1600. If you are picking out a CPU for pure gaming performance then stick with the 1400 and 1500X, but if the user is looking to do any sort of video editing, photo rendering, or even streaming, then the 1600 and 1600X will alleviate the added stress of those programs with the two extra cores on hand.

Score:8

Final Thoughts:The Ryzen 5 1400 and 1600 are the cheaper alternatives in AMD’s lineup geared towards the tinkerers who love to push their components to the limit.

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AMD Reveals Details for Radeon Vega and High End CPU Lineup http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/17/101663/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/17/101663/#respond Wed, 17 May 2017 14:12:45 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=101663

By Remington Joseph

AMD revealed details about their plans relating to the company’s upcoming graphic cards. At its Financial Analyst Day, AMD unveiled their long-term plans for the company leading up to the year 2020. The company released information on the Radeon Vega Frontier, announcing the product’s name for the first time along with its design and performance […]

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By Remington Joseph

AMD revealed details about their plans relating to the company’s upcoming graphic cards.

At its Financial Analyst Day, AMD unveiled their long-term plans for the company leading up to the year 2020. The company released information on the Radeon Vega Frontier, announcing the product’s name for the first time along with its design and performance figures. AMD showed the Vega architecture with an on-stage demo of the card running Sniper Elite 4 at between 60 and 70 frames per second at 4K resolution. AMD also showed a demo for Rise of the Tomb Raider at 2GB of memory, showing, display how Radeon Vega Frontier’s high-bandwidth can increase minimum and average frame rates. AMD stated that the Vega Frontier performs at around 26 teraflops. AMD stated that the card isn’t targeting gamers however, instead targeting data scientists, immersion engineers and product designers as AMD hopes the chip will help the company break into a new high-margin business.

The Vega Frontier will come in two configurations, titled Vega Frontier Blue and Vega Frontier Gold. Vega Frontier Blue is an air-cooled card with a typical blower-style design while Gold will feature a liquid cooler. AMD did not mention if there would be any other differences between the two variants. A price for the Radeon Vega Frontier wasn’t announced but AMD gave the indication during the presentation that it would be expensive. AMD is likely to present more information at Computex where the company will be holding a press conference.

AMD Reveals Details for Radeon Vega Frontier GPU 1

In addition, AMD revealed the Ryzen Threadripper, a new CPU designed for ultra-high-end PCs. The Ryzen Threadripper is a 16-core, 32-thread CPU, using the current 14-nanometer Zen architecture. The chip will also come with a new HEDT platform with expanded memory and bandwidth.

The Ryzen Threadripper and the Radeon Vega Frontier are currently planned for launch sometime during the summer of 2017.         

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First Futurama Animation in Four Years Unveiled for New Mobile Title http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/17/futurama-worlds-tomorrow-recieves-new-trailer/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/17/futurama-worlds-tomorrow-recieves-new-trailer/#respond Wed, 17 May 2017 13:00:19 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=101646

By Zubi Khan

Los Angeles-based mobile game developer, Jam City has revealed a new trailer for their upcoming game Futurama: Worlds of Tomorrow, making this the first new animation for the series since it’s conclusion four years ago. Staying true to the humorous source material, the new game’s advertisement campaign seems to focus on poking fun at the phenomena […]

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By Zubi Khan

Los Angeles-based mobile game developer, Jam City has revealed a new trailer for their upcoming game Futurama: Worlds of Tomorrow, making this the first new animation for the series since it’s conclusion four years ago.

Staying true to the humorous source material, the new game’s advertisement campaign seems to focus on poking fun at the phenomena that people sometimes tend to have while using their smartphones and other devices, which is succumbing to the addictive nature of mobile games and just generally being more distracted and even tending to be in an almost trance-like state.  The tagline used for the game is: “You Will Play” and features a Hypnotoad, a fan favourite character from the television show, that in the show has the ability to put people under suggestion through hypnosis.

Futurama: Worlds of Tomorrow is being promoted with a new trailer that features all new animated footage done exclusively for the launch of the new title.  The game seems to feature a plethora of gameplay mechanics ranging from travelling through space while keeping tabs on your fuel and other resources, to turn based battles reminiscent of classic roleplaying games.

First Futurama Animation in Four Years Unveiled for New Mobile Title 1 First Futurama Animation in Four Years Unveiled for New Mobile Title 2 First Futurama Animation in Four Years Unveiled for New Mobile Title 3 First Futurama Animation in Four Years Unveiled for New Mobile Title 4

Fans will be delighted to learn that the game will feature key writers from the show including series creator Matt Groening who will be involved with the project in order to ensure that the new title lives up to the same quality as the TV show.

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The Witcher to get Netflix Series http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/17/witcher-get-netflix-series/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/17/witcher-get-netflix-series/#respond Wed, 17 May 2017 11:58:35 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=101657

By Brendan Frye

It was announced that The Witcher franchise will be getting an English-language TV series by visual effects company Platige Image S.A. The Witcher, known for its novels by Andrzej Sapkowski and series of video games from publisher/developer CD Projekt Red, will be getting a TV series that will appear on the video series Netflix. “I’m thrilled that Netflix […]

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By Brendan Frye

It was announced that The Witcher franchise will be getting an English-language TV series by visual effects company Platige Image S.A.

The Witcher, known for its novels by Andrzej Sapkowski and series of video games from publisher/developer CD Projekt Red, will be getting a TV series that will appear on the video series Netflix.

“I’m thrilled that Netflix will be doing an adaptation of my stories,” Andrzej Sapkowski stated in the official press release for the show “staying true to the source material and themes that I have spent over 30 years writing. I’m excited about our efforts together as well as the team assembled to shepherd these characters to life.”

Platige, the polish animation studio behind the announcement, have worked on many cinematics for The Witcher franchise, including the most recent, The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt. The team at Platige, will be joined by producers Sean Daniel (The Mummy) and Jason Brown (The Expanse), along with Director Tomek Baginski who worked on previous cinematic works for CD Project Red properties.

“The Witcher stories follow an unconventional family that comes together to fight for truth in a dangerous world,” explained Daniel and Brown. “The characters are original, funny, and constantly surprising, and we can’t wait to bring them to life at Netflix, the perfect home for innovative storytelling.”

As of the time of writer, it has not been made clear if the new Witcher show will be done via CGI or live action, but judging by the studio’s previous work, it should be a visual treat either way.

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New Humanz #1 Comic Review http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/new-humanz-1-comic-review/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/new-humanz-1-comic-review/#respond Tue, 16 May 2017 19:28:34 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=101560

By Boyd Reynolds

The best parts of science fiction, the science fiction that truly resonates with viewers, are the stories that connect to our humanity. While characters might be set in the future or the past, they are struggling with the same human issues we are today. And this is what TITAN1STUDIOS New Humanz #1 does very well. New […]

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By Boyd Reynolds

The best parts of science fiction, the science fiction that truly resonates with viewers, are the stories that connect to our humanity. While characters might be set in the future or the past, they are struggling with the same human issues we are today. And this is what TITAN1STUDIOS New Humanz #1 does very well.

New Humanz #1 begins in modern times. A young couple with their daughter are enjoying time lakeside in the Pacific Northwest. While daughter and mother (Sadie and Riley) are swimming in the lake, the water turns dark. A typhoon-like funnel grows out of the water. A fiery bolt comes from the funnel and destroys their camp site and kills Sadie’s father. Mother and daughter are eventually sucked up the water funnel. The next panel begins in the year 2226. It is the city of Turigus and the world has changed much in 200 years. Technology reigns supreme – not only from the flying transports and vehicles out apartment windows but also robotic surgery, which many parts of Sadie’s body is made from.
New Humanz #1 (Comic) Review 2New Humanz #1 is a well-crafted initial issue of a four part mini-series. It has most of what you could ask for from a first issue. There is heavy, traumatic action which catapults our heroes into an unknown world and future. Yet, the action doesn’t stop there. It explodes once more in the last two-thirds of the comic, giving readers not only a page turner but also a solid cliff-hanger ending. As well, writer Taran Chadha does a great job bringing in an air of mystery into this new future and the bizarre entities that live there. Riley works for a global crime syndicate known as the Council, one that connects her with some strange and interesting beings.

The artwork in New Humanz #1 is another standout. Illustrator, Ruben Rojas, creates a great deal of emotion with his artistry. He also conjures some high-octane action sequences, ones that put the reader on the edge of his or her seat and doesn’t relinquish that hold until the final panel.

While there are many sci-fi stories about technology and the future, New Humanz #1 is a crisp tale. This is largely due to both the science of the story (robotic body parts) and the emotional core between Sadie and Riley. The robotic limbs in New Humanz seems like an everyday occurrence in the future, far beyond what it is today. So there is an air of mystery and intrigue within that story-line. And the story of a mother trying to create a life for her daughter in a strange and scary future is captivating, especially how it’s crafted in New Humanz #1.

New Humanz #1 is definitely worth a read. The story-line combined with quality artwork makes it an issue not to be missed. Here’s hoping the rest of the series continues where this first issue left off.

Score:8

Final Thoughts:New Humanz #1 is a well-crafted first issue, offering a crisp futuristic story of time travel, robotic limbs, and a torn family struggling to survive.

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SMITE Tactics gets a Name Change http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/16/smite-tactics-gets-name-change/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/16/smite-tactics-gets-name-change/#respond Tue, 16 May 2017 19:17:30 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=101626

By Zubi Khan

Smite Tactics has now been officially given a proper name by Hi-Rez Studios — Hand of the Gods: SMITE Tactics. Hi-Rez Studios has stated that the new game was meant to always be a full and standalone experience set in the SMITE universe. This new title for the spinoff game cements their goal of making the […]

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By Zubi Khan

Smite Tactics has now been officially given a proper name by Hi-Rez Studios — Hand of the Gods: SMITE Tactics.

Hi-Rez Studios has stated that the new game was meant to always be a full and standalone experience set in the SMITE universe. This new title for the spinoff game cements their goal of making the game a new full and stand-alone experience for both new players and fans of the original SMITE to enjoy.

Hand of the Gods: SMITE Tactics has been in closed beta for the past four months, this long period of testing has seen the game go through numerous updates and patches that have polished the overall experience since the initial launch.

The beta has recently received The Roman and Chinese pantheons that bring both unique strengths and weaknesses for users to play with. The gameplay itself has evolved with the introduction of a final new objective for each match, which requires players to get summoning stones they can control. Finally, the closed beta also has received over a dozen new minions, gods and item cards to the game that add new levels of strategy and gameplay opportunities.

Hand of the Gods: SMITE Tactics marks Hi-Rez Studio’s first foray into using Unreal Engine 4 which has allowed for the developers to really push their creative vision forward and deliver a game that is equally fun to play as it is visually appealing.

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Sonic Forces to Include a Character Creator http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/16/sonic-forces-include-character-creator/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/16/sonic-forces-include-character-creator/#respond Tue, 16 May 2017 19:02:05 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=101621

By Zubi Khan

Sega has revealed that Sonic Forces will include a character creator for players to create their own unique anthropomorphic hero in the upcoming game.  The customizable hero character was revealed in the latest trailer of the game, which showed Sonic and Classic Sonic take on a giant robot, presumably crafted by the evil Dr. Eggman. […]

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By Zubi Khan

Sega has revealed that Sonic Forces will include a character creator for players to create their own unique anthropomorphic hero in the upcoming game. 

The customizable hero character was revealed in the latest trailer of the game, which showed Sonic and Classic Sonic take on a giant robot, presumably crafted by the evil Dr. Eggman. The duo was accompanied by a third character which was depicted as one of the many possible custom characters that can be created in Sonic Forces.

The trailer also showed glimpses of the character creator in action, which will feature seven different animal types to choose from which will also have unique abilities and stats. The animals include:

Hedgehogs– Allows rings to be collected upon getting hit or damaged

Rabbits- Can sustain a longer period of invulnerability upon getting or damaged

Dogs- Respawns with 5 rings upon death

Cats- Maintains one ring even after being hit or damaged

Birds- Double jump ability that can help the player get more air time

Aside from the abilities associated with each unique animal class, the trailer also showed gadgets and tools used by the custom character, such as flamethrowers and grappling hooks, it is unclear if these items will be locked to specific animals or will be something that can be equipped by anyone.

Sonic Forces is set to release sometime later this year for all major consoles and PC.

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Bandai Namco Reveals One Piece: Unlimited World Red Deluxe Edition http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/16/bandai-namco-reveals-one-piece-unlimited-world-red-deluxe-edition/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/16/bandai-namco-reveals-one-piece-unlimited-world-red-deluxe-edition/#respond Tue, 16 May 2017 18:47:41 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=101617

By Zubi Khan

Originally released in 2013, One Piece: Unlimited World Red is getting a revamped deluxe edition this summer. The new game aptly titled One Piece: Unlimited World Red Deluxe Edition is set to release on the PlayStation 4, PC and for a series first, the Nintendo Switch by Bandai Namco. The revamped game promises to run […]

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By Zubi Khan

Originally released in 2013, One Piece: Unlimited World Red is getting a revamped deluxe edition this summer.

The new game aptly titled One Piece: Unlimited World Red Deluxe Edition is set to release on the PlayStation 4, PC and for a series first, the Nintendo Switch by Bandai Namco. The revamped game promises to run at a blistering 60fps on all platforms, additionally, the game will support 4k resolutions on the PC and PlayStation 4 Pro releases of the title.  All playable modes within the game will also support two player Co-op, thus allowing a friend to join in on the anime action brawler while they help you explore the Grand Blue. The deluxe edition will also include more than 40 pieces of previously released DLC.

The game takes place within the world of the mega popular anime series One Piece, players take control of the Straw Hat pirate crew after they befriend a mysterious racoon named Pato. This new mysterious ally leads Luffy and his friends to the Forgotten Island, upon arriving they get kidnapped by an evil pirate named The Red Count. Luffy takes it upon himself to rescue his teammates and uncover Red Count’s true intentions.

One Piece: Unlimited World Red Deluxe Edition will first launch digitally on PlayStation 4 and PC on August 25, 2017, with the Nintendo Switch version getting both a digital and physical release a month later in September.

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The Crew 2 and New Assassin’s Creed Announced by Ubisoft http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/16/the-crew-2-and-new-assassins-creed-announced-by-ubisoft/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/16/the-crew-2-and-new-assassins-creed-announced-by-ubisoft/#respond Tue, 16 May 2017 18:33:06 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=101606

By Michael Koczwara

Ubisoft has announced that a new Assassin’s Creed and The Crew 2 will release before the current fiscal year ends in March of 2018. Both titles were revealed during Ubisoft’s annual earnings report. In addition to the announcement of Far Cry 5, the company revealed three additional games that will see a release within the current […]

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By Michael Koczwara

Ubisoft has announced that a new Assassin’s Creed and The Crew 2 will release before the current fiscal year ends in March of 2018.

Both titles were revealed during Ubisoft’s annual earnings report. In addition to the announcement of Far Cry 5, the company revealed three additional games that will see a release within the current fiscal year. An untitled Assassin’s Creed game will likely see release before the end of 2017, just as previous entries in the series have. Nothing else was revealed about the title, but a recent rumour suggests that the highly successful series will take on ancient Egypt in an open-world setting. According to the rumour, the game is named Assassin’s Creed Origins and is also said to be the largest game in the franchise.

The Crew is getting a sequel three years after the original was released back in 2014. This is the first we are hearing about another entry in this series. Besides a name and a release before the end of the fiscal year, nothing else is known about the title. A logo was unveiled on the official Ubisoft forums with the tagline, “The best is yet to come!” The original game was recently free to download back when Ubisoft celebrated their 30th anniversary.

Outside of these three new game announcements, Ubisoft has reconfirmed that South Park: The Fractured But Whole will be released in the same time period, sometime before April of 2018. The title has seen a number of delays since it was announced back in June of 2015, the most recent was a delay back in February of this year.

While the announcements were very shy of any real details, all of this comes weeks before E3 2017. You can catch the Ubisoft press conference along with all our coverage on each of these titles on June 12 at 1 PM PT.

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Ubisoft Anounces Far Cry 5 http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/16/ubisoft-anounces-far-cry-5/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/16/ubisoft-anounces-far-cry-5/#respond Tue, 16 May 2017 17:40:18 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=101603

By Zubi Khan

Far Cry 5 has officially been announced by Ubisoft, the game is currently in development and is slated to release sometime prior to April 2018. The announcement of the new entry into the Far Cry series came from the official Twitter page for the series.  A tweet was sent out that asked fans to subscribe […]

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By Zubi Khan

Far Cry 5 has officially been announced by Ubisoft, the game is currently in development and is slated to release sometime prior to April 2018.

The announcement of the new entry into the Far Cry series came from the official Twitter page for the series.  A tweet was sent out that asked fans to subscribe to Ubisoft’s North American YouTube channel for more updates and information pertaining to Far Cry. Accompanying the tweet, an image with a basic logo for the future game was also included. Far Cry 5 will be the next major numbered entry into the series since the release of Far Cry Primal in early 2016, which was more of a spin-off of Far Cry 4.

The Far Cry series has been around since the inception of the first game all the way back in 2004. The series is known for placing players in tropical or otherwise foreign outdoor environments tasked with overcoming threats from both opposing human forces and animals alike. Currently, it is unknown where Far Cry 5 will take place, with previous entries in the series taking place in locations such as a fictional Africa and even the Himalayas.  Very little else is known about the future title, but it is likely that the game will hit major consoles and PC once it releases next year.

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Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia Review http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/fire-emblem-echoes-shadows-valentia-review/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/fire-emblem-echoes-shadows-valentia-review/#respond Tue, 16 May 2017 15:00:34 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=101574

By Remington Joseph

Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia caught many people by surprise when it was announced only a few months ago. After the success shared by Fire Emblem Awakening and the more recent Fire Emblem Fates, it was unexpected that Intelligent Systems would decide to remake a Japan-exclusive Famicom title as their next entry into the […]

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By Remington Joseph

Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia caught many people by surprise when it was announced only a few months ago. After the success shared by Fire Emblem Awakening and the more recent Fire Emblem Fates, it was unexpected that Intelligent Systems would decide to remake a Japan-exclusive Famicom title as their next entry into the series. As a fan of Fire Emblem, I had mixed feelings about the announcement. I was excited at the chance to experience a story in the series I didn’t know much about, but I was also worried that the game might feel archaic even after being updated, leaving me, and more importantly, the newly introduced fans feeling discouraged by this radically different title. Luckily, my time with Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia put all of my fears to rest.

Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia Review Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia Review 1

Retelling the plot of Fire Emblem Gaiden, the second game in the series, Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia follows dual protagonists Alm and Celica, childhood friends who are separated at a young age. For their own reasons, the two take up arms when the continent of Valentia becomes a battlefield for the nations of Rigel and Zofia. Intelligent Systems does a great job of breathing new life into Valentia. The game’s story is engaging, but offers a different, slightly darker tone than more recent Fire Emblem titles. The revamped story also helped further add to Shadow of Valentia’s characters. A newly added prologue chapter helps to expand on Alm and Celica’s childhood. New characters are also present in this retelling, adding even more to the story. I found it refreshing to have a default main character again after two titles where I had to create my own. Alm and Celica both have their own backstories, motivations and interpersonal relationships, helping them to stand out among other Fire Emblem protagonists. Another thing that added to this feeling of refreshment is the fact that the game is almost 100 per cent voice acted. This really helped with the characters—whether the scene was meant to be serious or comical.

I have no doubt in my mind that Fire Emblem: Shadows of Valentia uses a modified engine of the series’ last entry, Fire Emblem Fates, but having said that, this game is easily the best looking Fire Emblem game on the Nintendo 3DS. Models look cleaner than before and are well animated. The game features well-done anime cutscenes along with CG cutscenes that fit the game’s new art style. All the characters have been redone, giving them a more distinct appearance than their original counterparts.

Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia Review 3

While Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia takes a number of liberties with its freshly told story, gameplay is where this remake stays true to its roots. For anyone who’s played a Fire Emblem game, forget almost everything you know. Sword users no longer destroy enemy axe wielders without getting a scratch. Archers are no longer sitting ducks when the enemy closes in on them, nor can they decimate flying units like they used to. Fire Emblem Gaiden released before the weapon triangle—a staple of the series—was created and Shadows of Valentia doesn’t do anything to change to that. While it took some getting used to as a longtime fan, I came to appreciate not having to worry so much about which character I decided to attack with, only having to consider terrain and item bonuses. Rather than having to think about any weapon triangle, the true panic in Shadows of Valentia is between physical attackers and mages. Physical attackers have high attack and defence but generally low resistance to magic damage. This gave me just as much reason to maintain an equally strong squad, switching out when necessary. Magic users now have the added risk of having to manage their health in order to attack, a trade-off for their high power level. These changes to the classes made me actually want to use them rather than sticking to melee units as I typically do. Every class feels equally viable with no major drawbacks. My only complaint is that with the lack of the series newer elements, battles can feel a tad bit straight forward. If I’m not completely outnumbered, I sometimes just charge all my units ahead, trusting that nobody will die in the process.

Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia Review 4

The most unique feature to Fire Emblem Gaiden was its dungeon crawling gameplay. This returns in Shadows of Valentia, featuring a new style of dungeon crawling that I hope gets featured again in a new title. Shadows of Valentia has you explore dark caverns filled with monsters that you can attack to trigger a random battle, your group against theirs. This is also where Shadow of Valentia’s fatigue system comes into play. The more battles a character is used in without a break increases their fatigue, resulting in penalties such as decreased stats, which makes them more vulnerable. This was a good way to keep players from relying too much on some of their best units. Items such as food can be used to restore fatigue, making them stronger. Treasures, containing new weapons and armour, can be found in treasure chests along with goddess statues, allowing characters at the correct level to change their class and become more powerful. I loved these new mechanics not only for seamlessly integrating RPG mechanics into Fire Emblem without changing the core gameplay but also helping to vary the gameplay beyond going from battle to battle. Dungeons aren’t the only places to explore either. Towns and castles can be visited, shifting the game into a first-person point-and-click adventure game. These elements help you get a better sense of the layout of Valentia beyond what the characters say.

I’m about ten hours into Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia and loving every moment of it so far. Intelligent Systems has done an excellent job of bringing a classic title forward into the modern age. I’m excited by the idea of later, more complex titles in the series getting similar treatment, one day bringing all the formerly exclusive Japanese entries to a global audience.

Score:8.5

Final Thoughts:Intelligent Systems has done an excellent job of bringing a classic title forward into the modern age.

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Harvest Moon: Light of Hope Announced for Switch, PS4 and Steam http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/16/harvest-moon-light-hope-announced-switch-ps4-steam/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/16/harvest-moon-light-hope-announced-switch-ps4-steam/#respond Tue, 16 May 2017 13:44:20 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=101599

By Cody Orme

Harvest Moon is a cherished property that hasn’t seen a home console instalment in almost decade. But that’s about to change as Natsume announced Harvest Moon: Light of Hope, an all-new title set for the Switch, PlayStation 4 and Steam. “Harvest Moon: Light of Hope will set itself apart from other Harvest Moon titles with […]

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By Cody Orme

Harvest Moon is a cherished property that hasn’t seen a home console instalment in almost decade. But that’s about to change as Natsume announced Harvest Moon: Light of Hope, an all-new title set for the Switch, PlayStation 4 and Steam.

Harvest Moon: Light of Hope will set itself apart from other Harvest Moon titles with its depth, including a robust story and clear-cut goals,” said Hiro Maekawa, President & CEO of Natsume in a press release. “We set out to create a SNES-style nostalgic game with deep and meaningful characters and events.”

Developed by Rising Star Games Harvest Moon: Light of Hope is a celebration of the 20th anniversary of the long-running franchise.  Harvest Moon: Light of Hope also marks the first entry in the series to be available on Steam, and the Switch.  Though no release date has been revealed, the title will be playable at E3 2016.

“Partnering with Natsume for over a decade, we’ve been delighted to bring the joyful gameplay of Harvest Moon to fans in Europe and beyond”, said Martin Defries, Managing Director, Rising Star Games in a press release. “We are excited to be part of the unveiling of Harvest Moon: Light of Hope at E3″.

If that’s not enough to get players excited, Natsume announced the re-release of Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life Special Edition and Harvest Moon: Save the Homeland, for the PlayStation 4. Wii U players aren’t left in the dust though, as Harvest Moon 64 is available for Nintendo’s no deceased console.

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Akiba’s Beat Review – A Statement on Otaku Culture http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/akibas-beat-review-statement-otaku-culture/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/akibas-beat-review-statement-otaku-culture/#respond Tue, 16 May 2017 13:00:07 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=101573

By Elias Blondeau

Hayao Miyazaki once said of the anime industry “It’s produced by humans who can’t stand looking at other humans. That’s why the industry is full of otaku.” Miyazaki’s statement was a critique of anime’s lack of humanity and absence of understanding how the real world works. To him, anime is being made by people who’d […]

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By Elias Blondeau

Hayao Miyazaki once said of the anime industry “It’s produced by humans who can’t stand looking at other humans. That’s why the industry is full of otaku.” Miyazaki’s statement was a critique of anime’s lack of humanity and absence of understanding how the real world works. To him, anime is being made by people who’d been raised on anime was detrimental to the art form as a whole. The same can be said, I feel, of games heavily influenced by anime. Ever since Compile Heart realized it could recycle the same ideas for a decade and Senran Kagura started doing gangbusters, it became clear that anime games were content in being uncritical otaku bait. Slap enough cute girls with eyes that rival their cleavage in circumference on something, and it’ll sell. While this might seem like a dour way to open a review of Akiba’s Beat, it’s actually the most appropriate way I can think of. Because in a world of waifu simulators, Acquire’s latest is a scathing criticism of otaku culture and the cultish behavior it inspires.

This isn’t a happy accident, or me reading too much into the game. The game’s director, Kohta Takano, has explicitly stated that Akibas Beat is preoccupied with critiquing people who get too attached to their idealized versions of their own fandoms. Everywhere one looks throughout the game’s surprisingly nuanced narrative, it’s obvious. The protagonist is an emotionally stunted man-child who revels in his self-destructive lifestyle. Idol singers fend off leering old men who go into debt buying their albums. Maid fetishists stalk employees of maid cafes who feel pressured to never break character, lest they lose customers and their jobs. Takano’s version of otakudom is far from the sugarcoated wank often seen in something like Sword Art Online or No Game No Life. It’s much more in line with something like Welcome to the NHK—a simultaneous homage and takedown of otaku culture. There’s a reason that, unlike the game’s predecessors, Akiba’s Beat doesn’t feature any corporate sponsorship—because it’s deliberately biting the hands that have fed it, and it’s a more valuable work of art for that.

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The way Akiba’s Trip deals with otaku deluding themselves is through the idea of Delusionscapes—dungeons built around a certain theme. These dungeons are the result of one person’s—cheekily known as Delusers—delusions spilling over into reality and manifesting into a physical reality. The theming of these dungeons is far-reaching and always humorous, with a personal favourite being the deliberately edgy, grimdark Puberternity dungeon. Taking a paging out of Persona’s book, players have to guide a motley crew of characters through these clever dungeons and fight the Phantasm at the center. Doing these destroys the Delusionscape entirely and, in theory, erases the memory of everyone involved with the delusion. There are special cases, though, and players will often find allies in these former Delusers.

Finding allies is what underpins the cynical nature of Akiba’s Beat’s satire. While it is an unabashed criticism of something that creators clearly know a lot about and have some affinity for, it’s also a poignant story of unlikely friendship. In many ways, it’s a spiritual successor in both tone and style to cult gem The World Ends With You—a tale of stylish loners finding meaning in their lives through each other and growing up through their newfound friendships. This is accomplished without the aid of shoehorned relationship mechanics and done entirely through good writing, deep characterization, and a narrative that feels written by somebody who’s actually interacted with another human being before. It’s a game where I became invested in the characters without the game playing on cheap sympathy or shock value, and that’s an increasing rarity not only in RPGs, but in video games in general. I appreciate both Akiba’s Beat’s willingness to treat its audience like adults and its heartfelt sincerity. And, as an aside, I appreciate its female characters being more than one-dimensional eye candy with watermelon breasts.

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It also should be stated that Akiba’s Beat has one of the best translations in recent memory. Many people insist that anything less than complete faithfulness when translating a game is tantamount to censorship. But as we’ve seen with Persona 5’s notoriously clumsy translation, transliteration is a poor substitute for a good localization. And a good localization is exactly what’s on display here, with biting jokes that hit hard, Western references that range from Resident Evil 4 to Ghostbusters, and cheeky puns that continually one-up each other throughout the entire experience. When you sacrifice entertainment value for complete faithfulness, you’re alienating a wider audience and courting a smaller audience who revel in understanding quirky Japanese humour. That’s a questionable decision, I feel, and I’m glad Akiba’s Beat doesn’t do that. It’s one of the rare games that tries to be funny and doesn’t feel forced. That said, there’s enough quirky nerd humour here to keep those “in the know” happy, making it a sort of “best of both worlds” situation. It’s just good across the board, really, and a standard other that localized games should aspire to.

The gameplay’s nothing to sneeze at, either. Dungeon-crawling is a blast, with Delusionscapes becoming varied in their design and layouts. They’re a joy to explore, with branching paths that don’t lead the player in blatantly telegraphed directions. When in combat, players can expect something the lines of the real-time action of the Tales series, albeit with some fun mechanical quirks. For starters, combos are limited to a set amount of hits that can be modified with gear. This adds a certain rhythm to the combat, where players do their damage, then dodge out of the way. Getting off combos and using specials, builds up a meter which has two phases—a short high-strength phase that, once activated, unlocks the longer high-strength phase. This longer phase triggers a vocal music track and restricts the limit on combos, meaning that players can wail on bad guys with an unlimited wombo combo as a J-Pop singer belts out a catchy song. It’s a system that’s just deep enough to not feel repetitious and just easy enough to not be overwhelming, resulting in a title that’s both a good introduction and a fun title for veterans.

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There’s also a novel gear system that’s easy to navigate but complex enough to allow room for experimentation. On top of traditional armour sets found in other RPGs, there are two other major systems in place—PC-building and trading cards. Every character has different parts of a gaming PC assigned to them, from GPUs to CPUs, and these can be customized with different components found in various shops. Depending on the character, players use their best judgment to stat out each party member, with these components allowing for more combos, stronger magic, et cetera. Adding another layer of depth is the fictitious VanFan trading card game. Players buy packs of trading cards from an adorable black market vendor, then affix obtained cards to a character. Separating these cards are a mathematical sign, like multiplication or division symbols. What this essentially boils down to is different combinations of cards yielding different effects, from attack boosts to elemental buffs to just about any stat one can imagine. These can be ignored entirely, dabbled in, or completely engaged with—it’s only as deep as you want it to be. That’s the beauty of both these systems to me, really, and represent what I like best about Akiba’s Beat’s gameplay. Practically anyone can play it, of any skill level, and find something to love.

What some people may not love, though, are the visuals. It’s sort of an eye of the beholder situation, in my opinion, because I was sufficiently impressed with the excellent character designs and the aesthetics of every dungeon. However, there was a point that my housemate walked by and remarked, “wow, those graphics are terrible.” It’s true that there’s not a lot of detailed texture work here, and that it’s the furthest thing from a lifelike game. But it sure is a stylish one, with a unifying series of design choices that make for something that I personally don’t think comes anywhere close to ugly. It makes careful use of vibrant primary and bright neon colours to create an atmosphere that ultimately wins over its lack of graphical fidelity. So, yes, it’s no Horizon: Zero Dawn, but it definitely has more of a memorable art direction that a lot of other titles. And as this year’s The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Nier: Automata have shown us, that goes a long way when competing against games with bigger budgets.

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I’m also a big fan of the soundtrack, which evokes the jazzy techno vibes of Persona 4 and 5 without feeling derivative, and hosts a great deal of excellent vocal tracks to boot. Any game with ClariS songs in it can’t be bad in the music department, really, and Akiba’s Beat is certainly a winner in my book.

The whole game is a winner, really, as far as I’m concerned. I’ve been very vocal in my disdain for the watered-down nature of recent RPGs, and in the blatant pandering found in games with anime-inspired aesthetics. Akiba’s Beat is an antithesis to both these things. It’s a simple RPG with enough depth to keep players hooked, and one that doesn’t handhold players for hours on end. It has a narrative that’s actually trying to say something, as opposed to being designed to make its audience feel precious and uncritical. It’s the Persona sequel I wanted, and the World Ends With You successor I’ve dreamed of. Tied together by stylish design choices, a catchy soundtrack, and a stellar translation, Akiba’s Beat is a great game, through and through, and something that any genre fan should check out.

Score:9

Final Thoughts:Akiba’s Beat is both a stellar role-playing experience and a heartfelt yarn with bite. One of 2017’s best RPGs so far, and a new personal favourite.

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Cooking Mama: Sweet Shop Review http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/cooking-mama-sweet-shop-review/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/cooking-mama-sweet-shop-review/#respond Tue, 16 May 2017 07:00:06 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=101496

By Remington Joseph

I played the first Cooking Mama title when it released for the Nintendo DS back in 2006 out of pure curiosity. I had a surprisingly enjoyable time with the game, but my overall lack of interest in the genre kept me from following the series too closely.  This is why I was surprised to find […]

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By Remington Joseph

I played the first Cooking Mama title when it released for the Nintendo DS back in 2006 out of pure curiosity. I had a surprisingly enjoyable time with the game, but my overall lack of interest in the genre kept me from following the series too closely.  This is why I was surprised to find out that a new title, Cooking Mama: Sweet Shop was releasing this year for the Nintendo 3DS. Three years after the game’s Japanese debut, the newest Cooking Mama game has made its way to America and Europe and while Cooking Mama: Sweet Shop adds a few new features, not much has changed since then.

In Cooking Mama: Sweet Shop, players will run their own store where they can put the dishes they create on display. With the creation of different foods, the shop will expand in size, adding additional recipes.  Players can then put those products on display and watch as customers browse the store, buying the desserts for in-game currency. This currency can be used to purchase interior design items for your store or different accessories for Tomoko, the series’ mascot who guides you through each recipe.

Cooking Mama: Sweet Shop Review

Most of your time spent in Cooking Mama: Sweet Shop will be spent following recipes to create desserts. This is done by participating in a number of primarily touch-based mini-games that simulate each step of the cooking process. Fans of the series will know exactly what to expect here. Cooking Mama: Sweet Shop includes 60 different recipes with over 160 mini-games. I didn’t find any of these mini-games to be challenging at all. The only way to fail in most cases is by running out of time which is tracked by a clock in the upper-right corner of the top screen. Very few of the mini-games allowed failure through making mistakes. Aside from one of the games that only offer one try, the only way I managed to fail was when I waited out the timer. This didn’t matter much since failure has very little weight to it in the long run. You’re awarded a bronze medal and pushed onto the next step regardless of how many you mess up on or even if you choose to do nothing. Though you’re given a low rating and burnt looking medal, the finished product still comes out looking perfect. I hoped that you would be able to visually see your mistakes in some form or in the case where I didn’t touch the game for the entire process, presented an empty tray. Even with the lowest score, you can still display your dessert in the shop where it can be sold for seemingly full value. The only real punishment is hearing Tomoko’s disappointment as she tries to encourage you for next time.

This didn’t matter much since failure has very little weight to it in the long run. You’re awarded a bronze medal and pushed onto the next step regardless of how many you mess up or even if you choose to do nothing. Though you’re given a low rating and burnt looking medal, the finished product still comes out looking perfect. I hoped that you would be able to visually see your mistakes in some form or in the case where I didn’t touch the game for the entire process, presented an empty tray. Even with the lowest score, you can still display your dessert in the shop where it can be sold for seemingly full value. The only real punishment is hearing Tomoko’s disappointment as she tries to encourage you for next time.

Cooking Mama: Sweet Shop Review 1

Aside from crafting your own desserts, running the shop is the main thing you’ll be doing in Cooking Mama: Sweet Shop. The unfortunate thing about that is that it’s the most boring part of the game without question. After making your first dessert, you can place it anywhere on display. After that, you can visit the store and watch as the customers show up. That’s pretty much it. You watch the small characters dawdle around until they’re ready to buy something and then you tap the object they’re holding to wrap it up for them and receive payment. What’s worse, waiting through this is the only way to make any money in the game. It’s a major time sink, and not even remotely fun. Even calling this gameplay shallow feels like it’s giving the feature too much credit. To compare, I took a look at Cooking Mama 5: Bon Appétit, the previous entry in the series that released in 2014. In that game, Tomoko ran her own shop which the player could help run. This was done through its own mini-games where players would help with things like serving food or cleaning up. It would have made a lot more sense if elements like these appeared in Cooking Mama: Sweet Shop now that the store is yours. The money earned from the store can be used to buy decorations for the store’s interior along with the kitchen you cook in and other decorative items. These are all purely cosmetic though, so unless you’re really bothered by the kitchen counter’s colours, you don’t have to bother sitting around, waiting to earn virtual cash.

Cooking Mama: Sweet Shop Review 2

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to try out the “World Challenge” mode so I can’t comment on how it works. The game’s multiplayer isn’t all that different from the solo play. Players can compete to create the best dish, playing the same mini-games found in single player. The game also features download play so only one player is required to own it.

While I doubt I’ll play much more of Cooking Mama: Sweet Shop in the future, I can’t say it’s because the game is bad. The mini-games featured were all fully functional and didn’t frustrate me at all but they also weren’t fun. There is a ton of content to unlock but nothing I was personally interested in unlocking. The series hasn’t really changed all that much since its debut on the original Nintendo DS. The only real change is that I’m older now. The Cooking Mama series is essentially the video game equivalent to Hasbro’s Easy-Bake-Oven. Younger audiences will likely get the most out of the game while older players will end up less fulfilled than if they went to the kitchen and tried actually making something.             

Score:6.5

Final Thoughts:While I doubt I’ll play much more of Cooking Mama: Sweet Shop in the future, I can’t say it’s because the game is bad.

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The Surge Review – Another Decent Souls-Like http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/surge-review-another-decent-souls-like/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/surge-review-another-decent-souls-like/#respond Mon, 15 May 2017 22:00:53 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=101542

By Elias Blondeau

Dark Souls has transcended being a video game franchise and become a buzzword for describing a plethora of things. Take a shot for every time you’ve heard “it’s the Dark Souls of X,” “it’s like Y meets Dark Souls,” or “Z game is as hard as Dark Souls,” and I guarantee you’ll wind up in […]

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By Elias Blondeau

Dark Souls has transcended being a video game franchise and become a buzzword for describing a plethora of things. Take a shot for every time you’ve heard “it’s the Dark Souls of X,” “it’s like Y meets Dark Souls,” or “Z game is as hard as Dark Souls,” and I guarantee you’ll wind up in the hospital with alcohol poisoning. In some cases, though, that descriptor is appropriate. Lords of the Fallen was such a case, as Deck13 basically took From Software’s golden goose and copied its gameplay wholesale. While it was far from a bad game, and one that I will say I enjoyed despite its short length and slow gameplay, it was pretty derivative across the board. It’s clear that the developer has learned their lesson with their new Souls-like, The Surge. While it’s still a blatant aping of a better franchise, it brings enough new features to the table to merit at least a cursory glance.

Its biggest deviation from its inspiration is in the setting. The Surge takes place in the wake of a mechanical apocalypse, where a sinister corporation’s seeming altruism has backfired and destroyed most of the world. Most of humanity has been merged with machines, resulting in a hybrid race of mechanical terrors. These zombie-like monsters are Cronenbergian in their concept and Tsukamoto-esque in their appearance—a nightmarish exercise in biomechanical body horror. They’re joined by corrupted machines, ranging from berserk droids to hulking factory machinery turned sentient. One man, decked out in an exosuit, has to face these nightmares to make sense of what exactly happened to the world and if there’s any hope to be had in this new wasteland.

The Surge Review - Another Decent Souls-Like

The Surge wears its influences on its sleeve. From Terminator to Edge of Tomorrow to Transformers to Metal Gear, it’s a game clearly inspired by a lot of media concerned with mechanical apocalypses. However, it’s not entirely unoriginal—the idea of turning Terminator’s vision of a ruined earth dominated by robots into something horrific instead of a shooter has legs. Instead of empowering players to mow down armies of robots with high-powered weaponry, its narrative positions itself as something bleak and oppressive. This isn’t a triumphant tale of man beating machine—it’s a world where the machines have irrevocably won, where corporate hubris has destroyed society, as we know it. That’s pretty novel, really, and a framework that makes it an aping of other narratives feel a little less egregious.

Where the narrative fails, though, is in the finer details. For starters, its protagonist is a generic white guy whose only backstory was “I was in a wheelchair and now I’m not.” He’s not interesting, he barely has a personality, and frankly, it wouldn’t have hurt The Surge at all to make him a customizable character. Nothing of value would’ve been lost. In Lords of the Fallen, Harkyn was an interesting enough lead to merit not being player-created, but this guy is bland as they come. The side characters surrounding him, some of whom have only a few lines, are more interesting than he is. Also less interesting is the overarching narrative, which pans out to be something James Cameron came up with over twenty years ago and not much else. The evil corporation here is, for all intents and purposes, SkyNet 2.0, and while I’m an unabashed Terminator fanboy, I must say that I was hoping there was something a little more original here.

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My hopes for originality were somewhat satisfied by the gameplay, though. Sure, on a basic mechanical level, it’s another unabashed derivation of the Souls formula. It plays basically identically to those games, albeit a lot sloppier, more prone to bugging out, and with hitboxes that end up feeling very unclear. But in the smaller details, Deck13’s done a great job of iterating on a formula that’s started to get stagnate. It all starts with a unique gear system that puts an emphasis on enemy dismemberment and crafting. To deck out their exosuit, players have to focus on enemies’ limbs and strategically cut them off using special moves. Once enough limbs have been collected, players can use the parts to either craft new limbs or strengthen existing ones. The more enemies the player encounters, the more loadouts they’ll find, and the more variety they’ll find in mixing and matching different parts. There’s a definite novelty to experimenting with different load outs, and it’s a novelty that never wore off for me.

The other mechanics of The Surge also differ from the Souls franchise enough to not feel like a straight-up rip-off. Bosses have to be taken down in a correct order of dismemberment, and taking off different limbs first produces different results. Players’ souls, I mean, “scrap,” will deteriorate after a few minutes, meaning that if they don’t pick them up soon after dying they’ll lose them forever. There’s a surprisingly nuanced and even more surprisingly not tedious crafting system, an ability to “bank” scrap in safe rooms for future upgrades, and a bunch of other little tweaks that make it clear that Deck13 is going for their own thing here.

But the problem is, though, that their main inspiration is still one that does this game’s basic mechanics way better than The Surge can muster. There’s a great degree of imprecision to the combat here, ranging from players’ strikes going in weird directions to hits occasionally just phasing through enemies. Dodging is arguably the worst offender here, with the window of the player getting hit often feeling poorly defined and entirely up to chance. There were times where an enemy hit clearly didn’t connect with the protagonist’s body, yet still knocked me back and took away a chunk of health. Precision-based action games only work with there’s precision involved, and while The Surge is a far cry from the awful combat found in something like Necropolis, there’s still too much up in the air to hold a candle to the mechanical perfection found in something like Bloodborne or Dark Souls III.

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All this being said, The Surge is worthy of admiration from a stylistic perspective. After Dark Souls took off, all its imitators seemed to be transfixed by making more high fantasy guff instead of doing something original. While Deck13’s game certainly does take inspiration from other science fiction apocalypses, there’s something to be said for one of these sorts of games letting players take down giant robots instead of yet another dragon. Dodging laser beams and cutting off robotic appendages is a cool feeling, and made the game’s dives into sloppiness a little easier to swallow. Is it just a coat of paint? Yeah, basically. But it’s a nice coat.

The Surge isn’t going to win any awards for its gameplay or narrative, but it manages to earn the distinction of being the best Souls-like game I’ve played yet. That isn’t to say it’s a great game, or that it even comes close to touching something actually made by From Software. But it does enough aspects differently, puts on enough layers of paint, and manages to establish an interesting enough setting to be a compelling little game. Deck13 is clearly a team with big ambitions, and even when The Surge fails to hit that high bar, one can’t help but admire the gusto at which the developer just goes for it. With more polish, I can really see their next game being a true must-have.

For now, though, The Surge will do just fine. In spite of its blemishes, it’s worth considering, and definitely worth checking out after a price drop.

Score:7

Final Thoughts:The Surge is an admirable riff on the Souls formula, with its novel setting and new mechanics making its mechanical and narrative blemishes easier to swallow.

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Fist Fight Blu-Ray Give Away http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/15/fist-fight-blu-ray-give-away/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/15/fist-fight-blu-ray-give-away/#respond Mon, 15 May 2017 19:21:39 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=101357

By CGM Staff

CGM has teamed up with Warner Bros. Home Entertainment to give away some of the best movies in recent history. This month we are giving away Fist Fight on Blu-ray Combo Pack! Own the Blu-ray™ 5/30 Digital HD Available Now When one school teacher (Charlie Day) gets the other (Ice Cube) fired, he is challenged to […]

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By CGM Staff

CGM has teamed up with Warner Bros. Home Entertainment to give away some of the best movies in recent history.

This month we are giving away Fist Fight on Blu-ray Combo Pack!

Fist Fight Blu-Ray Give Away

Own the Blu-ray™ 5/30 Digital HD Available Now

When one school teacher (Charlie Day) gets the other (Ice Cube) fired, he is challenged to an after-school fight.

© 2017 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

Fist Fight Blu-Ray Giveaway

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Razer and 3 Group to Collaborate http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/15/razer-and-3-group-to-collaborate/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/15/razer-and-3-group-to-collaborate/#respond Mon, 15 May 2017 19:04:03 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=101537

By Remington Joseph

Razer and The 3 Group announced today that they will be globally collaborating together. Mobile network operator 3 Group and computer hardware developer Razer will be forming a global strategic alliance. The two companies will be working together in order to target the gaming community, developing new mobile devices and tariff plans specifically for gamers. […]

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By Remington Joseph

Razer and The 3 Group announced today that they will be globally collaborating together.

Mobile network operator 3 Group and computer hardware developer Razer will be forming a global strategic alliance. The two companies will be working together in order to target the gaming community, developing new mobile devices and tariff plans specifically for gamers. They will also be distributing Razer’s virtual currency, zGold. This new currency can be used to purchase new Razer gear along with games through Steam. This partnership marks the first time Razer will partner with a mobile network. The 3 Group hopes to become the network of choice for the community. In Denmark, 3 Group has already started to offer Razer accessories in their stores. Additionally, 3 Hong Kong and Razer will open a RazerStore in June. The companies are also planning a series of joint gaming promotions in the future.

The 3 Group is currently the leading group player in mobile data networks and mobile broadband technologies. Founded in 2002, 3 Group now has mobile operations in Austria, Hong Kong, Indonesia and the United Kingdom. As of 2015, over 30.1 million customers worldwide registered with The 3 Group.

Founded in 2005, Razer is currently the leading brand when it comes to gamers. Razer remains dedicated to the creation and development of products focused on PC gaming. Razer makes a number of accessories and other devices such as laptops and tablets. Razer has developed hardware and integrated software for over 35 million users. Earlier this year, Razer bought android smartphone manufacturer Nextbit, creators of the Nextbit Robin. Sales of the phone were stopped immediately after Razer bought the manufacturer.

Recently, Razer announced their new Lancehead wireless mouse and its tournament edition variant as part of their Razer Chroma line, planned to launch later this year.

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Remastering Wonder Boy – An Interview With Lizardcube http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/15/remastering-wonder-boy-interview-lizardcube/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/15/remastering-wonder-boy-interview-lizardcube/#respond Mon, 15 May 2017 18:16:56 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=101519

By Brendan Frye

Remastering classic games has become commonplace in the modern gaming landscape. The concept of beloved title receiving a second life on the latest and greatest consoles on the market is a novel fantasy and one that, although often well intentioned, rarely lives up to all the hype surrounding it. Still, every once in a while […]

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By Brendan Frye

Remastering classic games has become commonplace in the modern gaming landscape. The concept of beloved title receiving a second life on the latest and greatest consoles on the market is a novel fantasy and one that, although often well intentioned, rarely lives up to all the hype surrounding it. Still, every once in a while a remastered title arrives and breathes new life into the classic. Wonder Boy: The Dragons Trap for the PlayStation 4, PC, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch is one such title.

Wonder Boy was a classic for the Sega Master System and the PC Engine back in 1989. While being a classic of the time, it has long since faded from the mainstream. The team at Lizardcube have painstakingly worked to bring the classic platformer a new life on modern platforms. The bright, hand-drawn art style, and the attention to detail are a lesson on how a game should be remastered. Speaking over Skype, CGMagazine caught up with Omar Cornut, the developer of Wonder Boy: The Dragons Trap, and one of the main team members at Lizardcube. Taking the time to go over the project, Omar outlines how Wonder Boy came to be, and what is next for the studio.

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CGMagazine: Let’s start with why the choice to remaster Wonder Boy?

Omar Cornut: For me, it’s mostly because it’s a game I really loved as a child and it’s a game that I keep playing over and over again. I’ve always been interested in retro Sega games that were for the Master System, and I thought it was a good intersection of us loving this game, and the fact that there were enough players who loved it to make it viable as a project.

CGM: How did you go about the license? How did the project start? How did you get to the final product that it is today?

Cornut: I was curious to know if there were any secrets left in the original game because it’s a game with a lot of hidden doors, and an obvious sort of item drop. So, at some point, I just started looking into the original game cartridge, the ROM. From there, I started looking into the game code and the game data to try to understand how the game was built.

I started making these tools where I could visualize the levels of those games, and I could start looking for all the triggers that made up the doors and then eventually, I sort of knew enough about the game, that I thought I would be able to make a remaster that would be accurate enough. I worked with a guy called Ben Fiquet 10 years ago on a game called Soul Bubbles on the Nintendo DS, and I knew that he sort of wanted to get back into games because he’d been reading comic books and animation for a while. So I just talked to him and said “let’s try to prototype something.” So, on our spare time, I think it was like the end of 2013, 2014 edge, we started sort of working on a prototype. At that point, it was still a hobby project and then, we had enough of a prototype that we went and contacted the original creator of the game, Mr. [Ryuichi] Nishizawa in Japan, and pitched him.

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What happened with his game license is confusing. The original publisher was Westone and they had the rights to the IP and the game content of the game. But the name Wonder Boy and its trademark was owned by Sega, which is why at the time Westone also licensed the game to Hudson Soft which was released on the PC. Before the Wonder Boy license, there was a game called the Adventure Island for the NES, which was basically the first Wonder Boy and Wonder Boy 3 was also released as Dragon’s Curse, but most people here, at least in the Europe and in the U.S., know it as Wonder Boy.

It was the most famous ‘bright’ style of game, but because of how the licensing was arranged, my original plan was to go to the original creator. Us being a small company, I didn’t want to approach a big corporation like Sega, I figured it would be too difficult. So our ‘plan b’ was to license the game from the creators, but not the name itself. We would call it Wonder Bob, or Wonder Girl, or whatever.­ Eventually, as the project grew, we went to DotEmu and we found that they specialise in retro games, and they were happy to finance the project, and they specialise in retrieving licenses from Japan. So, they also convinced us to just go and ask Sega for the right to use the name, but I was starting with the assumption that I wouldn’t even be able to ask Sega. At that point, we only had the third prototype, so when we came and started talking to Sega, we had something to show. The game was unfinished but you could see the artwork was there, you could see that it conveyed what the final game would be, so it was the very concrete proposal we made to Sega that worked out

So basically, it took a while because it was very slow to make anything move with Sega, especially because Lizardcube is a very small team. So, even though we’re making a deal for them in terms of the scope of it, it’s quite a small deal usually. So, they sort of did it because they used to do licensing, and I guess in a way it’s free money for them, but t took a while to convince them of that. We released the pre-trailer, the announcement was in June 2016, which was right after they had approved it.

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At the same time, I also knew that we had to adapt things to make it viable for a more modern audience. So, we did a lot of playtesting, improving it in many ways. The original game was a bit sluggish, it was also four by three. So, we changed those things for example, so it’s a simple game, now and then we made little, simple adjustments to the rules of the levels. We added difficulty modes, so folks used to playing the original could set the game to be harder. We also added extra secrets, but 80 per cent of the original game is still there. It still holds that original scope and general vibe – our adjustments weren’t meant to change the heart of the game because for us, it’s a bit of a cult classic the same way The Legend of Zelda is for Nintendo kids.So, it was sort of out of question to redesign the game too much in a way.

CGM: How did the game shift from being a hobby project to a full-fledged retail product, and who kind of helped that along the way?

Cornut: Well, first we talked to the original creators. He gave us the ok but told us he only held a portion of the full IP. We didn’t have the guts or motivation at that time to get the other half of the IP, so I could have worked in the basement for two years on it. When DotEmu came in as publisher to fund us so all we needed to do was focus on the game, while they worked on the business, administration and legal elements, well, that changed everything for us. So, the key point was with funding with them basically.

We basically started the company just a few days before signing the document, it’s like we delayed it as much as possible and once we knew that DotEmu was happy to fund this project, we just started a company just for the game.

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CGM: Now, looking forward, do you see your team working on other work of this nature, or is this kind of a one-off?

Cornut: We don’t really know yet. I guess we were too focused on that to think ahead. I think we would probably enjoy making similar projects, maybe not all the time, but we need the right alignment of stars between finding the license that we could use and because I would like to make The Legend of Zelda but I’m pretty sure Nintendo wouldn’t let me touch it.

So we have to find a game to test, and it has to be one that everyone loves, including myself. If I find a game based solely on popularity, I won’t know it well enough. We also need to be careful to pick a game that will sell – because there are lots of Sega games I love but no one would buy them. Also, the fact it has to be old enough because if you pick the game like, I don’t even know, one from the Genesis, it’s already too beautiful, and I think it’s already beautiful enough that if we’re to make it with Ben Fiquet, it won’t be as striking of a difference. We also have to consider the game’s age. So, making 8-bit game makes more sense, maybe some 16-bit games because the games are old enough to be simple, I don’t want to say ugly but you know, you need to be old enough for it to make sense.

Everybody has a different list of fantasy games, I think. Ben likes Golden Axe, you know. We don’t know yet, I think first we will take some time off, and we’ll see what we do, so it might be up to three new games. The next game might be a new game and be the opposite, but we have to build on this trend. So, if we were to make a new game, it has to be good enough and has to be like planned and prototyped enough before we start working on it.

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CGM: What is your experience with game development? I can see you’ve done a few projects; how did you get started? What part of it did you work on that really spoke to you?

Cornut: I guess the first game that would define as “work” was the Soul Bubbles on the Nintendo DS, which actually I worked on with Ben, it was the moment we met, and it was a game I spent a long time on, almost four years on it. It was a very odd game for the DS, very, I won’t say interesting but sort of alluring, but I guess I was lucky because my friend was the owner of the company at that time, just gave us the time to experiment and to make a game that was very unique for the hardware for the time. The game didn’t really sell well because it was the time when the DS was overflowing with shovelware, and we had to retail and distribute these games. Again, being a little weird, it was hard to have it working worldwide or whatever. So, what happened in the U.S. actually was that we got a publisher that managed to get a deal with Toys R Us, and it was a Toys R Us in the U.S., which is really weird, because when people see games at Toys R Us, they don’t expect it to be a good game somehow.

CGM: Right.

Cornut: Anyway, the first interesting work I would say was when I worked in Japan, in a company called Two Games.

It was very fun, it was very magical to work with Japanese teams and, learn basically from just this very different way of doing things. Then, I worked with Two Games, and then I moved to Media Molecule in England where I worked on Dreams on the PlayStation 4, which is not out yet, because it’s a very ambitious title and interest. I think all those games share a quality of trying new things visually. They’re modern in style and it’s the kind of game I am attracted to. Right now, I’m seeing things that are quite different, I’ve been seeing it with puzzle games. I love games like The Witness for example but I don’t know how to approach that yet. I don’t think I’m smart enough to make a good puzzle game that reaches people, but maybe I would try it, I don’t know.

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Project Rap Rabbit Kickstarter Launches http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/15/project-rap-rabbit-kickstarter-launches/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/15/project-rap-rabbit-kickstarter-launches/#respond Mon, 15 May 2017 15:42:09 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=101511

By Remington Joseph

The recently announced Project Rap Rabbit unveiled its Kickstarter page today. Developers NanaOn-Sha and INIS formally announced their upcoming game, Project Rap Rabbit after launching a Kickstarter campaign for the game. Details about the game’s inspirations and plot are mentioned on the page along with some information on the game’s mechanics. Concept art and character […]

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By Remington Joseph

The recently announced Project Rap Rabbit unveiled its Kickstarter page today.

Developers NanaOn-Sha and INIS formally announced their upcoming game, Project Rap Rabbit after launching a Kickstarter campaign for the game. Details about the game’s inspirations and plot are mentioned on the page along with some information on the game’s mechanics. Concept art and character bios are also available.

Project Rap Rabbit takes place in an alternate version of 16th century Japan where people of the world have become hostile towards the growing diversification of their own homelands. In the midst of people becoming guarded towards each other, an earth shatter event occurs in the world, devastating the land and its people. Project Rap Rabbit follows a young rabbit named Toto-Maru as he journeys to overthrow the world’s powerful overlords using the strength of music to combat small-mindedness.

NanaOn-Sha and INIS are held in high regard for their contribution to the rhythm genre of gaming. NanaOn-Sha developed the Parappa the Rapper series while INIS created the popular Nintendo DS title, Elite Beat Agents. Combining both company’s experience in rhythm-action games, Project Rap Rabbit promises a true evolution of the genre. The game allows players to control the flow of the game, creating full battle rap verses of their own rather than following a set line. Project Rap Rabbit will feature competitive leaderboards and bonuses for skilled players.

Project Rap Rabbit’s Kickstarter has a goal of $1,100,000, allowing for six full levels. Stretch goals include an Xbox One version of the game, an extra level and a multiplayer versus mode. The final stretch goal for the game will allow the developers to create a Nintendo Switch version of the game.

Project Rap Rabbit is planned to launch on PlayStation 4 and PC via Steam. The game’s Kickstarter campaign will be running for another 35 days.

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Halo 3 Remastered Won’t Happen Says 343 Community Manager http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/15/halo-3-remastered-wont-happen-says-343-community-manager/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/15/halo-3-remastered-wont-happen-says-343-community-manager/#respond Mon, 15 May 2017 14:54:15 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=101502

By Zubi Khan

Halo 3 may be the first title in the series that does not get the remaster treatment as a stand-alone title. Since the release of the original Halo: Combat Evolved and the follow up, Halo 2, both games eventually got remasters known as the Anniversary Editions that were released to commemorate the games 10-year anniversaries. […]

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By Zubi Khan

Halo 3 may be the first title in the series that does not get the remaster treatment as a stand-alone title.

Since the release of the original Halo: Combat Evolved and the follow up, Halo 2, both games eventually got remasters known as the Anniversary Editions that were released to commemorate the games 10-year anniversaries. But 343 Industries community manager, Brian Jarrard, under his Reddit alias, ske7ch343 responded to fan speculation about a possible remaster.

“OMG Stop. There is no Halo 3 Remaster,” says Jarrad on Reddit.

Aside from the previous two Halo titles receiving Anniversary Editions, the reasoning to the recent fan speculation surrounding a possible Halo 3 remaster also stems from Brian Jarrards own comments earlier in regards to Halo 6 not being at E3, he had stated that there will be a little something from 343 to make up for it though.

Currently, 343 Industries has remained mum on their reasoning as to why Halo 3 won’t be getting a remastered release, one possible reason may be attributed to the fact that Halo 3 has already received a slight boost in performance and image quality within the release of the Master Chief Collection back in 2014, albeit not as significant as the Halo Combat Evolved and Halo 2 Anniversary upgrades that were also included.

For those who may want to jump back into Halo 3, can easily do so through the Master Chief Collection which has the 2007 game running at a brisk 60FPS at a full HD 1080P on the Xbox One.

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Syberia 3 Review – Awkward Translation http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/syberia-3-review/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/syberia-3-review/#respond Mon, 15 May 2017 14:28:58 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=101409

By Elias Blondeau

Development hell rarely ends well. Game development doesn’t happen in a vacuum, and taking too long to ship a product can mean that said product runs the risk of feeling like a relic as opposed to a new title—just ask Duke Nukem. It’s been 13 years since Syberia II’s emotionally harsh tease of a conclusion, […]

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By Elias Blondeau

Development hell rarely ends well. Game development doesn’t happen in a vacuum, and taking too long to ship a product can mean that said product runs the risk of feeling like a relic as opposed to a new title—just ask Duke Nukem. It’s been 13 years since Syberia II’s emotionally harsh tease of a conclusion, and around seven since its follow-up was originally supposed to be published. A lot has changed since the mid-2000s, though, and adventure games just aren’t what they used to be. It’s clear, unfortunately, that Microids wasn’t paying much attention to the changes happening in the genre. This leads to the long-awaited Syberia 3 feeling like a game released several years too late, and even then, one that would’ve felt unfinished had it been released in 2010 or so.

Players once again take control of immensely likeable protagonist Kate Walker. After helping her travelling partner fulfil his dream of finding living mammoths deep in the Russian wilderness, she became lost at sea and was found by the nomadic Youkal tribe. She wakes up in a mental institution with a several month gap in her memory and a secret agency hot on her trail, on top of being accused of the murder of aforementioned companion. The brunt of Syberia 3 involves Kate trying to piece together what, exactly, happened to her and her robotic companion—on top of lending a hand to the oppressed Youkals.

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The narrative here isn’t bad at all, and in fits and starts, it shows a potential for greatness. It tries to make some interesting points on discrimination with the Youkal’s struggles, and sometimes manages to be legitimately unnerving with the antagonists’ dogged pursuit of Kate. I had a definite interest in seeing the story from start to finish—the writers managed to sufficiently invest me in their world and the characters that inhabited it.

It’s unfortunate, then, that the way Syberia 3 tells its story actively fights against player enjoyment. The very rough French-to-English translation rivals Persona 5 in how downright awkward it is, with stilted exchanges that don’t sound anywhere close to how actual human beings talk. Characters talk in bizarro backwards-speak that simultaneously feels overwrought yet not descriptive enough—simple and unclear in its intent, unnecessarily coded in its phrasing. It’s so bad, in fact, that the voice actors often go off the actual on-screen script to properly read basic phrases that have been butchered.

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Not that the voice acting is necessarily good, though. Most of it is pretty awful, in fact. To give credit where it’s due, though, Sharon Mann absolutely slays as Kate Walker again. She brings an emotional intensity and plainspoken charm to the role, acting as a large contributing factor to why I loved the character so much. Practically everyone else, however, is horrible or horribly miscast. Characters either sound nothing like how they look to the point of comical cognitive dissonance or speak with such passive woodenness that it feels like they’re half-heartedly reading from a script while browsing Twitter. It doesn’t help that the recording quality is lacklustre across the board, in some cases making me painfully aware of the actors’ mic location or quality. The real kicker is the dialogue’s tendency to just cut out of existence entirely, leaving lines hanging or interrupting sentences.

Which reminds me that Syberia 3 is a bit of a mess on the technical side of things. Textures popping in and out of existence, NPCs clipping through each other, the camera losing focus of Kate, random frame stuttering, the cursor refusing to highlight the right object, and one instance of freezing that magically fixed itself after ten seconds. That’s not even mentioning that the controls to this game are pretty terrible – the simple act of walking up to an object and looking at it feels like a chore. Whether you’re using a mouse/keyboard combo or a controller doesn’t matter, because either way something’s going to feel off.

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What also feels off is the logic behind most of the puzzles. One very early puzzle made me burst out laughing in the stupidity of its logic. Kate has to break a chain to a boat to escape the mental institution through a waterway. How does she do this? Pouring corrosive acid on it. What does she pour the corrosive acid into? A plastic gas can. This acid can melt through solid metal, but somehow doesn’t completely destroy a flimsy piece of plastic. Because that makes perfect sense. It only gets worse, too, with Kate being completely ignorant of inventory items that could help her out of certain predicaments, or there being a stupid, counterintuitive order to solving puzzles. Coupled with controls that hate the player, this grates on the nerves early on and just doesn’t let up.

These issues are unfortunate because Syberia 3 is honestly a gorgeous game from an aesthetic standpoint. There’s a brilliant art direction at work here, enough to make one ignore the awkward character movement and occasional muddy textures. Set pieces are gorgeous, character designs are top-notch, and everything has a unique style that’s the best 3D evocation of Benoît Sokal’s artwork we could ever hope to get. Microids also has a clear grasp on how to bring out the best of all their characters and environments, through evocative fixed camera angles that rival the technical prowess of Team Silent in terms of staging a scene. It’s all accompanied by a score that’s one of the prettiest I’ve heard in a hot second, one that would be right at home in a big-budget high-fantasy film. With the visual and auditory experience of Syberia 3 being this gorgeous, I found myself getting lost in the game simply to experience more of it.

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But unfortunately, the game itself kept me from ever attaining full immersion. Truth be told, I do like what Syberia 3 is trying to accomplish, and would gladly revisit its world in a more polished build. But as of right now, that polished build isn’t what players are getting for $40. They’re getting several hours of counterintuitive logic, awful controls, and bugs galore. Maybe Microids can patch this game into something better—we saw it happen with Mass Effect: Andromeda, after all. It wouldn’t fix the voice acting or weird puzzles, but it would go a long towards making this a game I can love.

Until then— despite some resounding strengths— Syberia III has too many issues to recommend to anyone but the most patient, forgiving players.

Score:4

Final Thoughts:Syberia 3’s ample potential for greatness is squandered by an awkward translation, poor design, and a heaping helping of technical issues.

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WB Games Announces Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/15/wb-games-announces-lego-marvel-super-heroes-2/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/15/wb-games-announces-lego-marvel-super-heroes-2/#respond Mon, 15 May 2017 14:12:58 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=101490

By Remington Joseph

WB Games and Traveller’s Tales announced their latest Lego title, Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2. Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment officially announced Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2. A post to the official Facebook page for Lego’s Marvel games added an image for the newly announced title. A teaser for the game was also released, revealing that […]

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By Remington Joseph

WB Games and Traveller’s Tales announced their latest Lego title, Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2.

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment officially announced Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2. A post to the official Facebook page for Lego’s Marvel games added an image for the newly announced title. A teaser for the game was also released, revealing that a full-length trailer will be shown on May 23, 2017. Serving as a sequel to Lego Marvel Super Heroes, this new game will bring Marvel’s heroes and villains from different eras and realities for an all new, original story. Players will explore a variety of locations from Marvel lore, brought together into the game’s new hub world, Chronopolis.

Developed by Traveller’s Tales, Lego Marvel Super Heroes released in 2013 for all platforms. It followed an original story about a number of Marvel’s heroes coming together in order to defeat villains Doctor Doom and Galactus. The game follows the gameplay style of past Lego titles. Players can explore a Lego version of New York City along with a few other locations such as Asgard, finding an unlocking up to 180 playable characters from the Marvel universe, each with their own unique abilities. Lego Marvel Super Heroes was met with positive reviews after it released, praising the variety of missions and characters along with the open world gameplay.

In 2016, a follow-up game was released, titled Lego Marvel’s Avengers. Though it was the second instalment in the Lego Marvel series, the game was unrelated to Lego Marvel Super Heroes. Instead, Lego Marvel’s Avengers followed the plot of Marvel’s cinematic films, primarily The Avengers and The Avengers: Age of Ultron. Lego Marvel’s Avengers featured over 200 characters, including most from the previous title. The game didn’t receive the same positive reception when it debuted, being criticized for confining itself to the plot of Marvel’s movies.

Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 will launch on November 14, 2017 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. The game will also be release on the Nintendo Switch this holiday.    

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Pixels & Ink #248 – Prey and Sailing http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/13/pixels-ink-248-prey-sailing/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/13/pixels-ink-248-prey-sailing/#respond Sat, 13 May 2017 23:03:25 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=101402

By Cody Orme

On this episode of the Pixels and Ink podcast, Phil saw Alien: Covanent, and The Belko Experiment. The gang talks about a new Deadpool animated series, and Jesse the Body Ventura. Brendan played Prey while Cody played Sailaway. Check it out!

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By Cody Orme

On this episode of the Pixels and Ink podcast, Phil saw Alien: Covanent, and The Belko Experiment. The gang talks about a new Deadpool animated series, and Jesse the Body Ventura. Brendan played Prey while Cody played Sailaway. Check it out!

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Alien: Covenant Review – Better Than Prometheus http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/alien-covenant-review-better-prometheus/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/alien-covenant-review-better-prometheus/#respond Fri, 12 May 2017 21:00:04 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=101366

By Phil Brown

Several years ago Ridley Scott decided that he would take ownership of the Alien franchise with Prometheus and fans worldwide were stunned by the beautifully crafted R-rated mayhem that he dreamed up. Well, in the trailer anyway. The actual prequel itself was such an odd mix of pretentiously convoluted world-building, idiotic characters/dialogue, and an unsatisfying […]

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By Phil Brown

Several years ago Ridley Scott decided that he would take ownership of the Alien franchise with Prometheus and fans worldwide were stunned by the beautifully crafted R-rated mayhem that he dreamed up. Well, in the trailer anyway. The actual prequel itself was such an odd mix of pretentiously convoluted world-building, idiotic characters/dialogue, and an unsatisfying resolution that only Damon Lindelof possibly could have written it. The movie did make big stacks of cash though, given that it was the first R-rate blockbuster is far too long with some stunning imagery worthy of big screen ticket prices. Then it vanished from pop culture entirely aside from the occasional punchline. For a while, it looked like Neil District 9 Blomkamp might get his chance at reviving the franchise as an action epic, but then Scott pulled a power move and willed the Prometheus sequel into existence. As the title Alien: Covenant suggests, the Alien is actually in the movie this time. But make no mistake, this is actually Prometheus 2: Sorry We Didn’t Put The Monster In The First One.

After a bizarre prologue with Michael Fassbender’s android David and his creator Peter Weyland (Guy Pierce) that reintroduces themes of playing god for those who forgot Prometheus, we’re shoved into a roaming lonely spaceship. It’s a vessel filled with colonists (and one Fassbender shaped android) planning to revive humanity on a new planet. Or at least that’s the case until a freak accident causes explosions that kill off a handful of crewmembers, including a famous-faced captain. Given that the colonists are all husband and wife combos (for maximum breeding potential) that leaves Katherine Waterston devastated at her loss and puts Billy Crudup’s reluctant Christian in charge of the ship. They then receive a strange transmission from another planet that seems perfect for life. After some discussion amongst the crew (including Danny McBride as a good old boy pilot named Tennessee), they decide to visit the planet to see if it’s more suited to human colonization and save the crew already beset by tragedy another seven years off travel. So, they check it out, and although it seems idyllic, those pesky Prometheus balls of killer black goo return. The next thing you know, baby aliens are bursting out of people’s backs, and there are all sorts of bloody carnage. Plus another android appears with a disconcertingly familiar face. Uh-oh! Here comes trouble.

You can feel every long year of development in this herky-jerky screenplay that feels like a straight Prometheus sequel hastily re-written into a more overt Alien prequel. The traditional facehuggers, chestbursters, and xenomorphs do eventually arrive, but only after a few rounds with Prometheus creatures that look increasingly like their more iconic big brothers. Admittedly, Scott still knows how to craft beautiful and affecting images like few other filmmakers. So Alien: Covenant is filled with stunning sequences and has a handful of stomach-churning set pieces that hit with a maximum impact. Oddly enough, the biggest thrills are all loaded into the first act, long before any of the beings promised in the title appear. In fact, the fanboy (and fangirl) friendly trot through Alien’s greatest hits have an oddly perfunctory remake feel to them, as if Scott wasn’t really that interested in strolling down memory lane or that the sequences were mandated by a studio who didn’t want any more blogs complaining about the fact that they’ve released another Alien movie without the beloved aliens.

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Instead, Scott’s focus is more on weaving some sort of grand philosophical statement about death. What exactly he’s trying to say is unclear, but it’s a mean movie filled not just with blood-letting, but pained reactions of characters knowing that the only person they love has perished in a brutal manner (one can’t help but wonder if Ridley’s own recent personal tragedies infused that harsh and cruel nature of the script). Without going too much into spoiler details, this movie quickly becomes the Michael Fassbender show in the back half with Scott and the team of screenwriters clearly more interested in the horrifying implications of his character’s forced consciousness without conscience and psychotic obsession with the nature life. Fassbender is fantastic in some deeply bizarre sequences that must have been just as unsettling to act as they are to watch. Waterson is also strong in her Ripley-lite role and McBride provides some of the earthy character actor grounding from the original 1979 Alien. Sadly, none of the humans on screen have the depth of Fassbender’s synthetic character work and everyone other than Waterson and McBride are very clearly just lambs for the gut-spilling slaughter.

For a film so concerned with big questions related to life and death, there’s very little humanity in Alien: Covenant. Every human serves as little more than cynical constructed narrative puzzle piece, and it’s a shame the movie is so determined to talk its big ideas out through dialogue rather than elegantly layering themes in through imagery like the original Alien. For a guy so determined to revive the franchise that he created in his own image, it’s odd that Ridley Scott doesn’t quite seem to understand why the original movie worked so well. He desperately needs writers like Walter Hill and Dan O’Bannon (who gave the 1979’s Alien a terse narrative efficiency and symbolic horror resonance) so that he can focus entirely on the visualization and cinematic designs, leaving the actual story conception to others more gifted in that craft. Scott’s take on Alien mythology is oddly murky and pretentious, a far cry from the visceral intensity and simplicity that defined the series for so long.

Still, Alien: Covenant is very much worth seeing despite the faults. It’s a big, beautiful, and harshly horror show on a blockbuster scale. There aren’t many of those, and Scott still knows how to deliver space fantasy with a certain poetic realism. The fact that the movie is so thematically ambitious sets it apart from most summer franchise fair, and at least this one isn’t as dumb and disappointing as Prometheus. It’s certainly an improvement and perhaps the third time will be the charm for Scott if this prequel series stretches into a trilogy. It would be nice if some fresh blood could come in and spice up the Alien franchise, but for now at least Ridley Scott is getting better at academically rehashing the iconic film that kicked off his career.

Score:7

Final Thoughts:Ridley Scott forces everyone to accept that Prometheus is the future of the Alien franchise in this mild improvement on that bloated blockbuster.

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First 15: Quake Champions Sacrifice http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/12/first-15-quake-champions-sacrifice/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/12/first-15-quake-champions-sacrifice/#respond Fri, 12 May 2017 20:35:42 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=101398

By Brendan Frye

CGM plays though the new mode in the Quake Champions Beta, Sacrifice.

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By Brendan Frye

CGM plays though the new mode in the Quake Champions Beta, Sacrifice.

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Disgaea 5 Complete Set to Sell Over 100K in the West http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/12/disgaea-5-complete-set-sell-100k-west/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/12/disgaea-5-complete-set-sell-100k-west/#respond Fri, 12 May 2017 20:31:02 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=101393

By Zubi Khan

Disgaea 5 Complete, is set to sell over 100k copies when it launches on the Nintendo Switch in the West, later this month. NIS America’s president Takuro Yamashita has stated that the US is the largest market for JRPGs outside of Japan, which attributes to higher than expected pre-order sales figures of the upcoming Switch […]

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By Zubi Khan

Disgaea 5 Complete, is set to sell over 100k copies when it launches on the Nintendo Switch in the West, later this month.

NIS America’s president Takuro Yamashita has stated that the US is the largest market for JRPGs outside of Japan, which attributes to higher than expected pre-order sales figures of the upcoming Switch game. Yamashita went on to state that that the Western market is becoming increasingly important to NIS, and that the era of Japanese developers to rely only on the Japanese market is coming to a close.

In Japan, the game was a launch title for the Nintendo Switch, however it ended up only selling a meager 20k units, this disparity was predicted by NIS, however the huge gap between Japanese and Western sales were unexpected by the company. 

Disgaea 5 originally launched on the PlayStation 4. Disgaea 5 marks the second game to arrive on a Nintendo platform, with the first being the original Disgaea on the Nintendo DS. For those who may be unfamiliar with the series, Disgaea is a series of strategy roleplaying games, with the focus on flashy, anime inspired combat and damage outputs that exceed the millions, the game’s popularity even spurred an anime series in 2006.

Disgaea 5 complete will launch in North America on May 23, and three days later on May 26th 2017 in European territories.  

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Shadow Warrior 2 Receives Console Release Date of May 19 http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/12/shadow-warrior-2-receives-console-release-date-may-19/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/12/shadow-warrior-2-receives-console-release-date-may-19/#respond Fri, 12 May 2017 19:09:55 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=101377

By Remington Joseph

Flying Wild Hog revealed their release date for the console version of Shadow Warrior 2. In a post on the game’s official Facebook page, it was announced that Shadow Warrior 2 will arrive on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on May 19. After launching on PC last year, the console version of the game suffered […]

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By Remington Joseph

Flying Wild Hog revealed their release date for the console version of Shadow Warrior 2.

In a post on the game’s official Facebook page, it was announced that Shadow Warrior 2 will arrive on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on May 19. After launching on PC last year, the console version of the game suffered from multiple delays before receiving a finalized date. The console edition of Shadow Warrior 2 will include all the current DLC available for the PC version. Shadow Warrior 2 also features online cooperative multiplayer for its campaign.

Shadow Warrior is a first-person shooter that was originally developed for PC in 2013, later seeing a console release on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One a year after. The series is developed by Flying Wild Hog and published by Devolver Digital. Shadow Warrior has players take on the role of Lo Wang, a modern-day ninja mercenary who fights through waves of demonic hordes. In addition to a Katana, Wang is able to equip a large variety of firearms with certain weapons doing more damage to certain enemies. Through the use of in-game currency, players are able to upgrade Wang’s abilities, making him stronger as they progress through the story. Reviews of Shadow Warrior were mostly positive with many praising the old-school feel that the game has along with its gratifying combat system.

Shadow Warrior 2 expands on the groundwork of the original, adding an even larger number of weapons players can use. The level structure of the sequel has also changed, making levels less linear than the first game. New traversal techniques such as wall climbing and double jumping have also been added, allowing for more exploration. Reception from critics on Shadow Warrior 2 have been similar to the first game, again praising the combat as well as the game’s new multiplayer features.

Since its PC release, Flying Wild Hog announced sales of the game have quadrupled in comparison to the first entry in the series. Flying Wild Hog thanks the fans for their support.                  

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The Chris Gethard Show returns August 2nd at 11 PM EST on truTV http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/12/the-chris-gethard-show-returns-august-2nd-at-11-pm-est-on-trutv/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2017/05/12/the-chris-gethard-show-returns-august-2nd-at-11-pm-est-on-trutv/#respond Fri, 12 May 2017 19:05:50 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=101365

By Mike Cosimano

After months of cryptic hints, Morrissey songs, and an HBO stand-up special, comedian Chris Gethard has announced the premiere date for the third season of The Chris Gethard Show‘s cable incarnation. The show will run live on truTV beginning Wednesday August 2nd, at 11 PM Eastern time. Currently, there’s no word as to whether The […]

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By Mike Cosimano

After months of cryptic hints, Morrissey songs, and an HBO stand-up special, comedian Chris Gethard has announced the premiere date for the third season of The Chris Gethard Show‘s cable incarnation. The show will run live on truTV beginning Wednesday August 2nd, at 11 PM Eastern time. Currently, there’s no word as to whether The Chris Gethard Show will also be live on YouTube, as it had in the past during the show’s MNN and Fusion years.

The Chris Gethard Show (or TCGS) is an offbeat talk show where viewers are often encouraged to call in via Skype and comment on whatever the hell is happening onscreen. The show’s topics run the gamut of topics like “Lookin’ at Dicks in the Dark for an Hour (A New Low),” “Straight-up Phone Sex,” or “Talk About Whatever You Want (But We Recommend Professional Wrestling.”

After the most recent season finale, in which Gethard was erased from existence by a villainous comedy character named Vacation Jason after a tag team wrestling match, the show’s future was uncertain. Gethard alluded to some wild stories about the push to get Season 3 made on his fan Facebook page, but it seems those stories will remain untold for a little bit longer.

TruTV has recently made an expansion into the world of comedy, with shows like Impractical Jokers or Adam Ruins Everything. However, both of those shows are conventionally entertaining, whereas TCGS is known for its unconventional and inclusive sense of humor – it remains to be seen whether the show will be a hit on its new channel. But so long as Gethard is allowed to pull wild stunts like asking his fans to literally carry him to work.

Some comedy fans may know Gethard as Ilana’s boss on Broad City, or from his cameo in Iron Man Three, but his offbeat work on The Chris Gethard show arguably is the driving force behind his recent success as a podcaster and a stand-up comedian.

Originally, TCGS ran simultaneously on YouTube and New York City public access channel MNN, before being picked up for a two-season run on the cable channel Fusion after the MMN finale entitled: “When Next You See Us We Will Be Standing Atop the Rubble Of The Entertainment Industry, Victorious Conquerers In A Strange Land That’s Never Welcomed Us. We Are The Outsiders. We Are The Renegades. We Are The Surrogates For The Silent Masses Who Are Not Willing To Be Treated As A Number, Who Are Smart Enough To Know That Their Value Is Rooted In More Than What Demographic Some White Male In A Suit Categorizes Them In. In April We Take To New Airwaves To Shout Furiously On Behalf Of The Sad, Creative, Sexually Confused, Generally Forgotten Kids Who Have Long Found It Unpleasant To Shout For Themselves. We Are A Voice For The Voiceless. We Take To The Grid So That We May Speak On Behalf Of Those Who Opt To Live Off Of It. We Are The Nervous System, And Our Viewers Are The Heart And The Brain. We Aim To Obey The Commands Of The Meekest Voices Amongst The Din. We Are Selling Out, But We Will Never Back Down. We Thank The Powers That Be For Our Seat At The Table But We Refuse To Ever Be Cool And We Insist On Making A Mess. Some People Get Invited In The Front Door. Some People Sneak Through The Back Door. We Are Sleeping In A Tent In The Vacant Lot Next Door And Throwing Eggs At The Metaphorical House. This Is Not Goodbye, It’s Only See Ya Later. This Is Not The End, It Is The Beginning. MNN Was Where The Forces Gathered, And Now The Army Marches. And You, The Viewers Who Have Supported Us, Are The Generals In That Army, The Admirals On The Ships, You Tell Us When It’s Time To Push The Button And Go Nuclear On The Whole Venture. The Mainstream Entertainment Industry Murdered Andy Kaufman And It Is The Duty Of This Show To Get Revenge On His Behalf”

It’s a good show.

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ZOMBEN #1 Review – A Fresh Take on Zombie Lore http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/zomben-1-review-a-fresh-take-on-zombie-lore/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/zomben-1-review-a-fresh-take-on-zombie-lore/#respond Fri, 12 May 2017 18:10:26 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=101349

By Boyd Reynolds

Zombies have become the horror worlds soup du jour for the past decade plus. From Shaun of the Dead to The Walking Dead, from World War Z to iZombie, the undead have become a beloved part of popular culture. They have been the focal point of movies, TV shows and comic books. One such TITAN1STUDIOS title, […]

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By Boyd Reynolds

Zombies have become the horror worlds soup du jour for the past decade plus. From Shaun of the Dead to The Walking Dead, from World War Z to iZombie, the undead have become a beloved part of popular culture. They have been the focal point of movies, TV shows and comic books. One such TITAN1STUDIOS title, ZOMBEN, takes a light-hearted approach to the zombie genre and offers a little something for everyone.

ZOMBEN #1 begins with a quick set up for how the world became so zombified. That event is called the ‘Multipocalypse’ where cities were flooded with giant octopus-like creatures, zombies, massive bombs and gun-toting robots. The story then skips 10 years in the future to an amusing school classroom, where students recite all the terms used for the undead and how to kill them. While only a few panels long, this segment offers both humour and plot. Talking zombies and how to destroy them would easily keep many any teenager engaged in school, especially those who might nod off during Math and English.

ZOMBEN #1 is a surprisingly entertaining first issue. It’s only surprisingly because of the mass quantities of zombie stories created as of late. It is a fun adventure that middle-grade aged children and young teens will especially enjoy. Writer Mike Heneghan creates a well-crafted sequence of events. The plot has a solid flow, allowing the reader to get to know the characters while still getting enough action to keep the pages turning. Heneghan crafts a great cliff-hanger at the end of ZOMBEN #1, keeping readers on edge and thirsty for more.

ZOMBEN #1 Review - A Fresh Take on Zombies

ZOMBEN #1 is the first part of a four issue mini-series. It is essentially a setup comic – giving enough backstory to have the story make sense but also not wasting much time there. Readers get the gist and move into the characters and plot. And in this case, it’s something ZOMBEN #1 does well. There is a little lag in the middle of the comic, but that is due to the setting up of two families. In the last few pages, the story arc picks up and, as mentioned before, offers a great cliff-hanger.

ZOMBEN #1 is illustrated by Abel Cicero. Cicero’s work is solid, creating entertaining and humorous images that will work for the intended younger audience. The illustrations are vibrant, as are the colours by Manoli Martinez.

All in all, ZOMBEN #1 is worth picking up from your local comic book store. And as a series, ZOMBEN appears to be something for both the young and the young-at-heart, bringing a fresh take to a heavily saturated zombie world in popular culture.

Score:7.5

Final Thoughts: ZOMBEN #1 is for the young and young-at-heart, offering something fresh to the zombie lore.

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Super Rude Bear Resurrection Review http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/super-rude-bear-resurrection-review/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/super-rude-bear-resurrection-review/#respond Fri, 12 May 2017 16:29:11 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=101341

By Joel Couture

Super Rude Bear Resurrection has a neat premise. It’s an ultra-hard platformer that only gets easier with failure. Every time your bear with attitude dies, he leaves behind a plush, spike-covering corpse, one that will gum up the various traps that would normally kill you. It’s a neat way to bring less skilful players into […]

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By Joel Couture

Super Rude Bear Resurrection has a neat premise. It’s an ultra-hard platformer that only gets easier with failure. Every time your bear with attitude dies, he leaves behind a plush, spike-covering corpse, one that will gum up the various traps that would normally kill you. It’s a neat way to bring less skilful players into the world of brutal platformers, but it’s not without some small issues.

For a game about tight platforming, Super Rude Bear Resurrection is extremely slippery. The bear is very difficult to stop where you need him to, and while this forward momentum is handy for players who are looking to rush through the game, it makes for some annoyances for players who want to take their jumps a bit more carefully. Even getting the bear to stop on a decent-sized platform is difficult.

Super Rude Bear Resurrection Review 3

This is, arguably, not much of a problem due to the game’s generous checkpoints, which do make the game very approachable, as well as the handy corpse system. Dying just isn’t a big deal, since every death does cover up a chunk of spikes, break a trap, or plug up whatever device killed you. Even if you die, you’ve still made the next run easier.

It’s a useful system, too. Should you find yourself stuck in an area lined with spikes, you can just go nuts dying there, eventually covering the whole floor with bodies until you can waltz through. Moments of frustration where you just hurl yourself to your death will only make things easier, rather than just be a useless outburst. It’s very handy for newcomers or those prone to controller breaking.

That said, the bodies sometimes behave strangely, leaving odd openings you may not expect. Also, bodies can sometimes appear and disappear on each run, opening up that spiked pit you thought you’d plugged with bear innards. It seems like a glitch and could be patched out in the future, but at the moment, the bodies aren’t a totally reliable way of making things easier.

Super Rude Bear Resurrection Review 2

Not that you can just spam deaths and beat the game. Even with this system, Super Rude Bear Resurrection presents the vicious challenge one would expect from a hard platformer. It continually reinvents itself, narrowing the safe landing areas and time limits to make jumps, pushing players to be skilled. The death system just makes it a little easier, by its end.

Super Rude Bear Resurrection brings players vicious platforming but softens the blow with plush bear corpses. Slippery movement and some unreliable mechanics make this a bit harder than it ought to be for new players, but overall offers a good challenge, creative level design, and animals with ‘tude. Which never goes out of style.

Score:7

Final Thoughts:Slippery movement and some unreliable mechanics make Super Rude Bear Resurrection a bit harder than it ought to be for new players, but overall offers good challenge and creative level design.

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Statik Review – VR Puzzling http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/statik-review-vr-puzzling/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/statik-review-vr-puzzling/#respond Fri, 12 May 2017 16:01:51 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=101312

By Chris Carter

Portal pretty much cornered the market on “Messed Up Experiments: The Game,” but every once in a while something comes along that contests it. The use of virtual reality makes it much easier to get drawn into an uneasy and bizarre world, and that’s just what Statik was able to do on the PlayStation VR. […]

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By Chris Carter

Portal pretty much cornered the market on “Messed Up Experiments: The Game,” but every once in a while something comes along that contests it. The use of virtual reality makes it much easier to get drawn into an uneasy and bizarre world, and that’s just what Statik was able to do on the PlayStation VR.

I was surprised at how effective Statik was at setting an unnerving tone at the very start. Players are greeted from behind glass by a scientist with an obscured pixelated face and are required to solve a puzzle box attached to their hands. You aren’t told anything specific about the box, why you’re there, or basically any details — your one job is to merely solve the puzzle.

Statik Review - VR Puzzling 1

Right there, while isolated in my own VR world, I felt uneasy. I started to think about the implications of not figuring out the box. Say you aren’t smart enough— will you just starve to death? Looking up at the restrictive chair and the unknown proctors only added to a latent sense of fear that coats all of Statik. It’s a rare achievement for something that is inherently puzzle oriented, with little in the way of straight action.

So what makes the boxes so special? The trick is each one is comprised of multiple concepts. You might have to press a d-pad button to get a Simon Says-esque prompt to trigger, for example. Or you may be required to click an analogue stick at the right time, press a combination of buttons in sequential order, or operate a machine with L2 or R2. It’s all very subtle in how it works as one button might open up something on the other side of the box, forcing players to gradually decide what functions work in which area.

A lot of its ideas are out of the box. You need to be good at pattern recognition, always be aware, and have a knack for solving puzzles on top of all that. All of the staples like connecting pathways a la the retro classic Pipe Mania are in, but they’re combined in such a way that every single box is special.

Statik Review - VR Puzzling 2

Initially, I thought that Statik would have been yet another VR game that would have benefited from a touch-based controller like the PlayStation Move wand, but my expectations were shattered after just minutes of play. The motion aspect of the DualShock 4 works perfectly, as the team was able to construct the entire gimmick around the limitation of holding a controller (or in the case of Statik, a box). It’s not an exact replication of the in-game situation, but it’s close enough where eventually you’ll sort of forget that you’re holding a regular old remote. I wonder if anyone is going to craft a custom box to put over your hands to make it even more authentic.

My only real hangup is that the art style has a “been there, done that” kind of look to it. I didn’t just mention Portal haphazardly as you can directly compare some of the visuals to Valve’s past work, just with a less inspired feel to it. I like the obscured faces, but I feel like Statik could have gone a step further to differentiate itself earlier on in the experience.

That said, the devil really is in the details. There’s a handful of secrets to figure out on top of the already tough puzzle boxes, and I love that looking around at each room in VR is essential to solving many challenges. This is a game that really sells VR, as much of it isn’t possible without the benefits of wearing a modern headset.

I didn’t expect to be drawn into Statik as heavily as I was during my first session. On paper, it doesn’t look particularly impressive, but you really need to strap in and feel the stress of solving one of its many puzzle boxes. The current VR market is still in its early stages, but Tarsier Studios was able to tap into something many developers see as a limitation in a standard controller and run with it.

Score:9

Final Thoughts:On paper, it doesn't look particularly impressive, but you really need to strap in and feel the stress of solving one of its many puzzle boxes.

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