CGMagazine http://www.cgmagonline.com Comics Gaming Magazine Tue, 27 Sep 2016 11:22:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.6.1 Destiny: Rise of Iron DLC (PS4) Review http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/destiny-rise-of-iron-dlc-ps4-review/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/destiny-rise-of-iron-dlc-ps4-review/#respond Tue, 27 Sep 2016 11:22:27 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=83991

By Bryan Calhoun

Destiny’s value as a product cannot be measured in terms of quality. Let’s be honest with ourselves for a second here; regardless of your stances on Destiny, or on first person shooters more generally, the Rise of Iron DLC is a quality product if you focus on its level of polish. It’s been produced and […]

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By Bryan Calhoun

Destiny’s value as a product cannot be measured in terms of quality. Let’s be honest with ourselves for a second here; regardless of your stances on Destiny, or on first person shooters more generally, the Rise of Iron DLC is a quality product if you focus on its level of polish. It’s been produced and developed by Bungie, the studio that defined console shooter standards when they released Halo. There is nothing about the game-play mechanics, visuals, acting, or controls that you need to worry about; however, that doesn’t mean I think you should go out and buy the Rise of Iron DLC.

Anyone reading this review and hoping that this is the DLC that turns Destiny into the perfect shooter may want to ease off the edge of their seats. The list of problems it has is as long as my arm, but if forced to pick one issue I would say that the storyline of Rise of Iron is the biggest let down. Without spoiling anything, the DLC starts with your being called to a random location and ordered by Lord Saladin (the NPC who shows up to run the Iron Banner every month) to defend the top of a mountain. By the end of that mission you have taken the first few steps in an exciting new story that will completely wrap up about two hours later.

It’s not a terrible story, but I couldn’t help but think of the first time my character shared a cutscene with the Speaker (an NPC in the tower voiced by British actor Bill Nighy). You first meet him after the tutorial levels and at some point he literally says, “You must have no end of questions, Guardian.” It has been three years since I first heard Mr. Nighy utter those words and I am still waiting for Bungie to explain something. ANYTHING! Who or what is the giant white ball in the sky? Why is it so important that they made it a Easter egg in Halo 3 ODST? What’s with the various factions in the tower? Why did they think I would just fight for them the moment I showed up? Why are there three groups of guardians who basically play the same way? Why do we keep finding new forms of currency but not new forms of bad guys to fight? Did aliens really land in Nevada? Is Elvis really still alive? Why are the mint chocolate Girl Guide cookies always better after you stick them in the freezer for 10 minutes?

Destiny: Rise of Iron DLC (PS4) ReviewInstead we once again find ourselves in a world where YouTubers and web comics are giving us more backstory than the game itself. Veterans of the franchise might take this chance to remind me of the Destiny lore you can read on digital trading cards by logging into www.Bungie.net. To those people I will simply say that I am paid to review games and not websites. If Bungie wants me to acknowledge those cards as part of the game then I have to be able to access them in the game.

Now that I have gotten that off my chest, I should also point out that the mission design is a little repetitive. This issue can be sub-divided into missions that are not that inventive because the mechanics are played out, and missions that are not inventive because they’re simply recycled. One part of this game literally has you complete the first strike event (difficult three player co-op missions) in the game again. Destiny has yet to earn the right to recycle entire levels based on the premise that it is a fun romp down memory lane. That’s reserved for games with so much content that it would be impossible to have played that strike in the last year.

The other part of this repetitiveness issue, the played out mechanics, might be what annoys the most people overall. Destiny has many problems, but few of them are as hated within the Destiny community as the first person platforming. Without ruining the paper thin narrative, I will warn you that there are once again platforming puzzles in the Rise of Iron content. On top of that, do you remember all of the fun you had collecting the 50 calcified fragments on the dreadnaught? I honestly can’t remember why I did that, but with this new DLC comes a whole new set of random artifacts for you to collect. As with the Touch of Malice scout rifle, some of the new artifacts are attached to a weapon’s quest, and like the King’s Fall raid, some of these artifacts are hidden in the new raid. As with the Taken King, the new enemies are also just recycled from alien races you’ve already fought for years. The list goes on, but anyone who truly needs this buying advice will realize the extent of the problem by now.

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Character development is also handled poorly in the Rise of Iron. I remember being really excited about the character development in the previous Taken King DLC from last year. I was sad to see Peter Dinklage go, but the narrative of that story flushed out rest of the cast. It turned the paycheck Nathan Fillion collected for voicing a simple quest giver into a personality called Cayde-6. The same can be said for a number of the NPCs in the game, but Rise of Iron ignores the old cast in favour of a new set of talking heads. Sadly none of the new cast gets enough screen time to become anything memorable.

In the multiplayer department, there also isn’t much to get excited about. Every map is well made, but comes off feeling like every other map in the game. The big new multiplayer mode this time is called Supremacy, which forces you to collect a dead player’s orb of light before you get the credit for taking them down. For those of you wondering, that’s the exact same rules as Kill Confirmed; a Call of Duty multiplayer game type where every downed player drops a set of dog tags that must be collected before points are awarded.
Destiny: Rise of Iron DLC (PS4) Review 3The new MMO style patrol zone, known as the Plaguelands, is pretty interesting; however, I will stop short of calling it good looking because there is not much you can actually see. The Plaguelands seem to be eternally locked in a snow storm that has dropped the game’s draw distance down to drastically close. There is very little you can spot until you are right on top of it when traveling across the Plaguelands.

To be fair, Rise of Iron is not all bad. For example, Bungie took a page from their Halo Reach development book and added the equivalent of armor abilities to Destiny, although they’re all more useful than armor lock ever was. This time around they didn’t lower the stats of your previous weapons and armor, so any purple items you were using can still be useful. While the majority of Destiny’s content comes off as recycled, the best parts of Rise of Iron provide some of the greatest gaming moments of this year. The game is perfectly balanced so that both new and veteran players will find challenges across this DLC; and as I said before, the visual, controls, voice acting, and game-play mechanics are as solid as possible in modern game development.

Destiny: Rise of Iron DLC (PS4) Review 2In the end, Rise of Iron is literally just more Destiny. It doesn’t address any of the issues that you might have had with the original, and it doesn’t really flush out the existing world either. It is simply a new set of story missions, a strike, some quests, and another raid. As someone who had three different 335 level characters (the maximum level before the Rise of Iron was released) I would suggest that you keep your money this time. While this review clearly shows that I did not like the Rise of Iron much, I want to make it clear that I didn’t hate it either. The reason I would warn you away from this DLC is actually the price point. Destiny has always suffered from a lack of content, but even by Destiny standards there is not that much here for the $40 price tag. It really is that price point that I am having trouble with, and if the DLC cost $20 my recommendation would probably be different; however, as things are I would wait until a sale to play the Rise of Iron.

Score:5

Final Thoughts:Destiny still has the same problems it’s always suffered from.

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Samsung CF591 27” Curved Monitor (Hardware) Review http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/samsung-cf591-27-curved-monitor-hardware-review/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/samsung-cf591-27-curved-monitor-hardware-review/#respond Tue, 27 Sep 2016 11:22:22 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=83792

By Cole Watson

Tech manufacturers who develop curved monitors have never truly hit a stride with consumers. While the monitors look pretty and stand out from the crowd of flat panels, it’s their supposed enhanced viewing experience and unique feature set that has left people questioning if they only exist as a sucker’s purchase. However, with my latest […]

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By Cole Watson

Tech manufacturers who develop curved monitors have never truly hit a stride with consumers. While the monitors look pretty and stand out from the crowd of flat panels, it’s their supposed enhanced viewing experience and unique feature set that has left people questioning if they only exist as a sucker’s purchase. However, with my latest experience reviewing the Samsung CF591 27” Curved Monitor, I can safely say that curved monitors do actually deliver a unique experience worth their price, but only if you want your monitor to meet certain criteria.

Samsung CF591 27” Curved Monitor (Hardware) Review 3The CF591 is an attractive monitor, sporting bright silver bezels and a near seamless assembly. While the monitor can’t adjust, its static position was designed so that the users eyes would always be in the optimal viewing angle of the monitor. In a world of tech that relies heavily on hard edges to look pleasing to consumers, curved products breathe some fresh air into the industry with their soft edges and sleek aesthetics. The screen itself boasts an impressive 3000:1 contrast ratio as well as a tested 4ms response time before inputs register.

Samsung is releasing this monitor at a weird time. Instead of experimenting with 4K resolutions or offering solid 1440P monitors like other manufacturers, they doubled down and developed this curved monitor to deliver the best 1080p experience possible. The monitor appears barebones with only one display port and HDMI port, but it also features a little joystick on the back of the case called the Jog button, which offers an easier way to access and maneuver through configuration menus in the dark. The CF591 supports AMD Freesync to smooth out textures and stop screen tearing, but it also includes an included eye saver mode that reduces the harmful blue light emissions our eyes have been soaking up for years.
Samsung CF591 27” Curved Monitor (Hardware) Review 1Out of the box, the CF591 has a gamma setting of 2.5, which makes dark colours too dark to actually make out defined details. The monitor can be adjusted to a more pleasing 2.1 and this is where Samsung’s advertised Crystal Color technology comes into play. Games look strikingly vibrant due to the 98% RGB colour spectrum and even the smallest shade details in both models and textures start to pop out at you as you explore various titles in your library. The resolution might be low for PC gamer’s standards, but the colours this monitor delivers make every pixel look so sharp that it feels like you’re getting a 1440p experience without having to put any added stress on your GPU.

Samsung CF591 27” Curved Monitor (Hardware) Review 4The curved viewing experience itself was a mixed bag. It’s hard to explain the exact differences that make this monitor’s viewing experience different from others because everyone I had test the CF591 had a different opinion on what they liked or found annoying. Comparing my 27” Asus, the 1800R curvature of the CF591 felt like it naturally took up my field of view more than a traditional flatscreen monitor. Third-person action games appeared grander in scale and first-person titles, like SOMA and Battlefield 4, felt like a more intimate experience because my field of view was fully encompassed. This kind of immersion breaks whenever you need to adjust your perspective to the edge of the screen however, which makes fighting game characters from Street Fighter V or Guilty Gear Xrd: SIGN appear weirdly proportioned.

The curved experience is a conditional one. Games that keep the action in the centre of the screen look great, but retro titles and fighters that skew your perspective towards one side break the experience. Curved monitors feel like manufacturers pushed the innovation button too early in development and the result creates a product that only will find it’s way into niche homes and users who will greatly enjoy the experience if it meets their criteria. While I still prefer flatscreens because they are not situational, I really enjoyed my time with the Samsung CF591 and recommend it to users who prefer this different type of viewing experience.

Score:7.5

Final Thoughts:While a situational viewing experience for most users, the Samsung CF591 curved monitor has some of the most impressive colors I’ve seen in a 1080p monitor to date.

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FIrst 15: FIFA 17 http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/09/27/first-15-fifa-17/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/09/27/first-15-fifa-17/#respond Tue, 27 Sep 2016 04:01:21 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=84014

By CGM Staff

CGM looks at the first section of the new Journey mode in FIFA 17 from EA Sports build in the Frostbite Engine. Subscribe to our YouTube channel.

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By CGM Staff

CGM looks at the first section of the new Journey mode in FIFA 17 from EA Sports build in the Frostbite Engine.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel.

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Canadian Gears of War Fans Receive Contest #GearsSquadGoals http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/09/26/canadian-gears-war-fans-receive-contest-gearssquadgoals/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/09/26/canadian-gears-war-fans-receive-contest-gearssquadgoals/#respond Mon, 26 Sep 2016 21:10:46 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=83993

By Casey DeFreitas

Microsoft Canada launched #GearsSquadGoals, a contest running through October 10 to get Gears fans ready for the next saga, Gears of War 4. The contest gives Gears of War fans the opportunity to ”band together and showcase their passion for the franchise in hopes of unlocking the ultimate crew trip.” The ultimate trip in question? […]

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By Casey DeFreitas

Microsoft Canada launched #GearsSquadGoals, a contest running through October 10 to get Gears fans ready for the next saga, Gears of War 4.

The contest gives Gears of War fans the opportunity to ”band together and showcase their passion for the franchise in hopes of unlocking the ultimate crew trip.”

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The ultimate trip in question? The winner and three friends will see Run the Jewels perform in Austin, Texas at the SOS Music Festival, or receive the VIP treatment at a Gears of War eSports event in London, England.

The hip hop group Run the Jewels debuted a new song in the Gears of War 4 Horde 2.0 premiere trailer, and the duo are also going to be playable characters in multiplayer in Gears of War 4.

To enter, fans will have to complete a variety of challenges with their squad, ranging in difficulty from Novice to Extreme.

Following particular social media accounts like @XboxCanada and taking pictures of specified activities, like two squad-mates enjoying a Gears of War-branded Rockstar energy drinks, are considered to be Novice  1Challenges, among others.

Intermediate Challenges require more time and involvement than the Novice Challenges do, and some even need a little commitment. Would you cut a Gears of War COG into your hair for 30 entries, or sing an original Gears of War theme song and post it online for 20?
There is only one aptly named Extreme Challenge, titled so because of its difficult requirements: Complete every single challenge. Completing the Extreme Challenge will reward the “ultra-dedicated soldier” with 500 entries into the contest draw.

To get around the fact that some of these challenges do indeed require a purchase, like the challenge that requires an assembly of Gears of War copies, an original handwritten 100-word essay may be mailed in instead.
Once a challenge is completed, photo or screenshot proof must be taken and posted on Instagram or Twitter with #GearsSquadGoalsContest to be automatically entered.

Scouring the Terms of Service revealed that although submissions can be posted on both Twitter and Instagram, contestants will only be awarded contest entries for the first submission related to each challenge. Additionally, each person in a “squad” may enter individually with the same photo for the same challenge and also receive entries. Whether this will cause tension between squad-mates, considering a different squad may be used for each challenge, is yet to be seen.

To enter, you must  be over the age of majority in your territory of residence, and you have until the end of October 10, 2016. Gears of War 4 is set to release a day later on October 11 for Xbox One and PC, and winners of #GearsSquadGoals will be notified on October 17, 2016.

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Campo Santo Partnering with Good Universe to Make Firewatch Movie http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/09/26/campo-santo-partnering-good-universe-make-firewatch-movie/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/09/26/campo-santo-partnering-good-universe-make-firewatch-movie/#respond Mon, 26 Sep 2016 20:14:27 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=83979

By Kenneth Shepard

It appears that Campo Santo's Firewatch is the latest game to be getting a movie adaptation. The studio is partnering with film financing organization Good Universe to create content "for both video games and feature films," according to a report from The Hollywood Reporter. The Firewatch movie will be the first project developed under the […]

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By Kenneth Shepard

It appears that Campo Santo's Firewatch is the latest game to be getting a movie adaptation.

The studio is partnering with film financing organization Good Universe to create content "for both video games and feature films," according to a report from The Hollywood Reporter. The Firewatch movie will be the first project developed under the partnership, but no information has been given about the film at this time.

“When we met Good Universe we were floored by how they recognize, cultivate and produce incredible stories. It's rare you meet another group that shares so many of your values and makes the process of creating things even more exciting. We can't wait to see what we make together," said Campo Santo founder Sean Vanaman.

Regarding the partnership, Good Universe founder Joseph Drake praised Campo Santo's storytelling, expressing excitement at the opportunity to work with the studio on the Firewatch film.

"Finding extraordinary content is incredibly exciting and with the Campo Santo team, we felt an immediate simpatico with their utterly beguiling storytelling and amazing creative instincts," said Drake.

Good Universe was founded in 2012 and has worked most notably on 2014's Neighbors starring Seth Rogan and Zac Efron, its sequel that saw theatrical release earlier this year, and the horror film Don't Breathe, which is playing in theaters now.

Campo Santo was founded in 2013, with Firewatch being its first game released to the public.

Firewatch launched on PC and PlayStation 4 in February, followed by a launch on Xbox One in September. The game follows the story of a fire lookout named Henry as he patrols a subset of a forest, with only his supervisor Delilah to keep him company through communicating through his walkie talkie. Henry is voiced by Mad Men star Rich Sommer, with Cissy Jones lending her voice for Delilah. For more on her involvement with the game, check out CGM's interview with the actress.

For more on Firewatch, check out CGM's review of the PC version of the game.

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Green Lanterns Rebirth #1 Review http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/green-lanterns-rebirth-1-review/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/green-lanterns-rebirth-1-review/#respond Mon, 26 Sep 2016 19:20:22 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=83950

By Boyd Reynolds

With Rebirth, DC Comics is taking their dual Green Lantern storylines in different directions. On one path, you have Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps. This bi-weekly comic travels into the deep recesses of space, pitting the Green Lantern Corps versus the Sinestro Corps. On the other, the Green Lantern storyline is continued on […]

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By Boyd Reynolds

With Rebirth, DC Comics is taking their dual Green Lantern storylines in different directions. On one path, you have Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps. This bi-weekly comic travels into the deep recesses of space, pitting the Green Lantern Corps versus the Sinestro Corps. On the other, the Green Lantern storyline is continued on Earth with two new rookie Lanterns.

The latter plotline begins in Green Lanterns Rebirth #1.

Green Lanterns Rebirth #1 Review 2Far off in space, a guardian is being chased by hideous creatures. The guardian carries a box filled with a mysterious ring of untold power. In a fit of desperation, he opens the box and a power is unleashed – an energy so powerful, it will be coveted by both good and evil. A turn of the page moves readers from this deep space setting to Dearborn, Michigan. There, Simon Biaz is dealing with the remains of fear and judgement spray painted on his sister’s house. Two and half pages later, we travel to Portland, Oregon. There, Jessica Cruz (our second rookie Lantern) is trying to revive her life when she’s called by ring and taken to Arizona where she runs into Biaz. There, the two Green Lanterns are tested by one of the galaxy’s finest – Hal Jordan.

The infusion of Hal Jordan and his work with the rookies gives Green Lanterns Rebirth #1 a solid push in the right direction. Jordan is the quintessential Green Lantern. He’s the most well-known Earthling to ever brandish the green ring. In Green Lanterns Rebirth #1, Jordan plays the role of mentor. And in doing so, not only does he bring the two Green Lanterns together, his appearance gives the comic a certain credibility.

Green Lanterns Rebirth #1 is written by Geoff Johns and Sam Humphries. Johns is a titan in the comic book industry. Coupled with the fact he’s now essentially heading the DC Cinematic Universe, Johns is a welcomed addition to this Rebirth comic.

Green Lanterns Rebirth #1 ReviewYet, even with Johns, the one drawback from the comic is the relationship between Biaz and Cruz. It’s too obviously combative. Sure, that leads to conflict which leads to interesting storylines, but it’s pretty predictable. There’s the overconfident Biaz thinking he is the only Green Lantern for Earth. Then, on the flip side, Cruz has self-esteem issues, and questions her worth as a Green Lantern. These characters fit too tightly in stereotypical boxes. Perhaps that will change as the storyline progresses. But for right now, it holds the story back.

Green Lanterns Rebirth #1 was illustrated by another team – Ethan Van Sciver and Ed Benes. The artwork is one of comic’s highlights. .

As the final panels of this comic conclude, the narrator is revealed and he’s as menacing as one would hope. Times will be rocky for our Green Lanterns of Sector 2814. As set up in Green Lanterns Rebirth #1, they’ll have to work together in order to survive.

Score:7

Final Thoughts:Green Lanterns Rebirth #1 offers a good start, with two rookie Green Lanterns looking after our third rock from the sun.

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Vivendi Wants Ubisoft; Ubisoft Plays Hard to Get http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/09/26/vivendi-wants-ubisoft-ubisoft-plays-hard-get/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/09/26/vivendi-wants-ubisoft-ubisoft-plays-hard-get/#respond Mon, 26 Sep 2016 18:14:09 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=83885

By Lane Martin

The grand battle between media conglomerate Vivendi and game developer/producer Ubisoft continues. Vivendi has been priming for a hostile take over of the  French gaming giant since it took mobile game development and publishing house Gameloft, for itself. Ubisoft is eager to remain independent and has managed to score a small victory in this fight. It's […]

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By Lane Martin

The grand battle between media conglomerate Vivendi and game developer/producer Ubisoft continues. Vivendi has been priming for a hostile take over of the  French gaming giant since it took mobile game development and publishing house Gameloft, for itself. Ubisoft is eager to remain independent and has managed to score a small victory in this fight.

It's hard to imagine Ubisoft as the little guy in any sort of fight. The studio has been around for thirty years, bringing us Prince of PersiaRayman, and the Assassin's Creed games, during their long career. The company has absorbed countless smaller studios and established themselves as a pillar of the gaming landscape. Ubisoft had managed to acquire 3.625 million shares in itself from the investment bank Bpifrance. This amounts to 3.2 percent of the company's total worth, a small but significant number.

For context, Vivendi has managed to squirrel away 22.8 percent of the gaming godfather's capital. If they are able to push that number above 30 then, by French law, bring the notion of a hostile take over to the table, leaving it in the hands of the investors as a whole.

Co-founder and CEO of Ubisoft, Yves Guillemot, has been fighting tooth and nail to maintain control of his company, supposing that the massive media monster doesn't understand the gaming industry and wouldn't be able to effectively manage the studio.

"If you're part of a conglomerate that doesn't understand what your industry is, how fast it's moving, or decisions you have to make at speed, they can limit your possibilities," said Guillemot during a recent press event. Vivendi, however, is eager to unite Ubisoft with Gameloft under their umbrella.

Gaming is an ever-changing environment. It's not uncommon to hear that one of your favourite studios is selling off some, or all of its assets. It's far more rare to see a studio with as much longevity and power come into this kind of danger. If Vivendi has their way, this could have an extremely profound effect on the game industry as a whole.

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Naughty Dog Reveals New Last of Us Poster as Part of Outbreak Day http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/09/26/naughty-dog-reveals-new-last-us-poster-part-outbreak-day/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/09/26/naughty-dog-reveals-new-last-us-poster-part-outbreak-day/#comments Mon, 26 Sep 2016 18:00:35 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=83916

By Kenneth Shepard

Naughty Dog has announced plans to release a new piece of artwork based on The Last of Us as part of today's "Outbreak Day" celebration. Outbreak Day, September 26th, marks the day that The Last of Us' Cordyceps virus spread across the game's post-apocalyptic world. Every year Naughty Dog celebrates with deals on the game […]

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By Kenneth Shepard

Naughty Dog has announced plans to release a new piece of artwork based on The Last of Us as part of today's "Outbreak Day" celebration.

Outbreak Day, September 26th, marks the day that The Last of Us' Cordyceps virus spread across the game's post-apocalyptic world. Every year Naughty Dog celebrates with deals on the game itself, its DLC, officially licensed merchandise through Sony's PlayStation Gear Store, and debuts new merchandise. This year the studio collaborated with the artists at Mondo to create a new piece of art based on the game that is available for purchase on Mondo's website.

The 18x24 piece will run you $45, and comes courtesy of artist Kevin Tong. Tong's artist page on Mondo shows he previously did work on art based on series like Alien, Batman, and Once Upon a Time.

The Last of Us originally launched in 2013 on PlayStation 3 and was ported over to PlayStation 4 as The Last of Us: Remastered the following year.

Since the game's debut, rumours immediately began circulating that a sequel was in the works, even fairly recently thanks to a questionable magazine scan. Earlier this year Naughty Dog released Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, and is currently working on a single player DLC pack for the game, as well as another unannounced project.

In other Last of Us news, Sony is currently working on a film adaptation of the game, one that will feature the game's writer, Neil Druckmann, on its script. Despite the initial reports, however, Druckmann has stated recently during an Uncharted 4 promotional campaign that the project is in a strained state, with not much progress having been made since the initial meetings about the film's development.

For more on both Naughty Dog and The Last of Us, check out CGM's review of The Last of Us: Remastered for PlayStation 4.

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Hi-Rez's Paladins Tops Steam Charts, Invitational Now Worldwide http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/09/26/hi-rezs-paladins-tops-steam-charts-invitational-now-worldwide/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/09/26/hi-rezs-paladins-tops-steam-charts-invitational-now-worldwide/#respond Mon, 26 Sep 2016 17:12:29 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=83876

By Ana Valens

September has been a strong month for Hi-Rez Studios. Earlier in the month, Hi-Rez Studios partnered with Tencent Holdings in China, inviting the top Paladins: Champions of the Realm eSports Chinese team to compete at the Paladins Invitational at the Hi-Rez Expo held early next year. Then on Sept 16th, Hi-Rez made headlines again with […]

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By Ana Valens

September has been a strong month for Hi-Rez Studios. Earlier in the month, Hi-Rez Studios partnered with Tencent Holdings in China, inviting the top Paladins: Champions of the Realm eSports Chinese team to compete at the Paladins Invitational at the Hi-Rez Expo held early next year. Then on Sept 16th, Hi-Rez made headlines again with the introduction of Paladins onto Steam Early Access. Today, Hi-Rez issued a press release confirming that Paladins is not just among Steam's most popular games, but that Hi-Rez is also expanding their Paladins Invitational to include teams from around the world.

"Hi-Rez Studios’ new fantasy themed team based shooter Paladins recently transitioned into Open Beta including Early Access availability on Steam," the studio announced. "Within the first week of Early Access Paladins rocketed into Steam’s Top 10 Games by player count and the Paladin’s global community is growing rapidly."

The press release notes that the beta had "an explosive first weekend with well over 100,000 new accounts created in the first 24 hours," according to Hi-Rez co-founder Todd Harris. Currently, the game sits at a solid 9th place in Steam's top 10 list, easily beating out Rust with a peak player count of 48,346 for Sept 26th.

Hi-Rez also confirmed that the Invitational "will include not only teams from North America and Europe but also teams from Brazil, Latin America, Australia/New Zealand, and China." Level Up and Double Jump will be supervising regionals in Latin America and Australia, respectively, along with Tencent covering China.

Paladins' player boost on Steam is certainly quite the pleasant surprise. It's a clear sign that Hi-Rez's plans to turn Paladins into an eSports shooter are not just well-founded, but clearly have the playerbase to turn that plan into a reality, too. Time has yet to tell if Paladins will continue to dominate the top 10 charts on Steam. But even if it doesn't, the shooter most definitely has a strong head start to push forward onto January.

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Dead Rising Triple Bundle Pack (Xbox One) Review http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/dead-rising-triple-bundle-pack-xbox-one-review/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/dead-rising-triple-bundle-pack-xbox-one-review/#respond Mon, 26 Sep 2016 16:00:13 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=83836

By Jed Whitaker

Calling these ports of last generation's Dead Rising games “remasters” is a stretch. They do little more than run the games at 1080p and 60fps on current hardware. The textures and content of each Dead Rising game otherwise appear to be identical to their original releases. The original Dead Rising looks especially dated, but this […]

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By Jed Whitaker

Calling these ports of last generation's Dead Rising games “remasters” is a stretch. They do little more than run the games at 1080p and 60fps on current hardware. The textures and content of each Dead Rising game otherwise appear to be identical to their original releases.

The original Dead Rising looks especially dated, but this isn't surprising considering it released ten years ago during last generation's infancy. Textures are anything but detailed. Frank's hair looks like three or four separate textures slapped on his head, cars in the opening scene look like coloured cardboard and most of the environment looks outmoded. There are frequent drops in the framerate whenever attacking more than a few zombies at a time or the action gets more frantic, but not enough to impact the gameplay.

Out of the three games available, the original is easily the worst. The combat is clunky, with the aiming of guns feeling especially so because it requires holding the right trigger and aiming with the left stick which will feel unnatural to anyone that plays first person shooters. The sequels fixed the gunplay and have very natural and familiar controls by comparison. This isn't to say that the original game is bad, as it is still a ton of fun and probably the closest we'll ever get to a Dawn of the Dead game. The dialogue and acting is terrible enough to come across as enjoyable and campy, which is why this game still holds a special place in my heart.

Dead Rising Triple Bundle Pack (Xbox One) Review 2The sequel and it's "what if" spinoff have a much better showing as they both seem to have no issues with framerate and the textures (and thus graphics) look far better. This just goes to show you how much console graphics can change on the same hardware over four years. On top of that, there is the addition of online multiplayer, both cooperative and competitive, as well as the ability to craft insane and comical weapons.

Vanilla Dead Rising 2 takes place in Vegas and you play as Chuck Greene, a single father doing what he can to earn money to take care of his young daughter that just happens to have been bitten by a zombie. This takes place after the original game and zombies are contained and used for entertainment purposes until, as you'd expect, something goes wrong and another outbreak occurs.

Dead Rising Triple Bundle Pack (Xbox One) Review 1 Dead Rising Triple Bundle Pack (Xbox One) Review 3

While the sequel is still over-the-top, the story is a bit more serious and touching with the father-daughter aspect. I personally prefer Off the Record, which is a remake of the sequel that answers the question "What if it were Frank West in Vegas instead of Chuck Greene?" Frank is cynical and sarcastic which makes for a much more comical and entertaining game and fits the overall tone a bit better. While it doesn't have the competitive multiplayer mode, it does offer an additional sandbox mode that ditches the time restraints of the first game and allows players to just have fun killing zombies and completing missions at their own pace.
Dead Rising Triple Bundle Pack (Xbox One) Review 5While the games do include DLC costumes, the sequel is missing the standalone game Case Zero that acted as a prequel to the full game and the DLC epilogue Case West, which is a shame because they were both worth playing and added a bit more to the story.

For $20 apiece or $59.99 for the package these games are still worth your time as they contain a ton of gameplay and replayability, but just don't expect more from them other than better framerates at a higher resolution. These are still some of the best zombie games ever released and one of the only modern beat 'em-up series left. If you're looking for campy zombie fun, look no further.

rating:
Dead Rising 1 7.5/10
Dead Rising 2 8.0/10
Dead Rising 2: Off the Record 8.0/10

Score:8

Final Thoughts:For $20 apiece or $59.99 for the package these games are still worth your time.

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Roku Announces All-New Lineup http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/09/26/roku-announces-new-lineup/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/09/26/roku-announces-new-lineup/#respond Mon, 26 Sep 2016 13:02:47 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=83828

By Brendan Frye

Streaming has quickly become the go-to way to consume media. With services like Hulu, Netflix and Funimation, there has never been more ways to watch movies and TV. Roku, a leader in the steaming space, today announced that they are refreshing the full lineup of devices.  Roku, known for their simple interface and plethora of low cost […]

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By Brendan Frye

Streaming has quickly become the go-to way to consume media. With services like Hulu, Netflix and Funimation, there has never been more ways to watch movies and TV. Roku, a leader in the steaming space, today announced that they are refreshing the full lineup of devices. 

Roku, known for their simple interface and plethora of low cost devices announced today that they are refreshing the full lineup of devices. Replacing the Roku 1, the Roku Express and Roku Express+ will offer one of the smallest full feature devices currently available. Able to stream at full 1080P, these new players are a new way for people to experience online media for under $50 ($39.99 MSRP and $49.99 MSRP).

Roku Announces All-New Lineup 1

Roku have also refreshed the devices for people that love power and a crisp picture. The Roku Premiere and Roku Premiere+ offer quad-core performance and the ability to stream to stream 4K up to 60 frames per second (fps), all for under $120 ($89.99 MSRP and $109.99 MSRP). Also, for people with the latest and greatest TV, the RokuPremiere+ will support HDR, making movies and TV look much more dynamic. Finishing out the lineup, the Roku Ultra will bring the added features of Dolby Digital Plus, voice search and a lost remote finder while offering true 4K HDR picture to people that have the TV's that support it.

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“Roku stands for streaming innovation and today we’re celebrating the biggest player launch in our company’s history, including the introduction of the Roku Express player which delivers a complete streaming experience for a shockingly low price of CAD 39.99,” said Anthony Wood, Roku Founder and CEO. “Whether consumers simply want fast HD streaming via an inexpensive device or are looking for a top-of-the-line player with advanced features such as 4K and HDR, Roku is an easy choice.”

Roku have manged to cut out a niche in a market that is constantly under attack from the likes of Google, Apple and Amazon, and even under this constant barrage, they manage stand out from the crowd, with unique and easy to use devices. As with every new piece of hardware, we will need to put it to the test before we can recommend them. We have been impressed by previous iterations of the hardware, so hopefully these ones are just as impressive. The full lineup is expected to hit retail shelves starting sometime in October.

 

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Final Fantasy XV Preview: I Question My Allegiance http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/09/26/final-fantasy-xv-preview-question-allegiance/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/09/26/final-fantasy-xv-preview-question-allegiance/#comments Mon, 26 Sep 2016 12:45:06 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=83798

By Elias Blondeau

As soon as Final Fantasy XV’s super special, mama-jamma edition was announced, I was all over it. No, really—I preordered it within five minutes of it going live. Based on what I’d seen so far, I was feeling pretty good about my future almost-200-dollar investment. But then the last few months happened. Final Fantasy XV […]

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By Elias Blondeau

As soon as Final Fantasy XVs super special, mama-jamma edition was announced, I was all over it. No, really—I preordered it within five minutes of it going live. Based on what I’d seen so far, I was feeling pretty good about my future almost-200-dollar investment.

But then the last few months happened. Final Fantasy XV Brotherhood ended up being a bit underwhelming. Kingsglaive was an unmitigated disaster of a film, despite some vital canon bits. Even as a franchise fan and occasional apologist (disclosure: I like Final Fantasy XIII and think Vanille is a great character), I was starting to sweat bullets. There was no way this could bad, right?

Unfortunately, Final Fantasy XV itself might be the final nail in the coffin. After getting my hands on The Artist Formerly Known As Final Fantasy Versus XIII at GameStop Expo, I’m questioning if even 60 bucks will be worth it for this game.

Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t hate what I got the chance to experience, not even close. But I didn’t come away full of enthusiasm either, because it feels like Square Enix has officially lost control. That is to say, I’m not sure they know what to do with this series anymore. RPG? Hack-and-slash? Open-world adventure? Gritty and serious, or goofy and fun? The answer, it seems, is to throw everything into a blender and see what the resulting smoothie of a game is.

Final Fantasy XV Preview: I Question My Allegiance 1It’s about as awkward as it sounds. Final Fantasy XV expects players to engage in a fairly sloppy combat system built on button-mashing, yet insists they pay attention to party members’ positions and statuses. It wants us to travel long distances, but the driving mechanics are some of the most unenjoyable I’ve played in years. There’s supposedly a deep and emotional narrative, yet conversations about the attractiveness of certain women get bookended by lore bits about political intrigue and childhood promises.

Frankly, the whole thing feels like a tonal mess at complete odds with itself and out of touch with what both critics and fans want. I can say this because before I was a critic, I was a Final Fantasy fan. Looking at it through both lenses, I’m just not sure what Square Enix is thinking. It feels like what we’re in for is a weird compromise between the series’ roots and modern gaming conventions; a weird mish-mash of JRPG and WRPG philosophies that don’t quite mesh how they should.

Final Fantasy XV Preview: I Question My Allegiance 3 Final Fantasy XV Preview: I Question My Allegiance 4

For example, navigating the open world is both immersive and tedious. You can sprint, but the duration is painful. You can jump up things, but you can’t grab onto them. You can drive, but off-roading is a no-go as the Regalia is basically a slot car. It feels like Square Enix saw AAA RPGs with massive open worlds and seamless gameplay and said, “hey, those games are hits, let’s make one!” The problem is that Square Enix has practically no experience making something in that vein. There’s been no gradual build towards this direction. Instead, it feels like an artificial shift in a certain direction with no clue how to actually pull it off.

Final Fantasy XV Preview: I Question My Allegiance 6That’s not to mention the technical problems holding it back. The controls straight-up didn’t do what I intended them to at some points. I was able to awkwardly exploit physics to climb up things. The frame-rate got kind of janky at points. Oh, and one build actually crashed on me, and refused to start back up, forcing me to jump back to a different unit.

Now, like I said earlier, I didn’t hate Final Fantasy XV, or what I got see at any rate. There are some novel ideas that have been brought to the table, and at the very least, it feels like Square Enix is finally taking some clearly defined risks with this series. I also really enjoy the camaraderie of the main cast, and am genuinely intrigued by what I’ve seen of the actual narrative. There’s also a relief that comes with the combat, because it’s weirdly limited like the past few entries; it’s a straight-up hack-and-slash, and even if there is some sloppiness there, it’s still more satisfying than whatever’s been going on for the past decade.
Final Fantasy XV Preview: I Question My Allegiance 3I am looking forward to Stand By Me 2: Boy Band Boogaloo, in some capacities. I feel like once I have access to the full title, I’ll be able to overlook some of the game’s quirks and enjoy the package as a whole. But I’m not convinced that the final product will actually be a great game, or the return to prominence that this series has needed. It’s not the full embrace of WRPG ideologies that have been advertised, but an awkward half-embrace that might not hold a full 40-50 hour experience together.

We’ll just have to see how Final Fantasy XV turns out when it hits stores on its new release date, November 30.

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Palmer Luckey Sheds Light on Trump Meme Funds, Dispute Arises http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/09/24/palmer-luckey-sheds-light-trump-meme-funds-dispute-arises/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/09/24/palmer-luckey-sheds-light-trump-meme-funds-dispute-arises/#respond Sat, 24 Sep 2016 14:11:56 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=83816

By Ana Valens

A report shocked the tech industry earlier this week when Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey was exposed for funding "Nimble America," a pro-Trump guerrilla ad campaign organization. The story quickly led to developers pulling Oculus support from their games, including Polytron's SUPERHYPERCUBE. On Sept 23rd, Luckey decided to speak out on his Facebook about the […]

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By Ana Valens

A report shocked the tech industry earlier this week when Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey was exposed for funding "Nimble America," a pro-Trump guerrilla ad campaign organization. The story quickly led to developers pulling Oculus support from their games, including Polytron's SUPERHYPERCUBE. On Sept 23rd, Luckey decided to speak out on his Facebook about the report, clarifying his views and actions. But his Facebook post has sparked a controversy of its own due to disputes over its accuracy.

Dated 9:44 pm ET, Luckey stated that he feels "deeply sorry that my actions are negatively impacting the perception of Oculus and its partners.The recent news stories about me do not accurately represent my views."  He later went on to explain his involvement with Nimble America. "I contributed $10,000 to Nimble America because I thought the organization had fresh ideas on how to communicate with young voters through the use of several billboards," he said. "I am a libertarian who has publicly supported Ron Paul and Gary Johnson in the past, and I plan on voting for Gary in this election as well."

Luckey also alleged that the "NimbleRichMan" user account's posts were not written by him, and that he did not delete the account. But that claim has already been disputed by the Daily Beast's Senior News Editor, Ben Collins.

"Palmer, what you just wrote about NimbleRichMan isn't true," Collins said on Twitter. "Or you didn't tell the truth in an email earlier this week." His tweet reveals a conversation involving Luckey, in which Luckey confirmed that he wrote the body of NimbleRichMan's posts, but did not actually create the account. The original report's writer, Gideon Resnick, also confirmed that NimbleRichMan represented Luckey. "The Nimble America team made the account, but yes, it represents me. As far as I know, there are no other wealthy donors to Nimble America," Luckey told Resnick over email.

Even if Nimble America does not fully represent Luckey's personal views, a look through his Twitter favorites reveals a strong sympathy with Trump and altright beliefs. Granted, the Oculus inventor has never publicly announced support for such movements as #GamerGate, even though his Twitter favorites suggest he sympathizes with some of the websites and figures popular with the hashtag. Nonetheless, Luckey's actions are quite a shakeup from the traditional image of Silicon Valley as a liberal, progressive and largely blue-aligned field. More news as this story develops.

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Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas (PS4) Review http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/oceanhorn-monster-uncharted-seas-ps4-review/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/oceanhorn-monster-uncharted-seas-ps4-review/#comments Fri, 23 Sep 2016 21:10:22 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=83766

By Derek Heemsbergen

Is imitation the sincerest form of flattery, or is it just what happens when you run out of ideas? For every game that lies on the cutting edge of innovation, a bevy of imitators are spawned in its wake. The Legend of Zelda series seems especially prone to imitation, and for good reason— its influence […]

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By Derek Heemsbergen

Is imitation the sincerest form of flattery, or is it just what happens when you run out of ideas?

For every game that lies on the cutting edge of innovation, a bevy of imitators are spawned in its wake. The Legend of Zelda series seems especially prone to imitation, and for good reason— its influence has been far-reaching, helping to define every generation of action-adventure games in the past thirty years. The initial game brought the scale of NES games to a whole new level, A Link to the Past honed its structure to a fine edge, and Ocarina of Time became the mold that 3D action-adventures would follow for years to come. Perhaps less revolutionary, but still meaningful, was The Wind Waker, featuring a sprawling ocean that functioned as an open world long before open worlds became the style du jour.

This lengthy preface serves to highlight the position of Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas, a Wind Waker-inspired action-adventure that is less of an homage and more of a Great Value-brand knock-off. I can appreciate a game that cribs from its predecessors, just so long as it builds upon its foundation in a meaningful way. But Oceanhorn has virtually no identity of its own. It's a forgettable seafaring adventure that loses itself in small details.

Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas (PS4) Review 3Oceanhorn first released on iOS back in November 2013, drawing attention for the fidelity of its visuals and the inclusion of a few music tracks from veteran Japanese composers Nobuo Uematsu (Final Fantasy) and Kenji Ito (SaGa series). This re-release for Playstation 4 and Xbox One brings the action to the big screen, with upscaled graphics and revamped gamepad controls. The trouble is, Oceanhorn was clearly developed as a mobile game, and nearly every facet of the experience makes that abundantly clear.

The game plays out in straightforward Zelda fashion. Our unnamed hero's father departs on a stormy night to challenge an evil creature, the titular Oceanhorn, prompting the Hero to soon depart on his own journey. He travels across the vast ocean, exploring lost islands and element-themed temples using a suite of suspiciously familiar tools— all while running ludicrous errands for needy townsfolk. Mix in an ominous prophecy, an ancient civilization, and a late-emerging villain with little personality, and voila! That's Oceanhorn's plot in a nutshell.

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Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas makes no attempt to hide its inspirations. A wise owl dispenses advice, bombs break cracked cave walls to reveal hidden paths, sliding-block puzzles bar the way to dungeon depths...and it doesn't stop there. Pieces of Heart. Rock-spitting octopi. A mirror shield. Oceanhorn's references would be amusing if they were not so blatant, so built on a mistaken premise that Zelda can be boiled down to a checklist of people, places, and things. What makes Zelda special is its meticulous polish and inimitable charisma. Oceanhorn lacks both. Its locales are uninspired, its puzzles banal. Animations are simplistic, but less in a "this is intentionally minimalistic" way and more in a "this could have used some more time in the oven" way. The game does make use of a bright and bold color palette that is beautiful on the big screen, but its art design is so uninspired that I can scarcely remember what any person or place looked like a mere week after beating it. The water effects were nice, at least...?
Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas (PS4) Review 7It's odd that even Oceanhorn's controls feel half-baked. Because it was originally designed to be played on a mobile device, remnants of its touch screen interface remain. The game's single status menu is small and lacks detail, spells require unwieldy aiming via the control stick, and running feels slippery. Moving from island to island using the Hero's boat could have been a highlight of the experience, but it's fully automated, removing the joy of exploration entirely. It creates the illusion of depth where none is present, much like...well, every other aspect of the game.

It's a shame that the game stumbles so much, because it's easy to feel the developers' love for Zelda and their desire to make something close to it. Yet Oceanhorn is ultimately a pale specter of The Wind Waker, easily skippable and lost in the sea (pun intended) of superior alternatives available.

Score:4

Final Thoughts:Oceanhorn is a passable-at-best adventure that just made me want to go back and play the games it took everything from, because they did it better.

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Pixels & Ink #220 - Worried Pacman http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/09/23/pixels-ink-220-worried-pacman/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/09/23/pixels-ink-220-worried-pacman/#respond Fri, 23 Sep 2016 20:39:48 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=83777

By Cody Orme

On this week’s Pixels and Ink Podcast Phil and Brendan are back and have a lot to talk about. Brendan talks all about Gears of War 4, Cody goes over the latest in news, and Shak and Phil talk all about the movies they saw at TIFF 2016.

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By Cody Orme

On this week’s Pixels and Ink Podcast Phil and Brendan are back and have a lot to talk about. Brendan talks all about Gears of War 4, Cody goes over the latest in news, and Shak and Phil talk all about the movies they saw at TIFF 2016.

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