CGMagazine http://www.cgmagonline.com Comics Gaming Magazine Fri, 02 Dec 2016 21:58:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.6.1 58109468 Phoenix Labs Presents Dauntless, the Next Evolution of Co-Op Action RPGs http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/12/02/phoenix-labs-presents-dauntless-next-evolution-co-op-action-rpgs/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/12/02/phoenix-labs-presents-dauntless-next-evolution-co-op-action-rpgs/#respond Fri, 02 Dec 2016 21:58:39 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=90628 By CGM Staff

Veteran Developers from BioWare, Riot Games, Capcom and Blizzard
Debut their Vision for Online Gaming with Dauntless, coming to PCs
Worldwide in 2017

Dauntless
Cinematic Trailer Unveiled During the 2016 Game Awards

LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Phoenix Labs, an independent game studio built on the foundation of
delivering great games for players to enjoy together, has revealed their
debut title at the 2016 Game Awards with Dauntless. Dauntless is
an online co-op action role-playing game (RPG) set in an untamed
science-fantasy world. Players take on the role of elite warriors
known as Slayers who protect humanity by hunting ferocious Behemoths. Dauntless
is being created by a team of industry veterans from BioWare, Riot
Games, and other acclaimed studios, led by co-founders Jesse Houston,
Sean Bender and Robin Mayne.

The world of Dauntless has been shattered by a cataclysmic event,
creating a vast array of uncharted and majestic floating islands.
Behemoths, as cunning as they are vicious, consume the land, and it’s up
to the Slayers to hunt them down before they destroy what remains of the
world. Slayers will explore an ever-changing frontier, brimming with
verdant flora and unique wildlife.

“Phoenix Labs is made up of the most talented and passionate game
developers in the world,” said Jesse Houston, co-founder and President
at Phoenix Labs. “We make games because we love to play them, and we
want to share these experiences with gamers everywhere. We’ve taken
inspiration from games like Dark Souls, Monster Hunter, and World of
Warcraft to create a new, gripping gaming experience.”

In Dauntless, Slayers can go at it alone or join cooperative
parties with up to four people to take on the Behemoth threat. No two
encounters are alike - each brings its own unique challenges and
rewards. To survive on the Shattered Isles, players collect rewards from
their hunts to upgrade their arsenal of weapons and armor in a deep and
robust crafting system.

Dauntless will be available as a free-to-play downloadable game
on PC in 2017.

Aspiring Slayers can find out more information on Dauntless by
visiting and registering at www.playdauntless.com.
To be the first to hear updates, like Dauntless on Facebook www.facebook.com/playdauntless
and follow the game on Twitter www.twitter.com/playdauntless.
Check out the debut trailer for Dauntless here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6FjLGqB-uc

About Phoenix Labs

Phoenix Labs is an independent game studio based in Vancouver, British
Columbia. The company was founded in 2014 to evolve the way great games
are made and enjoyed. They aspire to create new AAA gaming experiences
that gamers will share for years to come. Their debut title Dauntless,
a co-op action RPG, is being created by a veteran team from BioWare,
Riot Games, and other acclaimed studios. For more information on Phoenix
Labs visit www.phoenixlabs.ca.

Contacts
fortyseven communications on behalf of Phoenix LabsChase Colasonno212-391-4707phoenixlabs@fortyseven.com

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By CGM Staff

Veteran Developers from BioWare, Riot Games, Capcom and Blizzard Debut their Vision for Online Gaming with Dauntless, coming to PCs Worldwide in 2017

LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Phoenix Labs, an independent game studio built on the foundation of delivering great games for players to enjoy together, has revealed their debut title at the 2016 Game Awards with Dauntless. Dauntless is an online co-op action role-playing game (RPG) set in an untamed science-fantasy world. Players take on the role of elite warriors
known as Slayers who protect humanity by hunting ferocious Behemoths. Dauntless is being created by a team of industry veterans from BioWare, Riot
Games, and other acclaimed studios, led by co-founders Jesse Houston, Sean Bender and Robin Mayne.

The world of Dauntless has been shattered by a cataclysmic event, creating a vast array of uncharted and majestic floating islands. Behemoths, as cunning as they are vicious, consume the land, and it’s up to the Slayers to hunt them down before they destroy what remains of the world. Slayers will explore an ever-changing frontier, brimming with verdant flora and unique wildlife.

“Phoenix Labs is made up of the most talented and passionate game developers in the world,” said Jesse Houston, co-founder and President at Phoenix Labs. “We make games because we love to play them, and we want to share these experiences with gamers everywhere. We’ve taken inspiration from games like Dark Souls, Monster Hunter, and World of Warcraft to create a new, gripping gaming experience.”

In Dauntless, Slayers can go at it alone or join cooperative parties with up to four people to take on the Behemoth threat. No two encounters are alike - each brings its own unique challenges and rewards. To survive on the Shattered Isles, players collect rewards from their hunts to upgrade their arsenal of weapons and armor in a deep and robust crafting system.

Dauntless will be available as a free-to-play downloadable game on PC in 2017.

 

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ESC Games Launches ESC Game Theater, a Multi-Player Competitive Gaming Experience http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/12/02/esc-games-launches-esc-game-theater-multi-player-competitive-gaming-experience/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/12/02/esc-games-launches-esc-game-theater-multi-player-competitive-gaming-experience/#respond Fri, 02 Dec 2016 21:55:35 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=90626 By CGM Staff

First-of-its-kind theater brings 30 players together for an
entertainment experience unlike any that exists today

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Video games are about to be taken to an entirely new social level with
the launch this week of ESC
Game Theater, a first-of-its-kind, high-tech experience
where up to 30 people play wildly fun, casual games on a massive screen
in a room pulsing with lights, special effects, music and energy.

A 750-square-foot, custom-designed, free standing structure, the ESC
Game Theater makes its debut during the busy holiday shopping season
in the Westfield
Garden State Plaza in Paramus, New Jersey, one of the largest malls
in the United States.

Creating a completely new type of immersive entertainment and gaming
experience, the ESC Game Theater features a movie theater size
screen (11' H x 30' W), concert-quality surround sound, and more than 50
multi-color LED and strobe lights, including synchronized lighting
effects driven by game play. A live emcee adds to the excitement and
quickens the learning curve by offering tips and advice, providing
play-by-play commentary and encouraging teamwork. Built for tournament
play, the theater will host competitions where teams and individuals
will compete for special prizes.

Using wireless, touchscreen, motion-sensitive devices, players can
compete in more than a dozen five-to-seven minute games custom-built for
the 30-player platform. Highlights include Robot Basketball,
where teams must score baskets while moving along a roller coaster
track, and Pixel Prison Blues, a fresh take on the classic cops
and robbers game. The game offerings range from collaborative to
competitive, and can be played as teams or individuals.

“In an age where most interactions are between a single person and a
screen, people are increasingly hungry for group experiences that
provide an opportunity to have fun and interact with not only friends
but also strangers,” said ESC Games founder and chairman Edwin
Schlossberg. “ESC Games takes the ideas driving current game trends a
major step further by harnessing the latest in technology and
entertainment to create an unparalleled gaming and social experience.”

Charley Delana, Executive Vice President, Global Brand Ventures at
Westfield, added that the ESC Game Theater builds on Westfield’s efforts
to reimagine the future of shopping centers and malls.

“Westfield is committed to redefining the shopping experience by
leveraging the latest in technology and digital entertainment
innovation,” said Delana. “We are thrilled to welcome ESC Games to
Westfield Garden State Plaza and we are looking forward to giving
shoppers the chance to be among the first in the world to experience the
future of gaming and entertainment.”

With the video game industry projected to see 18 percent annual growth,
ESC Games CEO Todd Swidler said he sees opportunities for ESC Game
Theaters to expand throughout the United States and internationally. A
former top executive from Bloomberg Media and the NBA, Swidler recently
joined the ESC Games team to help the company capitalize on growth.

“The video game industry is experiencing explosive growth, and we see
major opportunities for ESC Games to pioneer a new category that taps
into that demand through our unique game experience and competitive
tournaments. The possibilities are vast,” said Swidler.

ESI
Design incubated the concept for ESC Games in partnership with
Production Resource Group (PRG), the leading global supplier of live
entertainment and event technology. ESC Games is comprised of an
operational product business that designs and builds the ESC Game
Theater, the company’s inaugural product, as well as the ESC Game Studio
that develops games.

Contacts
For ESC GamesScott Piro, 212-627-8098scott@pkpr.com

This post is by www.cgmagonline.com read the original post: ESC Games Launches ESC Game Theater, a Multi-Player Competitive Gaming Experience

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By CGM Staff

First-of-its-kind theater brings 30 players together for an entertainment experience unlike any that exists today NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Video games are about to be taken to an entirely new social level with the launch this week of ESC Game Theater, a first-of-its-kind, high-tech experience where up to 30 people play wildly fun, casual games on a massive screen in a room pulsing with lights, special effects, music and energy.

A 750-square-foot, custom-designed, free standing structure, the ESC Game Theater makes its debut during the busy holiday shopping season in the Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus, New Jersey, one of the largest malls
in the United States.

Creating a completely new type of immersive entertainment and gaming experience, the ESC Game Theater features a movie theater size screen (11' H x 30' W), concert-quality surround sound, and more than 50 multi-color LED and strobe lights, including synchronized lighting effects driven by game play. A live emcee adds to the excitement and quickens the learning curve by offering tips and advice, providing play-by-play commentary and encouraging teamwork. Built for tournament play, the theater will host competitions where teams and individuals will compete for special prizes.

Using wireless, touchscreen, motion-sensitive devices, players can compete in more than a dozen five-to-seven minute games custom-built for the 30-player platform. Highlights include Robot Basketball, where teams must score baskets while moving along a roller coaster track, and Pixel Prison Blues, a fresh take on the classic cops and robbers game. The game offerings range from collaborative to competitive, and can be played as teams or individuals.

“In an age where most interactions are between a single person and a screen, people are increasingly hungry for group experiences that provide an opportunity to have fun and interact with not only friends but also strangers,” said ESC Games founder and chairman Edwin Schlossberg. “ESC Games takes the ideas driving current game trends a major step further by harnessing the latest in technology and entertainment to create an unparalleled gaming and social experience.”

Charley Delana, Executive Vice President, Global Brand Ventures at Westfield, added that the ESC Game Theater builds on Westfield’s efforts to reimagine the future of shopping centers and malls.

“Westfield is committed to redefining the shopping experience by leveraging the latest in technology and digital entertainment innovation,” said Delana. “We are thrilled to welcome ESC Games to Westfield Garden State Plaza and we are looking forward to giving shoppers the chance to be among the first in the world to experience the future of gaming and entertainment.”

With the video game industry projected to see 18 percent annual growth, ESC Games CEO Todd Swidler said he sees opportunities for ESC Game Theaters to expand throughout the United States and internationally. A former top executive from Bloomberg Media and the NBA, Swidler recently joined the ESC Games team to help the company capitalize on growth.

“The video game industry is experiencing explosive growth, and we see major opportunities for ESC Games to pioneer a new category that taps into that demand through our unique game experience and competitive tournaments. The possibilities are vast,” said Swidler.

ESI Design incubated the concept for ESC Games in partnership with Production Resource Group (PRG), the leading global supplier of live entertainment and event technology. ESC Games is comprised of an operational product business that designs and builds the ESC Game Theater, the company’s inaugural product, as well as the ESC Game Studio that develops games.

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Rule the Galaxy With Star Wars: The Old Republic – Knights of the Eternal Throne, Available Now Worldwide http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/12/02/rule-galaxy-star-wars-old-republic-knights-eternal-throne-available-now-worldwide/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/12/02/rule-galaxy-star-wars-old-republic-knights-eternal-throne-available-now-worldwide/#respond Fri, 02 Dec 2016 21:49:58 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=90625 By CGM Staff

View ‘Legacy’, the official launch trailer here.

AUSTIN, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--BioWare™, an Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:EA) studio, and
Lucasfilm today released worldwide the latest digital expansion to the
critically acclaimed MMORPG game, Star Wars™: The Old Republic™- Knights
of the Eternal Throne. This expansion is a story-driven
point-of-entry for new and veteran players alike and offered free* to
all Premium players (subscribers).

In Knights of the Eternal Throne, players can experience the
thrill of taking command as the ultimate ruler of the galaxy for the
first-time ever in a Star Wars™ game. Players take on the role of
the Outlander, leading an explosive fight for control against the most
powerful family in the Eternal Empire. In their quest for the throne,
players make choices that influence the galaxy for the light or dark
side of the Force™, ultimately deciding who will live, who will die and
who will rule the galaxy.

“This year, it’s even more personal. We’ve raised the stakes for the
player as they fight to seize control of the Eternal Throne and rule the
galaxy,” said Producer Ben Irving. “But that’s not the end of your
story. In fact, it’s just the beginning. You must be prepared to make
difficult choices along the way to not only take the throne, but also
fight to keep it.”

After conquering the throne, players can grow their power and influence
in the all-new Galactic Command progression system featuring visceral,
fast-action Star Wars combat. With multiple challenge modes to
choose from, everyone can play their way. In new Uprisings, players will
join with three allies to confront enemy factions rising up to challenge
their command while earning rare and powerful rewards. In every battle,
players will have to choose a side in the ongoing Dark vs. Light Side
War. As the dark or light side takes control, battles will erupt across
the galaxy – offering big group battles that bring players together like
never before to shift the balance of the Force™ to their side.

Star Wars: The Old Republic is a Free-to-Play*, award-winning
BioWare MMORPG set in the Star Wars universe. Players team up
with friends online to fight in heroic dark vs. light battles,
experience visceral Star Wars combat and explore a galaxy far,
far away.

For more information on the Star Wars: The Old Republic Digital
Expansion, Knights of the Eternal Throne, please visit www.StarWarsTheOldRepublic.com/Eternal-Throne.
Visit www.StarWarsTheOldRepublic.com/Play-Free
to try the game today. Join the conversation by visiting the official Community
Blog, Facebook,
Twitter,
YouTube,
Twitch
and Instagram.
For additional press assets, please visit http://info.ea.com.

* ACCEPTANCE OF END USER ACCESS AND LICENSE AGREEMENT ('EUALA'),
PERSISTENT INTERNET CONNECTION, AND ACCOUNT REGISTRATION REQUIRED TO
PLAY. MUST BE 13+ TO REGISTER. ACCOUNT IS NON-TRANSFERABLE ONCE USED.
PAID SUBSCRIPTION, VALID AND ACCEPTED PAYMENT METHOD OR PAID GAME TIME
CARD (IF AVAILABLE) REQUIRED TO ACCESS SUBSCRIPTION GAMEPLAY. PAYMENT
METHOD AGE RESTRICTIONS MAY APPLY. SWTOR ONLINE SERVICE MAY BE
DISCONTINUED. SEE EUALA FOR DETAILS. AGREEMENT TO SHARE ACCOUNT
INFORMATION WITH LUCASFILM ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY LTD. ('LUCASFILM') IS
REQUIRED TO ACCESS GAMEPLAY. GAME INTENDED FOR PLAY ONLY WITHIN NORTH
AMERICA, EUROPE AND CERTAIN OTHER TERRITORIES. USE OF CARTEL COINS
SUBJECT TO DIGITAL SERVICES AGREEMENT. PRIVACY & COOKIE POLICY AND TERMS
OF SERVICE AVAILABLE AT WWW.SWTOR.COM.
ALL TERMS AND CONDITIONS TO PLAY THE GAME APPLY AT ALL TIMES.
SUBSCRIPTIONS MAY BE CANCELLED AT ANY TIME. SEE WWW.SWTOR.COM
FOR DETAILS.

About Lucasfilm

STAR WARS © & ™ Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Used Under
Authorization.

LucasArts, the LucasArts logo, STAR WARS and related properties
are trademarks in the United States and/or in other countries of
Lucasfilm Ltd. and/or its affiliates. © 2013-2016 Lucasfilm
Entertainment Company Ltd. or Lucasfilm Ltd. All rights reserved.
BioWare and the BioWare logo are trademarks of EA International (Studio
and Publishing) Ltd. EA and the EA logo are trademarks of Electronic
Arts Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective
owners.

About Electronic Arts

Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: EA) is a global leader in digital interactive
entertainment. The Company delivers games, content and online services
for Internet-connected consoles, personal computers, mobile phones and
tablets. EA has more than 300 million registered players around the
world.

In fiscal year 2016, EA posted GAAP net revenue of $4.4 billion.
Headquartered in Redwood City, California, EA is recognized for a
portfolio of critically acclaimed, high-quality blockbuster brands such
as The Sims™, Madden NFL, EA SPORTS™ FIFA, Battlefield™, Dragon Age™ and
Plants vs. Zombies™. More information about EA is available at www.ea.com/news.

EA SPORTS, Battlefield, The Sims, Dragon Age, and Plants vs. Zombies are
trademarks of Electronic Arts Inc. and its subsidiaries. John Madden,
NFL and FIFA are the property of their respective owners and used with
permission.

Contacts
Electronic Arts Inc.Jino Talens, 650-628-9111PR Managerjtalens@ea.comorDanica
Stanczak, 650-628-3722Publicistdstanczak@ea.com

This post is by www.cgmagonline.com read the original post: Rule the Galaxy With Star Wars: The Old Republic – Knights of the Eternal Throne, Available Now Worldwide

]]>
By CGM Staff

AUSTIN, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--BioWare™, an Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:EA) studio, and Lucasfilm today released worldwide the latest digital expansion to the critically acclaimed MMORPG game, Star Wars™: The Old Republic™- Knights of the Eternal Throne. This expansion is a story-driven point-of-entry for new and veteran players alike and offered free* to all Premium players (subscribers).

In Knights of the Eternal Throne, players can experience the thrill of taking command as the ultimate ruler of the galaxy for the first-time ever in a Star Wars™ game. Players take on the role of the Outlander, leading an explosive fight for control against the most powerful family in the Eternal Empire. In their quest for the throne, players make choices that influence the galaxy for the light or dark side of the Force™, ultimately deciding who will live, who will die and who will rule the galaxy.

“This year, it’s even more personal. We’ve raised the stakes for the player as they fight to seize control of the Eternal Throne and rule the galaxy,” said Producer Ben Irving. “But that’s not the end of your story. In fact, it’s just the beginning. You must be prepared to make difficult choices along the way to not only take the throne, but also fight to keep it.”

After conquering the throne, players can grow their power and influence in the all-new Galactic Command progression system featuring visceral, fast-action Star Wars combat. With multiple challenge modes to choose from, everyone can play their way. In new Uprisings, players will join with three allies to confront enemy factions rising up to challenge their command while earning rare and powerful rewards. In every battle, players will have to choose a side in the ongoing Dark vs. Light Side War. As the dark or light side takes control, battles will erupt across the galaxy – offering big group battles that bring players together like never before to shift the balance of the Force™ to their side.

Star Wars: The Old Republic is a Free-to-Play*, award-winning BioWare MMORPG set in the Star Wars universe. Players team up with friends online to fight in heroic dark vs. light battles, experience visceral Star Wars combat and explore a galaxy far, far away.

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The Top Ten David Cronenberg Movies http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/12/02/top-ten-david-cronenberg-movies/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/12/02/top-ten-david-cronenberg-movies/#respond Fri, 02 Dec 2016 21:40:45 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=90620

By Phil Brown

Since CGM is a Toronto publication, we must admit to having a soft spot for a certain Mr. David Cronenberg. After all, the man isn’t just one of the most ambitious, thoughtful, and disgustingly unhinged horror filmmakers, he also provides a nice and grimy contrast to our typically quiet and polite national film fare. Around […]

This post is by www.cgmagonline.com read the original post: The Top Ten David Cronenberg Movies

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By Phil Brown

Since CGM is a Toronto publication, we must admit to having a soft spot for a certain Mr. David Cronenberg. After all, the man isn’t just one of the most ambitious, thoughtful, and disgustingly unhinged horror filmmakers, he also provides a nice and grimy contrast to our typically quiet and polite national film fare. Around for decades, Cronenberg has built up a unique career perched somewhere between gag-inducing graphic horror and mind-bending art films about the darkest recesses of the human experience. He’s a pretty damn great filmmaker and it’s always nice to have cause to celebrate his artfully filthy ways.

Recently, the good folks at Shout Factory welcomed David Cronenberg into their ever-growing Blu-ray archive of the finest genre movies ever made. Through their horror focused Scream Factory label, Shout released beautiful Blu-ray editions of Cronenberg’s nasty exploitation movie Rabid and his first serious auteur piece Dead Ringers. Together they form a double bill of the best that David has to offer. Rabid is one of his most lurid, sick and cynical concoctions filled with blood red spectacle. Dead Ringers on the other hand digs into the mind for its horrors and delivers a deeply disturbing tale of unhealthily connected twins. They are two of his best films, though there are many more masterpieces in his catalogue.

So to celebrate these new Cronenberg releases that hit shelves just in time to fill the stockings of the sickos on your X-mas list, we thought we’d take a look back at the top ten films ever made by Canada’s perverted master of the macabre. These ten films are the perfect way for you to feel like a movie snob and a disgusting genre obsessive simultaneously and are an ideal antidote to all that nauseating Christmas cheer in the air these days.

10) A History Of Violence (2005)

Based on a graphic novel that David Cronenberg claims he never read, A History Of Violence was a welcome return to visceral entertainment from the auteur after a few years locked away in the art house. On the surface it’s the tale of a dark past coming back to haunt Viggo Mortensen’s small town family man and short order cook. Beneath the surface, it’s an attack on America’s obsession with violence that always rests just below the nation’s white picket fence fantasies. Subversively satirical and viciously visceral, the film is one of Cronenberg’s finest. It packs a punch to the gut and the brain in a beautifully mounted attack on the American Dream. Plus Ed Harris appears in arguably his most terrifying role before HBO’s Westworld, so it’s a good time to revisit.

9) Scanners (1981)

An unexpected #1 hit at the box office thanks to the most famous exploding head in cinematic history, Scanners is one of David Cronenberg’s most iconic creations. It’s also a bit of a mess given that the director started production before he’d even finished the script and was stuck with a lead actor who wasn’t exactly up to the task at hand. Still, Scanners was the first time that Cronenberg had a decent budget and used it to deliver a handful of psychic set pieces that are impossible to forget. This is the director at his most playfully entertaining and while it won’t blow viewers minds like some of his more ambitious efforts, it will throw enough brain matter around the screen to make up for it.

8) Rabid (1977)

This nasty little drive in feature was controversial enough in its day that David Cronenberg’s landlord allegedly kicked him out of his home after learning the professorial tenant was responsible for such grindhouse trash. Porn star Marilyn Chambers stars as a woman who receives an experimental skin graft that leads to the formation of a mutant penis fang in her armpit. Chambers stalks men to feast on them like a vampire and her victims turn into rabid zombie types. That leads to martial law taking over Montreal (much like actually happened at the time) and plenty of nasty, bloody, pervy supernatural scares (which didn’t happen quite as often in Montreal at the time). This grainy 70’s exploitation picture is often dismissed in Cronenberg retrospectives but is worth revisiting in the new Shout Blu-ray for its mixture of hard scares and clever STD subtext. It’s also a movie ahead of its time, playing up urban zombie panic a year before George Romero made Dawn Of The Dead. Oh and it’s technically a Christmas movie that features a mall Santa being machine-gunned to the ground. ‘Tis the season to truly enjoy Rabid.

7) Naked Lunch (1991)

A long-time dream project of Cronenberg’s, this almost indescribable art house provocation attempts the impossible by adapting William S. Burroughs’ stream-of-conscious nightmare literary classic Naked Lunch to the big screen. It’s not exactly a straightforward adaptation, since it’s unlikely even Burroughs could sit through that. Instead the film is a mixture of two of the most twisted minds of the 20th century and a concoction of bizarre images and ideas that are impossible to scrape from any innocent mind that dares to let it in.

6) Shivers (1975) 

Shivers caused massive controversy on release as Canadian tax-payers wondered if their money should fund a movie about sex zombies. However, it was also one of the few hits funded by the government at the time, so the naysayers shut up quickly even though Shivers remains curiously out of print in North America. This super cheap 70’s horror produced by Ivan Ghostbusters Reitman and directed by Cronenberg as his commercial debut (he had previously dabbled in the underground experimental film market) holds up remarkably well as both art and entertainment. The tale of a high-rise apartment building beset by slug-like parasites that turn their victims into rabid sex zombies after entering any orifice is creepy, hilarious, and unforgettable. A mixture of snotty shots at sexual mores and gross out groundbreaking body horror, Shivers is a must see for horror fans even if it is damn difficult to find. It also has one of the greatest trailers of all time, so be sure to enjoy that, if nothing else.

5) Crash (1996)

Easily David Cronenberg’s most controversial movie, this adaptation of J.G. Ballard’s cult novel about folks sexually obsessed with car wrecks is a tough movie to shake off. It’s a lurid tale of sexual obsession and unsettlingly insatiable desire that has to be one of the least erotic movies ever made featuring this much sex. Deeply disturbing, scarring, and surprisingly insightful for those willing to engage with Cronenberg/Ballard’s exploration of the darkest recesses of human desire, Crash is a movie impossible to forget for those who can sit through it until the end. Not for the faint of heart or easily aroused. Note: this is definitely not that horrible Best Picture winning movie with the same title, though I love the fact that many people must have rented Cronenberg’s Crash by accident and had themselves a horrible night.

4) The Brood (1979)

The Brood is probably David Cronenberg’s most personal picture, which is an odd thing to say about movie featuring mutant children on a murder spree. Based on a particularly painful divorce, it follows a Cronenberg stand-in whose ex-wife has entered a bizarre therapy cult run by Oliver Reed in which psychological traumas are turned into boils n’ scars via experimental therapy. As if that weren’t weird enough, there is also a gang of monster children in red snowsuits killing people all around the hero’s daughter. Weird, wild stuff to be sure. The Brood might be David Cronenberg’s most purely frightening horror film and also one that rather elegantly ties themes of the emotional trauma of divorce into a nasty and effective scare picture. A must see, even for those sad folks who don’t normally take to David’s peculiar cinematic perversions.

3) Dead Ringers (1988)

Dead Ringers is arguably the movie that finally made critics and film snobs take the horror maestro seriously. It’s still a horror flick, just one that withers its way into your brain to cause its disturbances. The tale of psychotic twin gynecologists who share both a medical practice and women is a slow burn creep out as difficult to scrub from your mind as any of Cronenberg’s most obvious cinematic nightmares. This time though, it’s the ideas and scenarios that shock more so than any nasty images. However, there are still some beautifully creepy pictures and an absolutely extraordinary pair of performances by Jeremy Irons as the disturbingly co-dependent twins. Dead Ringers is typically considered the filmmaker’s finest hour because of how nimbly it walks the line between the phantasmagoria freakouts of the director’s youth and the high-minded art house fare of the prestigious half of his career. We here at CGM don’t quite agree, but can’t deny that it is certainly one of Cronenberg’s crowning achievements.

2) The Fly (1986)

“Be afraid. Be very afraid.” Promised the posters for David Cronenberg’s remake of a campy Vincent Price classic. This sci-fi horror crossover about a scientist who accidentally blends his genetic code with that of a fly is undeniably one of the most disgusting genre movies ever made. The ways in which Jeff Goldbuom slowly degenerates into a mutated monster are both gag-inducingly visceral and serve as a poignant metaphor for cancerous disease. The make up effects are some of the finest ever created in horror film history. The performances are spectacular enough for the film to play as much romantic tragedy as a genre thrill ride. In short, The Fly is a masterpiece. Not just one of the greatest remakes of all time, but one of the finest genre films period.

1)   Videodrome (1983)

Finally we come to Videodrome. This might not be nearly as accessible or as powerful of a film as The Fly, but it also might be the most David Cronenberg movie ever made. James Woods stars as a television executive who specializes in programming late night softcore porn and violent horror. He is exposed to an experimental program titled Videodrome that takes over its viewers’ minds through harsh images of sexual violence. The film is both a surreal nightmare masterpiece featuring unforgettable horror images and an exploration of the media’s effect on the mind that is somehow even more poignant in the digital era despite the analogue technology on display. Complex enough for the art house and disgusting enough for the grindhouse, Videodrome is the ultimate David Cronenberg picture that’ll make genre nuts want to plunge their heads into their televisions and never return.

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Pixels & Ink #228 - Batman and Building http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/12/02/pixels-ink-228-batman-building/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/12/02/pixels-ink-228-batman-building/#respond Fri, 02 Dec 2016 18:30:53 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=90615

By Cody Orme

This week on the Pixels and Ink podcast, everyone is back after a weeks hiatus and Phil Brendan and Cody go over all the latest news items from the week. Phil talks about Mario Maker 3DS and the 4th chapter of Telltale Batman series. Cody manages to enlighten everyone why Final Fantasy XV is an […]

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By Cody Orme

This week on the Pixels and Ink podcast, everyone is back after a weeks hiatus and Phil Brendan and Cody go over all the latest news items from the week. Phil talks about Mario Maker 3DS and the 4th chapter of Telltale Batman series. Cody manages to enlighten everyone why Final Fantasy XV is an exciting release, and Brendan once again has had no time to dig into games.

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The Game Awards 2016 Post-Show Wrap-Up http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/12/02/the-game-awards-2016-post-show-wrap-up/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/12/02/the-game-awards-2016-post-show-wrap-up/#respond Fri, 02 Dec 2016 15:32:48 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=90600

By Ana Valens

The 2016 Game Awards were hosted on Dec. 1 in Los Angeles to wide interest across the gaming community. The night had its highs and lows, and now that Thursday night has come and gone, here's some of the highlights from the event: Viewers have been excited over the brand new The Legend of Zelda: […]

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By Ana Valens

The 2016 Game Awards were hosted on Dec. 1 in Los Angeles to wide interest across the gaming community. The night had its highs and lows, and now that Thursday night has come and gone, here's some of the highlights from the event:

Viewers have been excited over the brand new The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild trailers that premiered during the 2016 Awards show. There were two videos shown. One was a trailer for Breath of the Wild, exploring the game's various settings available once the title lands on Nintendo Switch and Wii U next year. The other trailer featured official gameplay footage from the game, showcasing how Breath of the Wild looks and feels as development continues.

Death Stranding also received a brand new trailer, this time featuring another major actor: Mads Mikkelsen. The latest trailer revealed a bit more about the setting, introducing a war-torn setting that combines squirmy, tentacle-like creatures with military squadrons. Babies also feature again in this trailer as an important plot point. No word yet what Death Stranding is about, but Mikkelsen's appearance certainly has players intrigued.

Thursday night wasn't a perfect night, of course. Of particular note was the awkward Schick Hydro mascot, which looked like a Master Chief costume with an enormous razor for a head. The "Best Fighting Game" category was also met with controversy across the gaming community, with many fighting game fans arguing that Street Fighter V was not a strong choice for a winner. Part of the bad blood comes from Nitroplus Blasterz: Heroines Infinite Duel failing to hit the Game Awards, despite attempts from NIS and also critics such as Jeff Gerstmann giving the game a nomination.

Listed below are the various categories and winners announced for this year's Game Awards:

Game of the Year

Winner: Overwatch
Uncharted 4: A Thief's End
Inside
DOOM
Titanfall 2

Best Game Direction

Winner: Blizzard (Overwatch)
Respawn (Titanfall 2)
id Software (Doom)
DICE (Battlefield 1)
Naughty Dog (Uncharted 4: A Thief's End)

Best Narrative

Winner: Uncharted 4: A Thief's End
Oxenfree
Mafia III
Inside
Firewatch

Best Art Direction

Winner: Inside
Firewatch
Abzu
Overwatch
Uncharted 4: A Thief's End

Best Music/Sound Design

Winner: DOOM
Inside
Battlefield 1
Rez Infinite
Thumper

Best Performance

Winner: Nolan North as Nathan Drake from Uncharted 4: A Thief's End
Emily Rose as Elena from Uncharted 4: A Thief's End
Cissy Jones as Delilah from Firewatch
Alex Hernandez as Lincoln Clay from Mafia III
Rich Summer as Henry from Firewatch
Troy Baker as Sam Drake from Uncharted 4: A Thief's End

Games for Impact

Winner: That Dragon, Cancer
Sea Hero Quest
Orwell
Block'hood
1979 Revolution

Best Independent Game

Winner: Inside
Firewatch
Stardew Valley
Hyper Light Drifter
The Witness

Best Mobile/Handheld

Winner: Pokemon Go
Clash Royale
Monster Hunter Generations
Fire Emblem Fates
Severed

Best VR Game

Winner: Rez Infinite
Thumper
Job Simulator
EVE: Valkyrie
Batman: Arkham VR

Best Action Game

Winner: DOOM
Battlefield 1
Overwatch
Gears of War 4
Titanfall 2

Best Action/Adventure Game

Winner: Dishonored 2
Hitman
Ratchet & Clank
Hyper Light Drifter
Uncharted 4: A Thief's End

Best RPG

Winner: The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt, Blood and Wine
Dark Souls 3
World of Warcraft: Legion
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
Xenoblade Chronicles X

Best Fighting Game

Winner: Street Fighter V
Pokken Tournament
King of Fighters XIV
Killer Instinct Season 3

Best Strategy Game

Winner: Civilization 6
Fire Emblem Fates
The Banner Saga 2
Total War: Warhammer
XCOM 2

Best Family Game

Winner: Pokemon Go
Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Dragon Quest Builders
Ratchet & Clank
Skylanders: Imaginators

Best Sports/Racing

Winner: Forza Horizon 3
MLB The Show 16
FIFA 17
NBA 2k17
Pro Evolution Soccer 2017

Best Multiplayer

Winner: Overwatch
Battlefield 1
Gears of War 4
Titanfall 2
Overcooked
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege

Most Anticipated Game

Winner: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Red Dead Redemption 2
Mass Effect: Andromeda
Horizon: Zero Dawn
God of War

Trending Gamer

Winner: Boogie2988
AngryJoeShow
Danny O'Dwyer
JackSepticEye
Lirik

Best Fan Creation

Brutal Doom 64
Endreal: The Shards of Order

Best ESports Player

Winner: Coldzera
Faker
ByuN
Infiltrator
Hungrybox

Best ESports Team

Winner: Cloud 9
ROX Tigers
SK Gaming
Wings Gaming
SK Telecom T1

Best ESports Game

Winner: Overwatch
League of Legends
DOTA 2
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Street Fighter V

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Gaming Has a Sequel Problem - Sound Off http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/12/02/gaming-needs-new-ideas-sound-off/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/12/02/gaming-needs-new-ideas-sound-off/#respond Fri, 02 Dec 2016 14:50:47 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=90603

By Brendan Frye

Cody explores why the games industry relies on squeals and remakes, and why it needs to start looking at ways to inject new ideas into games with new experiences.

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By Brendan Frye

Cody explores why the games industry relies on squeals and remakes, and why it needs to start looking at ways to inject new ideas into games with new experiences.

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The Music of Time-Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/12/02/the-music-of-time-legend-of-zelda-symphony-of-the-goddess/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/12/02/the-music-of-time-legend-of-zelda-symphony-of-the-goddess/#respond Fri, 02 Dec 2016 14:00:47 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=90547

By Cody Orme

In the world of videogames, it’s hard to find a series more beloved than Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda. With a history spanning 30 years, fans have a plethora of reasons to consistently return to the series, and among those reasons is its music. In fact, The Legend of Zelda has one of the most […]

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By Cody Orme

In the world of videogames, it’s hard to find a series more beloved than Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda. With a history spanning 30 years, fans have a plethora of reasons to consistently return to the series, and among those reasons is its music. In fact, The Legend of Zelda has one of the most iconic scores of any franchise in the videogame industry, which is why there is the Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses, a multimedia experience dedicated to the music of The Legend of Zelda.

The Music of Time-Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddess 1
Photo Credit: Jose Lim

Touring around Canada and the U.S.A., with their first stop in Quebec City on Dec 7, 2016, the Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses takes the most memorable songs of The Legend of Zelda franchise and mixes them with other tributes to the series. Nintendo endorses the show with series creator Shigeru Miyamoto and composer Koji Kondo actually attending a performance in Japan and even appearing via a pre-recorded video between songs to talk about creating The Legend of Zelda. The idea is to create a show for The Legend of Zelda fans made by The Legend of Zelda fans.

Jason Michael Paul is the mind behind Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses, his company, Jason Michael Paul Inc., produced the show. He also hired most of the personnel and got the project off the ground. His relationship with Nintendo goes back almost a decade to another show he put together called PLAY! A Videogame Symphony. After the success of that show, the Japanese console manufacturer contacted him to produce a show dedicated to The Legend of Zelda franchise, but his love for the series goes back to its release in North America.

“I was a Nintendo head since I can remember, and when the first Legend of Zelda came out, it rocked my world,” says Paul. “Now I play with my daughter… we’re playing [Majora’s Mask 3D]...”

The Music of Time-Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddess 2
Paul is now playing Majora's Maks 3D with his daughter 20 years after he played his first The Legend of Zelda experience.

To Paul, this is a personal project. Bringing the arts to the masses is a dream for him, but it gets more personal than that. Paul imagined what the primitive beeps and boops of the original The Legend of Zelda would sound like with a full orchestra, and part of his job as producer was to bring in a team to help translate those sounds into fully realized orchestrated pieces. Originally, they worked with Kondo and Miyamoto to make that a reality. During his experience working with those two legendary names, Paul managed to take away a few lessons.

“They taught me a lot… in humility and being humble and being patient,” says Paul. “They taught me to focus on the details.”

One thing that both fans and critics usually agree on when it comes to The Legend of Zelda franchise is that there is a lot of love put into the smallest of details. Even the latest entry, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, got delayed again as Nintendo wants the series to live up to those expectations. Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses is not different in that regard. A multimedia experience with around 200 shows under its belt, Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses is more than just a symphonic movement. With a visual aspect added to the show, it’s meant to bring gamers and non-gamers together. In Paul’s experience, he’s noticed generations coming to shows from grandfathers to children; it’s meant to be inclusive.

The Music of Time-Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddess 3
Photo Credit: Matt Le

Obviously, the music is the most important part of Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses. Kondo’s work is some of the most recognizable in pop culture, not just gaming, and much of that is because of his style. To Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses conductor Kevin Zakresky, it’s not just because of nostalgia. In fact, he admits that as a child playing The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, he didn’t appreciate the score as much as he does now. With a doctorate in Musical arts, a master’s degree in Music, and working as conductor for Pacifica Singers and Orpheum Voices on top of his work with Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses, Zakresky looks at the series’ music a little differently than the average fan.

“There’s this sort of wonder that comes upon you as a composer or as an orchestra musician when you play these scores,” says Zakresky. “Though the orchestration is so romantic, lush, and exciting, there are so many moments of incredible poignancy in Zelda music that cover all sorts of emotions.”

In his experience, he’s noticed a large reaction to the intense “Gereudo Valley” and the more sombre piano intro to the Majora’s Mask medley they save for the encore.  He describes it as a very expressive show, one that tries to evoke emotions from the audience, while still sending them home happy. Zakresky adds that Kondo’s music features evocative harmonies, and with more of a Japanese style it’s a treat to the Canadian conductor.

The Music of Time-Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddess 4
Photo Credit: Jordan August

As the date moves closer to the first Quebec City show at the Grand Théâtre de Québec, Zakresky is excited to work with a new orchestra in a city the symphony has never been. The ability to speak French will help Zakresky with the two hours he gets with the musicians the afternoon of the show, but he admits a lot can be said with just a flick of the wrist.

Still, playing in Quebec City is a big deal to both Zakresky and Paul. As a city rich in history, and considered the cultural hub of Canada, it only makes sense that the symphony that’s helping to bring videogame music to the masses makes its way there despite the area being a relatively smaller market compared to other cities they’ve played in like Toronto, New York, or Tokyo. Even if it isn’t as big as those cities, tickets are still available on the Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses website for those who are in the area around that time.

As a multimedia experience designed as a tribute to one of the most celebrated series’ in videogames Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses, aims to be an inclusive night at the orchestra created by fans of the series for those who enjoy music. With a score remade to fit an orchestra, and multiple nods to the fans, their first trip to Quebec City should be interesting for audiences who’ve never experienced the show.

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Killing Floor 2 (PC) Review http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/killing-floor-2-pc-review/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/killing-floor-2-pc-review/#respond Fri, 02 Dec 2016 13:51:17 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=90583

By Lane Martin

People come to videogames for vastly different reasons. Some games tell intricate stories loaded with details that interweave to form a rich narrative tapestry, while others rely on complex systems and complicated AI to challenge players into hammering out deep strategies to overcome these obstacles. Killing Floor 2 does none of that, but it’s still […]

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By Lane Martin

People come to videogames for vastly different reasons. Some games tell intricate stories loaded with details that interweave to form a rich narrative tapestry, while others rely on complex systems and complicated AI to challenge players into hammering out deep strategies to overcome these obstacles. Killing Floor 2 does none of that, but it’s still a pretty neat game.

Killing Floor 2 (PC) Review 4Killing Floor 2 aims to satisfy that itch for mindless wanton carnage with friends or random like-minded strangers. There’s really not much story to speak of. You’d likely be able to discern some things through the occasional dialogue and the odd environmental detail, but really all you need to know is that there are zombies, you have guns, and it is advisable that you use one on the other. Don’t think too hard, just shoot the nasty things, reload and shoot the other nasty things.

It’s a formula that can get stale relatively quickly. The main mode you’ll be seeing is Survival, which pits you and your teammates against 10 waves of the rowdy zeds and a final boss, with breaks in-between to buy new equipment and shore up your supplies. There is a plethora of different implements players can acquire with which to dispatch the mutated masses. To me, that variety is the real draw here. Constant murder and gore can get tiring after a while, so it’s always nice to switch to a microwave gun or something that shoots circular saws. It’s hard to make circular saws boring.

There is a class system involved here, but it’s a little obtuse. While applying light cosmetic customization to the character model of their choice, players will pick a perk. However, this nomenclature is a lie. Traditionally, games reference character’s roles like “sharpshooter” or “commando” as a class, and the benefits they provide as perks, but Killing Floor 2 dares to be different. The classes provide a few passive benefits (more damage with their preferred weapons, reduced damage from appropriate damage types) and level when used appropriately.  After gaining five levels in a particular class, you’ll unlock a more significant bonus, and so on. The classes are pretty varied and fun to play.

Killing Floor 2 (PC) Review 5 Killing Floor 2 (PC) Review 6

There is another mode players can delve into when they’re feeling more antagonistic.  Versus Survival casts one team amongst the dead, to aid the zeds in their onslaught against the team of malicious survivors. The normal enemy AI is limited, so the first time you see a monster doing something other than charging straight at you and attacking, it can be a bit concerning. The sort of zed a player plays is random, and some of the weaker mobs can make the experience feel cheap and unbalanced. There’s plenty of room for improvement, and some balancing patches could go a long way in make this mode feel like more than the requisite Versus mode.

Killing Floor 2 (PC) Review 7Visually, Killing Floor 2 is a treat, albeit a grisly one. Monster types are immediately identifiable, which is important for the fast-paced action inherent here. The first time you see a massive glowing fleshpound charging at you and shrugging off all of your shots, you’ll understand the importance of the monster design. Similarly, the environments range from open snowy fields to dark cramped corridors, all itching to be covered in the blood of the dead. One of my favourite bits was traversing areas after I had dealt with a particularly large horde and seeing that story retold on the bloodstained walls and floors. I also really dig the heavy metal soundtrack. It’s all over the top madness that fits the ridiculous premise perfectly.

Killing Floor 2 does a good deal of things right. The core game loop is as fun as mindlessly blasting through hordes of the undead can be. The problem is that this is all the game really does. It guides the player to wanting to master a style of play, but the fun is really in the variety. At the end of the day, Killing Floor 2 is a great title to visit every now and then, but I imagine more people will be playing this off and on rather than making this their go to game until we see some more interesting or balanced game modes.

Score:7

Final Thoughts:Killing Floor 2 has a lot of potential, and what it has is often pretty fun, but not enough to keep players attention for long.

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Batman: The Telltale Series Episode Four – Guardian of Gotham (PS4) Review http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/batman-the-telltale-series-episode-four-guardian-of-gotham-ps4-review/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/batman-the-telltale-series-episode-four-guardian-of-gotham-ps4-review/#respond Thu, 01 Dec 2016 20:19:07 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=90416

By Phil Brown

Batman: The Telltale Series continues its unique and multifaceted take on the caped crusader and remains one of the most amusing titles released on the digital marketplace these days. Well, for Batman fans anyways. As the story continues to bounce along, it’s become clear that this is very much a project made by and for […]

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By Phil Brown

Batman: The Telltale Series continues its unique and multifaceted take on the caped crusader and remains one of the most amusing titles released on the digital marketplace these days. Well, for Batman fans anyways. As the story continues to bounce along, it’s become clear that this is very much a project made by and for those who love good ol’ Bats more than they should. While this episode, entitled Guardian Of Gotham, raises tension and continues the downright addictive narrative that Telltale has been delivering all season, some of the best moments come in how it toys with the popular characters, themes, and stories that have defined Batman for over 75 years. The designers didn’t just deliver a fun Batman lark; it’s also a love letter to the character and mythology.

FollowBatman: The Telltale Series Episode Four – Guardian Of Gotham (PS4) Review 4ing the cliffhanger finale from the last episode, Bruce Wayne wakes up locked inside Arkham Asylum. He’s introduced to a patient named John Doe, a man the doctors have come to respect for his kind demeanour.  He also has green hair and pale skin. Yep, the Joker has finally entered this series, which is no surprise whatsoever. However, the way in which he’s been introduced is unique. It’s apparently Batman’s first encounter with the Joker, who has been quietly insane on the streets of Gotham for sometime. His background remains a mystery, as does the cause of his oddly friendly behaviour. One thing is certain though; the guy is fascinated with Bruce Wayne, as well as the ways in which Harvey Dent has taken a rather public turn for the worse and all of the anarchy boiling up in Gotham.

This inevitable Arkham Asylum sequence of Batman: The Telltale Series plays that old game of exploring Bruce Wayne’s own barely concealed psychosis and how close he truly is to the colourful villains that he fights and creates. Wisely, the Telltale gang doesn’t dwell too deeply on this concept. They just let it play out and buddy up Wayne and The Joker to emphasize their duality. It’s clever, subtle, and a fantastic way to give an old idea a new spin. To emphasize how familiar this all feels, the trophy for completing the segment even references Grant Morrison and Dave McKean’s definitive Arkham Asylum book—and that’s a little nerd shout out that I can’t pretend I didn’t adore. Some may whine about the fact that Telltale spent any time on this theme at all, or that they treated a villain as iconic as The Joker in such an unconventional (and even unexpectedly quiet) manner. That’s fair enough, but for me it’s always nice to get a little twist in the Batman routine since I’ve been through it so many times before.

Batman: The Telltale Series Episode Four – Guardian Of Gotham (PS4) Review 6The rest of Guardian Of Gotham is strong, but can’t quite live up to the strange and unsettling opening. This penultimate episode of Batman: The Telltale Series lays plenty of track for the upcoming grand finale. There are exciting twists to get there, but this episode can’t help but feel mildly anticlimactic given that it has to hold back for the climax of this entire adventure. As always, Bruce’s sections prove to be even more compelling than Batman’s. There’s a crime scene with a child that showcases Bat’s softer side (provided you want to do that of course). The commitment to reintroducing players to iconic Batman baddies in unexpected ways continues with some amusing surprises. The shifting attitude of Gotham’s relationship to Bruce Wayne’s yields some impressively tense and suspenseful results. The quicktime fights are as satisfyingly choreographed as always. The detective sequences continue to drag in their simplicity. It all builds to one hell of a cliffhanger with a big unexpected choice that should make the final episode play out in excitingly different ways.

The only problems are the performance issues that have plagued this series from the start (and Telltale games in general). The lag and frame drops proved particularly irritating for me this time as it often led to lip sync issues, which are especially distracting given how dialogue driven some scenes were and how it detracted from the excellent voice performances of the cast. However, it was never a game killer, more of an annoyance.

Batman: The Telltale Series Episode Four – Guardian Of Gotham (PS4) Review 5

This series continues to be a goddamn bat-joy for me and while Guardian Of Gotham might not be the best episode of Batman: The Telltale Series to date, that’s only because the competition is so strong. This has been a hell of a Bat tale told with craft, care, and impressively cinematic storytelling that really pulls players into the interactive experience. It’ll be a tough wait for the finale, but given how good the build up has been, that will also be cause for giddy celebration. This series has surpassed expectations so far. There’s no way the final episode won’t be a dilly. If you need me, I’ll be on the edge of my seat until then.

Score:8.5

Final Thoughts:Telltale’s Batman tale continues to impress and overcome its minor technical glitches to deliver one hell of a dark knight mystery.

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Live Action Pokemon Movie Finds its Director http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/12/01/live-action-pokemon-movie-finds-director/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/12/01/live-action-pokemon-movie-finds-director/#respond Thu, 01 Dec 2016 20:05:16 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=90554

By Lane Martin

After the massive, though short lived, success of Pokemon Go! and the positive reaction to Pokemon Sun and Moon, it's been a pretty good year for fans of pocket monsters. It was no big surprise that Hollywood saw all of this and began work on another film to add to the already expansive mythos to this popular franchise. […]

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By Lane Martin

After the massive, though short lived, success of Pokemon Go! and the positive reaction to Pokemon Sun and Moon, it's been a pretty good year for fans of pocket monsters. It was no big surprise that Hollywood saw all of this and began work on another film to add to the already expansive mythos to this popular franchise. However, rather than challenging the firmly established animated movies, fans will be given a live action interpretation of Great Detective Pikachu, under the supervision of the newly named director Rob Letterman.

Letterman has cut his teeth on a bevy of family films during his career, from Shark Tale to the new Goosebumps. Looking at this filmography certainly makes it seem like this will be a significantly lighter film than the often philosophic animated features. One can assume that the mass market success of Pokemon Go! and the more approachable nature of Great Detective Pikachu helped lead to this more family friendly nature.

It is important to note that Great Detective Pikachu has not yet been released in North America, but man does it look cute. An intelligent electric mouse with a little hat solving crimes with his human buddy just makes me smile. One can only hope that all of this limelight will help motivate localization efforts on this adorable madness before too much more time has passed.

Letterman will be joining screenwriters Nicole Perlman and Alex Hirsch, who previously worked on Guardians of the Galaxy and Gravity Falls, respectively, so this could get pretty interesting. Universal Studios will be distributing the Detective Pikachu film in the west, with Toho doing so in the east.

There are a lot of ways this can go, but one this is sure. Pokemon are staying in the public eye for even longer now, and we'll be seeing plenty of more young trainers as time goes on.

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The Frightening Future of DLC http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/12/01/frightening-future-dlc/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/12/01/frightening-future-dlc/#respond Thu, 01 Dec 2016 16:03:26 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=90522

By Brendan Quinn

The NPD Group recently released an infographic that details the amount of money spent by gamers of downloadable content (DLC). The information presented here exactly shocking – anyone who has played a videogame in the last several years is well aware of a shift towards monetization and games as an ongoing service rather than a […]

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By Brendan Quinn

The NPD Group recently released an infographic that details the amount of money spent by gamers of downloadable content (DLC).

The information presented here exactly shocking – anyone who has played a videogame in the last several years is well aware of a shift towards monetization and games as an ongoing service rather than a complete package. The most disturbing statistics indicate that weapons and tools account for 31 per cent of online purchases.

The Frightening Future of DLC 2
Overwatch - Loot Boxes

This may not immediately be alarming in and of itself. But when one takes into account pay-to-win mechanics being implemented in a full price game like Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Ubisoft’s announcement that they will be moving towards a “games as a service model”, Valve essentially dropping all game development to sell hats, and even Blizzard pushing their pay-to-gamble loot box system in Overwatch, these stats mean two things.

  1. Gamers are willing to pay for anything, even if it’s just an RNG chance to get something new.
  2. Companies are making lots of money from these systems.

Getting an expansion for a game you loved used to mean spending $15-20 for a new campaign, new weapons and items, new characters, classes or races. These days, gamers will spend that much on a shiny new skin that resembles their favourite celebrity (looking at you, Run the Jewels). Remember the outcry from angry gamers in response to Horse Armour in Elder Scrolls Oblivion? How naïve and silly does that look from the perspective of a modern gamer that happily spends actual, real money for in-game currency?

The Frightening Future of DLC 1
Elder Scrolls Oblivion - Horse Armor

The most egregious of these new systems is easily the loot box. Players are no longer paying for an item; they are paying for a CHANCE to get an item. This isn’t gambling for a chance to get more money, this is gambling for a chance to get something that used to be available for free.

A chance, mind you. Not a guarantee.

Apparently we’ve come to a point where gamers don’t care if they’re spending their money on nothing more than an RNG…literally blowing real cash on the spin of a code.

As much as this system is disgusting, anti-consumer, patently greedy garbage, I understand it. From a moneymaking perspective, this is fair capitalism. If people are willing to throw developers cash for purely cosmetic items, why the hell wouldn’t a company do this? They don’t actually have to produce anything and will receive droves of cash for little to no effort. Pay a developer or an artist for one day’s work, then sell infinite numbers of items with zero production cost. Hook them with the idea that some of the items are more rare and exclusive than others and they will flock to throw money at you for nothing more than a randomly generated chance.

The Frightening Future of DLC
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare

However, where this new trend starts to get really gross is when these systems are no longer cosmetic. Taking a pay-to-win model and implementing it in full priced, competitive game is just nasty. Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare is a game that does just that. Players are now able to pay for better weapons, perks and upgrades that give them a clear advantage over their competitors with wallets that aren’t quite as deep. Of course, they’ve masked this poison with a sugary coat of “don’t worry, you can earn all of these upgrades for free simply by playing, this is just available for people who want it right away.”

Breaking down the math in relation to Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare however, indicates that while is technically true, the amount of time and effort involved is staggering. NeoGAF user Hamster Plugin did the calculations and came to the following conclusion:

“The problem here is that you need to collect a currency called "Salvage" to craft. From my beta playtime I got around 7-10 salvage per game. To craft the best (Epic) version of a gun, you need 5,840 salvage (200, then 540, then 1600, then 3500). Assuming you get 10 salvage every game (and that's probably not happening), you need to play 584 games. A COD match takes anywhere between 7-15 minutes to complete - assuming 10 minutes per game, that's 97 hours to complete one gun.”

And the best part? These boxes are STILL randomly generated. Even after playing 97 hours or spending your hard-earned cash (after dropping $79.99 on the full game) you’re still not guaranteed anything – it’s all chance. But keep playing, and keep buying, because that next supply drop just might have what you need!

The Frightening Future of DLC 3
Team Fortress 2 - Valve Software

I understand that development costs for big titles are higher than ever, and continue to skyrocket. The AAA gaming model we are familiar with simply has to change in order to remain sustainable. Unfortunately, thanks to companies like Valve, Infinity Ward, and Ubisoft, this future is on-disc, locked DLC, microtransactions, RNG loot boxes, and hats. The NPD report shows that gamers are more than willing to part with their money for nothing more than a chance at something new. There is simply no incentive for a large company to avoid this. It’s given them the ability to print money, and in cases like Valve, essentially abandon game development altogether.

When people complain about a lack of diversity in film, or anti-consumer practices in other forms of media (like the music business), the same phrase pops up over and over, “Vote with your wallet”.

Well, gamers have voted, and they voted for this. Thank the gods we have a burgeoning Indie scene. Use your vote to support that instead.

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SuperData Research Report Reveals 14 Per Cent Digital Gaming Growth http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/12/01/superdata-research-report-reveals-14-per-cent-digital-gaming-growth/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/12/01/superdata-research-report-reveals-14-per-cent-digital-gaming-growth/#respond Thu, 01 Dec 2016 16:01:58 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=90506

By Ana Valens

A brand new report from gaming analyst SuperData Research reveals digital gaming sales are growing across the world. In an October report officially revealed on Dec. 1, SuperData notes that the digital market hits the holiday quarter with "14% year-over-year growth and $6.7 billion in total October revenue." In a press release published by SuperData, […]

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By Ana Valens

A brand new report from gaming analyst SuperData Research reveals digital gaming sales are growing across the world. In an October report officially revealed on Dec. 1, SuperData notes that the digital market hits the holiday quarter with "14% year-over-year growth and $6.7 billion in total October revenue."

In a press release published by SuperData, the research organization's findings were explained in more detail. "New major releases including Battlefield 1, Titanfall 2, Mafia 3 and Gears of War 4 helped propel Console digital revenue to $628 million, a 27% year-over-year increase," the release stated. "Premium PC experienced the greatest growth of any segment, jumping 78% to $592 million in revenue." SuperData's research revealed that the 78 per cent growth was partly due to Civilization VI's strong debut on the market. Pay-to-play revenue has also dropped by 12 per cent to $219 million, whereas games like League of Legends, CrossFire and Dungeon Fighter Online are keeping the free-to-play market afloat with a 4 per cent growth for $1.5 billion in revenue.

Best-selling digital games for Oct. 2016 include League of Legends for PC, Battlefield 1 for console and Pokémon Go for mobile. Sid Meier's Civilization VI landed on number five on the PC chart, as did Overwatch for number six, Battlefield 1 for seventh place and DOTA 2 for ninth. Over on console, Mafia III saw a third place ranking, Call of Duty: Black Ops III at fourth and Grand Theft Auto V coming in at fifth place.

ESports and eSports-adjacent titles seemed to do particularly well in SuperData Research's report. On Dec. 1, SuperData CEO and Co-Founder Joost van Dreunen gave CGMagazine some background information as to the correlation between the October report and the eSports industry's role.

"Both League of Legends and DOTA 2 are free-to-play titles. In that context, eSports serves as an effective method to both acquire new players and retain existing ones," van Dreunen explained. "Especially in markets like South Korea and China, where people predominantly play in internet cafes, competitive gaming emerged relatively organically. Over time, publishers have taken that model to the global market and leveraged people’s desire to compete and play together to expand the user experience."

According to van Dreunen, the free-to-play market, combined with eSports' popularity, has led to the "positive effect on the size of the PC games market" that the October report details.

"Finally, now that eSports has become a much more mainstream phenomenon, legacy publishers like Activision Blizzard, which has an established history in eSports with StarCraft, have started to reimagine the way in which leagues are organized and the role that its games play in the growing popularity of competitive gaming," he told CGMagazine. "More broadly speaking, interactive entertainment is now a mainstream form of entertainment, and this has opened up a range of new opportunities for the industry, including competitive gaming and tournaments."

The eSports community is only growing in recent years, especially with the emergence of such games as Overwatch. As 2016 comes to a close, 2017 looks to be a major year for competitive gaming, especially on PC.

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Resident Evil VII Concept Art Reveals Upcoming Horrors http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/12/01/resident-evil-vii-concept-art-reveals-upcoming-horrors/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/12/01/resident-evil-vii-concept-art-reveals-upcoming-horrors/#respond Thu, 01 Dec 2016 15:55:00 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=90519

By Ana Valens

Resident Evil VII: Biohazard launches worldwide on Jan. 24, 2017. Based in a cannibalistic Southern plantation mansion, the game is supposedly a throwback to the series' roots, returning to the psychological horror that originally made the franchise so popular in the early 1990s. Official concept art from Dec. 1 posted on Reddit fills in some […]

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By Ana Valens

Resident Evil VII: Biohazard launches worldwide on Jan. 24, 2017. Based in a cannibalistic Southern plantation mansion, the game is supposedly a throwback to the series' roots, returning to the psychological horror that originally made the franchise so popular in the early 1990s. Official concept art from Dec. 1 posted on Reddit fills in some clues as to what fans can expect when the game launches in late January. Please note, spoilers may be included.

There's a wide range of locations, characters and situations revealed in the concept art shared with the gaming community. For one, there's the Baker mansion and parts of its interior, some of which familiar from previous trailers shared by Capcom. There's also storyboard scenes showcasing what appears to be in-game events, along with a first-person perspective of someone mutilating themselves with a knife. Little is known about what is shown on the print-outs, although it appears these scenes will later make it into the full version.

Resident Evil VII Concept Art Reveals Upcoming Horrors

Concept art provides developers and producers with a mood board, allowing a team to unify their vision and figure out what the end product will look like when shipped off to players. While concept art may feature differences from the actual product, the artwork itself tends to showcase aspects of the world that later reach the full game. For that very reason, production artwork is seen as a valuable asset within the gaming community, because it can reveal in-game features, characters, settings or production goals. They're the "deleted scenes" of the industry.

It's hard to say what the Resident Evil VII Biohazard team has in store for fans when the game launches Jan. 24. Suffice to say, the game certainly appears to be drawing on its past, with some scenes reminiscent of the Silent Hill franchise. In the meantime, ceck back for more Resident Evil 7: Biohazard news and leaks as the game draws closer to release early next year.

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Maize (PC) Review http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/maize-pc-review/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/maize-pc-review/#respond Thu, 01 Dec 2016 15:00:55 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=90443

By Jake Yanik

Let’s get it out of the way at the top that, yes, Maize is a game about sentient corn, and yes, that’s an absurd premise for a game. Can we also agree that it’s something that we very much need right now? In a world filled with realistic games and rich RPGs, sometimes it’s nice […]

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By Jake Yanik

Let’s get it out of the way at the top that, yes, Maize is a game about sentient corn, and yes, that’s an absurd premise for a game. Can we also agree that it’s something that we very much need right now? In a world filled with realistic games and rich RPGs, sometimes it’s nice to just suspend some disbelief and have fun with a silly premise for a while. Maize is one such game, and it was a refreshing break from the serious—and an important one at that.

Maize (PC) Review 5The game kicks off in typical Myst fashion with the player waking up an in otherwise alien environment and with no explanation as to whom they are, or why they’re there. Unlike many other first-person adventure games, however, Maize is at least somewhat familiar in that it’s set on a plot of farmland amid a maze of cornfields. Does anyone else need a shower after that one, or is it just me? Anywho, the player soon discovers that all is not what it appears to be in this quaint, horror-movie-in-the-waiting corner of rural wherever. It doesn’t take long for things to take a turn for the ridiculous in a way that I fondly remember from 90s RARE titles.

After solving the game’s first few introductory puzzles, the player is introduced to the first bit of insight into the plot of the game: the area is overrun by a gang of sentient corn stalks! Also, they’re a bit dim – of the Clockwork Orange variety if you catch my drift. In typical Saturday morning cartoon fashion, their bickering allows you to pass forth into the super-secret research facility hidden below the farm, where, once inside, things start to make themselves clear. As it happens, the facility was used by brothers Ted and Bob. Through the stories told by combination of puzzles and passive-aggressive sticky notes scattered around the facility, it’s immediately apparent that Ted is an understated scientific genius, and Bob is a bit of a special snowflake. In true comedy-duo fashion, Ted is forced to play Bob’s game while trying to conduct work on top-secret military programs. Between Bob’s clearly insistent nature and the scribblings depicting corn-people found on his desk, sentient corn actually presents itself as one of the more sensical plot points.

Maize (PC) Review 2Vlad, on the other hand… Vlad is what happens when a Russian companion bear (because: reasons), a backpack, a servo arm, and a keyboard with RAM wedged into it are stuck together. Need I say more? He’s the cynical, hard-talking, insult-hurling comic relief, and I actually kinda like him, if only because, in context, he’s one of the less silly parts of the story. I mean, once you spoof the recognition software for a door using a coat rack, a jumpsuit, a sweaty headband, and an Etch-a-Sketch depiction Bob’s face, you can start to appreciate the game for what it is: honest, silly storytelling.

What I really appreciate most of all about Maize, though, is not its puzzles, its characters, or even its written story, but instead its implied story. The details in the world are wonderful, in a very over-the-top sort of way, and the accompanying background music is perfectly fitting for the them. It really does feel like playing through a kid’s cartoon. Dialogue points are simple enough for younglings to appreciate, yet there’s enough going on that even at thirty years old, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Kids will see a silly picture of Ted as a horse, being triumphantly ridden by Bob; adults will appreciate the significance of it being the Napoleonic painting Crossing The Alps. There’s even a transition from one part of the facility to the next that has no purpose to its layout—unless you remember the original Deus Ex and can place it from the free clinic in Hell’s Kitchen, all punctuated by similar cyperpunkian music. It’s one of the most subtle and well-executed homages I’ve ever seen in a game. Fantastic.

Maize (PC) Review 3
I’ll admit that Maize is a game that started out a bit slow for me; I mistakenly thought that it was silly for the sake of being silly. Happily, though, I took a step back to appreciate its finer points, and the bigger picture started to come together very quickly. It’s not a statement of criticism towards game design; it’s an attempt to lead by example. Where a game like Spec Ops: The Line throws the problems of modern videogame storytelling in the player’s face and comes off a bit preachy, Maize instead decides to treat its players as intelligent human beings, allowing for subtle discovery. Its puzzles may not be obtuse and ridiculous in the way that many 90s adventure games were, but that leaves the game perfectly accessible to a younger audience.

Critically, though, it shows that we can still have a game with cross-generational appeal without simply pandering. I can’t think of many (if any) games that do that as well as Maize. Most importantly, though, it reminds us that “fun” and “rewarding” can still coexist, even in a game that I would share with my young nephew.

Score:9

Final Thoughts:I mean, once you spoof the recognition software for a door using a coat rack, a jumpsuit, a sweaty headband, and an Etch-a-Sketch depiction Bob’s face, you can start to appreciate the game for what it is: honest, silly storytelling

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Final Fantasy XV Sells 5 Million Units in First Days, Breaking Franchise Records http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/12/01/final-fantasy-xv-sells-5-million-units-in-first-days-breaking-franchise-records/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/12/01/final-fantasy-xv-sells-5-million-units-in-first-days-breaking-franchise-records/#respond Thu, 01 Dec 2016 14:47:27 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=90504

By Ana Valens

Final Fantasy XV is available on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and recent reports reveal that the game is selling extremely well. As industry analyst Daniel Ahmad notes on his Twitter feed, Final Fantasy XV has a sell in of five million units worldwide between digital and physical sales, making it the fastest selling release in […]

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By Ana Valens

Final Fantasy XV is available on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and recent reports reveal that the game is selling extremely well. As industry analyst Daniel Ahmad notes on his Twitter feed, Final Fantasy XV has a sell in of five million units worldwide between digital and physical sales, making it the fastest selling release in the entire Final Fantasy franchise.

Final Fantasy XV's success is best understood in context. As Ahmad points out, Final Fantasy XIII sold 5.5 million copies worldwide by March 31, 2010, with total lifetime sales hitting over 7 million. The game saw a worldwide release on March 9, but was previously released in Japan on Dec. 2009: raking in 1.7 million copies in Japan within 2009 alone. This explains why Ahmad believes that Square Enix "made sure they sold in at least 1 million units in the Japan market for day 1," as Square Enix clearly aimed to outdo their previous efforts on the market.

That said, Ahmad warns against the previous problem that Final Fantasy XIII faced: "the quick drop off in demand." He suggests that consumers should "see if the demand is there for additional shipments," which would suggest that consumers beyond day one buyers are interested in purchasing the latest addition to the Final Fantasy series.

 

Nonetheless, Final Fantasy XV's success within the game's first week alone is tremendous for Square Enix. Despite an enormous development cycle and repeated delays, the game's release suggests that fans around the world are eager for a new single-player experience within the Final Fantasy series. Likewise, the game has been received quite well, with CGMagazine's Elias Blondeau rewarding Final Fantasy XV a perfect 10/10.

While the official Media Create sales are still being tallied for the week of Nov. 28, check back over the coming days ahead for more news on Final Fantasy XV's sales in Japan, the United Kingdom and other regions.

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Pokemon Sun and Moon Are The Fastest Selling Nintendo Games http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/30/pokemon-sun-moon-fastest-selling-nintendo-games/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/30/pokemon-sun-moon-fastest-selling-nintendo-games/#respond Thu, 01 Dec 2016 03:10:11 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=90496

By Jordan Biordi

Nintendo's recent entries into the Pokemon franchise have been selling faster than a bolt of lightning from a Pikachu. According to a press release sent out by Nintendo, after becoming the most pre-ordered video games in Nintendo history, Pokemon Sun and Moon have now become the fastest-selling games that Nintendo has ever launched in the Americas. In […]

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By Jordan Biordi

Nintendo's recent entries into the Pokemon franchise have been selling faster than a bolt of lightning from a Pikachu.

According to a press release sent out by Nintendo, after becoming the most pre-ordered video games in Nintendo history, Pokemon Sun and Moon have now become the fastest-selling games that Nintendo has ever launched in the Americas.

In the two weeks since it's release, Pokemon Sun and Moon have sold a combined total of 3.7 million units. Compared to the previous main entries in the franchise Pokemon X and Y which only sold 1.8 million units after two weeks (mainly propelled by strong 1.2 million day one sales).

Nintendo of Canada’s General Manager and Senior Director, Pierre-Paul Trepanier was excited about Pokemon's sales, saying, “With these huge sales figures, Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon have proven themselves as two of the hottest video games to buy this holiday season,” said ,  “With great reviews and outstanding fan response, these next iterations in the Pokémon series are sure to please any player in the family.”

These numbers should come as no surprise, considering all Pokémon-related software has sold over 280 million units worldwide since the launch of Pokemon Red and Blue in 1996. Pokemon has become a massive enterprise with the anime running its 20th season set in the Alola region, not to mention the spin-off anime following Red and Blue; 19 movies, a massive toy line, brand expansion spreading as far as Build-a-Bear (where you can dress up your Pikachu like Thor), and Pokemon Center stores in Tokyo and New York.

With a stellar launch, backed by an amazing fan-reception and extremely positive critical response, Pokemon Sun and Moon will no doubt continue to sell well, especially with Christmas right around the corner. These sales will no doubt continue when the anticipated Pokemon Stars releases on Nintendo Switch.

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Super Mario Maker 3DS Review http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/super-mario-maker-3ds-review/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/super-mario-maker-3ds-review/#respond Wed, 30 Nov 2016 19:38:08 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=90486

By Phil Brown

Super Mario Maker may well have been the crowning achievement of the underwhelming Wii U. It was a completely original and creative concept that was executed perfectly and capitalized on gamers’ undying love of Mario without merely giving them the same old thing. Well, to clarify, the game very much did deliver the same old […]

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By Phil Brown

Super Mario Maker may well have been the crowning achievement of the underwhelming Wii U. It was a completely original and creative concept that was executed perfectly and capitalized on gamers’ undying love of Mario without merely giving them the same old thing. Well, to clarify, the game very much did deliver the same old thing, just with a level of interactivity unlike any previous game to bear the Mario moniker. It was a mini-masterpiece from the folks at Nintendo and now it’s come home to the palm of your hands. Super Mario Maker 3DS essentially offers absolutely everything that you loved about the previous game, only now available on the go and at any time. It’s a damn delight and a nice way for those who didn’t bother to invest in a Wii U to find out what all the fuss was about.

Super Mario Maker 3DS Review 2

So once again, this is an ingenious game that allows players to design their own side scrolling Mario levels using all of the iconic elements that we love so dearly. When in the course creator, you’ll have the bottom touch screen as your playground. Everything is very simply and sweetly designed. The level is broken into squares to fill with items, enemies, and obstacles with the touch of a stylus. It’s all laid out in a very intuitive manner, but there are playful tutorials to help get started (although anyone who has played the Wii U version can skip these, since the games are essentially the same). With the touch of the button you can change entire courses between original NES Mario to Mario 3, Super Mario World, or New Super Mario Bros. graphics in a spit second. You can also change level layouts to various templates for classic worlds like the ghost houses, Bowser castles, the airships, or underwater with ease.

It’s amazing how easy it is to pick up the basics and design of Super Mario Maker 3DS right away. Everything is so familiar and iconic to longtime Nintendo nerds that there is barely a learning curve. You know these templates like the back of your hand. The trick is to now load them up with insanity. There are 60 level elements to play with, half of which are available immediately. Players can stack a few supersized Bowsers with wings on top of each other if they so choose (and they should). It’s all ridiculously easy and creative and levels can be tested in the middle of construction with the touch of a button. It’s pretty impressive that the game transferred from console to handheld with such fluidity. Even on my ancient launch model 3DS there was virtually no lag (well, following some long initial load screens anyways). I was off to the races pretty much immediately.

Super Mario Maker 3DS Review 3

Beyond the level building, there is also a challenge mode featuring 100 new Mario levels designed specifically for Super Mario Maker 3DS. You’ll play through them like the Wii U version. They vary in intensity, difficulty, and insanity from exact replicas of old Mario levels to insane odysseys designed by Nintendo lunatics. They all feature two additional challenge coins should you choose and players can unlock the remaining course design items by playing through this mode. It’s fun. It’s Mario. Frankly, it would be an acceptable game on its own without the amazing level design features. Everything looks pretty and plays like a dream. Unfortunately, there is absolutely no 3D functionality. That shouldn’t bother most people since A) all the levels are 2D side-scrollers anyways and B) most folks weren’t as wow-ed by glasses-free 3D as I was. I also found that the game took a little longer to load and close than most 3DS titles, but this could just be a result of using my launch system and it may play smoother on a new system.

Now we come to the differences with this addition. They mostly come down to the online Super Mario Maker world. It does exist. Players have access to a variety of recommended levels created from Wii U Mario Maker players as well as well as the 100 Mario challenge mode that tosses you into a barrage of user created levels with 100 lives at your disposal. Not every user level is available though, likely due to the fact it doesn’t seem as though every single element and costume from the previous edition is available in Super Mario Maker 3DS. User levels cannot be searched in the same detail either. Thankfully, any level that can be accessed plays instantly and like a dream (plus players can download them to their 3DS and edit the levels to their heart’s content). Levels can be shared with other 3DS-owning buddies and players can even download levels from strangers automatically via Streetpass (which I haven’t tried given that I didn’t walk past other reviewers with the game in this pre-release review window).

Super Mario Maker 3DS Review 4So, Nintendo has at least made it possible to share Mario Maker levels via the 3DS in ways that makes it a unique experience to this system. It’s a shame they can’t be shared in an online database like the Wii U edition, but hey…you can’t have everything right? While this might not quite be an identical port, it is a damn impressive one and even features 100 new playable levels for those who polished off the Wii U edition. Other than that, it’s hard to find absolutely anything negative to say about Super Mario Maker 3DS. This is one of the most creative titles that Nintendo has delivered in quite sometime and having a portable edition is a dream. If you own a 3DS, you should own this game. Especially if you don’t have a Wii U. Nintendo created something really special with Super Mario Maker. Hopefully it’s a franchise that will continue and a style of game the company will only expand upon from here (designing Metroid or Donkey Kong levels sounds preeeeetttty sweet, no?).

Well played Nintendo. You done good (again).

Score:9

Final Thoughts:Super Mario Maker 3DS hits home and aside from a couple mild issues, it’s a dream come true for Nintendo nuts.

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Despite Analyst Fears, PlayStation VR Sales On Track for Sony Plans http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/30/despite-analyst-fears-playstation-vr-sales-track-sony-plans/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/30/despite-analyst-fears-playstation-vr-sales-track-sony-plans/#comments Wed, 30 Nov 2016 16:36:27 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=90480

By Ana Valens

The latest SuperData forecast for VR sales has downgraded PlayStation VR units for less than 750,000 total sales in 2016. Compared to their original 2.6 million estimate, that's quite the jump. But there may be more to Sony's VR plans than SuperData's initial panic suggests, despite strong criticism of Sony's PlayStation VR release by analysts. […]

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By Ana Valens

The latest SuperData forecast for VR sales has downgraded PlayStation VR units for less than 750,000 total sales in 2016. Compared to their original 2.6 million estimate, that's quite the jump. But there may be more to Sony's VR plans than SuperData's initial panic suggests, despite strong criticism of Sony's PlayStation VR release by analysts.

SuperData Head of VR/AR Strategy Stephanie Llamas argues that Sony should have marketed the PlayStation VR in the same way that the entertainment giant advertised the PlayStation 4 Pro. "Had Sony pushed the PSVR the way they've been pushing their other new hardware, the demand would have certainly fulfilled a supply of over 2 million," she argued. "However, given its quiet release it's clear they're being cautious before fully investing in the tech."

This cautiousness may be part of Sony's initial plan for PlayStation VR sales. According to Sony Chief Financial Officer Kenchiro Yoshida, Sony's projected PlayStation VR sales are doing quite well. "The sales of PS VR, which was launched in October, are on track," Yoshida noted in an earnings briefing from Nov. 1. Furthermore, SuperData still believes the PlayStation VR is outpacing its competitors. According to a report from Business Insider, SuperData still believes that the PlayStation VR will hit 745,434 sales, whereas the HTC Vive will only earn 450,083 and the Oculus Rift a meager 355,088. Combine that with a report from September which suggested HTC Vive and Oculus Rift usage on Steam was declining, and the PlayStation VR is performing extremely well relative to its high-end competitors.

Llamas suggested that Sony should have pushed out a "killer app" of some sort to meet the projected 2.6 million sales, but Sony may have avoided doing so from the start. In light of Media Create's PlayStation VR sales, CGMagazine reported in October that Sony may have purposefully planned a limited launch for early adopters. As Daniel Ahmad pointed out, 2017 will be PlayStation VR's big year, as "with new software + features, [PlayStation VR] will see growth." It seems more likely that Sony wished to plant the seeds for PlayStation VR capabilities in order to plan for major releases in 2017.

Time will tell how the PlayStation VR performs, but for now, Sony appears pleased with the headset's success. Check back as more news develops.

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Video Game Endings Are Bad http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/30/video-game-endings-bad/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/30/video-game-endings-bad/#respond Wed, 30 Nov 2016 16:04:42 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=90471

By Aleksander Gilyadov

Ending a movie, TV show, or book is difficult. How do you, as a creator, properly conclude a story that can run for dozens of hours? How do you produce a satisfying send-off for all of the characters, close every single plot thread, and write a fitting ending for, hopefully, a great piece of entertainment? […]

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By Aleksander Gilyadov

Ending a movie, TV show, or book is difficult. How do you, as a creator, properly conclude a story that can run for dozens of hours? How do you produce a satisfying send-off for all of the characters, close every single plot thread, and write a fitting ending for, hopefully, a great piece of entertainment? It’s one of the biggest challenges for artists, as the journey is almost always better than the ending. However, the three mediums mentioned—books, films, and shows—generally have decent conclusions. There are of course a few poor exceptions, like The Sopranos. When it comes to videogame endings, however, they’re still mostly awful and remain one of the biggest problems in the medium.

Video Game Endings Are Bad
Resident Evil 4

For a long time, frustrating final boss battles were a popular trend, especially during the PlayStation 2, GameCube, and Xbox era. Resident Evil and Onimusha—including all of the entries in both series, arguably—end with a disappointing dud, forcing the player to go up against a generic final baddie. Resident Evil 4 has you fire a rocket launcher at the villain, with the conflict lasting less than five minutes.

One of the best games of the past decade, BioShock, is also guilty of throwing a final fight that puts the focus on the combat, which is the game’s biggest weakness. It’s not challenging, and doesn’t test all of the skills the player has learned up to that point. Creative Director Ken Levine and the rest of the team at Irrational Games have stated that, if they had the chance, they’d go back and rework the last half hour of a title that’s otherwise a masterpiece. The Assassin’s Creed franchise has had the same issue, with most of the series entries ending in a confusing way, leaving the player wondering if Ubisoft even has a conclusion in mind for its biggest IP.

Video Game Endings Are Bad 2
Mass Effect 3

More recently, ’s otherwise intriguing story ended in such an abrupt way that it made the whole game feel incomplete. The dystopian sci-fi epic is yet another game that’s victim to a boring final boss battle and a conclusion that doesn’t wrap up all of the loose plot threads. It’s too open ended. So, the real question here is, why do developers struggle with endings? Well, when making a 10-hour experience that needs to be filled with engaging gameplay, beautiful art design, clever level design, and a memorable story, one of the least of your worries is creating a satisfying conclusion. As a game creator, you just want to make it through development as there’s always fear of not being able to actually finish your product. There’s also the huge task of combining the many different elements in one captivating final level or confrontation.

A role-playing game that struggled with providing a satisfactory ending is Mass Effect 3, and there was a huge uproar and fan backlash over it. Up to that point, players spent hundreds of hours making choices and shaping Mass Effect’s ambitious sci-fi tale, under the assumption that each player had crafted a completely different experience. Of course, developer Bioware struggled with seeing everyone’s choices through right at the end, instead opting to create its own ending. That is understandable, as it would’ve been challenging to do otherwise.

A recent release that does put a great pin on an entire franchise and story arc is Naughty Dog’s Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. Without giving away too much, the final scenes touch back on all four of Nathan Drake's adventures, while also putting on a bow on all of the characters you’ve grown to love. Now, before you can reach that scene, which is essentially an epilogue, you do have to fight a final boss. But unlike the previous battles with the series’ villains—Uncharted 2’s frustrating Lazaravic fight is a total pain—Uncharted 4’s final confrontation is a gorgeous and personal swordfight, and it’s actually quite enjoyable.

Video Game Endings Are Bad 1
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

Another great example of how to properly end a game is BioShock Infinite. While Ken Levine has said several times he didn’t have the resources, nor the time, to create a good ending for the first BioShock title, he made sure to not make the same mistake twice. Not only is Infinite’s ending memorable—it will stay on your mind for quite some time—it changes your perspective on the entire series. The conclusion is well written and is one of the greatest twists in the medium. Another reason why it works so well is that the game often references and shows several signs of time paradoxes and Columbia’s worrying state. When you play the game a second time, you begin to notice that Levine and his team were dangling the answers right in front of your eyes, but you were just too ignorant at that point to notice.

An ending that’s a bit more controversial is what Joel, the main character, does during the final scenes in The Last of Us. Naughty Dog falsely presents a choice to the player for the first time in the game; do you save Ellie or let the Fireflies experiment on her to have a chance at saving mankind? But the studio takes that chance away from you and tells its own story, an ending in which you feel like the villain instead of the hero. Naughty Dog wraps up the excellent 15-hour journey you’ve had with a subtle final scene, one that doesn’t contain any real answers. While the scene itself is quite impactful, The Last of Us does suffer from a humdrum final combat encounter. The game throws a slew of powerful enemies at you that are a chore to combat. Naughty Dog, unfortunately, felt the need to add a long combat sequence right there at the end.

Video Game Endings Are Bad 4
Bioshock Infinite

That’s probably the biggest issue with videogame endings in general; studios aren’t brave enough to just end a game without any combat. Why do we need a generic final boss battle? Why do we have to fight countless enemies in combat encounters that fail to match up with some of the better gameplay moments earlier in the experience? BioShock is a perfect example of a title that could’ve just ended with a choice the player can make, without actually engaging in an arduous battle with the villain. The best part of that game is its story and writing, so put the focus on that instead and you’ll wind up with the a much better conclusion like BioShock Infinite’s. Hopefully, the more this industry matures and game creators continue to tell better stories in their games, they’ll figure out a way to successfully marry gameplay with narrative in those final scenes.

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3DS Trumps PlayStation, PS4 Pro Struggles to Break 10k in Japan http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/30/3ds-trumps-playstation-ps4-pro-struggles-break-10k-japan/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/30/3ds-trumps-playstation-ps4-pro-struggles-break-10k-japan/#comments Wed, 30 Nov 2016 15:20:59 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=90463

By Ana Valens

Media Create sales numbers for Nov. 21 through Nov. 27 are in for Japan, and as it turns out, the PlayStation 4 is trailing behind the 3DS yet again. The week's numbers show that the 3DS pushed over 70,000 units in Japan during the week, whereas the PlayStation 4 Pro could just barely muster in […]

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By Ana Valens

Media Create sales numbers for Nov. 21 through Nov. 27 are in for Japan, and as it turns out, the PlayStation 4 is trailing behind the 3DS yet again. The week's numbers show that the 3DS pushed over 70,000 units in Japan during the week, whereas the PlayStation 4 Pro could just barely muster in 8,000 sales.

Shared on NeoGAF, Media Create's figures for the end of November suggest that 3DS sales are still dominating charts. The chart reveals that the 3DS landed with 71,312 hardware sales during the week, 45,622 of which going to the New Nintendo 3DS LL. Meanwhile, the PlayStation 4 sold 33,859 units, with the PlayStation 4 Pro dragging in a meager 8,243 for a grand total of 42,102 PlayStation 4 family sales.

Suffice to say; 3DS games are selling quite well in Japan alongside the handheld unit. Pokémon Sun and Moon ended the week with 375,665 sales: down from the 1,966,294 units that were previously moved but still landing the Nintendo hallmark into the national number one slot for the week. Meanwhile, in fifth place, Animal Crossing: New Leaf - Welcome amiibo rests with an opening 16,916 units, proving that the franchise's amiibo update is quite popular among Japanese fans. SD Gundam G Generation Genesis holds second and third place for the game's PlayStation Vita and PlayStation 4 release, respectively, with Samurai Warriors: Sanada Maru performing quite well at fourth, sixth and seventh for the game's PS4, PlayStation Vita and PS3 sales, too. But with only three PlayStation 4 titles claiming the week's top 10 slots, Nov. 21 through Nov. 27 was an uphill battle for Sony's flagship console. For the most part, Nintendo held their ground throughout the week.

That said, Final Fantasy XV released the week of Nov. 28, which means PlayStation 4 sales may be on the rise amidst Square Enix's latest offering. Check back next week when Media Create reports on Japan's sales figures for the last days of November and the start of December.

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ASA Investigation Absolves No Man's Sky of Misleading Customers http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/30/asa-investigation-absolves-no-mans-sky-misleading-customers/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/30/asa-investigation-absolves-no-mans-sky-misleading-customers/#respond Wed, 30 Nov 2016 14:49:32 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=90458

By Ana Valens

Hello Games' No Man's Sky has come under fire over the past year amidst complaints about the title's gameplay. An investigation from the United Kingdom's Advertising Standards Authority (or ASA), however, has concluded that No Man's Sky did not breach the United Kingdom's CAP Code standards. According to the ASA, 23 complainants "believed that some […]

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By Ana Valens

Hello Games' No Man's Sky has come under fire over the past year amidst complaints about the title's gameplay. An investigation from the United Kingdom's Advertising Standards Authority (or ASA), however, has concluded that No Man's Sky did not breach the United Kingdom's CAP Code standards.

According to the ASA, 23 complainants "believed that some of the game content was not as depicted or described" and "challenged whether the [game's] ad was misleading." Complaints were based on the September 2016 version of the Steam webpage for No Man's Sky, including gameplay videos and screenshots showing off in-game content. ASA worked with Hello Games in their report "ASA Ruling on Valve Corporation and Hello Games Ltd," and the final report shows that the authority took both players' complaints and the development process itself quite seriously.

"While each player experienced different parts of the NMS universe, there was a low probability that anyone playing the game as intended would fail to encounter all [the ad's] features in some form within an average play-through," the ASA report concluded. "[Hello Games] said the game itself was documentary evidence in support of the ad and, since NMS was specifically programmed to enable players to experience everything described in the ad, they were confident that any average player could do so."

The ASA was, overall, quite supportive of Hello Games' marketing approaching within the report. After investigating the entire ad and examining it in relation to the game, they concluded that No Man's Sky's advertisement did not breach the CAP Code. "We understood that the screenshots and videos in the ad had been created using game footage, and acknowledged that in doing this the advertisers would aim to show the product in the best light," the report ended. "We investigated the ad under CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 and 3.3 (Misleading advertising), 3.7 (Substantiation) and 3.11 (Exaggeration), but did not find it in breach."

The ASA's ruling has long-term ramifications for the gaming industry. For one, it shows major organizations like the ASA itself are taking consumer complaints seriously. But the authority's ruling also suggests that publishers are given a relatively wide spectrum to represent their title's gameplay, so long as they capture the overall feel and play of the game. That said, the line between "representative" and "not representative" is blurry at best, so expect to see more complaints akin to No Man's Sky's down the road.

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Explaining the Schism in Marvel TV http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/29/explaining-schism-marvel-tv/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/29/explaining-schism-marvel-tv/#comments Tue, 29 Nov 2016 21:36:32 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=90430

By Adam Nizam

With all the hype surrounding Luke Cage and Doctor Strange, it’s easy to forget that there’s another major character making his entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Ghost Rider was announced to make his long-awaited entrance into the franchise at Comic-Con earlier this year, but when the way he would be entering was revealed, the […]

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By Adam Nizam

With all the hype surrounding Luke Cage and Doctor Strange, it’s easy to forget that there’s another major character making his entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Ghost Rider was announced to make his long-awaited entrance into the franchise at Comic-Con earlier this year, but when the way he would be entering was revealed, the fanbase’s reaction was a long, protruded sigh. The 4th season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.—a show regarded by many to be the dead weight of the MCU—is subtitled Ghost Rider in a pretty clear attempt to save a show plagued by flagging ratings and muted critical response. This comes on the heels of Agent Carter’s cancellation and Marvel’s Most Wanted, a planned Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. spinoff, getting the red light. It’s getting clearer and clearer that Marvel’s ABC offerings are a sinking ship.

Explaining the Schism in Marvel TVThis stands in stark contrast to their streaming prospects, particularly on Netflix. Beginning with Daredevil in April of last year, the partnership between Netflix and the MCU has been a constant hot streak of groundbreaking superhero television. The three series that have premiered so far—Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage—tackle themes of morality, sexuality and race in ways that the blockbuster main films could never do. Their focus on street-level heroism was a welcome breather from the constant barrage of extinction-level threats in the films, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. for that matter. With Iron Fist, The Defenders and The Punisher coming in 2017 as well as continuations of Daredevil and Jessica Jones coming down the pipe, it seems Netflix is upping their MCU output, and for good reason.

So why is one half of Marvel’s television offering doing gangbusters while the other half is tanking? In a word: proximity. The ABC shows are built to tie into the films much more strongly, to the point that the entire second half of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s first season was essentially a tie-in to Captain America: The Winter Soldier. This means that the writers’ hands are tied to whatever is currently happening in the MCU films, making it difficult for them to branch out into their own unique stories. By the time the show got around to introducing the Inhumans in season two, the damage had already been done.

Explaining the Schism in Marvel TV 2

The Netflix series have no such obligation. As they follow street-level heroes, their characters are disconnected from the billion-dollar machinations of Tony Stark & Friends. This gives the writers an opportunity to go into the different aspects of the MCU not covered by the films, imbuing them with a sense of purpose and coherence that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. lacks. With each MCU Netflix series, there was a sense that, even if the films did not exist, these would work perfectly well as standalone series with a few adjustments. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. does not function without The Avengers.

Another prominent factor is character. The main characters of the Netflix series, while not necessarily household names, have a following and establishment from the comics that the writers can easily riff off of. The writers of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. were faced with the difficult task of creating interesting characters from scratch, and clearly buckled under the pressure. Aside from headliner Phil Coulson, naming any of the show’s main team without looking them up is a challenge. The only task more difficult would be watching the show without wanting at least one of them to die.

How can Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. be fixed? Simple, it can’t, despite Marvel’s desperate attempts to do so by bringing in a major character. If a show is on its 4th season and still lacks a good focus, then it’s probably time to consider pulling the plug. Ghost Rider was an unfortunate casualty, but it’s not too late to save others such as Blade and Moon Knight who were most likely also considered. The best thing for Marvel to do would be accept fate, cut their losses and move on.

Explaining the Schism in Marvel TV 4
Cutting loose of Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D. could save Moon Knight from a fate akin to Ghost Rider.

The good news is that Marvel’s network TV efforts may not be entirely moot. Earlier this year, it was announced that a Cloak & Dagger TV series would be coming to Freeform, formerly known as ABC Family. Based on a comic with a cult following about two super-powered teenagers, Cloak & Dagger is a recognizable enough property among Marvel fans to be welcomed with open arms, while also not fitting among the gritty street-hardened heroes of Netflix. This is what Marvel should’ve done from the start: use each avenue at their disposal to focus on different aspects of the MCU, instead of the pointless, confused mess that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. ended up being. Hopefully, Cloak & Dagger will be a step in the right direction.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was an experiment in TV for the MCU, and it’s a failed one. While this experiment arguably led to the Netflix series being as good as they are, the question of why the obsolete prototype is still kicking around remains unanswered. Like the unlucky schmuck they brought in boost ratings, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is a ghost. Not fully dead, but it really, really needs to be.

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Humble Tycoon Simulator Bundle Features RollerCoaster Tycoon, Democracy 3 http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/29/humble-tycoon-simulator-bundle-features-rollercoaster-tycoon-democracy-3/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/29/humble-tycoon-simulator-bundle-features-rollercoaster-tycoon-democracy-3/#respond Tue, 29 Nov 2016 20:42:34 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=90419

By Ana Valens

Another Humble Bundle is out, and this offering is focused around tycoon games. Launched on Nov 29, 2016, Humble Tycoon Simulator Bundle features Train Simulator 2016, RollerCoaster Tycoon: Deluxe, Democracy 3 and more. "Simulator, alligator," the Humble Tycoon Simulator Bundle's description section states. "Want to be a car mechanic? A train driver? Political leader? Baseball manager? […]

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By Ana Valens

Another Humble Bundle is out, and this offering is focused around tycoon games. Launched on Nov 29, 2016, Humble Tycoon Simulator Bundle features Train Simulator 2016, RollerCoaster Tycoon: Deluxe, Democracy 3 and more.

"Simulator, alligator," the Humble Tycoon Simulator Bundle's description section states. "Want to be a car mechanic? A train driver? Political leader? Baseball manager? Owner of a pharmaceutical conglomerate? With this bundle, you can build the empire you've always dreamed of. Power! POWER!!"

Humble Tycoon Simulator Bundle's tiers are straightforward enough. For $1 USD or more, Train Simulator 2016, Roller Coaster Tycoon: Deluxe and Out of the Park Baseball 17 are available. Beating the average lands buyers a copy of Democracy 3 Collector's Edition, Car Mechanic Simulator 2015 and Big Pharma. For $12 USD or more, Youtubers Life is available. Normally, these games would land buyers a price tag of $140 USD. Instead, the total bundle is available for $12, saving approximately $128. Just in time for the holidays, too.

Charity donations go to DirectRelief and charity: water. Direct Relief provides medical relief to provide care to those who would otherwise go without via supplies for surgery, injuries, infection and more. Meanwhile, charity: water is dedicated to providing safe drinking water in developing countries.

Youtubers Life, which is currently in Early Access on Steam, is a tycoon simulator based on becoming a YouTube video star. The game holds critical acclaim from such outlets as Kotaku and IGN and has also won award nominations from the Spanish National Videogames Awards and the Indie Developer Burger Awards for its interesting and quirky premise.

As always, Humble Bundles only last for a limited amount of time. With Humble Tycoon Simulator Bundle clocking out on Dec 13, 2016 interested buyers should pick up the bundle sooner rather than later if they're interested in the details. Meanwhile, check back in the coming weeks ahead for more Humble Bundle news.

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Lego Worlds Coming in 2017 http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/29/lego-worlds-coming-2017/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/29/lego-worlds-coming-2017/#respond Tue, 29 Nov 2016 18:54:34 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=90394

By Helena Shlapak

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, TT Games and The LEGO Group announced LEGO Worlds will finally commercially launch on February 21, 2017 for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and STEAM. LEGO Worlds is an open-world, sandbox style game reminiscent of Minecraft. LEGO Worlds was initially released on June 1, 2015 on STEAM for early access so […]

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By Helena Shlapak

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, TT Games and The LEGO Group announced LEGO Worlds will finally commercially launch on February 21, 2017 for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and STEAM.

LEGO Worlds is an open-world, sandbox style game reminiscent of Minecraft. LEGO Worlds was initially released on June 1, 2015 on STEAM for early access so that the company could get feedback and improve the game before release.

LEGO Worlds brings the very essence of LEGO play – building – to the digital world, more than ever before,” said Niels Jørgensen, Vice President, Digital Games for The LEGO Group in a press release. “We are excited to bring our physical and digital play models closer together and know it will resonate with our core audience – and engage new ones. We believe LEGO Worlds has the potential to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow through its experience of open-ended creative play.”

LEGO Worlds is a game where players will be able to play however they choose to become a Master Builder. Players can explore the worlds available and encounter weird and interesting characters and vehicles (as per the usual themes of LEGO). From Cowboys riding giraffes to vampires scaring Yetis, to steamrollers, racing cars and colossal digging machines. Gamers will be able to complete various quests like finding a sword for a king, protecting a farmer from a zombie invasion, or building a home for a caveman.

Players will also be able to change their environments either by building brick by brick, placing down prebuilt LEGO structures, or by using innovative tools that let them paint and customize the landscape. LEGO Worlds even has an online multiplayer function so that players can play with friends or anyone from around the world. They will be able to explore together, create together and will be able to engage in cooperative and competitive play experiences that they can build themselves.

Along with this, a LEGO Agents DLC pack will be a timed exclusive on the PlayStation 4. Players will be able to add new characters, vehicles, weapons and more from the Agents collection to their worlds.

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Final Fantasy XV (PS4) Review http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/final-fantasy-xv-ps4-review/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/final-fantasy-xv-ps4-review/#comments Tue, 29 Nov 2016 17:48:28 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=90374

By Elias Blondeau

The AAA gaming space has become a mess of cynical focus-testing and homogenization in recent years. This is a drum I’ve beaten in other reviews, and one I’ll keep banging away on until something changes – if it ever does. Perhaps most egregious is the shoehorning of open worlds into too many titles. It seems […]

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By Elias Blondeau

The AAA gaming space has become a mess of cynical focus-testing and homogenization in recent years. This is a drum I’ve beaten in other reviews, and one I’ll keep banging away on until something changes – if it ever does. Perhaps most egregious is the shoehorning of open worlds into too many titles. It seems to me that most big games have this tedious fascination with open spaces filled with chicanery – meaningless side-missions, monotonous collectibles, and hollow “stuff” to do just to kill time. The once-enticing prospect of a vast world to explore became another rote standard, yet another box to check. Tie that together with worn narratives and tropes lathered over uniform mechanics, and you’ve got things like Mafia III and No Man’s Sky – hollow, soulless titles without much in the way of originality or presentation. Thank God then for Final Fantasy XV – the antithesis to everything I hate about big-budget development.

Final Fantasy XV (PS4) Review 2

Make no mistake, Square Enix’s long-gestating installment of its most popular franchise is very much a big-budget game. There are vast worlds to get lost in, lush picturesque visuals, and great swathes of content to absorb. It rips pages straight from several modern design playbooks, but what it does with those pages, and the way its modern influences play out in the overall package, puts so many other products to shame. By mixing the familiar with a dash of quirky weirdness and classic JRPG design choices, Square Enix struck a sweet spot between the familiar and the innovative, the comfortable and the bizarre.

It could be said that Final Fantasy XV’s plot even fits this description. From the outset, it offers people accustomed to generic big-box games something comfortable – a road trip between four men out to save the world, complete with a love story and banter about women. Yet as it continues, the narrative reveals itself to be anything but typical. Each chapter lays on twists and turns that push the seemingly beat “four bros on a road trip” plot into unforeseen territory. This includes cataclysmic encounters with deities, a sudden forcing of protagonist Noctis into responsibility, a late-game twist that reframes the entire narrative where the game starts, and the extremes it eventually finds itself going to are so radically different that it genuinely shocked me. At first, I thought I knew what I was getting into, even guessing major plot beats that I was certain would occur. Every step of the way, my preconceived notions were proven wrong. Looking back on it, Final Fantasy XV’s narrative surprised me more than almost any other game this year, solely because of that constant sensation of being proven wrong.

Final Fantasy XV (PS4) Review 5The most crucial part of this subversion of expectations is rooted in the primary cast. Noctis, Gladiolus, Prompto and Ignis are anything but typical male protagonists in gaming – those expecting a “brothers-in-arms” vibe similar to something like Gears of War, or even the banter-happy male empowerment fantasy of something like Uncharted, are going to walk away disappointed. These four men aren’t grunting, chain-smoking murder men, or smarmy rogues with a penchant for mayhem – they’re a charmingly ragtag family with different personalities, motivations, and world views. They’re a challenge to the types of masculinity gaming usually presents us with – the type that would have us believe men can’t have feelings beyond anger, vengeance, or playful malice. Men who cook and sew, or who take selfies and sing out loud aren’t shamed for their behavior in this game – they’re embraced and encouraged to be themselves. In Final Fantasy XV, masculinity isn’t a performative trope, or even much of an issue. The main characters are accepted by each other for who they are, and when they clash, it’s never because of them being “too girly” or “not manly” – it’s for actual narrative reasons and not dull, harmful tropes.

Final Fantasy XV not only has a phenomenal narrative, but it has hands-down, the least toxic portrayal of men I’ve ever encountered in a AAA game. You can quote me on that. Any game that tells boys and men they don’t have to be soulless murder machines or billowing factories of man pain is a winner in my book.

It helps that Final Fantasy XV succeeds not only at telling a rich, compelling narrative with mold-breaking characters, but manages to stylishly outdo every modern ARPG with both tight, nuanced gameplay and an interesting series of vast areas to explore. Precise, combo-based, dodge-heavy combat is seamlessly woven into a predominantly open world, and the results are sublime. Being able to wade through marshlands, ride a chocobo across a vast field, or climb across a sweltering desert landscape, then find myself in combat rivaling titles like Devil May Cry is indescribably satisfying. Nothing is lost in translation when blending open-world role-playing and this tight, polished hack and slash. Throw in some bombastic set pieces, like summoning a lightning deity to rain hell down on a military base, and the simple, soothing sensation of driving from one point to another, and players have got a rich, balanced experience on the gameplay front.

What also makes the open world feel less generic is the focus on odd little details which bring everything to life, accompanied by a willingness to let players breathe. A lot of time is given to showing the cast setting up camp, cooking food, or coasting down the highway in their car. There’s a quirkiness to where Final Fantasy XV demands your attention, almost reminiscent of a title by SWERY in its willingness to highlight offbeat details and pace itself deliberately. If other games are a rapid, pounding massage preoccupied with a constant dopamine rush, then Final Fantasy XV is a slow, deliberate shiatsu massage, giving you time space to breathe and time to think.

Final Fantasy XV (PS4) Review 4There are also more traditional RPG elements in here as well, such as dungeon exploration. Dungeons are suitably ominous and challenging, and come complete with branching paths and foreboding boss encounters. JRPGs in recent years have failed miserably at producing dungeons that tickle your desire to explore, with rare exceptions like the Souls franchise, and have relied on the worn idea of “dungeon equals obstacle to progress.” In Final Fantasy XV, that’s not the case – dungeons feel like intimidating risk-reward challenges, and are balancing acts of open exploration and scripted events. What this means is that players will feel like they’re exploring and platforming like they would with Lara Croft or Nathan Drake, followed up with a few tastes of treasure hunting, real-time enemy encounters, and memorable showdowns with bosses, like a disturbing snake with a woman’s head, or a massive jabberwock. It gives players the best of both worlds, much like the rest of the game.

Final Fantasy XV succeeds where other open-world titles falter for a simple reason – focus. The first half of the game is all exploration, complete with side quests, monster hunting, hidden weapons, and other tasks. The second half is a more linear, cinematic experience, with a flair for spectacle and traditional action game progression. Speaking from a purely personal standpoint, I preferred this to a game that was a persistent open world from start to finish. Square Enix manages to nail that delicate balance of a tight campaign and rich exploration simply by making everyone happy – the open world is big enough and filled with enough fun activities to keep you busy for 20-30 hours alone, possibly quite more. But once players hit chapter eight (out of fifteen,) they’re explicitly told they won’t be able to visit the open world “for a while,” then led to the more focused second half. In journalism, this would be called the inverted pyramid technique – start broad and gradually get more focused. In the context of the Final Fantasy series, you could call this an inverted Final Fantasy XIII – start with an open world and work towards a more linear campaign. Here, it works more than it did in that title because it’s truly a half-and-half sort of affair, and the game explicitly states that it’s going to happen from the get-go. The result is a comfortable compromise between Final Fantasy’s penchant for linear storytelling and modern gaming’s fixation on open world mechanics, a prolonged funneling from a broader game into a more compact one.

Final Fantasy XV (PS4) Review 6But whether players are getting lost in forests or rushing through a city towards a massive boss fight, one thing remains persistent throughout Final Fantasy XV – the dumbfoundingly spectacular visuals. Speaking as someone who primarily games on a PC, Final Fantasy XV’s graphics and art direction left me astounded and impressed that the PS4 was capable of delivering such a gorgeous game. Clearly, Square Enix had a budget here (the oddly charming Cup Noodle and Coleman product placement drive that point home) but even big-budget games often falter in some areas. Yet Final Fantasy XV manages to be a consistently beautiful, even awe-inspiring title in the visual department, raising the bar for console games that even games like Uncharted 4 fail to reach.

Final Fantasy XV (PS4) Review 7Speaking as a lifelong Final Fantasy fan, I was worried going into this title. Final Fantasy X is a game that helped me through the worst years of my life and introduced me to JRPGs. Final Fantasy XIII helped me cope with a broken relationship and lack of meaningful friendships. At every point in my life after the age of 10, I can think of which Final Fantasy I was playing at that moment. To say I hold this series close to my heart would be an understatement. The pre-release stuff for Final Fantasy XV left me cold, worried that this franchise had lost its way. Hell, even the first demo I played in September didn’t inspire much confidence. Yet now that it’s here in my hands, I can firmly say it’s my favorite of the bunch. It’s a game that has made me feel better about being myself, filled me with confidence in gaming as an art form, and whisked me away into its world to the point where I don’t want to go back to mine.

In a year where I’ve already awarded two games my highest praise, I almost wish I could give Final Fantasy XV something higher than my highest, as it’s forced me to reevaluate how I feel about practically every game release this year. But because I can’t, I supposed my highest praise and recommendation will have to do.

Final Fantasy XV is one of the very best gaming experiences I’ve ever had, bar none.

Score:10

Final Thoughts:Final Fantasy XV is a challenge to modern game design and traditional masculine gaming narratives, on top of being a truly phenomenal, enriching experience. Square Enix has reclaimed its throne.

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Funimation Resurrects The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya for 2017 http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/29/funimation-resurrects-disappearance-haruhi-suzumiya-in-2017/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/29/funimation-resurrects-disappearance-haruhi-suzumiya-in-2017/#respond Tue, 29 Nov 2016 16:59:23 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=90373

By Ana Valens

Popular anime series Haruhi Suzumiya will soon see its film The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya return to North America on Blu-ray and DVD. According to Anime News Network, Funimation licensed the film and plans to release it during the first half of 2017. The film, which was originally released in Japan in 2010, follows the […]

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By Ana Valens

Popular anime series Haruhi Suzumiya will soon see its film The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya return to North America on Blu-ray and DVD. According to Anime News Network, Funimation licensed the film and plans to release it during the first half of 2017.

The film, which was originally released in Japan in 2010, follows the fourth light novel from Nagaru Tanigawa. The story centers on main character Kyon's struggle to set his world straight after Haruhi Suzumiya suddenly goes missing amidst planning for the SOS Brigade's Christmas party. Along with the anime series, the film was originally licensed by Bandai Entertainment, with a DVD and Blu-ray release published on Sept 20, 2011. However, copies of The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya have since grown somewhat rare. As Anime News Network's Michael Toole explains, this is partly because the movie landed just as the anime community's obsession over Haruhi Suzumiya began to fade, so the movie went out of print: and subsequently, prices grew expensive online for the North American version of the film.

Funimation later brought The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya back for the series' 10th anniversary by rereleasing season one and season two onto Blu-ray and DVD in North America, essentially bringing the series into print with the edition's Sept 13, 2016 release. The rerelease featured "the same rebroadcast order used on the Japanese Blu-ray release," along with a "guide in the release of how to watch the entire two-season series in various other orders, including the super-popular broadcast order, chronological order, and DVD order!" Funimation also licensed The Melancholy of Haruhi-chan Suzumiya and The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan and provided them in an "Ultimate Collector's Edition" Blu-ray set, as well as releasing these titles separately.

Funimation's move to license The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya suggests the North American distributor is interested in bringing back the entire series, not just its anime highlights. This means revisiting the series is becoming easier than ever for Haruhi Suzumiya newcomers and veterans alike. No release date has been set yet for the Blu-ray and DVD.

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Nintendo Areas Headed to Universal Studios Parks http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/29/nintendo-areas-headed-to-universal-studios-parks/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/29/nintendo-areas-headed-to-universal-studios-parks/#respond Tue, 29 Nov 2016 15:58:10 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=90363

By Ana Valens

Nintendo is branching out to the three-dimensional world soon enough. A press release from Universal Parks & Resorts announces that Nintendo is partnering with the entertainment giant to bring "expansive, highly themed environments" to Universal Osaka, Orlando and Hollywood. Announced on Nov. 29, 2016, Nintendo will be working with Universal to "bring the characters, action […]

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By Ana Valens

Nintendo is branching out to the three-dimensional world soon enough. A press release from Universal Parks & Resorts announces that Nintendo is partnering with the entertainment giant to bring "expansive, highly themed environments" to Universal Osaka, Orlando and Hollywood.

Announced on Nov. 29, 2016, Nintendo will be working with Universal to "bring the characters, action and adventure of Nintendo video games to life within universal theme parks." The press release claims that Nintendo-themed areas will be "expansive, immersive and interactive," featuring "highly themed and authentic environments filled with multiple attractions, shops and restaurants." Nintendo attractions aren't solely for young players, either; the press release promises that the upcoming Nintendo environments will have "something for everyone – regardless of their age or gaming experience level."

A video posted by Nintendo of America shares some insight into the upcoming attractions. Featuring Shigeru Miyamoto and Universal Creative's Mark Woodbury, the two discuss the long-term goals and aspirations for the upcoming attractions. "We are constantly amazed how the park developers are bringing the essence of our games to life in the real world," Miyamoto explains. "Together, we are building it with an eye for what guests will actually experience."

Universal's upcoming Nintendo attractions won't be opening immediately, however. "Planning and creative work on these areas is well underway; they will open separately over the next several years," the press release states. "Each Universal theme park will announce details of its specific Nintendo areas. The first such announcement will come soon." No announcement date was teased in the official press release.

The brand new Universal areas are part of a partnership between Universal Parks & Resorts and Nintendo. Universal itself is owned by Comcast NBCUniversal, known for the American NBC broadcasting corporation. The partnership parallels another major move for Nintendo earlier this year, in which Miyamoto appeared at Apple's iPhone 7 and iPhone Watch September Keynote press conference to announce the first Super Mario title for iOS, Super Mario Run. The title releases on Dec. 15 during a busy holiday season. In the meantime, check back as more news on Nintendo surfaces over the coming months ahead.

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Pokémon Sun and Moon Challenges Trainers to Catch 100 Million Pokémon http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/29/pokemon-sun-moon-launch-first-global-mission/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/29/pokemon-sun-moon-launch-first-global-mission/#comments Tue, 29 Nov 2016 14:43:27 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=90350

By Casey DeFreitas

Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon's first global mission launched today, requesting players from all over the world work together to collectively capture 100 million Pokémon between Nov. 29 and Dec. 13. Capturing 100 million Pokémon as a first mission may sound like a tall order, but Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon have broken sales records, and even pre-order records, around the world. The […]

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By Casey DeFreitas

Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon's first global mission launched today, requesting players from all over the world work together to collectively capture 100 million Pokémon between Nov. 29 and Dec. 13.

Capturing 100 million Pokémon as a first mission may sound like a tall order, but Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon have broken sales records, and even pre-order records, around the world. The games are Nintendo's biggest UK launch ever and sold nearly 1.9 million units within three days in Japan. According to Famitsu, the initial shipment of Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon included more than 10 million copies worldwide.

Though we don't have exact numbers, we can assume a huge number of people are playing either Pokémon Sun or Pokémon Moon. If we take into account just 2 million participants out of the multiple millions of people most likely playing, each participant would have to catch 50 Pokémon within the allotted time to reach the goal of 100 million Pokémon caught by Dec. 13.

The prize for participating are Festival Coins (FC), a currency used in the Festival Plaza, a multiplayer feature in the games that includes a variety of shops and services. If the goal is reached, each participant will receive 1,000 FC; if failed, each participant will still receive at least 100 FC.

Pokemon Sun and Moon Launch First Global Mission: Catch 100 Million Pokemon 1

To partake in these global missions, players must first connect to the internet, access the Festival Plaza, and register their game to the Pokémon Global Link (PGL), the website that players can sync their Pokémon game saves to. Detailed instructions on how to use the "Game Sync" feature can be found here.  Players must actively connect to the internet within the Festival Plaza to keep the PGL updated on their progress.

Global missions are just one of the new features of the updated PGL. The online multiplayer service was first introduced as the Global Terminal in Pokémon Diamond and Pokémon Pearl for the Nintendo DS and was limited to the Global Trading System (GTS) and online battling. The service has since expanded each generation, including features such as the Pokémon Dream World in Pokémon Black and Pokémon White. 

Since the PGL's updated launch on Nov. 18 for Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon, players could participate in Rating Battles with others from all around the world using a variety of different rule sets. With global missions now in play, the PGL is only missing two of its new features: Friendly Competitions and QR Rental Teams.

Friendly Competitions will allow players to host their own competitions, either live or online, with their very own custom set of rules. During these, trainer ranking will be calculated just as in Official Competitions.

QR Rental Teams is an entirely new concept that will allow players to share their teams of Pokemon publicly online. Then, on the PGL, players can scan the QR code using the 3DS' camera for their desired team and play with the rental Pokemon in both local battles and Rating Battles. This Pokemon Stadium-like feature is only said to be "coming soon."

More global missions are also said to be coming soon, but it's unknown how often these worldwide events will take place, or of what variety.

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First 15 - Final Fantasy XV http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/28/first-15-final-fantasy-xv/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/28/first-15-final-fantasy-xv/#respond Mon, 28 Nov 2016 19:10:26 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=90344

By Brendan Frye

CGM Looks at the opaning minutes of Final Fantasy XV launching on November 29th 2016 from Square Enix. Subscribe ► http://bit.ly/1FcoPQX

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By Brendan Frye

CGM Looks at the opaning minutes of Final Fantasy XV launching on November 29th 2016 from Square Enix.

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Your Name Passes Princess Mononoke, Earning 19.4 Billion Yen in Japan http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/28/name-passes-princess-mononoke-19-4-billion-yen-box-office-hit/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/28/name-passes-princess-mononoke-19-4-billion-yen-box-office-hit/#respond Mon, 28 Nov 2016 17:56:53 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=90339

By Ana Valens

Makoto Shinkai's 2016 coming-of-age anime film Your Name has been one of the greatest box office releases in Japan during 2016. But reports suggest that the anime feature is surpassing one of Hayao Miyazaki's classics. As of Nov. 28, 2016, Your Name has landed 19.4 billion yen in the Japanese box office, surpassing Princess Mononoke's 19.3 […]

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By Ana Valens

Makoto Shinkai's 2016 coming-of-age anime film Your Name has been one of the greatest box office releases in Japan during 2016. But reports suggest that the anime feature is surpassing one of Hayao Miyazaki's classics. As of Nov. 28, 2016, Your Name has landed 19.4 billion yen in the Japanese box office, surpassing Princess Mononoke's 19.3 billion from 1997.

Originally reported by Crunchyroll, the anime streaming service converted Your Name's earnings to approximately $173 million USD. This means the film rests as the 6th most popular box office release in all-time Japanese history, beating out such international releases as Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Avatar. As of Nov. 28, Your Name is also gaining ground on Howl's Moving Castle, just .2 billion yen shy from the 2004 Miyazaki film's number fifth rank on the Japanese national best-seller box office list.

As for the film's performance at the Japanese weekend box office during Nov. 26 and Nov. 27, Your Name rests at second place, bested by Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. That said, the film still beats out such new releases as Shippu Rondo and KanColle: The Movie, giving it a comfortable ranking among both Western and national releases.

Your Name, which is referred to as Kimi no Na wa in Japan, was originally released on Aug. 26, 2016, after a screening on July 3 at the US's Anime Expo in Los Angeles. Licensed by Funimation in the West, Your Name will be coming to both theaters and home video in 2017 with "English Audio or English Subtitles" provided. Canada is also slated for a release of the film, with Your Name itself in the running for an Oscar nomination.

It's unclear how Your Name will be received outside of Japan. At Anime Expo, the film saw three standing ovations from the crowd. If that excitement continues into the West, then Your Name will easily top anime sales. But whether that critical acclaim will transfer to a general viewership in the West has as of yet to be seen. Check back in 2017 as more news on Your Name's North American release develops.

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Final Fantasy XV Review Round-Up http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/28/final-fantasy-xv-review-round/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/28/final-fantasy-xv-review-round/#respond Mon, 28 Nov 2016 16:24:42 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=90327

By Ana Valens

Final Fantasy XV launches Nov. 29, 2016 worldwide, and suffice to say, it's easily one of the most highly anticipated Final Fantasy titles in the entire series' history. Reviews are already coming in as of Nov. 28, so here's a few of our favorites across the gaming community. Please note that very minor spoilers on […]

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By Ana Valens

Final Fantasy XV launches Nov. 29, 2016 worldwide, and suffice to say, it's easily one of the most highly anticipated Final Fantasy titles in the entire series' history. Reviews are already coming in as of Nov. 28, so here's a few of our favorites across the gaming community. Please note that very minor spoilers on the game's pacing are included:

GameSpot loved the open-world working-class feel behind Final Fantasy XV, but felt the game's supporting cast was hardly developed compared to previous ventures. "[It's] disappointing to see supporting characters--a group that typically has diverse backgrounds and curious personalities in Final Fantasy games--relegated to cliched, unbending roles," reviewer Peter Brown wrote. Still, GameSpot praised the game for its "beautiful world and exciting challenges," despite pointing out disappointments through the game's story and Astrals combat mechanic.

Meanwhile, Polygon's Philip Kollar called Final Fantasy XV "a spectacle of the sort that Final Fantasy stopped being well over a decade ago." He called the main character's friends "the beating heart" of the game, describing the crew as "a believable band of buddies who care about each other and enjoy the time they spend together." He also praised the real-time combat mechanics introduced into the game, declaring it a strong balance between action-based RPGs and strategic combat. However, he did note that the second portion of the game "feels out of breath in its pacing" and occasionally features awkward moments.

Andrew Reiner opens his review for Game Informer with a daunting message: "Final Fantasy XV is a road trip that comes dangerously close to running out of gas, coasting on fumes long enough to deliver a rich and rewarding open-world experience that embraces the bond of friendship just as much as the thrill of hunting for rare treasure and beasts." Reiner found Final Fantasy XV enjoyable enough, but felt emotionally-intensive scenes were rushed despite the game's focus on character development. That said, he enjoyed the cast and side missions, pointing out that combat is an "excellent hybrid experience" between Final Fantasy's traditional RPG mechanics and action-based games like Devil May Cry. Like many other reviewers, he found the ending portion of the game to have its awkward moments, particularly in regards to Final Fantasy XV's stealth section.

GameInformer - 8.5/10
GamesRadar+ - 4.5/5
GameSpot - 8/10
IGN - 8.2/10
Polygon - 9/10

That's just a brief round-up of reviews across the gaming community. For CGMagazine's look at Final Fantasy XV, check back soon.

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How Anime Will Become Mainstream (And Why it Should) http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/28/how-anime-will-become-mainstream-and-why-it-should/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/28/how-anime-will-become-mainstream-and-why-it-should/#comments Mon, 28 Nov 2016 15:58:28 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=90319

By Adam Nizam

Mainstream culture has an attitude towards anime similar to your relationship with a friend-of-a-friend. You’re vaguely aware they exist, but don’t feel the need to pursue any further relationship. This is because anime is in a similar place now that video games were years ago: still seen as niche and skewed towards a younger market. […]

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By Adam Nizam

Mainstream culture has an attitude towards anime similar to your relationship with a friend-of-a-friend. You’re vaguely aware they exist, but don’t feel the need to pursue any further relationship. This is because anime is in a similar place now that video games were years ago: still seen as niche and skewed towards a younger market. However, while gaming has since expanded to become the multi-billion dollar mainstream business it is today, anime is still relegated to the ghetto of college students wearing Attack on Titan shirts and high schoolers claiming to speak Japanese. While that niche’s growth is steady, it will remain a niche if things remain as they are. However, judging by the current climate, they won’t.

How Anime Will Become Mainstream (And Why it Should) 1
Knights of Sidonia

A little background: In 2006, the video streaming service Crunchyroll was formed. Unique to other streaming services, Crunchyroll focused exclusively on anime, both currently airing and finished. The venture grew at an alarming rate and, seven years after it was created, was purchased for close to $100 million. While companies such as Funimation and Bandai were happy with marketing solely to the niche they had cultivated, the success of Crunchyroll demonstrated to other companies that anime on its own was a viable business capable of expanding beyond the expectations set for it. So, naturally, they took an interest.

In late 2013, soon after the acquisition of Crunchyroll, Netflix announced that they had licensed the anime series Knights of Sidonia as their first Netflix Original Anime. With this move, Netflix was both committing to investing in anime and dipping their toes into pursuing it further. While they were joining in on the anime licensing game, they were not actually investing in the production of the shows themselves. For the next several years, Netflix licensed more original anime such as Seven Deadly Sins and Glitter Force, each to varying degrees of success. Apparently, these results were to Netflix’s satisfaction, as their next big investment into anime has been confirmed.

How Anime Will Become Mainstream (And Why it Should) 2
Seven Deadly Sins

In November of last year, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings stated his desire for Netflix to make a great anime show. In February, Netflix announced that they were partnering with Production I.G., the studio behind classics like Ghost in the Shell and FLCL, to produce an original anime series called Perfect Bones. Unlike previous Netflix Original Anime, the company would be involved with the production as well as the licensing. This announcement is somewhat of a paradigm shift for the involvement of the west in anime. Not since the 80’s in the era of Transformers has a western company been closely involved with the production of an anime series, let alone one as high-profile as Netflix.

So, what does any of this have to do with anime becoming mainstream in the west? See, the main obstacle preventing anime from becoming big in the west is a lack of familiarity and marketability. Aside from big franchises such as Dragon Ball and Pokémon, anime is seen as “foreign” and “weird” by most of the mainstream. On the other hand, Netflix as a company has become so familiar to the western market that there is a large audience who will watch something simply because it was produced by them. By backing Perfect Bones, Netflix will be exposing anime to this audience, a large percentage of which have never seen it before. If it goes well, then there’s a chance that anime’s influence will grow beyond where it is even now.

How Anime Will Become Mainstream (And Why it Should) 5
Attack on Titan

On top of that, it’s not just Netflix who are players in this field. Amazon, who have been closely following Netflix with their Prime Video program, announced in March that they had the exclusive streaming rights to Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress, the latest show from the director of Attack on Titan. It’s safe to assume that Amazon is currently in the stage with anime that Netflix was in a few years ago: willing to leap in the pond, but not ready to dive into the pool. As Amazon licenses more anime, you can bet that they’ll be watching the reception to Perfect Bones with an eagle eye, ready to greenlight their own projects. So not only is the exposure of anime to a large audience riding on Perfect Bones, but the possibility of other companies following suit as well.

What this would ultimately mean is an increased western presence in the production of anime, which would in turn lead to a growing western audience. Ideally, these companies would be smart enough to know that letting Japanese producers do what they please, and solely lend their name and money to these series. More companies would follow Netflix and Amazon’s example if their investments prove successful, leading to an even bigger growing audience. Eventually, presumably, hopefully, anime would reach a status approaching mainstream.

How Anime Will Become Mainstream (And Why it Should) 4
Ghost in the Shell

Would this be a good or bad thing? Well, look at another example of a nerd-oriented medium that became semi-mainstream: video games. The rapid growth of gaming has resulted in many quality blockbuster titles being released, but it’s also resulted in a lot of problems with the industry and how it’s run. Right now, gaming publishers are primarily led by people with backgrounds in advertising who, quite honestly, don’t care much about games, and it’s caused a lot of growing pains. Anime, however, has more of a lineage to it than gaming, which means that while gaming enthusiasts still have a lot of climbing up the corporate ladder to do, anime fans have already done that climbing. So, as far as the eastern production side goes, not much would change, and the problems in the gaming industry would be averted.

How Anime Will Become Mainstream (And Why it Should) 6
FLCL

Ultimately, though, it all rides on Perfect Bones. If it doesn’t succeed, Netflix quietly sweeps it under the rug. If it does, we could be seeing season two of Attack on Titan alongside Game of Thrones on HBO. Just don’t hope for the Japanese-speaking high schoolers to go away anytime soon.

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FIFA 17 Tops Pokémon Sun and Moon Amidst Black Friday Sales in UK http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/28/fifa-17-tops-pokemon-sun-moon-amidst-black-friday-sales-uk/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/28/fifa-17-tops-pokemon-sun-moon-amidst-black-friday-sales-uk/#respond Mon, 28 Nov 2016 15:02:27 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=90292

By Ana Valens

Pokémon Sun and Moon have been performing quite well on international charts. But don't expect Nintendo's latest offering to land the number one and number two slots on national sales charts in the United Kingdom. According to a Nov. 28 report by GfK Chart-Track, FIFA 17 returned to UK's number one spot as the best-selling […]

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By Ana Valens

Pokémon Sun and Moon have been performing quite well on international charts. But don't expect Nintendo's latest offering to land the number one and number two slots on national sales charts in the United Kingdom. According to a Nov. 28 report by GfK Chart-Track, FIFA 17 returned to UK's number one spot as the best-selling game of the week, coinciding with Black Friday sales across the country.

According to chart listings for the week of Nov. 26th, FIFA 17 rests in first place for total sales, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare at second, Pokémon Sun at third and Pokémon Moon at fourth. Chart-Track blames Black Friday sales, saying that Infinite Warfare "spoils Nintendo's party by making the most of a Black Friday windfall." Battlefield 1 also trails behind all four games at number five, with Watch Dogs 2 down from second place to a number six ranking.

Video games weren't the only Black Friday offerings performing quite well in the United Kingdom. Chart-Track also reveals that UK sales for hardware were particularly strong for 2016's Black Friday weekend, with PlayStation 4 sales beating out 2015's Black Friday as the biggest week for PlayStation 4 hardware since the console's introduction to the market in Nov. 2014. Bundled hardware performed particularly well on the market, granting consumers the opportunity to buy games with the latest hardware. "The Black Friday promotions have a huge effect on nearly every Top 40 title with big gains for PS4 games bundled with hardware, in particular ‘Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End’ which re-enters the Top 40 at No8, ‘Driveclub’, a re-entry at No20 and ‘Ratchet & Clank’ a re-entry at No25," the site points out.

The United Kingdom isn't the only location where Pokémon Sun and Moon have struggled to claim the number one spot for sales. According to Famitsu, Pokémon Sun and Moon sold a combined 1,905,107 units during its first three days on the Japanese market. While the game rose to top charts, it couldn't beat out the original Pokémon X and Y opening launch sales numbers, which hit nearly 2.1 million copies during the game's initial week. It's safe to say that Pokémon Sun and Moon have sold quite well, but haven't quite beat out their predecessors for sales figures. Check back as more news comes in about Nintendo's sales figures.

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Divinity: Original Sin II Preview - A Kickstarter Victory http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/28/divinity-original-sin-ii-preview/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/28/divinity-original-sin-ii-preview/#respond Mon, 28 Nov 2016 14:47:09 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=90291

By Chris Carter

It seems like you hear more about the Kickstarter failures than successes these days. Sure, negativity sells, but who's buying? A bunch of poor, unfortunate souls who have a hole in their wallets and nothing to show for it. But back before Kickstarter had a lot of baggage attached to it, a team called Larian […]

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By Chris Carter

It seems like you hear more about the Kickstarter failures than successes these days. Sure, negativity sells, but who's buying? A bunch of poor, unfortunate souls who have a hole in their wallets and nothing to show for it.

Divinity: Original Sin II Preview 3But back before Kickstarter had a lot of baggage attached to it, a team called Larian Studios put up a modest request (in game development terms) of $400,000 for their game, Divinity: Original Sin, and isometric RPG follow-up to Divine Divinity. Before they knew it, the game was a runaway success when it was released in 2014 and the Kickstarter for the sequel, Divinity: Original Sin II, smashed their expectations, clearing two million dollars in pledges. Now, that very game is in Early Access on Steam, complete with the first act, co-op support, four races (Lizard, Dwarf, Elf, and Human), four origin stories, and a PVP arena. It's quite a lot to sift through, and if this build is any indication, it's going to surpass its predecessor.

The first thing you'll probably notice about Divinity: Original Sin II, if you're coming back for another go is the character creator. A concept of having a rooted backstory is something that usually just amounts to a stat buff in a lot of other RPGs, but much like Dragon Age: Origins, it impacts your relationship with NPCs and the story itself. This brings back that cRPG feel of old, where your choices actually matter beyond "[x] will remember that" fluff. It's good, then, that the plot itself is a little more engaging, consisting of heavier tones that offer higher stakes and bigger players from the lore. It's a classic case of taking what didn't work, or maybe didn't work as well from the previous project and molding it into a strength. I found myself wanting to go back and make new characters just to see how they'd impact the game, which is something I rarely feel like doing.

Divinity: Original Sin II Preview 2

It's great to just be able to actually...role play again. I befriended a cat that I never spoke to previously in one playthrough, only to have it die off as a result of an enemy attack. In another, I completely brute forced my way through an encounter with my warrior that I had attempted to circumvent (unsuccessfully) with another caster class, and using that newfound wisdom, came back to conquer it again. Combat is mostly the same as before (action points, or, "AP," are used for everything in a turn-based fashion, and can be conserved for later turns), but it appears as if there's more of a point to some tactical nuances like higher ground. It's not like the system needed an overhaul, but since a level of tedium set in for the original by the end of the campaign, it remains to be seen if the same will happen here. For now though, I'm far enough removed for it to still feel poignant.

Divinity: Original Sin II Preview 4Divinity: Original Sin II is also uncharacteristically polished for an alpha. The textures are all very detailed, and the framerate was consistently hovering around 60 on my machine, with little in the way of technical issues outside of the occasional pop-in. The color choices are bright and powerful, but reigned in enough to where it looks like a more colorful Elder Scrolls game without going too far off the deep end. The actual character models could use some more pronouncement, especially when it comes to gear, but since you're primarily creating your own parties and personalities, that onus is mostly on the player.

Based on its classy showing in Early Access, I'm not really worried about how Divinity: Original Sin II will turn out. Larian has built up a nice reputation for itself, and so far, this build seems to uphold that legacy. One day I'll get to avenge my cat again, and I'm excited to do it with yet another character come launch.

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Code Geass Sequel Announced, Film Recap Launching http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/27/code-geass-sequel-announced-film-recap-launching/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/27/code-geass-sequel-announced-film-recap-launching/#respond Sun, 27 Nov 2016 22:27:10 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=90284

By Ana Valens

Sunrise's Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion is easily one of the most popular anime series of the early 2000's. While the series has been kept alive through various film, manga, light novel and video game adaptations, the series is about to see a major brand new release. As Anime News Network reports, Code Geass will […]

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By Ana Valens

Sunrise's Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion is easily one of the most popular anime series of the early 2000's. While the series has been kept alive through various film, manga, light novel and video game adaptations, the series is about to see a major brand new release. As Anime News Network reports, Code Geass will be returning with a brand new sequel and a three-part film series.

Announced at the Nov. 27 10-year anniversary event "Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion: Anniversary of a Miracle," Code Geass' next installment is called Code Geass: Fukkatsu no Lelouch, which translates to Code Geass: Lelouch of the Resurrection. The series picks up in the future and follows from the main storyline after Lelouch's original "Zero Requiem" initiative.

There's also a film trilogy on its way, retelling the story of the original Code Geass anime. The series plans to bring together Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion as well as Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2. Anime News Network reports that the Code Geass cast is re-recording lines for the films, and that brand new scenes will feature. The series comes in as a trilogy, beginning officially in 2017. This may mean that Code Geass: Lelouch of the Resurrection is well on its way into the future, albeit no official word has been given at the event.

Code Geass hasn't faded from the public's conscious in recent years. Previously, Sega released a Code Geass-themed Pachinko machine in Japan. There's also the Code Geass: Akito the Exiled OVA, which saw its first US reveal at Otakon 2016. Suffice to say, the sequel and film series draws fans back into the series, raising new interest in the anime's storyline. Whether the new film series will introduce brand new scenes that impact Code Geass: Lelouch of the Resurrection, however, it's hard to say at the current moment. Cheek back as more news develops during 2017

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Hello Games Release Details on No Man's Sky Foundation Update http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/27/hello-games-release-details-no-mans-sky-foundation-update/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/27/hello-games-release-details-no-mans-sky-foundation-update/#respond Sun, 27 Nov 2016 14:38:21 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=90279

By Brendan Frye

Hello Games has finally broken their silence and today released update details for No Man's Sky Version 1.1, the Foundation Update. This new update for No Man's Sky pushes the game further into the direction people hoped for when the game was first announced. The Foundation Update not only fixes the standard bugs in the […]

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By Brendan Frye

Hello Games has finally broken their silence and today released update details for No Man's Sky Version 1.1, the Foundation Update.

This new update for No Man's Sky pushes the game further into the direction people hoped for when the game was first announced. The Foundation Update not only fixes the standard bugs in the game, but expands in many key ways, the core of the experience.

The first in a series of free updates, the Foundation Update adds new game modes for people to play and enjoy in No Man's Sky. The game offers three new modes after update 1.1 including Normal mode, the no limit Creative Mode, and the more challenging survival mode.

Along with these new modes in the Foundation Update come a series of new things to do within No Man's Sky. No longer will players be limited to wondering aimlessly in the vast open expanse of the universe. People jumping back into the game will now be able to claim their home planet by finding an abandoned base and building onto it, making it their own. With modular parts, no two stations need to be the same. If players should find a new, better location, the old base can be deconstructed and sold back for the resources. This further pushes No Man's Sky into the realm of games such as Minecraft and could be a welcome addition for people that wanted a more creative gaming experience.

The Foundation Update does not stop with base construction. Hello Games has also added farming into No Man's Sky. There will be outdoor and indoor options for players to plant crops and watch them grow over time, giving new renewable resources they can harvest when needed. There will even be an option to hire a farming specialist to manage it while you are away, hunting the galaxy for resources.

If sitting on a planet and building was not your end goal, Hello Games has also added the ability to buy huge, expensive Freighters. These massive ships can be used to store resources, can be expanded and customized, and with a new recruitment system that will be added with version 1.1, you can also set up a crew for your new ship.

This is a big step by Hello Games to make No Man's Sky into the game everyone wanted at launch. It is hard to say if this update will be enough, but it is a great start and one that will hopefully bring people back to the game. The update will be hitting the PC and PlayStation 4 soon and will be going live shortly.

The full change-log is as follows:

  • General Gameplay
    • Fixed technology becoming instantly fully charged when repaired
    • Fixed ship appearing on incorrect pad in space station after loading
    • Added interactable objects that required certain tech to collect
    • Added shootable objects that require certain tech to mine
    • Rebalanced resource availability and technology charge requirements
    • Fixed initial game flow - where travelling to space too quickly after visiting the monolith could prevent the first atlas station notification appearing
    • Prevented player being prompted to scan for buildings before leaving the system after visiting the monolith
    • Prevented laser and melee attacks while in space from attempting to edit terrain
    • Improved calculation of resources received when mining terrain
    • Renamed Signal Scanners to Signal Boosters
    • Signal booster objects updated to search for playable bases, suit upgrade pods, and mineable resources
    • Removed signal booster from being distributed on terrain, as player can now build them
    • Improved accuracy of environment detection, fixing cases where it rained inside caves
    • Fixed galactic waypoints not loading correctly across saves
    • Removed atlas pass v1 requirement from doors in stations
    • Suit upgrade pods are no longer spawned in stations
    • Suit upgrade pods can now only be used once
    • Fixed collision in anomaly that was causing issues when exiting larger ships
    • Increased the number of different NPC character models generated per system
    • Fixed the game always remaining in day time for players who began their save prior to patch 1.03
    • Fixed a potential crash in foliage instance renderer
  • Localisation
    • Fixed stats page in asian languages
    • Fixed multiple issues with asian language formatting
    • Multiple improvements and fixes to localisation text in all languages
  • UI
    • Added new icons for specific types of primary resources
    • Fixed health bars not appearing on some targets
    • Added hazard and life support drain indicators
    • Fixed mission messages not appearing in a timely fashion
    • Beacons now notify the player that they will save the game
    • Fixed crash when creature IK animations were updated under certain conditions on the discovery screen
    • Improved navigation in discovery UI
    • Massive speed improvements to browsing huge discovery lists
    • Increased size of discovery storage
    • Added option to load "Earliest" previous save in Options menu
    • Fixed weapon naming
    • Added icon to remind players of the reload button when weapon is empty
    • Multiple fixes for viewing discoveries
  • PS4
    • Added photo mode
    • Large optimisations to the engine to accommodate base building
  • PC
    • Added support for up to 8 mouse buttons
    • Fixed better order position history for mouse smoothing
    • Fixed bug where setting gamma to zero gave a fully bright rather than fully dark image
    • Fixed hard-limiting on save sizes, with appropriate warning about free space on boot
    • Player is now notified when shaders are being loaded
    • Fixed occasional crash on exit
    • Fixed performance of trail renderer for some AMD cards
    • Large optimisations to the engine to accommodate base building
  • Generation
    • Added biome specific plants
    • Adopted new method of distributing resource plants on terrain, for more lifelike clumps of plants
    • Improved distribution of plant life across all terrain types
    • Introduced visual differentiation of red, green and blue star systems
    • Introduced new mineable terrain resources found only in red, green and blue star systems
    • Reduced average building frequency
    • Introduced planets with elevated building density
    • Introduced planets with no buildings or sentient life
    • Increased the proportion of lush and tropical planets
    • Decreased the proportion of lifeless planets
    • Fixed bug where multiple ships could appear, overlapping, at the player's start scene
    • Prevented certain building types being incorrectly placed underwater
    • Prevented multiple buildings occasionally being placed in overlapping positions
    • Prevented buildings occasionally being placed intersecting with the terrain
    • Improved and altered per-planet terrain resource generation, improving gameplay and visuals
  • Creatures
    • Fixed elevation cache mismatches, causing errors in creature knowledge and pathing
    • Fixed slow memory leak in creature role allocation
    • Improved creature animation speeds
    • Fixed issues where some creatures turns had the incorrect frame count
    • Fixed occasional crash when interacting with creatures
  • Atmospherics
    • Increased proportion of vibrant blue skies
    • Corrected cloud levels for clear skies
    • Improved average cloud level settings
    • Fixed cloud rendering while flying in your ship
    • Improved atmosphere depth when transitioning to space
    • Increased fidelity of atmosphere rendering on nearest planet
    • Improved atmospheric fog as you fly to a planet
    • Improved fog method for planets seen on the horizon
  • Terrain
    • Improved terrain generation algorithms
    • Improved and extended blend areas between different terrain noise types
    • Terrains now generate more open spaces
    • Smaller features now appear at nearer lods to improve visuals in the distance
    • Fixed objects being placed on incorrect terrain material types
    • Improved resolution of distant planet terrain
    • Decreased differences between planet as seen from space and actual planet terrain
    • Fixed seams on planets when seen from space
    • Improvements to terrain material selection and terrain material blending
    • Terrain generation priority and cost calculation improvements
    • Fixed terrain generation angle calculations, which would previously prevent nearest region being generated first
    • We now generate caves on lower terrain lods to decrease visual differences in lower detail terrain
    • Introduced more varied and vibrant colouring to terrain for each biome
    • Decreased frequency of brown terrain colour selections
    • Changed texture scales to improve transition between terrain lods
    • Improved terrain colour combinations to add variety and better match terrain contouring
    • Improved terrain texture blending method to better retain vibrant colours
    • Improved settings for hue, saturation and value noise variation on terrain
    • Fixed a number of issues causing holes to be seen in the planet terrain
    • Fixed occasional crash when mining terrain
  • Visuals
    • Fixed colour of muzzle flashes on player weapons
    • Added muzzle flashes to ship weapons
    • Added cockpit lighting for damage and weapon firing
    • Added debris to freighter explosion effect
    • Improved freighter cargo explosions
    • Improved photon cannon hit and space explosion effects
    • Improved turret explosion effect
    • Improved grass colour selection
    • Improved grass colouring method to match underlying terrain colour
    • Improved grass placement to match gradient of terrain, and rocky terrain slope patches
    • Improved lighting on grass
    • Improved alpha cutoffs and blending for grass in the distance
    • Improved colouring method for on-planet buildings
    • Fixed "pop" in lighting when flying between planets
    • Fixed incorrect lighting seen in shadow areas
    • Improved lighting method when rendering tree leaves
    • Fixed procedural texturing on objects with multiple overlapping textures
    • Fixed size of certain texture atlas normal maps
    • Fixed texture scaling on asteroids
    • Zinc plant is now more obvious when it has been gathered
    • Fixed occasional rendering errors due to precision on cockpit during warp
    • Fixed pulse lines not appearing when pulse driving out from planet atmosphere
    • Fixed shadowing artefacts on imposters
  • Space
    • Improved asteroids to allow much denser fields
    • Improved explosion effects
    • Fixed scale of moons on the space map
    • Added freighter groups to the space map
    • Changed distribution of resources in asteroids
    • AI ships will now clear asteroids in their path
    • Planets are now scannable from space to see their resources
  • Space Combat
    • Fixed bounty targets warping out too soon
    • Improved HUD indicators in space combat
    • Added damaged ship effect on AI starships
    • Added formation flying
    • Improved locking on passive starships
    • Improved AI combat flight patterns
    • Added new ship weapon technology
    • Holding brake whilst turning now activates drift for fast turns
    • Improved AI ship freighter attacking
    • Improved freighter targeting code when under attack by enemy ships
  • Freighters
    • Fixed pulse drive to prevent travel through freighters
    • Improved docking code
    • Added hangar to the lead freighter
    • Added docking in freighters
    • Added icon to accessible freighter hangars
    • Added colouring to cargo drops to identify what is in them
    • You can now only pick up cargo drops that will fit in your inventory
    • Added auxiliary freight ships to freighter groups
    • Added alert lights and alarm audio for when freighters are in combat
    • Improved turret lights and explosions
    • Improved muzzle flashes on freighter turrets
    • Added indicator of cargo contents
    • Freighter Commanders now give rewards for rescuing them from pirate attack
    • Fixed collision on freighter cargo containers
  • Audio
    • Updated the lush ambience to make the wind sounds less noisy
    • Ambient background fauna now checks for the presence of creatures
    • Added rain on foliage
    • Added rain on ship
    • Added freighter specific footsteps
    • When on a dead planet, no music will play
    • Round table prop now plays an appropriate sound
    • Added more music to the loading sequence and game start
    • Added audio to new base building props
    • Created sounds for new base building props
    • Added audio to freighter doors and internal freighter ambiences
    • Added freighter explosions
    • Added freighter alarm
    • Added ambient radio comms when approaching a freighter
    • Fixed missing sounds when in a space station due to the mix settings
    • Multi-tool upgrades now affect audio
    • Lots of minor mix changes
    • Changed some compression settings for PS4 audio to make the sub-channel audio play more reliably

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No Man's Sky To Receive Foundation Update "Soon" http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/25/no-mans-sky-receive-foundation-update/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/25/no-mans-sky-receive-foundation-update/#comments Fri, 25 Nov 2016 20:40:45 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=90269

By Elias Blondeau

No Man's Sky has garnered a major reputation in 2016, and not at all a good one. The gaming community at large associates Hello Games' ambitious open-world space travel game with inflated hype, broken promises, and unfinished releases. The British developer, however, hopes to make amends going forward. This will start with a major patch for […]

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By Elias Blondeau

No Man's Sky has garnered a major reputation in 2016, and not at all a good one. The gaming community at large associates Hello Games' ambitious open-world space travel game with inflated hype, broken promises, and unfinished releases. The British developer, however, hopes to make amends going forward. This will start with a major patch for the game, known as the Foundation Update.

Revealed on the No Man's Sky blog this morning, the Foundation Update will apparently bring a significant amount of changes to the core game. Most notably, the originally promised base-building will be included here. The extent to how bases can be built, how customizeable they are - that's all up in the air at the moment. However, this is a pretty significant upgrade, considering the feature wasn't even present in the base game.

Hello Games also promises a variety of other fixes and additions to the base game in their official statement.

"In the nine weeks since then our small team has been hard at work on development, testing and certification for the Foundation Update," says the developer. "It won’t be our biggest update, but it is the start of something."

The post goes on to address the controversy surrounding its game, which is notable, as community backlash has not been addressed by developer yet. "The discussion around No Man’s Sky since release has been intense and dramatic. We have been quiet, but we are listening and focusing on improving the game that our team loves and feels so passionately about.

It's worth noting that, despite this and the promise of being a "small step," no actual changelog for the update has been revealed. Aside from base building, it's unclear what other changes will be made, if many at all. We'll have to wait and actually look at the changes upon release to see if it's significant enough.

However, can any change be significant enough for No Man's Sky at this point? The game has a tarnished reputation, and has become a punchline to the gaming community - not to mention the game's fanbase eating itself alive. I've seen crazier things happen (the Final Fantasy XIV launch comes to mind,) but ultimately, only time will tell.

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Huawei Honor 8 (Phone) Review http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/huawei-honor-8-phone-review/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/huawei-honor-8-phone-review/#respond Fri, 25 Nov 2016 17:00:49 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=90245

By Cody Orme

I’m a firm believer in the idea that you get what you pay for. Generally, if you pay $600 for a new phone, it will run better than something from a lower price range. Some feel you’re only paying for the name, but after reviewing so many mobile devices, I’ve learned price does make a […]

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By Cody Orme

I’m a firm believer in the idea that you get what you pay for. Generally, if you pay $600 for a new phone, it will run better than something from a lower price range. Some feel you’re only paying for the name, but after reviewing so many mobile devices, I’ve learned price does make a difference. Then the Huawei Honor 8 came into my possession. Competitively priced at $399.99 USD, with an amazing camera, and a functional, sleek design, the Huawei Honor 8 could be the sleeper ninja phone you didn’t know you needed.


Huawei Honor 8 (Phone) Review 3Starting with its design, the Huawei Honor 8 comes in a variety of colours to choose from with white, black, blue and gold options. Our review model was blue, and I was actually surprised how sophisticated it looked with a matte finish, even with a less than professional colour. The Honor 8 borrows a lot from other more established smart devices with a simple, rectangular design, just a little thicker. Its dimensions are 145.5 x 71 x 7.5 mm, which doesn’t make for a huge phone, but it is a little beefier than say, the iPhone 7. There is a packed in “case” that protects the edges of your phone. It might make a difference depending on how high the device drops from, but it also adds extra grip so it’s easier to hold. Even with that extra size, the Honor 8 is still relatively light at 153g. Changing only slightly from the Honor 7, it’s hard to really distinguish the two. You won’t find any buttons along the face, with the “home” button actually located on the back underneath the camera. This also doubles as a fingerprint reader, and can be programmed for shortcuts to other apps, making it weirdly efficient for what it is.

With all of that on the back of the Huawei Honor 8, there is more room for its 5.2” screen. Yes, that does make for a smaller screen compared to its competitors but it’s used very efficiently with a 72.5 per cent screen to body ratio. Its display is actually very high-end as well sporting a 1080x1920 resolution that makes videos and pictures look crisp and clean. You’ll want to make the most of that since the camera is honestly one of my favourites out of those I’ve used. The dual 12 MP cameras, laser auto focus, and dual tone flash makes pictures look sharp and colours vibrant. The video recording is nothing to downplay either, with the ability to record video at 720p and 50 FPS.

 

Huawei Honor 8 (Phone) Review 5Everything on the surface looks great for the Huawei Honor 8, and when you go underneath the hood, it’s not too shabby either. Running on Marshmallow, this device uses the latest Android software. Inside, it sports a HiSilicon Kirin 950 with an Octa-core, 4x2.3 GHz Cortex-A72 and 4x1.8 GHz Cortex A53 CPU. Using a Mali-T880 MP4 GPU, the video card could be better, but it could be much worse as well.  To put all that data into more readable terms, the phone operates well in almost any given situation with next to no lag and fast loading times. It was a pleasure to play apps like Fallout Shelter, or even stream Netflix. In terms of performance, this is a great option, even compared to more high-end devices. While this phone is more of an economy model as opposed to a luxury device like the iPhone,  it manages to hang with the big boys in the functionality department.

Its battery life is surprisingly long as well, lasting a whole day in my test with normal use. Sporting a non-removable Li-Po 3000 mAh battery, the Honor 8 also has fast charging, hitting about 5 per cent in half an hour, making it ready to go in a short time.

Huawei Honor 8 (Phone) Review 2Obviously when you compare it to something like the iPhone 7, or the ZTE Axon 7, the Honor 8 isn’t quite up to snuff. Still, it’s one of the biggest surprises of the year. This isn’t a luxury model by any means, but it is a high-end phone with a mid range price, and you won’t be disappointed by what Huawei packed into its surprisingly economic smart device. This should be on your radar as an affordable, yet amazingly functional smartphone, and I couldn’t be happier with it

Score:8

Final Thoughts:It’s almost hard to believe Huawei packed in so much at such a low price.

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CGM Charity LIVE Stream Event http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/25/cgm-charity-live-stream-event/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/25/cgm-charity-live-stream-event/#respond Fri, 25 Nov 2016 10:11:59 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=90167

By CGM Staff

CGM is helping Action Against Hunger, an international non-profit organisation that caters to millions of malnourished children across Africa by providing them with basic necessities and life saving treatment. As such, we are Streaming Against Hunger on November 26th, 5 pm EST on our Twitch channel at twitch.tv/cgmagazine. Donations $5+ will automatically be entered into […]

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By CGM Staff

CGM is helping Action Against Hunger, an international non-profit organisation that caters to millions of malnourished children across Africa by providing them with basic necessities and life saving treatment.

As such, we are Streaming Against Hunger on November 26th, 5 pm EST on our Twitch channel at twitch.tv/cgmagazine. Donations $5+ will automatically be entered into raffles to win a variety of prizes including, LEGO Dimensions Starter Pack, Adventure Time Level Pack, Eagle Flight Soundtracks, Blu-rays, game codes and much more!

You can donate to the cause right here: bit.ly/CGMAAHunger

Also, all donors will receive a code for a year of the CGM Digital magazine! Just be sure to check the thank you message for your code!

Local to Toronto? You can come watch us stream live in person at Bar With No Name! Come hangout on Nov 26, 2016 5 pm, grab a drink and maybe even participate on stream.

Every donation helps to save lives, help us make a difference.

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Sadako vs Kayako (Movie) Review http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/sadako-vs-kayako-movie-review/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/sadako-vs-kayako-movie-review/#respond Thu, 24 Nov 2016 20:00:17 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=90176

By Elias Blondeau

Ringu is one of Japan’s most well-known media exports, and for good reason—it’s a solid franchise. The first film is a cinematic masterpiece, the sequels are solid gateway horror flicks, and the original novels are some of Koji Suzuki’s best works. Yet despite villainess Sadako’s reputation carrying the franchise to widespread recognition, the franchise has […]

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By Elias Blondeau

Ringu is one of Japan’s most well-known media exports, and for good reason—it’s a solid franchise. The first film is a cinematic masterpiece, the sequels are solid gateway horror flicks, and the original novels are some of Koji Suzuki’s best works. Yet despite villainess Sadako’s reputation carrying the franchise to widespread recognition, the franchise has fallen into disrepair in recent years. Sadako 3D was a lame, canon-destroying joke and its follow-up, while immensely entertaining, was cheesy and not for anyone but horror buffs. The series needed a kick in the pants, and as much as I loved them, all the crossovers with Hello Kitty in the world weren’t going to cut it. One can almost hear a cynical film executive trying to brainstorm. “Why doesn’t she just fight that girl from Ju-On? It’d be like Freddie vs Jason or something!” Lo and behold, Sadako vs Kayako was born.

Sadako vs Kayako (Movie) Review 2It’s one of the most downright idiotic films I’ve seen this year, but part of me feels like the filmmakers are in on the joke—remember, this project actually started as a result of an April Fool’s gag a few years back. A little self-awareness goes a long way, and by consequence, the result is some of most fun I’ve had                                                               with a movie in 2016.

This fun starts with the gleefully silly plot, which is split into two halves that eventually converge. In one, two high school students learn about a cursed video cassette, then proceed to accidentally buy a second-hand VCR that just so happens to have said cursed tape in it. In the other, a high school girl moves in next door to an allegedly haunted house. As the tape forces people who view it to kill themselves and as the house swallows up children, both parties end up coming together to try and put an end to the figureheads of each curse: Sadako and Kayako.

Sadako vs Kayako isn’t too concerned if you care about the logistics of the plot. Why does Tina Tamashiro’s character bother going into the house? Why does passing on the cursed tape only work sometimes? How does Sadako possess other characters, when she’s never actually been able to do that? The movie merely shrugs, then throws campy, bombastic, gory special effects at you in an endless pursuit to entertain and shock.

Sadako vs Kayako (Movie) Review 6The thing is that works surprisingly well, and why that approach works here and not somewhere like, say, Doctor Strange, is that Sadako vs Kayako is an incredibly tongue-in-cheek film. Oddly placed humour, over-the-top gore, and exaggerated performances (including a fantastic slapstick turn from the talented Masanobu Ando) suggest that at no point was this film ever intended to be taken seriously. This is cemented by the fact that Koji Shiraishi was tapped for directing. His track record is full of deliriously gory and delightfully stupid horror films like Carved and Occult. From the get-go, his involvement should’ve tipped people off that the brooding days of Takashi Shimizu and Hideo Nakata are long over for these series.

Speaking as a longtime J-Horror fan, I think that’s for the best. Ju-On was never that great to begin with, being a slightly above average “me too” imitator trying to mimic Ringu’s smash-hit success. Meanwhile, Hideo Nakata’s exit from the Ringu series led to diminishing returns with each subsequent entry, with each new director trying and failing to recapture the first two films. Sadako vs Kayako, then, is the Jason Lives or Jason X of these two franchises—it throws all pretense of being brooding, mysterious, or creepy out the window, and instead throws a shock a second at viewers. It piles on the blood, the absurd plot twists, the hammy performances, self-aware humor, and everything but the kitchen sink just to ensure the audience has a good time. It’s a radical reinvention for both series, yes, but it’s a reinvention that works.

Most crucially, it’s a reinvention that I’m sure fans of either franchise are sure to love. Sure, it retcons both series’ canon to fit the plot, and yeah, it ain’t exactly high art. Yet it was never aiming to win any awards or be a faithful take on either series. It was aiming to be silly entertainment full of fan service from both franchises. Sadako vs Kayako, from the get-go, was intended to be a movie where somebody can get their head flattened from a headbutt, and where a ghost girl blows up another ghost girl’s head with psychic powers. In other words, a silly, gory bit of camp to shake up 2016’s fascination with dour, brooding blockbusters.

On that account, it’s a rollicking success.

Score:7

Final Thoughts:Sadako vs Kayako is a very stupid movie, but its self-aware willingness to be silly and have fun merit a recommendation for horror buffs.

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Warhammer 40,000: Will of Iron (Comic) Review http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/warhammer-40k-will-iron-comic-review/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/warhammer-40k-will-iron-comic-review/#respond Thu, 24 Nov 2016 17:37:01 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=90209

By Bryan Calhoun

It’s often difficult to keep track of who did what to whom in the Warhammer 40,000 universe. It’s so hard that you could easily imagine George R.R. Martin painting a few space marine figures while he planned the rough storyboard for Game of Thrones. Unfortunately, this initial issue of the Warhammer 40,000: Will of Iron mini-series […]

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By Bryan Calhoun

It’s often difficult to keep track of who did what to whom in the Warhammer 40,000 universe. It’s so hard that you could easily imagine George R.R. Martin painting a few space marine figures while he planned the rough storyboard for Game of Thrones. Unfortunately, this initial issue of the Warhammer 40,000: Will of Iron mini-series doesn’t really provide you with much in the way of back-story either. Before the story begins you get some brief character bios for the main cast and then you’re on your way.

Warhammer 40K: Will of Iron (Comic) Review 2That doesn’t make Warhammer 40,000: Will of Iron any different from Superman’s latest comic offering, or anything that has the Transformers logo slapped on it; however, don’t forget that those mainstream pop-culture franchises have had major movies in the last few years. My dad knows that Optimus Prime is the leader of extraterrestrial robots, but no one knows who the heck Altheous is—for the record he’s a main character in this four part mini-series of comics. To make myself clear, the lack of a primer doesn’t mean that anyone at Titan Comics, the publisher behind the Warhammer 40,000: Will of Iron mini-series, did anything wrong. It just means that this should not be the first thing you pick up that has the Warhammer 40,000 label on it.

I’m also not convinced that it is something you should pick up just yet. Pacing issues are to part one of Will of Iron as Twinkies are to a hemp convention. I won’t ruin the plot of this book for anyone; however, the first five or six pages set up the fact that the first legion of Space Marines, the Dark Angels, must rush to an abandoned planet for reason that will be explained later. As soon as the Dark Angels finally start moving we’re taken to another sector of space. Here, an Inquisitor and her support team take five or six pages to discuss going to the same planet for the same reason. It seemed a little unnecessary to double down on this one point when there is so little space in each book. Thankfully the third and final group of this space drama arrives in the final few panels to basically say we’re here too.

That’s not to say that the pages of this book are filled with trash. Writer George Mann is clearly planning out a thrilling story that could see the Dark Angels completely destroyed if a long forgotten secret falls into the wrong hands. The reason I want to keep reading Will of Iron is that the wrong hands include people that we would commonly refer to as the good guys.

Warhammer 40K: Will of Iron (Comic) Review 3Artist Tazio Bettin and colourist Enrica Eren Angiolini are not slacking off either. They’re really pulling out all the stops to sell the 40,000 universe. Every panel gives off the old and decaying atmosphere that you would expect from a crumbling society that is barely holding itself together. Once the fight kicks off—this is a Games Workshop property so something is going to fight—the panels turn into a colourful carnival of carnage. I even wish to credit them with a panel that literally made me think, ‘whoa this is impressive looking.’ I know that sounds like a backhanded compliment, but it’s an impressive feat for a book with only 7 pages of action. The rest of the book consists of people standing around hinting at some mystery lost on a dead planet.

By the end of the book, the people at Titan Comics show off a few panels that set up the next issue and it looks to be an exciting one. I have a feeling that this first issue will be the solid foundation for a thrilling story, but that’s the biggest problem with this particular issue. Regardless of it being comics, makeup, charities, houses, education, or computer programming, there’s really only so much that can be accomplished with a foundation alone. That’s why I think the first part of Warhammer 40,000: Will of Iron is worth your money, but you might want to wait and hand it over when part two is released on Nov 9, 2016.

Score:7

Final Thoughts:All comic book stories need to be set up but it is a problem when a book is only set up.

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Digital Discovery: Why We Love Museums in Videogames http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/24/digital-love-museums-videogames/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/24/digital-love-museums-videogames/#respond Thu, 24 Nov 2016 12:53:34 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=90129

By Alex Avard

It has been said that “a museum is a place where one should lose one’s head”, but I’m not sure this suggestion was meant to be adhered to quite as literally as my experience in BioShock Infinite’s Hall of Heroes, whereby many poor soldiers are being quickly dispatched by a deadly arsenal of plasmids and […]

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By Alex Avard

It has been said that “a museum is a place where one should lose one’s head”, but I’m not sure this suggestion was meant to be adhered to quite as literally as my experience in BioShock Infinite’s Hall of Heroes, whereby many poor soldiers are being quickly dispatched by a deadly arsenal of plasmids and firearms. Between the frenetic combat and blood-soaked carnage, however, I’m soaking up the sights. Though I’m well aware that this one-sided ode to Columbia’s military achievements is a propagandist’s paradise, it nevertheless remains enjoyable to simply wander the exhibits and breathe in the atmosphere of this sensationalized parade of history told by the victors.

Digital Discovery: Why We Love Museums in Videogames 2As someone who enjoys museums far more than they should for a 21-year-old (I highly recommend The Cumberland Pencil Museum in the Northwest of England), it's no surprise that my eyes light up every time a virtual museum shows up in a videogame. To explore the history and science of the real world is always fascinating, but to enjoy the same experience in a fictional universe is something else entirely. The entertainment value of this very particular experience is largely down to the fact that developers use the museum setting for a variety of different purposes—meaning that the player experience of each one is almost always unique.

Sometimes these environments are indeed used in the traditional sense—namely to learn about the history of the fictional universe itself—but they can still feel impactful even while conforming to expectations. In Uncharted 3, the player’s curiosities are twinned with Drake’s who, as a young boy, is checking out a Francis Drake exhibition in South America. Though the ultimate goal is to find and steal a specific artifact, the player is encouraged to enjoy the various exhibits at their leisure, and Naughty Dog’s camera worships the attention to detail of the displays by letting you zoom in and marvel at each one, complete with an appropriately awed reaction from Drake himself. For a franchise where the price of curiosity is often followed by intense brushes with danger and mayhem, it’s quite something for this threequel to include a sequence where the main character is simply enjoying a museum like anyone else.

This is more than just a leisurely paced setpiece, however, as this exhibit represents a hugely important lynchpin for Uncharted 3’s story. Not only is this the setting in which Nathan Drake and Victor Sullivan first meet, it also houses the McGuffin artifact that kicks off the events of the entire game itself; Francis Drake’s ring. Considering everything that this Columbian museum offers the player in terms of story and gameplay, then, Uncharted 3 is undoubtedly a better game because of it.

In another interesting example, Infinity Ward takes the idea of a museum and employ their own, uniquely Call of Duty-esque spin on it in Modern Warfare 2. In this post-story easter-egg level, players are able to admire various exhibits, each representing a mission in the campaign. Should you press the big red button at the end of the hall, however, this harmless display suddenly turns into an M-rated version of Night at the Museum, wherein every character model springs to life with the sole purpose of hunting you down. It’s dumb, fun and a pretty inspired idea for a post-credits level, not to mention an immensely challenging firefight should you be so inclined to trigger the aforementioned red button.

Finally, virtual museums can also be used as real educational tools for housing genuine exhibits in a way that no real museum could. To come full circle and return to the world of Bioshock, the original game’s “Museum of Orphaned Concepts”—an environment that can be enjoyed outside of the campaign—serves as the framework through which Irrational Games enlighten their readers on the behind-the-scenes development of the game itself. As the name suggests, the museums displays models and concepts for a bunch of early designs and shelved ideas, with text popping up on screen to give a little more background information about each one. It’s a brilliantly original way for the studio to detail the conceptual history of Bioshock, and my only complaint is that I wish it were a little bigger, as you can tour the entire thing within about 15 minutes. I’ve no doubt that a game as ambitious and groundbreaking as Bioshock has many more “orphaned concepts” to show off, and I’d have happily whiled away several hours in a museum like this.

I sincerely hope more games utilize the museum environment and explore its potential further, as the joy of discovery can genuinely be as tangible on the screen as it is within the walls of the world's greatest exhibitions. Of course, with the prospect of proliferation comes the danger of oversaturation, but I have faith that the concept is novel enough to avoid falling into the trap of becoming a videogame trope. Museums in videogames can tell stories, embellish fictional lore, express creative themes and political statements, or simply act as a visual treat in a virtual world. Even those who might otherwise find museums to be terribly boring in real life could find a new understanding of their importance through videogames, and I hope that more developers begin to recognize this untapped promise in future.

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Five Directors Who Should Make a Videogame Movie http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/24/five-directors-make-videogame-movie/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/24/five-directors-make-videogame-movie/#respond Thu, 24 Nov 2016 12:25:16 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=90140

By Adam Nizam

Despite what David Cage would like you to believe, movies and videogames are fundamentally incompatible. Unlike comic books or novels, which act upon the reader, videogames require the player to act upon it, and losing that element removes an integral part of the experience. This is part of the reason why we have yet to […]

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By Adam Nizam

Despite what David Cage would like you to believe, movies and videogames are fundamentally incompatible. Unlike comic books or novels, which act upon the reader, videogames require the player to act upon it, and losing that element removes an integral part of the experience. This is part of the reason why we have yet to get a videogame movie with wide positive response, but another important aspect is the hiring of people who aren’t equipped for the job. Just like every comic book movie doesn’t have to be directed by someone with an intimate knowledge of the series they’re adapting, every videogame movie doesn’t need to be directed by a hardcore player. They should, however, be directed by someone with the visual flair and talent for capturing action necessary to do the job justice. Here are five directors CGM thinks fit the bill:

Chad Stahelski

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 (Movie) Review 4A seasoned stunt coordinator on blockbuster franchises such as The Expendables and The Hunger Games, Chad Stahelski burst onto the directing scene in a blaze of glory along with co-director David Leitch with 2014’s John Wick. This film demonstrated Stahelski and Leitch’s talent for taking a script that was essentially a shooting gallery and turning it into electrifying action with an interesting setting to keep the audience entertained. Adapting shooters to the big screen seems like an easy task—the action is all there. However, when taking into account the action-to-story ratio needed in film as opposed to games, doing the work becomes much more complicated. When John Wick: Chapter Two, which was directed solely by Stahelski, releases early next year, we’ll see if he’s up to the task on his own.

What He Should Direct: To put it bluntly: John Wick is what the Max Payne movie should’ve been. Combine John Wick’s tongue-in-cheek action with Max Payne’s neo-noir aesthetic and you have a guaranteed winner.

Alex Garland

Microsoft's Russian FTP Experiment Dies with Halo OnlineStarting out as a novelist, Alex Garland has been one of the finest minds in genre cinema for over a decade. After getting to know director Danny Boyle when he directed the adaptation of his novel The Beach, he wrote the scripts for his films 28 Days Later… and Sunshine, two of the best horror and sci-fi movies of the 00s. If that wasn’t enough, he also wrote the script for Dredd, finally doing the scowling comic book anti-hero justice. Following that, he got the directing bug and directed the 2015 cerebral sci-fi thriller Ex Machina and is currently at work on his follow-up, Annihilation. To top it all off, he has experience in actual videogames, writing the extremely underrated Enslaved: Odyssey to the West. With a resume that includes some of the best sci-fi and action of the 21st century, few people are better equipped to tackle the world-building and intricate universes of videogames.

What He Should Direct: The good news is that he’s already involved in the first choice: He wrote the original screenplay for the Halo film. The bad news is that said script has since been rewritten and is now in development hell for who knows how long. With that seemingly out of commission, the next best thing would be for him to mastermind a Mass Effect film or TV series.

James DeMonaco

The Purge (Movie) Review 1Perhaps a more controversial choice, DeMonaco is best known for being the writer-director behind all three Purge movies. The first film was a relatively by-the-numbers home invasion movie that wasted its unique, if ridiculous, premise. The next two films, however, went full balls-to-the-wall bonkers, embracing the implausibility of their setting while providing the best social commentary that a B-movie made in 2016 can provide. What makes him relevant to this list, though, is how the technique behind The Purge: Anarchy and The Purge: Election Year can be transmuted to adapting videogames. DeMonaco shows a talent for taking characters going on a journey through a huge open setting and making it thrilling and exciting, and his films emulate the plot structure of a lot of modern games: go to place, action happens, go to another place, repeat. If anyone can make this cycle interesting, it’s DeMonaco.

What He Should Direct: Now that Paul W.S. Anderson is finally winding down his seemingly never-ending Resident Evil film franchise and presumably returning to the tombs of Egypt to slumber, the possibility of a reboot true to the original games is open. DeMonaco has shown that he is comfortable in both tight, enclosed spaces and large, chaotic open ones, making him well-equipped to tackle the claustrophobic Spencer Mansion and the constant danger of Raccoon City.

Doug Liman

Splinter Cell 3D (3DS) Review - 2013-07-14 18:59:36Getting his big break in the mid-90s with Swingers, Doug Liman entered the mainstream action scene when he directed The Bourne Identity in 2002. After that, he vanished into mediocrity, with his biggest claim to fame being that he was the guy indirectly responsible for getting Brangelina together while directing Mr. & Mrs. Smith. That all changed in 2014, when Edge of Tomorrow exploded into cinemas. The saga of a soldier going through the continuous loop of dying and “respawning” at the exact same point during an alien battle was videogaming to a tee; the cycle of trying, dying and trying again until you gradually got better was perfectly captured for the first time in cinematic form. Hollywood seemed quite fond of it, too: he currently has seven projects in the pipeline, including an Edge of Tomorrow sequel and Justice League Dark. Why not add another?

What He Should Direct: Liman’s already attached to a videogame film: an adaptation of the Splinter Cell series starring Tom Hardy. But with his current slate, it seems like that’ll be pushed to the backburner for now. With that in mind: his style of sci-fi popcorn action would be perfect for a Gears of War film.

Jonathan Nolan

Bioshock 2: Minerva’s Den DLC (PS3) Review 1Until this year, you could be forgiven for thinking Jonathan Nolan was stuck in the shadow of his brother Christopher. The co-writer of The Prestige, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises and Interstellar, Jonathan actually struck out his own a while ago as the creator of the TV series Person of Interest, but still wasn’t quite a household name. That all changed last month with the premiere of Westworld, where, along with his wife Lisa Joy, he is chief showrunner. The prestige HBO series quickly established itself as the most exciting new sci-fi show on television, and has a pronounced interest in videogames, with The Elder Scrolls and Red Dead Redemption being cited as influences. Plus, he’s now taking his first steps into the world of directing, helming the premiere and finale of Westworld’s first season. He’s shown he can do gaming-influenced works perfectly - now how about the real thing?

What He Should Direct: In terms of cerebral video game sci-fi there’s plenty of good material, but two kings reign above all: BioShock and Half-Life. Nolan would be great for both, but the thematic similarities between Westworld and BioShock’s Rapture make the prospect of him being in charge of a BioShock adaptation too salivating to ignore.

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RUMOUR: Nintendo Switch Price and Release Date Leaked http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/23/rumour-nintendo-switch-price-release-date-leaked/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/23/rumour-nintendo-switch-price-release-date-leaked/#respond Wed, 23 Nov 2016 16:38:01 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=90197

By Chelsea Rothman

As rumours for the Nintendo Switch keep being thrown around, a date (and a price point) has seemingly been confirmed via UK based retailer GameSeek. A pre-order listing has appeared on GameSeek’s website for the Nintendo Switch that not only lists a release date for March 17th, 2017 (which matches up to a previous report […]

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By Chelsea Rothman

As rumours for the Nintendo Switch keep being thrown around, a date (and a price point) has seemingly been confirmed via UK based retailer GameSeek.

A pre-order listing has appeared on GameSeek’s website for the Nintendo Switch that not only lists a release date for March 17th, 2017 (which matches up to a previous report from LetsPlayVideoGames’ Laura Kate Dale), but also lists a price for the upcoming console-mobile hybrid at only £198.50 (approx. $250 USD).

RUMOUR: Nintendo Switch Price and Release Date Leaked

GameSeek is the second UK retailer to list a £200/$250 USD price point for the Nintendo Switch, however it is the first to have an official listing. The price point apparently comes with a pre-order guarantee, which means that the retailer could potentially be taking a huge risk with the price of the console. Interestingly, it seems GameSeek doesn’t want the page open to the public just yet; the internal search engine on the retailer’s site yields no results, however a quick google search brings up the page with no problems.

It should be noted that no games have been listed along with the console, which also adds a bit of legitimacy to the listing instead of just being added to fuel rumours. However, the March 17th, 2017 release date is marked with a notice that it can be changed by Nintendo at any time, which could mean it’s simply a placeholder. Regardless, what’s exciting about all of this is more concrete evidence to how much the Nintendo Switch is going to cost. Nintendo has historically priced their systems at lower, more accessible prices than the competition, which makes this price look very realistic and believable.

Since specifications for the console have also leaked, this could mean Nintendo’s focus still shoves graphical capabilities off to the side. With a rumoured launch list including the Skyrim remaster, and wanting to target themselves to an older audience, it will be interesting to see how Nintendo to position the console in the competitive gaming landscape.

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PlayStation 4 Pro Sales Are Down, 3DS Up in Japan http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/23/pokemon-sun-moon-release-playstation-4-pro-sales-3ds-japan/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/23/pokemon-sun-moon-release-playstation-4-pro-sales-3ds-japan/#respond Wed, 23 Nov 2016 14:44:05 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=90183

By Ana Valens

After its first week on the market, the PlayStation 4 Pro's numbers have dropped significantly in Japan. According to the Nov. 14 to Nov. 20 report from Media Create, the PlayStation 4 Pro only sold 11,116 units in Japan, whereas the standard PlayStation 4 pushed 26,267. In comparison, the Nintendo 3DS family pushed 113,987 units […]

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By Ana Valens

After its first week on the market, the PlayStation 4 Pro's numbers have dropped significantly in Japan. According to the Nov. 14 to Nov. 20 report from Media Create, the PlayStation 4 Pro only sold 11,116 units in Japan, whereas the standard PlayStation 4 pushed 26,267. In comparison, the Nintendo 3DS family pushed 113,987 units on the market, up from its original 29,981 sales from last week.

There's multiple factors involved with the Nintendo 3DS's success during the past week. For one, Pokémon Sun and Moon hit the Japanese market on Nov. 18, nearly breaking Japanese sale records as the second highest selling launch in Nintendo 3DS history. The 3DS has always been a popular console in Japan, too; Media Create's year to date total notes that the 3DS has sold 1,313,272 units throughout the year, shy just a mere 40,000 from the PlayStation 4's lead in Japan's markets. In comparison, the PlayStation Vita has only sold 735,869 units this year, down from last year's 781,480 total.

As for the PlayStation 4 Pro's decline in sales, the console's initial launch and hype has come and gone. The original reported numbers can be largely attributed to excitement from early adopters, with Media Create's latest sales suggesting that interest is leveling off. Not to mention, the PlayStation 4 Pro has come under scrutiny throughout November for various hardware and technical bugs, with some games performing worse on PS4 Pro at launch than on the original PS4. It's safe to say everyone who wanted a PlayStation 4 Pro has acquired one, seeing how the original PlayStation 4 Pro sold approximately 15,000 more units than the PlayStation 4 Pro. Consumers will remain cautious as day one launch bugs persist.

Still, holiday season is rapidly approaching around the world, and that means Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales starting Nov. 24. Check back over the course of the holidays for more news on hardware and game sales; the gaming community is sure to see some interesting numbers from Japan as December rolls in.

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Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex Starter Pack Giveaway http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/23/ghost-shell-stand-alone-complex-starter-pack-giveaway/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/23/ghost-shell-stand-alone-complex-starter-pack-giveaway/#respond Wed, 23 Nov 2016 12:46:31 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=90120

By CGM Staff

CGM is giving away Starter Pack codes for the PC title. Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex - First Assault Online. While Neople's Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex - First Assault Online is free-to-play, the Starter Pack codes can definitely give players a leg up in their play. Including in-game currency and unlocked […]

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By CGM Staff

CGM is giving away Starter Pack codes for the PC title. Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex - First Assault Online.

While Neople's Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex - First Assault Online is free-to-play, the Starter Pack codes can definitely give players a leg up in their play. Including in-game currency and unlocked characters, the Starter Pack keys are nothing to sniff at!

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex - First Assault Online is described on Steam, "Join Section 9 in a first person shooter experience. Become a member of an elite force of cybernetically enhanced combat operatives dedicated to the defense of society, and use your advanced firepower, Tachikoma Tanks and unique cyber skills to bring down cyber terrorists in a connected world."

Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex Starter Pack Giveaway

 

 

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Ghost in the Shell and Adapting Anime http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/23/ghost-in-the-shell-and-adapting-anime/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/23/ghost-in-the-shell-and-adapting-anime/#respond Wed, 23 Nov 2016 12:42:13 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=90077

By Adam Nizam

Earlier this month, the trailer for the Hollywood remake of Ghost in the Shell was released. When the first still images were released months ago, the internet reacted in anger towards the role of the Major, originally a Japanese cyborg named Motoko Kusanagi, being played by the American Scarlett Johansson. However, with the recent release […]

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By Adam Nizam

Earlier this month, the trailer for the Hollywood remake of Ghost in the Shell was released. When the first still images were released months ago, the internet reacted in anger towards the role of the Major, originally a Japanese cyborg named Motoko Kusanagi, being played by the American Scarlett Johansson. However, with the recent release of this trailer comes a new outpouring of cautious optimism. The film certainly looks stunning, and bears an uncanny aesthetic resemblance to the original anime film.

Too uncanny, in fact.

Ghost in the Shell and Adapting AnimeWhen looking at side-by-side comparisons between the trailer and the original, it becomes clearer that what has been shown so far is a shot-for-shot remake. This pleases some fans, who were afraid that Hollywood would make unwelcome changes to the source material. But it also begs the question: what is the purpose of this? Why remake an animated film in live-action when the original was already a classic?

A possible argument is that remaking the film in live-action is more technically impressive than animation. There’s an implication in this rationale that live-action is somehow more “legitimate” than animation, which contributes to the lack of respect it gets in Hollywood circles. Remaking Ghost in the Shell in live-action for American audiences has that same implication, only with a more sinister addition: The story is more palatable to Americans if it’s made in America. If it’s made in Japan, then the Western audience will find it too foreign and alien to them.

So the logic behind this remake is already shaky, but when taken into practice it gets shakier. Even though the purpose of the film is to make the story more accessible to American audiences, it’s clear that they wanted to make it as close to the original film as possible. You can see the conflict between these two truths in the trailer, which includes robotic geishas and Takeshi Kitano as Aramaki as well as a mostly white principal cast. Director Rupert Sanders obviously reveres the source material and wanted to make a faithful adaptation, yet studio executives would’ve never greenlighted the project without a white lead who was familiar to Americans and a PG-13 rating. Just by looking at this trailer, it can be surmised that the creative talent and the Hollywood powers that be have such differing visions of what they want out of this project.

The result? Likely a confused mess.

Despite the good intentions of those involved and the obvious talent of the art and effects team, this is a project based off a misguided idea. But when digging deeper into the errors made here, a more interesting question appears: should anime even be adapted by Hollywood at all?

Ghost in the Shell and Adapting Anime 1On one hand, animation has never really translated successfully to live-action, with recent efforts such as Transformers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles being critical failures. On the other hand, comics and TV shows have been successfully adapted into the blockbuster format before. Add in the element of cultural differences and it’s a troubling dilemma. However, there is a possible answer: Adapt anime that is already so “westernized” that there would be little to change in the translation from east to west.

A good example would be the 2006 series Black Lagoon. Taking place primarily in a poor and crime-ridden nation, the series follows a ragtag band of mercenaries made up of a Japanese businessman, a Chinese-American gunwoman, an African-American mercenary and a Jewish hacker. The setting features different gangs including the Russian mafia, Neo-Nazis, the Chinese Triad and the Yakuza fighting for control over the nation’s criminal element, meaning that you wouldn’t have to tip-toe around the awkwardness of hiring white actors for originally Asian characters. The story itself takes heavy inspiration from American crime and action films such as the works of Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez, so the stilted transition between cultures would be minimal. There’s other potential source material that would work in this context, including Baccano!

Of course, this isn’t a totally foolproof idea. It would still require the right people to pull off, and there’s always a challenge in adapting anything to the big screen. But the conflicted messaging at the heart of projects such as Ghost in the Shell would be minimal to nonexistent, allowing for a more fully-realized creation.

When it comes down to it, a lot of the positive response to the Ghost in the Shell trailer is rooted in the sentiment of “Hollywood is acknowledging something that I love!” Considering the bad rep and ignorance that anime gets in mainstream culture, it can be easy to fall into that thinking. However, many issues appear when thinking beyond that initial reaction, to the point where the motivation behind the concept is questionable. There is the possibility that, if the film is a hit, then Hollywood may pursue projects like those mentioned above.

Just don’t be surprised if it doesn’t, and the American audience immediately returns to saying “Anime? What’s that?”

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Moana (Movie) Review http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/moana-movie-review/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/moana-movie-review/#respond Tue, 22 Nov 2016 23:05:03 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=90148

By Phil Brown

For years Disney it seemed as if had lost their way in the world of animated features. Aside from the Pixar movies they funded and distributed, the studio that was built on feature length animation had lost touch with what worked artistically and in the market place. Then, John Lasseter was asked to help Disney […]

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By Phil Brown

For years Disney it seemed as if had lost their way in the world of animated features. Aside from the Pixar movies they funded and distributed, the studio that was built on feature length animation had lost touch with what worked artistically and in the market place. Then, John Lasseter was asked to help Disney relaunch their animation brand while he ran Pixar and everything changed. Wreck-It Ralph, Frozen, and Zootopia didn’t just put Disney back in the win column, they’ve arguably topped Lasseter’s own studio in the process. Now we have Moana, a sweeping musical adventure that once again kicks that old Disney princess can but emerges as something that feels fresh and alive.

Moana (Movie) Review 5Youngster Auli’I Cravalho voices the titular Moana. Technically she’s a princess, in that she’s the daughter of a tribal chief on an island in the middle of the ocean who is set to inherit the village. They live a simple and happy life in isolation. The ocean and the island provide seemingly everything that they need. Moana has wanderlust though, and has wanted to leave ever since she was a child. The ocean agrees as well, magically parting and carrying her whenever she sets out into the water. The only challenge is that her father (Temuera Morrison) had a traumatic experience on the ocean in his youth and won’t let her go. However, when things start to get rough at home, Moana ventures out to find a demigod named Maui (Dwayne “The Rock, always The Rock” Johnson) to return a jewel heart to a goddess and restore peace to her home.

Moana is a very different breed of Disney princess, if she can even be called that. She’s an adventurer and a hero. There is no prince charming—only Maui’s goofball demigod buddy with superpowers and animated tattoos that tell his life story. Together their quest is filled with wild spectacle and giant monsters. Dwayne Johnson is as goddamn delightful as always, even when his performance is limited entirely to voice acting. He’s filled with jokes and heart that carry the entertainment value far. Cravalho is a natural in the lead—strong, warm, and worthy of her hero’s journey. Around the edges folks like Flight Of The Chonchords’ Jemaine Clement provide all sorts of eccentric comedic diversions. Yet, it’s the central duo who deliver the heart of the movie and they are a wonderful team mercifully devoid of anything remotely resembling a tacked on love story.

Moana (Movie) Review 4The animation and spectacle are astounding. Designs stay true to the smoothly sweet Disney house style, yet more colourful, vivid, and bizarre in keeping with the mythical Polynesian setting. It’s pure eye candy, with plenty of grand action scenes and monster battles that could put many comic book blockbusters to shame (especially those directed by Zack…no…he’s been mocked enough). Despite the fact that viewers can take solace in the safety of Disney’s usual invisible body count, there are some genuinely thrilling and even mildly frightening sequences here that are a bit more intense than the Disney norm. The studio clearly strived for something familiar and fresh here and delivered a movie that should be fondly remembered for a while. The four-headed directing team are Disney veterans with resumes dating back as far as The Little Mermaid, retaining the classic Disney charm while pushing for more epic action and mild darkness than they’ve done in a while. It’s pure crowd-pleasing stuff, just like the house of mouse is known for.

Moana (Movie) Review 3

There are also songs of course. This is a musical and the team of Opetaia Foa’i, Mark Mancina, and Hamilton’s Lin-Manuel Mirand provide a diverse range of lyrical and musical styles than this sort of Disney feature typically delivers. The only catch? As sweeping and pretty and funny and exciting as this flick might be, it does feel like a mild step back from what the studio delivered already this year in Zootopia. There was a maturity in the humour, thematic complexity, message, and style of that movie that felt more Pixar than Disney. This one is more traditional Disney fare despite all of its blockbuster bells and whistles, so it’ll feel like a half step back for the animation nerds out there who care about such things. Still, a holiday Disney animated musical carries its own set of expectations and Moana delivers all of them and then tosses in a few surprises for good measure. That’ll do Disney…that’ll do just fine.

Score:8.5

Final Thoughts:Moana is more traditional Disney fare despite all of its blockbuster bells and whistles.

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Channel Zero: Ep 5 (TV) Review http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/channel-zero-ep-5-tv-review/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/channel-zero-ep-5-tv-review/#respond Tue, 22 Nov 2016 22:51:04 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=90153

By Helena Shlapak

Why, Channel Zero? You were getting better and now you’re just crashing and burning. I’ve made comments about some of the awkward and convoluted writing before, but episode five of Channel Zero really takes the cake. Jessica may be dead but Mike and Gary have no time to grieve as they head to Mrs. Booth’s […]

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By Helena Shlapak

Why, Channel Zero? You were getting better and now you’re just crashing and burning.

Channel Zero: Ep 5 (TV) Review 3I’ve made comments about some of the awkward and convoluted writing before, but episode five of Channel Zero really takes the cake. Jessica may be dead but Mike and Gary have no time to grieve as they head to Mrs. Booth’s house. The trip turns out to be less fruitful than they hoped as Mike realises that the puppets aren’t the same as the ones in Candle Cove. Just when he thinks they’ve reached another roadblock, Mike receives a phone call from Mrs. Booth. She has a few things to tell him, including the reason Eddie needs Mike’s body. Meanwhile, all the children in town come together, including Gary’s children, Dane and Katie.

Channel Zero: Ep 5 (TV) Review 1

It seems like the writers wrote Channel Zero as they went along and now they’re writing in circles. I’m glad they didn’t just go the route of, “It was all Mrs. Booth!” because that would have been too obvious, but the explanation they give just doesn’t add up. Eddie wasn’t the pawn we’ve been led to believe and he created Candle Cove? I can live with that since it’s not a bad twist, but where did his power come from? Saying, “Screw it, magic,” is lazy writing and a total cop-out, especially since Mike apparently has powers too. If Eddie’s came from anger, Mike’s should have bubbled up as well. Mike was obviously angry that his brother was getting picked on and especially angry that Eddie was going to murder Jessica (and more children) and yet he has no obvious powers?

Circling back to Mrs. Booth, I’m still scratching my head as to why she became Eddie’s disciple. I get that because she’s Christian, Eddie stopping her epilepsy (which makes me wonder if she was ever on any meds for it) caused her to believe he’s a miracle worker, but that explanation is just straight up offensive. She’s a Christian so that automatically makes her naive and stupid? Unable to realise that a child murdering other children just may be evil? They easily could have played this smart and have Eddie be more manipulative to her, maybe have him do some good for others.

Channel Zero: Ep 5 (TV) Review 2

Speaking of children, here’s the thing Channel Zero. I know sometimes as a viewer one has to maintain a suspension of disbelief, but that many kids go missing and the police station is only getting phone calls? There would be a state of emergency declared, no one would be allowed in or out of town, state troopers would come in, search parties would run round the clock and Mrs. Booth would end up on America’s most wanted.

Channel Zero: Ep 5 (TV) ReviewThe only thing Channel Zero got right in this episode is bringing the creepiness back. The whole conversation between Mrs. Booth, Marla, and Mike was superb and Mrs. Booth completely stole the show. Most of the “tense” moments in Channel Zero never really felt that way because it was always a hallucination or there was never a problem in the first place. With this scene however, I knew Mrs. Booth wouldn’t kill Mike and Marla—but her serious and delusional mannerisms were legitimately unnerving. Combine that with a slow zoom in and soft music and we’ve got ourselves some awesome tension.

Despite the fact this episode kept making me question everything, it also left me with heavier question: is it possible to control your fate? Mike has been nothing but a crutch and a security blanket his whole life. He spent his childhood helping Eddie and carrying the burden of murdering him. He’s spent his adult life helping other troubled children and now he’s cleaning up his brother’s mess while trying not to succumb to it. The scene of him on puppet strings is a bit on the nose but it’s the truth—Mike is a puppet, but can he cut the strings?

Score:6

Final Thoughts:Too many why’s and how’s for the plot to flourish and make any sense.

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Diamond Comics to Distribute Relativity Universe Saga http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/22/diamond-comics-distribute-relativity-universe-saga/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/22/diamond-comics-distribute-relativity-universe-saga/#respond Tue, 22 Nov 2016 21:23:04 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=90137

By Helena Shlapak

Diamond Comic Distributors, Inc., the world’s largest distributor of English language comics, is set to be the supplier of TITAN1STUDIOS’ Relativity Universe series. Starting with their first sci-fi graphic adventure series, Knight Guardians of Relativity. Knight Guardians of Relativity, is set in the year 2226. Mankind has discovered time travel and has turned it into […]

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By Helena Shlapak

Diamond Comic Distributors, Inc., the world’s largest distributor of English language comics, is set to be the supplier of TITAN1STUDIOS Relativity Universe series. Starting with their first sci-fi graphic adventure series, Knight Guardians of Relativity.

Knight Guardians of Relativity, is set in the year 2226. Mankind has discovered time travel and has turned it into the universe’s greatest weapon. Time travel has spurred a series of cataclysmic wars which brought humanity to the brink of extinction. Most of the world is now inhabitable due to radiation and pollution. Rising from the ashes, a group of men and women called the Knight Guardians was established. Their mission, to safeguard mankind and stop evil doers from obtaining temporal time travel. For 60 years they protected the world, until one of them is mysteriously murdered.

TITAN1STUDIOS is a Toronto-based indie publisher and new media production house founded by Canadian Producer and Entrepreneur Rathan Moorthy, and specializing in branded content across digital, print, TV, radio and emerging media. Knight Guardians of Relativity is the studios' first foray into publishing and clearly signals their intention to be a dominant player in the industry.  TITAN1STUDIOS is ready to roll out the Relativity Universe across an array of media platforms, where comics are just the beginning; the team is already working on multiple titles, a Virtual Reality video game and animated series.

Not a small undertaking for this Canadian startup, as the Relativity Universe includes a combined effort of dozens of creative and talented media minds from Canada, United States, United Kingdom and Spain. Written by Taran Chadha (Creative Director at TITAN1STUDIOS) and award-winning Harper Collins novelist Gareth Roberts (Whatever Happened to Billy Parks?). Illustrated by Abel Garcia (Image Comics), Ruben Rojas, Miko Maciaszek (former New York Times and Globe and Mail illustrator) and Gabe Sapienza. Colourized by Irma Kniivila (Ms. Marvel, Joyride, Batman vs. Superman)Lettered by Simon Bowland (James Bond, Cry Havoc, Mycroft Holmes). The story universe also features the work of Marvel artists Scott Hepburn (Drax) and Ken Lashley (Uncanny X-Men), along with Richard Pace (Bloodthirsty), Ty Templeton (Batman ‘66), and Boom! Studios colourist Adam Metcalffe (Lucas Stand).

“This is not just another time travel franchise — it’s about the devastating impact time travel can have on the world. We’ve created multicultural characters, representative of the world today, with a concerted effort to develop strong, complex female leads,” says Chadha. “Through the powerful combination of writers and artists, we’ve created a strong story platform with epic artwork throughout the series.”

This is a major deal for the Toronto-based indie publishing company as they will be working with the company that has exclusive distributing of major publishers such as Marvel, DC and Dark Horse Comics.

Jay Spence, Brand Manager at Diamond Comic Distributors, Inc. said that Diamond Comic Distributors was pleased to welcome TITAN1STUDIOS to their distribution family. He also said he was excited to offer such a creative and vibrant new publisher to their retailers.  Knight Guardians of Relativity can be pre-ordered from comic shops around the world with order code: NOV161908 for issue #1 and DEC161896 for issue #2, with general retail availability in January and February 2017 respectively.

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Humble Staff Picks Bundle: Nick Features Volume, Legend of Grimrock 2, Grim Dawn http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/22/humble-staff-picks-bundle-nick-features-volume-legend-grimrock-2-grim-dawn/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/22/humble-staff-picks-bundle-nick-features-volume-legend-grimrock-2-grim-dawn/#respond Tue, 22 Nov 2016 20:23:41 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=90121

By Ana Valens

A new Humble Bundle looms days before American Thanksgiving begins. This time around, Humble Bundle is hosting Humble Staff Picks Bundle: Nick, dedicated to fighting MS through charity donations. There's quite an interesting round of games this time around. At the opening tier, there's Volume, TIS-100 and Legend of Grimrock 2. Beating the average of […]

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By Ana Valens

A new Humble Bundle looms days before American Thanksgiving begins. This time around, Humble Bundle is hosting Humble Staff Picks Bundle: Nick, dedicated to fighting MS through charity donations.

There's quite an interesting round of games this time around. At the opening tier, there's Volume, TIS-100 and Legend of Grimrock 2. Beating the average of $3.33 lands buyers with Infinifactory, The Secret Worlds and Dungeons 2. Grim Dawn is available for $14 USD alongside the two other tiers, bringing together a $105 USD bundle that saves buyers approximately $91. All games are available on Steam, and TIS-100, Legend of Grimrock 2 and Infinifactory also have DRM-free copies.

The Bundle's namesake, Nick, is an employee at Humble Bundle who was recently diagnosed with MS. Nick is represented on the Humble Bundle website by an adorable furry engineer. His bundle hosts donations for AbleGamers and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, alongside additional charities listed by Humble Bundle for further donations. As of this writing, the highest bundle purchases rest at $25 USD, earning buyers the entire collection.

Nov 22's Humble Bundle offering follows a long line of strong bundles over the past few months. In late October, there was the Humble Gems Bundle. Humble Jumbo Bundle 7 offered Devil Daggers and RollerCoaster Tycoon 2. And there was also Humble GameMaker Bundle, which offered $2,000 USD in GameMaker tools for $15.

It's hard to say what games will go on sale next at Humble Bundle. But with Thanksgiving on its way and holiday season approaching in less than a month, sales are sure to pop up on the Humble Store as well. In the meantime, keep an eye out on CGMagazine's official Black Friday shopping guide. From Cyber Monday fans to retail shoppers, there's sure to be a deal for everyone this coming year. Check back as the busiest shopping day in the year approaches fast.

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Most Expensive Pokémon Card Sells at Auction http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/22/expensive-pokemon-card-sells-auction/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/22/expensive-pokemon-card-sells-auction/#respond Tue, 22 Nov 2016 19:06:56 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=90117

By Helena Shlapak

The extremely rare “Pikachu Illustrator” Pokémon card has just sold for $54,970 at auction, making it the most expensive Pokémon card in the world and more than doubling the sale of the first card in the set to be sold. The "Pikachu Illustrator" Trainer Promo Hologram was designed by Atsuko Nishida in 1998. The nineteen […]

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By Helena Shlapak

The extremely rare “Pikachu Illustrator” Pokémon card has just sold for $54,970 at auction, making it the most expensive Pokémon card in the world and more than doubling the sale of the first card in the set to be sold.

The "Pikachu Illustrator" Trainer Promo Hologram was designed by Atsuko Nishida in 1998. The nineteen year old card is one of only 10 in mint condition and shows Pikachu holding art implements. It features the word “Illustrator” instead of “Trainer” on the top and is the only Pokémon card to do so. It also is the only card with a unique pen symbol on the bottom right corner in place of a number.

The card was sold at Heritage Auctions in Beverly Hills California on November 18, 2016 and exceeded expectations for the auction, which was predicted to sell for 50 thousand dollars. The first card of the set was sold for only 23 thousand dollars in the early 2000’s.

The "Pikachu Illustrator" Trainer Promo Hologram was given to winners across three illustration contests in 1998, publicized in CoroCoro Comics; a Japanese monthly manga magazine. The first contest was the Pokémon Card Game Illust Artist Contest where readers submitted their artwork of their favourite Pokémon. Winners were given twenty copies of their design on a card along with the “Pikachu Illustator” promotional card. The second contest was the Mewtwo's Counterattack Commemoration Illust Artist Contest and the third was the Pikachu's Summer Vacation Commemoration Illust Artist Contest. Both these contests asked readers to design their own Pokémon card. Entries were judged on the most interesting illustrations and the most creative attacks.

Only 39 copies of the “Pikachu Illustrator” card were distributed and it is unknown exactly how many remaining copies are left. The card is one of only a handful of Japanese promotional cards that feature a double-star rarity, a rating system that only pertains to Pokemon cards.

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Monster Hunter Movie in the Works. Paul W.S Anderson to Direct. http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/22/monster-hunter-movie-works-paul-w-s-anderson-direct/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/22/monster-hunter-movie-works-paul-w-s-anderson-direct/#respond Tue, 22 Nov 2016 17:19:41 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=90105

By Helena Shlapak

The Monster Hunter film now has a director and it’s Paul W.S. Anderson, director of the Resident Evil film series. Back in September, Capcom revealed that a Monster Hunter film was in the works. The announcement was made at Tokyo Game Show and at the time, not much was known about the project. Capcom’s Resident […]

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By Helena Shlapak

The Monster Hunter film now has a director and it’s Paul W.S. Anderson, director of the Resident Evil film series.

Back in September, Capcom revealed that a Monster Hunter film was in the works. The announcement was made at Tokyo Game Show and at the time, not much was known about the project. Capcom’s Resident Evil franchise has seen amazing success in its film adaptations and with Resident Evil: The Final Chapter releasing in January, it was only fitting that the same director, Paul W.S. Anderson, would be signed onto the project.

While there are no specific plot details about the Monster Hunter film, what we do know is that Anderson has written the script and that he and his producing partner Jeremy Bolt are shopping for a studio and have VFX renderings of creatures for the film. We also know that a Toronto-based VFX studio, Mr. X, made the renderings and are in partnership with Anderson and Bolt.

In an interview with Deadline, Anderson and Bolt spoke about how they became attached to the project.

“We started the process and talking to Capcom about five years ago.” Said Anderson.  “They really wanted to be sure that we were going to do it justice because it’s their top money earner now. It’s huge, a cultural phenomenon in Japan and it’s giant in China, where it’s an online game that has 15 million paying users. If you do the math, the movie could potentially be the biggest of the year in China and Japan, where people line up around the block when new games are released. It has sold 38 million copies so far, which is bigger than Resident Evil was when we started the adaptation of that franchise.”

Bolt added, "They've said what they love about Paul is he understood the spirit of the game and expanded and made more of it. Commercially and creatively, they really respect that. They are trusting us again, on Monster Hunter."

Anderson teased that he had two films planned for Monster Hunter, that shooting would take place in China or South Africa and that the films would have a budget similar to the Resident Evil franchise. Anderson also spoke about why he was so eager to get started on this new endeavor.

“What I love about Monster Hunter is the incredibly beautiful, immersive world they've created. It's on the level of like a Star Wars movie, in terms of world creation," he said. "There are no real central characters so it’s a bit like when we first approached Resident Evil and imposed our own characters and story on that world. I think this is a perfect IP for us to do exactly that same thing again.”

There is currently no information regarding when the Monster Hunter film will begin shooting or when the film will be released. There’s also no stars attached to the movie yet.

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Pokémon Sun and Moon Sell 1.9 Million in Japan http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/22/pokemon-sun-moon-sell-1-9-million-japan-lower-x-y/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/22/pokemon-sun-moon-sell-1-9-million-japan-lower-x-y/#respond Tue, 22 Nov 2016 16:37:43 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=90098

By Ana Valens

Pokémon Sun and Moon launched Nov 18, 2016 to wide critical acclaim among both reviewers and fans. The game has been selling well too. A recent report from Famitsu suggests Pokémon Sun and Moon has sold nearly 2 million copies in Japan in its first 72 hours alone. As one NeoGAF user pointed out, Pokémon Sun and […]

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By Ana Valens

Pokémon Sun and Moon launched Nov 18, 2016 to wide critical acclaim among both reviewers and fans. The game has been selling well too. A recent report from Famitsu suggests Pokémon Sun and Moon has sold nearly 2 million copies in Japan in its first 72 hours alone.

As one NeoGAF user pointed out, Pokémon Sun and Moon pushed a combined total of 1,905,107 units during its first three days on sale in Japan. This means Pokémon Sun and Moon host the second most successful 3DS game launch in Japan. Which is quite impressive, but is shy approximately 190,000 units from the top selling 3DS game launch in the country: Pokémon X and Y, which sold 2,096,050 copies during its first week. Note that those sales numbers are solely physical retail copies, and not eShop downloads.

Kotaku's Brian Ashcraft later expanded on the Famitsu article's translated information, pointing out that Pokemon X and Y sold 1,866,570 copies in Japan during the games' first two days, then pushed an additional 473,151 copies during its second week. This concluded in 2,339,721 physical sales within nine days, compared to Pokémon Sun and Moon's current 1,905,107 in three.

It's safe to say that Pokémon Sun or Moon aren't falling behind their predecessors by any means. The games are selling very well and still breaking major records in Japan for best-selling 3DS titles. But Pokémon Sun and Moon follow an ongoing trend that has plagued the second half of 2016: stellar sequels to popular titles have been underperforming at launch. While it's too early to say whether Pokémon Sun and Moon will ultimately sell less copies than their predecessors, it seems unlikely that Pokémon X and Y will be dethroned from the best-selling 3DS list any time soon. Which is a shame, because every player wants to see developers outdo themselves on the market. In the meantime, check back for more updates about Pokémon Sun, Moon and the upcoming Nintendo Switch version, Pokémon Stars.

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Sound Off - Do We Need Review Scores? http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/22/sound-off-need-review-scores/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/22/sound-off-need-review-scores/#respond Tue, 22 Nov 2016 12:38:59 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=90070

By Cody Orme

Cody looks at how review scores affect the industry and are review scores really necessary?

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By Cody Orme

Cody looks at how review scores affect the industry and are review scores really necessary?

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Overwatch Embraces Change For Better or Worse http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/22/overwatch-november-updates-embrace-change/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/22/overwatch-november-updates-embrace-change/#comments Tue, 22 Nov 2016 12:18:19 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=90038

By Elias Blondeau

With BlizzCon came a flurry (a blizzard, you might say,) of new Overwatch news. Being present for the proceedings, I looked to the future with cautious optimism. Blizzard’s FPS debut is far and away my favourite game this year, and the changes coming to the title fundamentally alter core mechanics and split up the player […]

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By Elias Blondeau

With BlizzCon came a flurry (a blizzard, you might say,) of new Overwatch news. Being present for the proceedings, I looked to the future with cautious optimism. Blizzard’s FPS debut is far and away my favourite game this year, and the changes coming to the title fundamentally alter core mechanics and split up the player base. Considering how much time I’ve sunk into the title, this gave me pause. Would my personal GOTY be unrecognizable in a little under a month?

As it turns out, yes and no. While Overwatch is now a very different beast than the game we got in May, it’s retained everything that made me fall in love with it. That said, balancing tweaks, mode changes and a new character will force players out of their comfort zones. Here are some highlights from the ongoing PTR, which will likely be implemented into Overwatch in the coming weeks.

BlizzCon 2016: Overwatch's Sombra Unveiled

“Nerf This!”

With each major update to a competitive game comes nerfing anxiety—will a player’s main heroes no longer be choice picks? Luckily, Blizzard has overcome their history of abhorrent patches to deliver some changes that feel pretty fair. Even some specific character changes don’t feel too crippling, and in some cases, even help certain heroes become more viable picks without overpowering them.

For starters, every hero except for D.VA has taken a 25% increase to their ultimate charges. This means Mei isn’t going to be able to rush in, freeze a person or two, then “dong zhu buxu zou” her way to a team kill within a minute. Players will now be forced to duke it out a little longer, which significantly changes the dynamics of Control matches. A lot of characters might not be able to have an ult stockpiled before the control point unlocks now, which will definitely force a change in strategy for some. This is a pretty major shift, encouraging players to fight without their ults more often.

Overwatch’s Halloween Terror Is A Ghoulish Gas 6In terms of specific character changes, three heroes see pretty major upgrades: D.VA, Pharah, and Torbjorn. D.VA’s movement speed while firing has been increased, and she’s been given an extra 100 health while in her mech’s cockpit. This makes her a bit more viable as a true tank, which will make D.VA mains like myself pretty happy. Meanwhile, Pharah’s gotten a 25% increase to her thrusters, meaning she now never has to touch the ground. That’s an ideal scenario for people who want to zip around above the fight and scatter teams with rockets. Lastly, Torbjorn’s gotten some major overhauls—most notably a passive scrap-generating ability. This means he’ll be able to consistently pump out armour for the team, even without a high kill count. His hammer’s also been buffed, meaning stronger turrets coming much faster.

That said, the patch hasn’t been kind to all heroes. Ana’s Nano Boost ability will no longer increase its recipient’s movement speeds. This means common strategies of boosting a tank, then watching them rush in and grief the other team, are all but dead. Meanwhile, Mei has gotten an additional nerf to her ult charge on top of the across-the-board changes, and Pharah’s rockets don’t push characters around as much. These could either see the heroes being utilized less often, or birth new ways to play them.

Overall though, these changes aren’t as bad as Blizzard’s notoriously garbage StarCraft II or Hearthstone changes. For the most part, they seem pretty reasonable, even if they do shake up the meta a bit.

Overwatch (PC) Review 20

“Boop!”

One of the biggest additions to Overwatch’s PTR is Sombra, the subject of a prolonged ARG that was finally revealed last weekend. An offensive hero, the mysterious hacker is primarily focused on sneaking around and turning the tables on the opposing team. Some of her abilities had the online community crying foul (although, let’s face it, pretty much everything does these days,) but having spent time with her, I personally think she’s a crucial addition to the game.

Why? Because she’s the ultimate gamechanger.

Overwatch (PC) Review 19That isn’t necessarily because of her raw offensive power, because she doesn’t have much. Her Uzi is pretty mediocre, and best used in either emergency situations or to take out wounded enemies. Instead, her strength comes in royally screwing over the team through sabotage. For starters, she has the ability to turn completely invisible for six seconds with Thermoptic Camo. There’s no translucent outline or anything like that—the opposing team flatout can’t see her while she’s cloaked. This opens up several opportunities with her other abilities. For starters, her Hack ability can either deactivate an enemy’s abilities or claim health packs for her team. This means Reinhardt’s shield and Lucio’s Sound Barrier, for example, can get completely wrecked after a two-second hack. In addition, hacking health packs means enemies can’t use them for a period of time, and they respawn way faster.

Because she’s a pretty weak offense, Sombra’s Translocator ability and passive skill help validate her as a pure stealth hero. Translocator is a device that can be thrown and reactivated again within 15 seconds, instantly teleporting Sombra back to where it was tossed. It helps players sneak, hack, then high-tail out of the way in an expedient fashion. Meanwhile, her passive Opportunist ability lets her see enemies through walls when they’re at or below half health, meaning she can sneak in, finish them off, then get back into the action.

Overwatch Competitive Mode Confirmed for July Release

Last but not least is EMP. This is, frankly, a devastating ult that can change the tide of a skirmish if used right. It’s Hack but with a radius, basically, and feels specifically designed to punish bad team management. If the opposing side is all huddling behind a Reinhardt, for example, Sombra can bust them wide open and leave them vulnerable to a full-frontal assault.

Overall, Sombra is a strong addition to Overwatch's roster, but definitively not overpowered. She can’t take or dish out a ton of damage, and players who aren’t great at stealth will probably fail miserably if they play as her. Blizzard seemingly included her in an attempt to shake up the meta, and to break up bad team composition. To that effect, she’s a great addition, and I can’t wait to see her in the main game.

“Game On”

Overwatch (PC) Review 1Blizzard’s thrown some pretty major mode changes into Overwatch’s PTR, after announcing them at BlizzCon. The most notable of these is Arcade, which hosts all sorts of game variants and opens up options for players who want to mess around a little. 1v1 is total blast, with two players being randomly assigned the same hero and forced to duke it out in a perfectly balanced duel. I’m also a fan of the 6v6 mode which allows hero-stacking, considering that’s an option that’s being taken out of Quickplay, and the rotating Brawl playlist.

While I do have personal reservations about Overwatch's Quickplay’s changes, not to mention fragmenting the player base, I do think Arcade is a worthwhile addition. The fun of classic arena shooters, which is the cloth Overwatch is very clearly cut from, was often in the myriad silly game types you could engage in. Blizzard is clearly aiming to bring those days back, as well as compete with more established shooters like Call of Duty, which come prepackaged with all sorts of modes. My hope is that, unlike Activision’s unstoppable juggernaut, people actually play these modes, and they’re not just dead weight with empty servers. The inclusion of loot boxes was a wise move on the devs’ part, because it gives people incentive to play every week.

Closing the Gap: How the Competitive Patch Promotes Pro Overwatch

Looking at the new modes, new character, new balance tweaks and a new, spacious map, it’s hard not to come away from Overwatch’s PTR with excitement. Blizzard has put a lot of work into keeping this game interesting, and this is the next step in that journey. While it’s a very different game than the one we saw earlier this year, it’s ultimately a stronger one, with more balance and more features. By taking the Splatoon approach to rolling out content, Blizzard is currently winning the long game by pumping life into their fledgling title at zero cost. From the looks of it, Overwatch is still a game I’ll be playing daily in the coming months, and still my personal favourite title of 2016.

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Assassin’s Creed: Ezio Collection (PS4) Review http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/assassins-creed-ezio-collection-ps4-review/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/assassins-creed-ezio-collection-ps4-review/#respond Tue, 22 Nov 2016 12:07:01 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=90060

By Jordan Biordi

There was a time when I genuinely enjoyed the Assassin’s Creed series. The first one was refreshing and innovative, and may very well be my favorite game from that generation. I’ve bought two copies of Game Informer in my life and framed their covers: one was for Ghostbusters the other was for Assassin’s Creed 2. […]

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By Jordan Biordi

There was a time when I genuinely enjoyed the Assassin’s Creed series. The first one was refreshing and innovative, and may very well be my favorite game from that generation. I’ve bought two copies of Game Informer in my life and framed their covers: one was for Ghostbusters the other was for Assassin’s Creed 2. But after seven years and eleven games, each more rushed out than the last has made my heart weary and what once was a burning desire for the series is little more than a few smoking embers. Assassin’s Creed: The Ezio Collection is like a bucket of water on those last embers.

Assassin’s Creed: Ezio Collection (PS4) Review 3The Ezio Collection is made up of Assassin’s Creed 2, Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, and Assassin’s Creed: Revelations and even includes two mini-movies: Assassin’s Creed: Lineage, and Assassin’s Creed: Embers. The games are literally the exact same, though. Sure, they’re marginally polished up for HD, with some minor aesthetic fixes to better present the illusion of enhanced graphical fidelity. Yet, somehow these “enhanced” graphics have only brought about issues, like the infamous staring man, or a moment during my playthrough where a child’s pupils disappeared and he stared at me with giant bug eyes. Not only that, the enhanced visuals make the whole thing look dated as distant buildings look like cardboard boxes; too far to render texture, but clear enough to see details painted onto it.

In fact, “dated” is probably the operative word because even the gameplay just feels stale now. Free-running is clunky and unresponsive, and while I may have forgiven that in 2009, there’s no chance I will now in the The Ezio Collection. Combat is mundane and only got progressively easier. When it was new it was actually interesting, but we’ve done the same thing over and over, game after game and it’s hard to get excited about doing the same thing again three times in a row. While I’ve seen some major climbing glitches on the Xbox One version, I personally never ran into any major glitches outside a few moments when Ezio blinked onto a ledge, or during a kill animation.

Assassin’s Creed: Ezio Collection (PS4) Review 4I don’t even know who this collection is even supposed to be for. It’s not like it could be for newcomers to the franchise who might have missed out on the last console generation, since they’d be jumping halfway into the story. Fans of the series would’ve already bought and played all three of these games (I know I did) and it’s not like they’re inaccessible classics. Are fans really interested in buying the same three games again, after four recent games that were nigh identical?

I honestly have nothing else to say about Assassin’s Creed: The Ezio Collection. It’s a product that just makes me tired. Tired of seeing the games from three years ago on store shelves as if they’re new things. Tired of the amount of effort being pulled from making new games and being poured into re-releasing whatever beloved game publishers think they can squeeze a few more dollars out of.

Tired, most of all, that it doesn’t seem like this trend is ending or even slowing down.

Score:5.5

Final Thoughts:Assassin’s Creed: The Ezio Collection is a product that just makes me tired.

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First 15 - Let It Die http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/21/first-15-let-die/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/21/first-15-let-die/#respond Mon, 21 Nov 2016 22:22:57 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=90084

By Brendan Frye

CGM explores the first section of Let it Die from the creative mind at Grasshopper Manufacturing, Suda51, and hitting the PS4 later this year. Don't forget to read our Let It Die preview.

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By Brendan Frye

CGM explores the first section of Let it Die from the creative mind at Grasshopper Manufacturing, Suda51, and hitting the PS4 later this year.

Don't forget to read our Let It Die preview.

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Let It Die Preview: Free-to-Play Done Right http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/21/let-die-preview-free-play-done-right/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/21/let-die-preview-free-play-done-right/#respond Mon, 21 Nov 2016 19:38:01 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=90009

By Brendan Frye

First announced in 2013, Let It Die is a game that oozes style, and a game that could have only been imagined by Grasshopper Manufacture and Suda51 (Goichi Suda). It is a game that until recently, despite enjoying my play sessions with, I did not fully understand. I got to spend some more time with […]

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By Brendan Frye

First announced in 2013, Let It Die is a game that oozes style, and a game that could have only been imagined by Grasshopper Manufacture and Suda51 (Goichi Suda). It is a game that until recently, despite enjoying my play sessions with, I did not fully understand. I got to spend some more time with the game at the GungHo offices in Los Angles, California, and from what I have seen, it is a free-to-play game that people should be excited to dive into.

Let It Die Does Free-to-Play Right 2Jumping into Let It Die, I was pleasantly surprised at how much it felt like a AAA release. There was a clear narrative that, although ridiculous, had a style and compelling charm that made me want to know more. From the minute the game starts in the dark, dirty and almost off-putting aesthetic of the Tower of Barbs, it is clear that the world of Let It Die is a brutal place—from minute one, you know it will be a challenge.

Let It Die is a game that is more than the sum of its parts. On the surface, the game feels as if it was inspired by the Souls series out of From Software. The brutal combat, visceral weapon choices, and difficulty all reminded me of what it was like to first jump into Demon's Souls back on the PS3. There is also something in the design and the way the concepts are executed that is iconic of Grasshopper.

The mix between brutal darkness and the absurd nature of everything brings a fresh concept to the genre and one that I did not see myself enjoying as much as I did. The moment I met the skateboarding Grim Reaper who calls you Senpai during the first minutes of the game, I knew I would be in for a treat. The dichotomy between the brutality and the silliness of everything makes the overall experience a joy to play, and I found myself wanting to dive deeper into the world to find out what was really going on.

I asked the game director for Let It Die, Hideyuki Shin, about this mix of dark and absurd aesthetics. As he explained, Let It Die "is either really dark or really stupid. We made it so that you can look at it from different angles and your experience but some elements are just flat out ridiculous." He went on to say that "for some reason, putting them together balances each [other] out and felt like a really good combination of dark and light tones."

Let It Die Does Free-to-Play Right 5Even after a few hours with the game, I could tell you next to nothing about the story or what was going on with the characters. It is an obtuse game that will take hours of playtime to fully understand, and that is honestly part of the fun. It is a game that dangles just the right amount of information to keep you hungry for the next piece of the puzzle. Suda51 and the team at Grasshopper have done a magnificent job building one of the most compelling narrative driven free-to-play games I have ever played.

At the start of the Let It Die, players take control of one of a selection of nameless bodies armed with nothing more than the underthings they start with. Players must then make their way through the Tower of Barbs. Death is there to greet you and give you the basics of how to play. From this point on players are more or less on their own. There are NPC's that will gladly help out, for a fee, but beyond that, they must find a way to make it through the levels of the tower, level up their character, and gain weapons—all without dying in the process.

It is worth noting that despite the AAA feel of Let It Die, this will be a free-to-play game in which players will be able to have a fun and rewarding experience even without spending a dime, Let It Die feels very similar to the Souls series, especially in the way player death is treated. Once players die, their body is lost until they go and retrieve it. All the levels, items, etc. that would have been on the body are lost until players go back and recover them.

Let It Die Does Free-to-Play Right 10

There is an option to select a new body and start fresh, but should players want to gain everything back, they will have to go and kill their body to collect their things. By spending money, this tedious part can be skipped. It will take the in-game currency to do so, and with the frequency of death, this could get expensive—but the option is always there.

It is this level of choice; that makes Let It Die an exciting experience. Yes, it has transactions should you choose to take advantage of them, but they never take away from the achievements you get with the game. Overcoming a monster, or building the next great item are all part of a rewarding gameplay loop and the team at Grasshopper have managed this masterfully.

"There are a lot of things in the game that are going to be able to give you that sense of achievement," Explained Hideyuki Shin.

Let It Die Does Free-to-Play Right 7"Throughout the game, because it is a Grasshopper title, we do have boss fights about. They are pretty rough. Mid-bosses are pretty rough. Big boss battles are even more so. So we encourage players to get stronger and keep strengthening yourself to really get past it but there might be time when you’re so close, and you use a Death Metal [the in Game Currency] so you can continue just to be like, 'great, I beat him'. You really get that feeling of achievement."

"There is no point in the game that we’ve made that we feel like we are forcing players to monetize. We did not have in mind that we want players to like, we are going to make it this hard so that they have to monetize. We do not ever want to make players feel like they are forced to monetize, but it’s really up to the players skill and how much time that they are willing to put into it. So based on how much time you put into it. So either if you want to cut the time by crafting and monetizing there or if it’s just going to be like ‘I almost beat the boss, monetize and that last hit kill him’. That might be hard a bit but really it’s just up to the player and how they want to play the game via skill. How much time they want to put into it. But just to really feel like they’re really getting into the game, but there are some places that there is monetization there but we really don’t want to force it down people's throats."

Let It Die Does Free-to-Play Right 9

The cost of upgrades and storage is also a way Grasshopper has restricted progress. The player character has a limited number of slots to carry items, and these items quickly become invaluable to progress. As players traverse the Tower of Barbs, they will find resources and items that can be used to build new weapons, or used to defend themselves. With the limited number of slots players start with, they will need to constantly go back to home base just to unload. Spending some of the Death Metals can speed up this process.

"Each character has a different amount of slots, but the express pass will expand that. While you have your membership running, you will get these special skill decals that will increase your experience or boost some other points that you obtain." Shin goes on to explain, "There’s no buying additional content in that sense because we don’t want to bore players."

Let It Die Does Free-to-Play Right 8Due to the depth of Let It Die, I have only scratched the surface of what players can expect when they first boot up the game, and we will have full details in our upcoming review upon release. Despite the price tag, Let It Die is a deep, interesting descent into insanity and one that I enjoyed throughout my playthrough. From the crazy characters to the unique 80's arcade aesthetic, Suda51 and Grasshopper have built something that should keep players busy for hours on end.

Let It Die is a game that I was not expecting to be so excited about going in. Yet, after my time with the game, I am more excited than ever. It is not a game that will appeal to everyone, but if you are a fan of the Souls series, or just love the games that come out of Grasshopper, Let It Die may be something worth looking into. The team have built something that manages story, fun and monetization well. It is hard to say if this holds true though the full experience, but from the time I have put in so far, I am pleasantly surprised. Let It Die will be available exclusively for the PlayStation 4 and is being published by GungHo Entertainment.

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Creepy Castle (PC) Review http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/dopterra-creepy-castle-pc-review/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/dopterra-creepy-castle-pc-review/#respond Mon, 21 Nov 2016 18:08:55 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=90027

By Jake Yanik

From its selection of video filters—including fake scanlines—and its customizable health bars/ hearts setup to its D-Pad control of a cursor at level select and vintage NES “fake typewriter” sounds during story pieces, Creepy Castle is a shot through time straight to the heart of a 30-year-old who is suddenly four again, sitting on the […]

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By Jake Yanik

From its selection of video filters—including fake scanlines—and its customizable health bars/ hearts setup to its D-Pad control of a cursor at level select and vintage NES “fake typewriter” sounds during story pieces, Creepy Castle is a shot through time straight to the heart of a 30-year-old who is suddenly four again, sitting on the carpet with his mom shouting at him for being too close to the TV. It may sound sappy, but I actually welled up at one point from the flood of nostalgia and happy childhood memories that came rushing back. If any of that appeals to you, well, I probably don’t need to sell you any more than I already have. If, however, you’re after a bit more info, may I present to you this wonderfully crafted review? *gestures forth*

Creepy Castle (PC) Review 1The first thing I should probably mention is that Creepy Castle harkens back to an era closer to the Atari than the NES, but it borrows heavily from both. Also, if the idea of minigames as battle mechanics doesn’t jive with you, that could be a concern. That being said, there is a menu option to make the minigames much less challenging for players who are terrible with reactionary-based minigames (which I am) or for those still using an Xbox360 controller with its notoriously “worst D-pad in gaming history” (which I use).

The story itself has the player assuming the role of a moth—named Moth—and exploring a creepy castle henceforth referred to as The Creepy Castle. Along the way, players will encounter plenty of enemies and critters to punch in the face (no, really, the game’s tutorials come in the form of adorably-drawn manuals describing how to best punch a new type of enemy in the face), plenty of story bits describing the castle and its inhabitants, and the occasional dissenter against the castle’s master, Darking. At the risk of giving away too much, Moth discovers that not all is as it appears regarding Darking and his cronies.

The art style is spot-on; featuring all the squee-inducing sprites that one can handle and which serve as the game’s primary link to the Atari generation. I’m also unsure as to whether it’s intentional or not, but Moth’s sprite doesn’t overlay when walking, instead carrying his black background around with him when he crosses in front of pillars or climbs ladders—a wonderful throwback to the games of yore. Likewise, the music is bang-on as well, with an absolutely killer soundtrack that I’d swear was hacked out of a NES cartridge. Similarly, the sound effects evoke memories of so many of my favourites, including the original TMNT, Might and Magic, Contra, and more.

Creepy Castle (PC) Review 2That, I think, is Creepy Castle’s greatest success. It draws so much inspiration from the games that I grew up with without ever borrowing directly from any of them. The connection is real and immediate, but there’s no tangible link between this and any of the games from which it evokes memories; it is its own entity and it stands on its own merits as a game—like a game tucked away in a time capsule, only to be dug up after 30 years—like that ET game, only not buried for shame. Recently, I reviewed Syndrome and learned how poorly nostalgia-based experiences can go, but this? This is something special. Creepy Castle is the kind of game that I would have seen on Video & Arcade Top 10 and decided that I couldn’t live without. It’s the kind of game that would have come encased in a black or a gold cartridge, like Gauntlet, or Zelda—none of that grey nonsense here; you’d know this was a great game just by the unique profiling on the cart.

Creepy Castle (PC) Review 3 Creepy Castle (PC) Review 4

Moreover, Creepy Castle touches on some modern storytelling elements as well as poignant topics, both for gaming in specific, and for our time at large. To have received this game 30 years ago would have been wonderful—a glimpse into a future similar to The Jetsons, where everything flies and covered in chrome, yet remains the same white, oppressive America—but to receive it now is something truly magical. I’d love to elaborate on all the sappy reasons why I feel that way, but I fear that if I do, I’ll wake up in a “Forever Young” Diet Pepsi commercial. I may be older now, but thanks to my time with Creepy Castle, I was able to reconnect—if only briefly—with all the wonderful moments in my childhood that have led me to this very moment as a games journalist. That’s a magic that, as a lifelong player, I can’t put a price tag on.

Score:8.5

Final Thoughts:If Undertale and Cave Story weren’t enough for you, Creepy Castle is the fix you need.

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Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps Rebirth: Sinestro’s Law (Comic) Review http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/hal-jordan-green-lantern-rebirth-sinestros-law-comic-review/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/hal-jordan-green-lantern-rebirth-sinestros-law-comic-review/#respond Mon, 21 Nov 2016 17:01:21 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=90015

By Boyd Reynolds

The universe is in grave danger. The Green Lantern Corps are no more and the Sinestro Corps are now the guardians of the universe and they will use fear to control and keep power. This is the galactic state of affairs as DC’s Rebirth begins with Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps: Sinestro’s Law. […]

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By Boyd Reynolds

The universe is in grave danger. The Green Lantern Corps are no more and the Sinestro Corps are now the guardians of the universe and they will use fear to control and keep power. This is the galactic state of affairs as DC’s Rebirth begins with Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps: Sinestro’s Law.

Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps Rebirth: Sinestro’s Law (Comic) Review 3This seven part series finds a withered and old Sinestro looking out on his new Empire. He has won, vanquishing all the Green Lanterns—or so he thinks. Little does Sinestro know that the ultimate Green Lantern, Hal Jordan, has a flicker of green light still left in him and will give his all to end Sinestro’s rule. Sinestro, to wield ultimate power, consumes the yellow power of the Parallax, and not only becomes young again, but more powerful than he’s ever been. It sets up the ultimate showdown. To the victor go the spoils, which in this case is the entire universe.

Sinestro’s Law is all that a comic series should be. The action is fantastic, the drama is captivating, and the artwork is terrific. Writer Robert Venditti does a superior job weaving action with tension, giving readers a spectacular series. The setting—outer space—helps immensely. We are transported to different worlds, seeing strange and unusual creatures. The visuals are never boring, but this is mostly due to the story being so compelling. Some longer comic series can wane as they head toward the conclusion (heck, some five part series can falter midway) but not Sinestro’s Law. This series is serious business from the first page to the dramatic yellow versus green conclusion.

Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps Rebirth: Sinestro’s Law (Comic) Review 4Artists Rafa Sandoval and Ethan Van Sciver perform wonders, giving comic book fans everything they could ask for in this cosmic cornucopia, and it is all led by Hal Jordan. How the two artists’ present Jordan is key—he’s just as fans remember him to be: a stoic, heroic, wise cracking badass. The fight scenes with Hal are sheer spectacle, as is all the Green Lantern Corps as they rally the troops for one last battle.

An interesting subplot in Sinestro’s Law has to do with the capture of Green Lantern Guy Gardner. He is beaten and tortured by Sinestro’s sinister agents. Here, Sinestro’s Law takes an unexpectedly dark turn, and it only adds to the series—not only showing the pure evil Sinestro employs, gaining strength from fear, but also the sheer will it takes to stand up to dread. Fear can come in many forms and is individual to each of us. As it plays out in Sinestro’s Law, standing up to that fear is the greatest triumph of all.

In short, Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps: Sinestro’s Law issues #1-7 are a must read (along with Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps Rebirth #1). It strikes a phenomenal balance of tension with out-of-this-world action and stakes so high it had to be told in a seven part series.

Pick up Sinestor’s Law! Your inner comic geek will thank you for it.

Score:9.5

Final Thoughts:Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps: Sinestro’s Law is a terrific seven part series, pitting Hal Jordan versus Sinestro in a final duel with the fate of the galaxy at stake.

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Nintendo Switch Rumour Round-Up: What We Know So Far http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/21/nintendo-switch-rumour-round-up-post-what-we-know-so-far/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/21/nintendo-switch-rumour-round-up-post-what-we-know-so-far/#comments Mon, 21 Nov 2016 16:21:21 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=90004

By Ana Valens

Speculation has been growing over the past few weeks as Nintendo fans wonder what direction the upcoming Nintendo Switch will go when it releases in early March. With rumours running across the gaming industry, here's just a few highlights to keep in mind as the final quarter of 2016 draws to a close: Earlier in […]

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By Ana Valens

Speculation has been growing over the past few weeks as Nintendo fans wonder what direction the upcoming Nintendo Switch will go when it releases in early March. With rumours running across the gaming industry, here's just a few highlights to keep in mind as the final quarter of 2016 draws to a close:

Earlier in October, CGMagazine reported on an alleged leaked developer kit posted by Twitter user @NWPlayer123. If true, the devkit would run with four ARM Cortex-A57 cores and a 1024 FLOPS per cycle NVIDIA GPU, allowing for powerful graphical output. Nintendo Switch blogger Emily Rogers later confirmed that the Nintendo Switch will ship with 4G RAM, although other specifications on the Nintendo Switch's hardware have yet to be officially announced.

UK-based games journalist Laura Dale has been providing a variety of reports on Nintendo Switch over at LetsPlayVideoGames. According to her, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will miss its Wii U and Switch launch. However, the unannounced Mario Switch title will be available from release, along with a Splatoon re-release that features a one-on-one multiplayer mode. She also reports that the the "Skyrim port [for Nintendo Switch]... is totally happening," suggesting that a Nintendo Switch version of Bethesda's immensely popular open-world game will be a day one title that "[mirrors] the recent remastered version of the game." Mod support will be included sometime down the road.

As for the Nintendo Switch's price, she reports that the Nintendo Switch will be sold for £199.99 at the UK store, GAME. An additional unit with extra internal storage and a bundled game will launch for £249.99. This roughly translates to $249.99 and $299.99 USD, albeit, those conversions are unofficial.

Eurogamer reports that Nintendo's latest Pokémon offering, Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon, will also see a Nintendo Switch offering entitled Pokémon Stars. Coinciding with reports from earlier in the year that Game Freak was working on a main Pokémon title for the Switch, Eurogamer hints that an HD version of Sun and Moon's Pikipek has already been revealed. The publication suggests a late 2017 release is in order for the Switch.

The Nintendo Switch's official release is coming quickly, with just a little over three months until the console hits retail shelves. Check back as more news develops over the next couple months.

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Early Access Look: Grid Legion, Storm http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/21/early-access-look-grid-legion-storm/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/21/early-access-look-grid-legion-storm/#respond Mon, 21 Nov 2016 12:28:24 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=89763

By Cole Watson

Card games have been a part of my life since I was five-years-old. My joy for collecting and playing started with Pokémon, grew into Yu-Gi-Oh! and eventually, I made my way to the Magic: The Gathering scene. Now these games support their own digital clients and even new games like Hearthstone have emerged to claim […]

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By Cole Watson

Card games have been a part of my life since I was five-years-old. My joy for collecting and playing started with Pokémon, grew into Yu-Gi-Oh! and eventually, I made my way to the Magic: The Gathering scene. Now these games support their own digital clients and even new games like Hearthstone have emerged to claim their stake on the mobile market.  The Toronto indie developed card game, Grid Legion Storm, may lack the benefit of any established media to work off of to create a powerful playerbase, but its unique gameplay and sheer depth are sure to entice any competitive card game player into giving the new title a shot.

Developer Stories: Wind Jester Games 2The objective of Grid Legion is standard fare for the genre: draw cards, summon units and attack your opponent’s life points until they reach zero and you win the game. What makes Grid Legion stand out from the pack, as a MOBA inspired card game, is the interactive battlefield. As you deploy units onto the lanes of the field, you begin to notice that each tile around you has different effects, some increase movement speed, others yield resources and some can be captured to create advantageous situations for the player. In order to win you can’t just focus on luck or drawing the best card your deck can muster; you have to be wary of everything positioned on the board and develop a powerful strategy to outwit your opponent.

Developer Stories: Wind Jester Games 3

Instead of using mana as the key resource of the game like M: TG, Grid Legion has two resources you have to balance: gold and aether. Gold is the resource that allows you to play your cards and create reserve units to place on the grids of the field, while aether is the resource that allows you to draw from your deck. Each of the economic resources are given out at the start of a turn, but in order to fuel your best plays you will need to create more economic advantage than your opponent by capturing goldmines and using your unique unit abilities to weaken their resources. Economy is just another level of the depth to battles in Grid Legion that makes the game feel so involved at each stage of the battle. The opening of the game is key because you want to establish as much advantage as quickly as possible, the mid-game has you defending your mines as you begin stockpiling resources for ambitious plays, and the end-game is when you unleash your game winning strategies.

Unlike other titles that make you buy randomized booster packs to hopefully get the most rare and most powerful cards, every card in Grid Legion is provided to the player with their initial purchase. You can mess around with any of the games nine key domains in the deck editor and combine their strategies together to create unique synergies. If you’re a player who loves the versatility of ranged units, then you’re probably interested in playing with cards from the Sylvan domain with their elven archers and sorcerers. If you love playing cheap undead units that can resurrect after their killed, then you’re more prone to playing cards from the demonic domain. Every playstyle a competitive card game player could dream of using is incorporated when you combine together the various domains of Grid Legion.

Developer Stories: Wind Jester Games 1While a lot of these features probably sound great to veterans of the competitive scenes, I can’t help but feel that providing a first-time player with so much content at launch will cause them to feel overwhelmed by the amount of micromanagement they have to handle. Throw in a sizeable amount of card effects they have to learn and I don’t believe even the provided strategy guide will be enough to calm frustrations. While more newbie friendly features such as an interactive deck-building guide will be added as the game picks up sales, the success of Grid Legion at launch is banking on veterans of other card games to pick it up and give it a chance.

For only being made by a handful of guys at Wind Jester Studios, Grid Legion has so much content and mechanics enveloped within it that it’s easy to see the potential the game has to develop into a competitive eSport. It won’t happen as fast as other games, but with a growing playerbase and an involved developer at the helm that shows care in updating the game and tweaking imperfections, Grid Legion is a card game that could take the world by a slow yet powerful storm.

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Danganronpa Another Episode coming to PS4 next summer http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/18/danganronpa-another-episode-coming-ps4-next-summer/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/18/danganronpa-another-episode-coming-ps4-next-summer/#respond Fri, 18 Nov 2016 21:09:32 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=89994

By Kenneth Shepard

NIS America has announced that it will be bringing Danganronpa spin-off Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls to PlayStation 4 not long after it ports the mainline games to the platform in summer of 2017. The company is offering a collector's edition of the game on its website, but those who bought the original game's collector's […]

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By Kenneth Shepard

NIS America has announced that it will be bringing Danganronpa spin-off Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls to PlayStation 4 not long after it ports the mainline games to the platform in summer of 2017.

The company is offering a collector's edition of the game on its website, but those who bought the original game's collector's edition on PlayStation Vita should take note that the bundle is identical to the one seen on the handheld, with the exception of the PS4 version's art book being hardcover.
Danganronpa Another Episode, which takes place between Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc and Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, is a third-person shooter based in the same world as the visual novels. However, despite its chronological place in the timeline, it does contain spoilers for both games and should be played after the two mainline games. While it expands upon the story of the series' universe, it doesn't feature the same murder mystery set up the visual novels became known for. The spin-off first came to Vita in 2014, and was localized the following year for a western audience.

While Another Episode is coming to PlayStation 4, there's still no word on whether or not the game will come to Steam as both Danganronpa visual novels did earlier this year.

Players are cast in the role of Komaru Naegi, the sister of series protagonist Makoto Naegi, as she attempts to escape the dangers of Towa City, shooting through waves of Monokumas as she makes her way through the dystopian town.

For more on the third-person shooter, check out CGM's review of the Vita version of the game.

Danganronpa Another Episode along with both Danganronpa visual novels makes up the series' Hope's Peak Academy arc, which came to a close with an animated series called Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak Academy, which finished airing in September. The next game in the series, New Danganronpa V3, will begin a brand new story that focuses on a new cast and setting.

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Pixels & Ink #227 - Fantastic Pokemon Party http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/18/pixels-ink-227-fantastic-pokemon-party/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/18/pixels-ink-227-fantastic-pokemon-party/#respond Fri, 18 Nov 2016 19:21:11 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=89990

By Melanie Emile

This week on podcast, Melanie, Cody and Phil discuss news from Nintendo. Phil saw Fantastic Beasts and where to find them and Mel relays her 4d movie experience. Cody takes a walk in the light with Pokemon Sun and got hands on with FFXV.

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By Melanie Emile

This week on podcast, Melanie, Cody and Phil discuss news from Nintendo. Phil saw Fantastic Beasts and where to find them and Mel relays her 4d movie experience. Cody takes a walk in the light with Pokemon Sun and got hands on with FFXV.

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Syndrome (PC) Review http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/syndrome-pc-review/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/syndrome-pc-review/#respond Fri, 18 Nov 2016 12:56:35 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=89945

By Jake Yanik

Syndrome is the videogame embodiment of the old adage “a camel is a horse designed by committee”. It’s the latest game from the indie studio Camel 101 that has the player waking up to discover they are trapped aboard a spacecraft in the wake an event that’s left all but a few of its crew […]

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By Jake Yanik

Syndrome is the videogame embodiment of the old adage “a camel is a horse designed by committee”. It’s the latest game from the indie studio Camel 101 that has the player waking up to discover they are trapped aboard a spacecraft in the wake an event that’s left all but a few of its crew and guests as corpses. Things start off in high gear with the ship’s computer warning of an imminent solar flare, requiring the player to lower the blast shutters to protect the ship. Unfortunately, from this initial cue onwards, the game falls off the rails, leaving the player to stumble awkwardly through a mostly-inhabited ship featuring ineffectual jump-scares, cumbersome combat with choppy enemies, and a health and inventory system AND a limited-resources shooter wedged in for added convolution. All of this is further burdened by a desperately lacking save system that often forces the player to re-play an hour of content at a time if they die or need to exit the game.

Syndrome (PC) Review 4I like a punishing gameplay experience as much as the next player (in fact, probably more than most), but I like it to be in a way that presents an interesting challenge for me to overcome. Forcing a player to play through extended sections without the opportunity to save and exit and  adding janky enemies around a save location isn’t adding challenge to a game; it’s just crummy design choice. I’ve played 700 hours of Path of Exile in hardcore mode since September and have little more than an army of dead characters to show for it, so it’s with no lack of context or appreciation that I say that Syndrome is tedious in an unfair and particularly un-engaging sort of way. I like the world in a nostalgic System Shock sort of way, but there’s just not enough going on. Where the source material offers a claustrophobic environment that always feels threatening, even when it’s not, Syndrome instead offers a lifeless space that (largely due to the camera perspective alone, which is at the player’s waist for some inexplicable reason) feels exceptionally open and empty. Unfortunately, it’s not in a spooky sort of way, and instead leaves the whole experience feeling dull and uninspired.

There was clearly a lot of attention given to the creation of the ship and its interior, but too much of the experience feels like a walking simulator with out-of-place jump scares and clinical enemies shoehorned into it. Pair the whole ordeal with a lighting renderer that often destroys the atmosphere and audio samples that range from highly compressed to downright mismatched, and the whole experience begins to feel more than a little tedious. The one consistent saving grace is the ambient audio. With the game’s lack of music, the ambient effects are particularly effective at grabbing one’s attention. The unfortunate flip side is that enemies themselves rarely have the same effect.

Syndrome (PC) Review 5And while I’m on the subject of tedium, when the player wakes up in a disaster situation to have the first bit of dialogue be a cliché “don’t trust anyone, but help us” speech, followed later by a “those guys were lying, don’t trust them… help us instead” speech, players are stuck delivering one of two horribly-predictable outcomes, or the third (even worse) offender, which takes the form of the “M. Night Shyamalan, bet you didn’t see that coming because it has literally nothing to do with the plot” ending. I don’t like to crap on anyone’s hard work, but it’s hard to shake the feeling that the whole project became muddied by an idea box filled with suggestions from eight-year-olds listing off all of their favourite Let’s Plays that included a laundry list of survival-horror titles, first-person adventures, classic sci-fi horror, and something involving inventory management, because that’s “in” this season.

On a personal note: If your game’s going to feature a sledgehammer on a table, you better let me Serious Sam some stuff.

Syndrome (PC) Review 6

I don’t mean to be down on the whole thing; there are some bits about the game that worked for me. Aside from being a good looking game (not groundbreaking), the ship has a real feeling of tangible design to it—like something built by real people, not just to drive the plot. In a lot of ways, though, that stings even more. It’s easy to dust one’s hands of an all-around terrible game, but when one shows promise that’s let down by convoluted, overly ambitious design choices, it seems to hurt that much more. There are definitely moments where the atmosphere does work, but they feel more like keynotes that are strategically placed for effect rather than the game having a prevailing feeling of fear. There’s certainly something to Syndrome, but I keep coming back to this terrible feeling that it’s more from a love for the properties it draws its inspiration from than anything that Syndrome itself does. It gets difficult to recommend considering that last year’s SOMA is only $5 more; or, for the shooter fans, the Dead Space games that also ring in for less.

There’s clearly a lot of homage to the classics here, but there’s too much addition for addition’s sake, which unnecessarily detracts from the experience. It’s a tragedy; I really wanted to like Syndrome for what it’s trying to do, but where Syndrome should have been a love letter to classic sci-fi horror games, it instead feels like a drunken, rambling text sent at three in the morning.

Score:6

Final Thoughts:Where Syndrome should have been a love letter to classic sci-fi horror games, it instead feels like a drunken, rambling text sent at three in the morning.

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Slayaway Camp (PC) Review http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/slayaway-camp-pc-review/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/slayaway-camp-pc-review/#respond Fri, 18 Nov 2016 12:03:16 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=89933

By Helena Shlapak

Back in my day, we didn’t have the Netflix and the streaming and the whatnot. We went out to the video store and browsed the latest in crap-tastic slasher movies beside the door that led to the backroom pornos. Slasher films were the crème de la crème of Friday movie night back in the late […]

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By Helena Shlapak

Back in my day, we didn’t have the Netflix and the streaming and the whatnot. We went out to the video store and browsed the latest in crap-tastic slasher movies beside the door that led to the backroom pornos. Slasher films were the crème de la crème of Friday movie night back in the late 80s and early 90s, and Slayaway Camp rewinds viewers back to that simpler time in a hilariously fun and gory way.

Slayaway Camp (PC) Review 3In this pixelated, 3D block-sliding puzzle game reminiscent of Minecraft, players take on the role of Skullface; a serial killer who is hell bent on killing every last teenager at Slayaway Camp. The player must move this lovechild of Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers around the grid and kill the drunk and drugged out teens. Lead them into traps and avoid the police until Skullface can take the portal back to hell and return for the sequels.

Even though Slayaway Camp rides the nostalgia train like a lot of other games and movies, it does so exceptionally well without being distracting or buggy. The game begins in a crappy video store where players will pop in a VHS to start the game. Cutscenes are shown in vertical hold style (where the tracking splits and runs up and down the screen) and the quality is fuzzy. For actual gameplay it cleans up. The player can even reverse their moves with the rewind button, restart the scene over again, and fast forward to get hints at a cost of some of the coins they earn. Each film has sixteen scenes (levels) to play through and for every film completed, another sequel appears on the shelf.

The VHS style for Slayaway Camp works because players get the full crappy effect without…actually being crappy. The developers utilized the effect in just the right places with the cutscenes and rewind options and even added movie trailer intros with a narrator. The game Power Drill Massacre had the same vertical hold effect in cutscenes and gameplay but the bad tracking made it difficult to see.

Slayaway Camp (PC) Review 5If you think block-sliding puzzles are easy, think again. I’m not that great with puzzles so sometimes I was left scratching my head despite having tried a hundred different movements. Targets move around the grid if they become frightened, which makes it harder for players to align themselves and get to the next step. Certain targets are even a nightmare to get to simply because of their positioning, especially if there’s a cop standing in the way. Some levels have multiple traps (like holes, fire pits and lakes of water) that are tempting to use but sometimes have to be avoided since they just won’t work in the long run. Some levels even limit how many moves can be made. Distractions—like the phone—can be used to get the target to move and bookshelves can be knocked over kill or add a new stopping point. Once players finally figure it out, they’re left with a sense of satisfaction rather than frustration or annoyance. Slayway Camp forces gamers to think outside the box and logically, which is nice to see in a game with such a simple concept.

Slayaway Camp (PC) Review 4

Speaking of simple, the animation is just that, but it’s absolutely adorable. The little cube people move in quick and blocky ways, their faces are expressive and the gore will make players both laugh and wince in disgust. It’s clear a lot of work was put into the animation with the amount of unique death scenes. It actually took me a while before I saw the same scene twice. The death animations are incredibly over the top and ridiculous but in the best way, like Mortal Kombat, even with the narrator going “Fatality!” or “Sawed!” With the coins earned in each level, players can even buy new death animations and new serial killers.

Slayaway Camp (PC) Review 6The only problem I had with this game was that it was a little long and monotonous. Don’t get me wrong; if I were spending money on a game I’d rather have multiple hours of gameplay instead of one or two. But seeing as how Slayaway Camp is the same style puzzle, it got a little boring. Slayaway Camp isn’t the type of game to play through in one sitting, it’s something to boot up for an hour or two once in a while to exercise the brain and have a good laugh. That’s not to say it’s entirely monotonous, the amount of customization with killers and variety of deaths is more than enough to keep players entertained.

Aside from that, Slayaway Camp has everything gamers could want and more; proper use of retro formatting, amazing humour, good music, good voice acting, gory animations and buffet of variety. For slasher film fans that love a good jab at those movies, this is the best $9.99 you’ll spend this year on Steam.

Score:9

Final Thoughts:Slayaway Camp hits checks all the boxes and will slash its way into your heart.

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Animator Confirms Final Evangelion Film In Production http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/17/animator-confirms-final-evangelion-film-production/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/17/animator-confirms-final-evangelion-film-production/#respond Fri, 18 Nov 2016 00:06:28 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=89980

By Elias Blondeau

It's been a long road since the Rebuild of Evangelion project was announced. Over a decade, in fact. While three of the films have seen release, all has been quiet on the Eastern front for a few years regarding the final film. After that long period of silence, followed by some half-confirmations by series mastermind Hideaki Anno, an […]

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By Elias Blondeau

It's been a long road since the Rebuild of Evangelion project was announced. Over a decade, in fact. While three of the films have seen release, all has been quiet on the Eastern front for a few years regarding the final film.

After that long period of silence, followed by some half-confirmations by series mastermind Hideaki Anno, an animator has finally confirmed work is being done on the fourth and final Rebuild project.

"We're actually working on the new Evangelion film right now," Takeshi Honda told UK Anime Network in an interview. "We're working hard and it'll come out eventually, so thanks for all of your patience - please continue to be patient, because it's going to be the last episode."

At another point in the interview, Honda expressed frustration at getting older and Evangelion still not being completed.

"I'm older now and I can't really do too much drawing with complicated lines as that's now physically very hard, so I'm just hoping for Evangelion to end properly before I retire!"

The whole interview is pretty eye-opening and interesting, especially in regards to how the anime industry has changed over Honda's career, and is well worth a read.

However, it's a pretty big takeaway that Evangelion 3.0 + 1.0 is officially in the production stage. Anno has teased it for a long while, and some doubts were cast on the project when he ended up at the helm of this year's Shin Godzilla. It's good to know that the project is definitively underway, and one would assume that Anno will retain his role as a secondary director for this last project.

It's been a crazy twenty-year journey, full of non-endings and a perpetually angry fanbase, but it looks like Neon Genesis Evangelion may finally be in the home stretch. Without a doubt in this writer's mind, the climax will likely be the source of healthy debate and heated forum wars for years to come.

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First Clip of One Piece Film: Gold's English Dub Hits http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/17/first-clip-one-piece-film-golds-english-dub-hits/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/17/first-clip-one-piece-film-golds-english-dub-hits/#respond Fri, 18 Nov 2016 00:06:08 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=89977

By Elias Blondeau

One Piece Film: Gold is the latest film for Eiichiro Oda's juggernaut Shonen Jump franchise. More than usual, however, Gold has generated a pretty significant amount of buzz, and made a hefty chunk of change upon its Japanese release. Perhaps that's why an English dub is already being produced, mere months after the original Japanese release. Here […]

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By Elias Blondeau

One Piece Film: Gold is the latest film for Eiichiro Oda's juggernaut Shonen Jump franchise. More than usual, however, Gold has generated a pretty significant amount of buzz, and made a hefty chunk of change upon its Japanese release. Perhaps that's why an English dub is already being produced, mere months after the original Japanese release.

Here is the first look at Gold's English dub, which retains all the core cast members from Funimation's ongoing dub.

Gold follows Monkey D. Luffy and the rest of the intrepid pirates of the Merry-Go as they stumble upon a remote island country. This nation is supposedly a totally hidden sanctuary, free from influence by the World Government or the Marines. As it turns out, the nation's leader, Gild Tesero, has an apparently bottomless stash of riches that he uses to bribe governing bodies and pirates alike. However, he's hatching a plan to use his dosh to shake up the societal power structure. Presumably, our lovable band of pirates will put the kibosh on this ambition and save the day, as per usual.

Gold has seen a theatrical release in a number of countries already. Its United States release is set for this coming January, with a Canadian release running those same dates (10 through 17) and using the dub. Chinese and Australian releases are also planned, although those don't have solid release dates quite yet.

As a lapsed fan of the series, this movie looks like it has a lot going for it. I've always enjoyed the dynamic of One Piece's central cast, and that's what drew me to the series for a long while. Considering the movies are generally standalone affairs, and that reception for Gold has seemed to be uniformly positive, I have a feeling I'll end up checking this out next January.

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Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them (Movie) Review http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/fantastic-beasts-find-movie-review/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/fantastic-beasts-find-movie-review/#respond Thu, 17 Nov 2016 23:14:01 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=89957

By Phil Brown

Over eight films JK Rowling’s magical coming of age wizarding odyssey Harry Potter captivated the world and made Warner Brothers billions. With each film proving to be a greater historical success than the last, it’s pretty safe to say the studio was more than happy to nudge Rowling and suggest the tale of Harry Potter […]

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By Phil Brown

Over eight films JK Rowling’s magical coming of age wizarding odyssey Harry Potter captivated the world and made Warner Brothers billions. With each film proving to be a greater historical success than the last, it’s pretty safe to say the studio was more than happy to nudge Rowling and suggest the tale of Harry Potter didn’t have to end after all. So now five years after Harry’s final fight, we’re all treated to a spin off picture that will set up a new five-film franchise. It’s about as gratingly commercial as studio franchise filmmaking gets. Yet, since Rowling and all the key behind-the-scenes players are involved, it works. Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them is no masterpiece there’s no questioning that. It’s as convoluted of a movie as the title suggests. However, it is fun, imaginative, massive and goes well with popcorn. So, it’s hard to complain too much, especially for anyone who has missed Rowling’s wonderful little universe.

Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them Movie) Review 3Since that whole “triumph over evil” Harry Potter finale made it a bit tricky to continue that narrative any further, Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them backtracks to the 20s and shifts continents to America. We’re in New York City where tensions are rising between the wizard community and the No Majs (they don’t use the term muggle overseas, apparently) who are perpetually kept at arms length. Into this world steps Eddie Redmayne (he who loves fantastic beasts and knows where to find them). He’s a borderline autistic and nebbish professorial type who carries around a magic case filled with monsters that are inevitably let out and cause a ruckus around period Manhattan. Meanwhile, there is also an evil and mysterious force causing destruction all over the city as pursued by Colin Farrell. Clearly there are larger evils in play in this wacky world.

While the effects are stunning and the production values seemingly limitless, Redmayne is probably the most compelling part of the movie, crafting an eccentric yet warm character who is just endearingly weird enough to be worth following for a few movies. Unfortunately, he’s just too oddball to be the full on protagonist in this intro chapter. So we spend a little too much time with the No Maj Daniel Fogler who bumps into Redmayne and accidentally unleashes monsters so that he can be all shocked and confused then fall for a wizard played by Alison Sudol (despite their magic gap). They aren’t the best characters, just the best way to get all the exposition out of the way. It’s clear the true protagonists of this series will be Redmayne and Katherine Waterston’s wizarding secret agent who works on cleaning up this film’s monster mess while also uncovering deeper threats for further movies.

JK Rowling herself wrote the script this time, and it very much feels like a screenplay written by a novelist. The plot is almost inconsequential, mostly an episodic series of monster hunts. Her interests are in crafting bizarrely endearing characters and expanding her established world. That stuff is wonderful. Remayne and Waterston already make for endearing heroes going forward while Sudol and Fogler have an amusing chemistry for their cross-magic love tale to come. Even better are the figures around the edges like Samantha Morton’s creepily effective witch-hater and Ezra Miller as her abused boy. They aren’t much more than window dressing here, but have plenty of potential for expansion. That’s the weird thing about Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them. This might be a spin off movie, but it also plays like a pilot episode for future adventures. Rowling does strong work setting tables and calling back (without going to far with the winks n’ nudges), she just doesn’t have enough space for a full n’ satisfying plot this time. However, it does leave you wanting more. So I suppose that does the job just fine.

Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them Movie) Review 4 Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them Movie) Review 5

As expected the blockbuster does look extraordinary on the big screen. WB is banking on Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them being their big holiday season hit and clearly provided a near limitless budget to slather magic all over the screen. Directing duties fell to David Yates, who made the final four Harry Potter flicks. That means the action is tight, and the world is familiar. It also means there isn’t much new cinematic personality here. Despite the change of setting and timeline, the flick sure feels like the last few Harry Potter movies. That’s great for continuity and commerciality, but it is also a missed opportunity. After all, the best Harry Potter movie remains The Prisoner Of Azkaban because Alfonso Cuaron was able to come in a play around with Rowling’s imaginative world as a filmmaker. Fantastic Beasts could have used a little of that. Hopefully, like the third instalment in the Harry Potter franchise someone will be allowed to come in and direct up a storm in the sequels. The good news is at least those sequels are worth looking forward to. That’s a great start. Now it’s time for Rowling and co. to dig a little deeper if they want this series to feel like anything more than a spin off.

Score:8

Final Thoughts:Now it’s time for Rowling and co. to dig a little deeper if they want this series to feel like anything more than a spin off.

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Warner Bros Picks Up Machinima For Nearly $100 Million http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/17/warner-bros-picks-machinima-nearly-100-million/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/17/warner-bros-picks-machinima-nearly-100-million/#respond Thu, 17 Nov 2016 21:34:44 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=89956

By Ana Valens

A major entertainment company is about to acquire Machinima, Inc's slice of the YouTube gaming community. On Nov. 17, 2016 Warner Bros. officially announced that the company acquired full control of Machinima. According to a report by Variety, Machinima will join Warner Bros. Digital Networks, a group of Warner Bros. digital media ventures. Warner Bros […]

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By Ana Valens

A major entertainment company is about to acquire Machinima, Inc's slice of the YouTube gaming community. On Nov. 17, 2016 Warner Bros. officially announced that the company acquired full control of Machinima.

According to a report by Variety, Machinima will join Warner Bros. Digital Networks, a group of Warner Bros. digital media ventures. Warner Bros previously invested in Machinima,  placing $18 million USD into the company in 2014 and $24 million in 2015. While the actual agreement between Warner Bros. and Machinima is not currently available, it seems Warner Bros. bought the company for "slightly under $100 million," Variety reports.

The move isn't a drastic change for Machinima, either. According to Machinima CEO Chad Gutstein, Warner Bros. "has been an active business partner in our transformation" since WB's first investment in 2014, so the company certainly has strong prior experience working with the entertainment giant. Gutstein is excited by the prospect, too. "We'll now be able to take full advantage of Warner Bros.' intellectual property, sales and distribution, while still creating content for social and premium digital platforms that gamers and geeks love," he said.

Warner Bros. sounds excited by the move as well. Warner Bros. Digital Networks President Craig Hunegs called Machinima "a strong gamer and fandom content and social brand" that shows "high engagement with audiences that play our games and are big fans of DC films and television shows." Further involvement between DC and Machinima seems to be a given, with both parties encouraging the comic publisher's role in the gaming company's content as the transition continues. How that content will be added remains an open question, but regardless, it's sure to be an interesting addition to an already-expansive deal.

Machinima has been a household name in gaming for years. Originally launched in 2000 by Hugh Hancock, Machinima has taken a strong hold of the let's play and content production industry through sponsorships and hosting their own gaming network. The Warner Bros. acquisition taps into that market directly, suggesting that the entertainment giant will now have a solid foothold to work with in the YouTube gaming community.

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Channel Zero: Ep 4 (TV) Review http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/channel-zero-ep-4-tv-review/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/channel-zero-ep-4-tv-review/#respond Thu, 17 Nov 2016 17:56:32 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=89922

By Helena Shlapak

With only two episodes left in Syfy’s Channel Zero, things should be escalating and starting to wrap up right? Well, no, not really. Channel Zero started off like trying to light a candle; it took a couple attempts but the candle eventually lit and began burning at a reasonable pace. Now, the candle is slowly […]

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By Helena Shlapak

With only two episodes left in Syfy’s Channel Zero, things should be escalating and starting to wrap up right? Well, no, not really. Channel Zero started off like trying to light a candle; it took a couple attempts but the candle eventually lit and began burning at a reasonable pace. Now, the candle is slowly sizzling out and it’s going to take another match to spark interest.

Channel Zero: Ep 4 (TV) Review

Mike’s daughter, Lily, has teleported from over 400 miles away and ends up with Mike and his mother. Mike repeatedly attempts to get answers from his daughter but instead is hit with a revelation; Eddie has possessed Lily and has come back to ask him for a favour. Will this finally put an end to Candle Cove? In the meantime, Officer Amy goes to the local school to question the kids she saw stabbing the fake body in episode three. All of them are in Mrs. Booth’s class. What exactly is this teacher hiding?

If there’s one good thing I can say about this episode of Channel Zero, it’s that viewers finally get more insight into Mike and Eddie’s relationship and some details on how it deteriorated. We got a good view of that in the previous episode when Mike realised Eddie was offing the kids in town but now we actually get to see it from Eddie’s perspective.

Eddie began to feel shut out and betrayed when Mike started dating Jessica, despite the fact that he was the one to drive a wedge between the brothers because, you know, murder is bad. When Mike pleads with Eddie to stop watching Candle Cove because it’s changing him, Eddie is the one to break down, to insist that Mike is the one changing. He asks Mike to promise him that he’ll never love anyone more than he loves him. Eddie even tries to murder Jessica so that things can go back to the way things were. He wants them both to become stronger and share the power because, as he said on their birthday, “We share everything. Everything you have, I have too.”

Channel Zero: Ep 4 (TV) Review 2

It’s petty, over-the-top and dumb…but it’s realistic. It’s no different than when a person tries to break up their friend’s relationship. It’s easy to forget that Eddie is still a child, a child that’s been given a powerful weapon with no one to stop him—and he knows it. However, his redeeming quality is that he truly loves Mike. They were each other’s support for so long and he doesn’t want to lose him. It’s actually pretty damn sad when you think about it, Mike at least had Jessica but Eddie had no one and was a punching bag for the other children.

The emotional turmoil of the brothers doesn’t gloss over the problems with this episode and it’s mostly because the same tropes are getting used over and over. For starters, the creep factor just wasn’t there this time. We get it now; creepy manifestations, hallucinations, and some more footage of Candle Cove. Enough already, give us something new.

Channel Zero: Ep 4 (TV) Review 1

The mystery of Candle Cove is also becoming drawn out and grating. With the supernatural powers the show possesses, there’s not a chance in hell the show was simply made by normal television producers. Amy does stumble upon something in Mrs. Booth’s basement—it’s clearly a red herring—and we still have no idea just how or why she’s involved. How exactly did the show grant Eddie powers but not the other children? What the hell is up with tooth-child? What do the teeth have to do with anything? There’s two more episodes left, speed it up already.

Channel Zero: Ep 4 (TV) Review 3

Lastly, Channel Zero needs to stop adding new characters or giving information about them so late. We’ve known Jessica since episode one, but we didn’t know her and Mike used to date until this episode. Why is this only important now, and not in the previous three episodes? We’re also introduced to a dorky cop that has a crush on Amy but once again, why now? They couldn’t have given him a line or two previously? The pattern of characters popping in and out is getting predictable. Just a heads up Channel Zero; introducing someone for five seconds doesn’t make us care about them when they die. That takes something called character development.

I’m hoping the last two episodes of Channel Zero are able to deliver on everything they’ve promised and wrap up the story in a way that isn’t a cop out. Channel Zero has been a roller coaster of inconsistency and awkward decisions but it still has this weird charm that should keep viewers watching till the end.

Score:6.5

Final Thoughts:Channel Zero has been a roller coaster of inconsistency and awkward decisions but it still has this weird charm

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TP-Link Archer C9 AC1900 (Hardware) Review http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/tp-link-archer-c9-ac1900-hardware-review/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/tp-link-archer-c9-ac1900-hardware-review/#respond Thu, 17 Nov 2016 12:35:26 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=89795

By Jesse Lyle

My first router review, and I was given a damn fine one to kick things off. The TP-Link Archer C9 Wireless Dual Band Router is sleek, and well-rounded on the performance side of things. It’s also one of the cheapest on the market, but certainly doesn’t seem like it. If you’re unfamiliar with the TP-Link […]

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By Jesse Lyle

My first router review, and I was given a damn fine one to kick things off. The TP-Link Archer C9 Wireless Dual Band Router is sleek, and well-rounded on the performance side of things. It’s also one of the cheapest on the market, but certainly doesn’t seem like it. If you’re unfamiliar with the TP-Link brand, they’re mostly known for producing more of a mid-tier router which isn’t going to make your wallet cry. With the Archer C9, they’ve moved up the ladder in terms of quality while still retaining a great price point. This router is an amazing pick if you’re either working from home or just chilling.

TP-Link Archer C9 AC1900 (Hardware) Review 2Kicking off with the design, the TP-Link Archer C9 boasts a beautiful glossy white body with a metal frame surrounding it. It’s certainly a looker, but the frame holds the body in a fixed up-right position, so laying it flat is out of the question. On top of the router, you will find the spots to screw in the three antennas for Wi-Fi use. These are included, but you can always get stronger ones if needed. Around back is where we’ll find almost all of our ports. We are given a USB 2.0 slot, the WPS button, the Ethernet Port, four LAN ports, the powers switch, and the power port. Notice I said “almost all.” If you will direct your attention to the left side of the TP-Link Archer C9, you will find the Wi-Fi button and a USB 3.0 slot. This router features pretty much everything you’ll need on the outside, aside from maybe having a second USB 3.0 slot, but I can look past that.

TP-Link Archer C9 AC1900 (Hardware) Review 3

As far as how well it performs, you won’t be disappointed on that front either. It is an AC1900-rated dual-band router. Confused? This means that the Archer C9 can do 802.11ac (5GHz) at 1300Mbps, and 802.11n (2GHz) at around 600Mbps. Still confused? Basically, the Wi-Fi capabilities of this router are incredible. At short distances, around five metres and under, I was able to transfer information such as files at speeds greater than 40 megabytes per second, and I’ve read other reports of this as well. It also helps that the antennas used for the Archer C9 are also comparable to the ones found on higher-end routers, where the signal can be directed to a device as opposed to going all over the place. To truly take advantage of the 802.11ac, your PC, laptop, smartphone, or whichever piece of equipment you’ll be using will need to have an 802.11ac wireless adapter. Thankfully, most modern devices feature this by default.

TP-Link Archer C9 AC1900 (Hardware) Review 4The TP-Link Archer C9 is also very easy to set up and use, featuring one of the cleanest user interfaces I’ve seen on a router. A ton of basic information is given by default, and you’re presented with a nifty map of the network to see what’s connected. A quality of service (QoS) management tool called NAT Boost is also enabled from the beginning, and personally I didn’t have to turn it off for any reason. It’s designed to speed up Internet connections by sending out transmission frames right when it receives the destination. The only reason you may need to turn it off is for instances such as port forwarding or parental control. It also features a pretty fleshed-out “Advanced” options list offering plenty of things for you tinkerers out there to get their hands on.

TP-Link Archer C9 AC1900 (Hardware) Review 5

TP-Link have upped their game with the Archer C9, offering a higher mid-range router for an extraordinary price point. I’ve noticed that seems to be the trend recently for the tech world. I’ve dealt with a lot of mid-range smartphones this year that felt more like a flagship phone based on performance and design. It’s a trend both me and my wallet will be happy to see continue.

Score:9

Final Thoughts:A well-rounded mid-range router that feels more like a flagship device with an incredible price point to boot.

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Motorsport Manager (PC) Review http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/motorsport-manager-pc-review/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/motorsport-manager-pc-review/#respond Thu, 17 Nov 2016 12:02:36 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=89832

By Jake Yanik

Are you the type to shout at the television while watching sporting events? Are you self-aware enough to know that you’re probably not, in fact, better at these sports than those paid millions to partake in them? Do you like spreadsheets? Are you an EVE Online player that also likes open-wheel racing? If you’ve answered […]

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By Jake Yanik

Are you the type to shout at the television while watching sporting events? Are you self-aware enough to know that you’re probably not, in fact, better at these sports than those paid millions to partake in them? Do you like spreadsheets? Are you an EVE Online player that also likes open-wheel racing? If you’ve answered “yes” to any of these questions, Motorsport Manager might be the game for you.

Motorsport Manager (PC) Review 3Joking aside, the simulator genre is big business—particularly for ones that shift the focus away from the usual glory-hogs and action stars. Consider that Farming Simulator ‘17 consistently has more players on Steam than this year’s Call of Duty entry. Read that again and take a moment to let it all sink in; I’ll be over here with the rest of the review when you’re ready.

Motorsport Manager is exactly what you might expect: players take on the role of a race team manager/ owner. They’ll dictate driving strategies, pit strategies, direct research, seek out sponsors for drivers to disappoint, take all the blame when things go wrong, and get sidelined for credit in place of those playboys they employ to go to work and sit down all weekend. In essence, it’s everything being a real team lead is if you are, in fact, the type to shout at your TV. It essentially distills out all the thrill of racing, leaving behind only the tedium—which for a simulator is spot on target. I may joke, but it’s addictive and relaxing in equal measure.

Sure, there are some weird things, like being able to do patchwork repairs on vital car components during pit stops (and without incurring FIA penalties), but on the whole, Motorsport Manager is a pretty robust experience. Players can choose between three classes of open-wheel racing, which are vaguely analogous to BRSCC F3, GP2, and Formula 1, each featuring their own challenges and rewards. Likewise, players choose which team they’ll buy to start, because that’s also exactly how it works in life. Ah, to be rich, eh? Anyway, each of the teams on offer has its own history, thus determining its starting budget, as well as the pressures and expectations for performance. Think of it as a method for choosing difficulty without actually making things easier or harder—clever.

Motorsport Manager (PC) Review 4 Motorsport Manager (PC) Review 5

It’s quite a great time waster if you’re so inclined, and the little details like researching parts that fall into rulebook grey areas at the risk of failing scrutinizing checks is a nice touch. As is the inclusion of race-rigging through team strategies without the fear of penalty. Certainly, I’m anxious to see where the franchise might go with future iterations, but even for now, Motorsport Manager is a perfect opportunity to sit down, fiddle, meddle, and otherwise feel like you’re accomplishing something, all while someone else does all the real work. I sure as hell found myself getting sucked into it. Hey, maybe I really can do this.

Score:8.5

Final Thoughts:All of the tedium, none of the excitement: Motorsport Manager is the perfect sim to relax to.

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Harrow County #1-6 (Comic) Review http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/harrow-county-1-6-comic-review/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/harrow-county-1-6-comic-review/#respond Thu, 17 Nov 2016 10:36:58 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=89863

By Helena Shlapak

There’s nothing more frightening than isolation. The feeling of being alone on a dark and stormy night, jumping at every creak and crack or neurotically looking at that shadow from the corner of your eye. But there’s something even more off-putting about being on a farm in 1920’s-1930’s America. Where your closest neighbour is thirty […]

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By Helena Shlapak

There’s nothing more frightening than isolation. The feeling of being alone on a dark and stormy night, jumping at every creak and crack or neurotically looking at that shadow from the corner of your eye. But there’s something even more off-putting about being on a farm in 1920’s-1930’s America. Where your closest neighbour is thirty minutes away and unable to hear you scream for help. Great gothic horror is difficult to find but Dark Horse Comics has really chilled readers to the bone with their ongoing series, Harrow County. Written by Cullen Bunn, whose notable works include Marvel’s Uncanny X-Men and various Deadpool comics, and illustrated by Tyler Crook (WitchfinderBadblood, B.P.R.D), Harrow County really takes every advantage of its setting and cranks it to the max.

Harrow County #1-6 (Comic) ReviewHarrow County’s story begins with the execution of the town witch, Hester Beck. The once beloved healer of Harrow County is now public enemy number one as the townspeople turn against her after she kills livestock, summons various dark creatures, and kidnaps and murders babies (implied by the page of Hester slithering Grudge-style on a tin roof with a baby in her arm). Once the townsfolk get a hold of her, they hang her from an oak tree, and then burn her for good measure. But like all horror stories, Hester vows to return and seek her revenge. While the comic does rely on a more simplistic art style, Crook’s attention to detail on Hester’s melting face is truly horrific and disgusting. Since this a horror series, I mean that in the best way.

Eighteen years later, Emmy (the daughter of a local farmer), is mysteriously able to heal one of two calves born deformed on the farm. This worries Pa, raising another red flag after a dozen other animals die, but he tells Emmy not to worry too much. Considering she’s been having nightmares of Hester’s tree and the townspeople, it was probably a good idea Pa didn’t worry her. Later, as Emmy is exploring the woods, she runs into a small boy whom she chases into a thorn bush, only to discover that the boy’s skin has completely ripped away from his body, but he is still able to speak.

Harrow County #1-6 (Comic) Review 1

Excited at finding a real-life haint, Emmy runs home and casually hides the boy’s skin in her dresser as her father walks in to question why she was all scraped up. Before he could ask her though, Emmy’s wounds have magically healed. The suspicious farmer leaves Emmy, and meets with other townspeople later that night while the boy’s skinless body spies from the dead tree. With the skin inside the house, the boy is able to warn Emmy that the town is out to get her as she is who they’ve feared; she is the reborn Hester Beck, and not the only one at that.

Harrow County #1-6 (Comic) Review 2While some comics can be a little too fast paced, Harrow County clears its first arc at just the right speed. Bunn’s writing sets the scene while providing action and suspense that doesn’t drag on forever or wrap up too quickly as some major issues don’t truly resolve, like Emmy’s trust in her father and her town. He allows the story to pull its own weight, not only providing Emmy’s coming of age story but slowly showing the reader the supernatural aspects of town, and carefully introducing the world Hester Beck came from. All of this is done without resorting to the “monster of-the-week” trope a series like this could easily devolve into.

Crook’s painting-like style makes heavy use of light and shadow, creating an eerie feel every page, especially when Emmy explores the forest or her house at night. This art style makes the reader always a little uncomfortable. There is a contrast in style when the occasion calls for it, usually in the more detailed jump scares like the mutated calf and the gory features of the various haints in town. Not to mention the quick brush strokes and exaggerated expressions of characters make the reader think they’re looking at the Edvard Munch painting The Scream.

With Bunn and Crook’s symbiotic relationship, I really hope to see what future works these two will produce, as we’ve got a perfect team on our hands. As for Harrow County, the comic is a surprisingly gory fun time. I can’t wait to see what happens next as the series go on, especially with Emmy’s emotional battle with the person she once was (Hester), the person she is now and her struggle to repent for the sins of her “mother” as she protects her town. This is a comic you want on your spooky read-list.

Score:8

Final Thoughts:Harrow County is a comic you want on your spooky read-list.

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The Results for the Canadian Videogame Awards (CVA) 2016 http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/16/canadian-videogame-awards-results/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/16/canadian-videogame-awards-results/#respond Thu, 17 Nov 2016 00:41:19 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=89909

By Cody Orme

The eyes of the entire game industry were on Montreal, QC. for the Canadian Videogame Awards (or known as the CVA) on Nov 16, 2016. As the third largest producer of videogame content in the world, the purpose was simple, celebrate Canadian games, or at least games developed in Canada, made by Canadians. There were […]

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By Cody Orme

The eyes of the entire game industry were on Montreal, QC. for the Canadian Videogame Awards (or known as the CVA) on Nov 16, 2016. As the third largest producer of videogame content in the world, the purpose was simple, celebrate Canadian games, or at least games developed in Canada, made by Canadians.

Canadian Videogame Awards ResultsThere were twenty categories for the CVAs, with many games making their way across most of them, and winning multiple categories. The winner of the night was Eidos-Montreal’s hit Deus Ex: Mankind Divided as it was nominated for 10 categories, walking away with five CVAs in “Best Console Game”, “Best Game Design”, “Best Narrative”, “Best Performance”, and “Game of The Year”. There was a slightly awkward acceptance when the voice of Adam Jensin and host of the CVAs Elias Toufexis was awarded the “Best Performance Award”, however.

Canadian Videogame Awards Results 1Although Deus Ex: Mankind Divided did the best across the board, the CVAs highlighted some smaller studios with some unexpected wins. Cloudhead Games Inc. walked away with three CVAs for their title The Gallery- Episode: Call of the Starseed, with nominations in nine categories, winning three CVAs in “Best Virtual Reality Game”, “Best Game Innovation”, and “Best Technology”.  Another notable title of the night was Thunder Lotus Games’ Jotun: Valhalla Edition, which was nominated for six categories, winning two for “Best Art Direction”, and “Best Debut Game”. Drinkbox Studios’ Severed was nominated for eight categories winning two awards in “Best Mobile/Handheld”, and “Best Musical Score” as well. The other title that walked away with multiple awards was Behaviour Digital’s Multiplayer Survival Horror game Dead By Daylight wining two of its five nominations, walking away with “Best New Character” for the Trapper, and “Fan’s Choice Award: Canadian-Made Game”.

Other winners of the night were Spearhead Games’ Stories: The Path of Destinies for “Best PC Game”, Ubisoft Montreal’s Far Cry: Primal for “Best Art Direction”, EA Canada’s NHL 17 “Best Audio”, Alien Traps’ Moodbox for “Best Educational Game”, and Crystal Dynamic’s Rise of The Tomb Raider for “Fan’s Choice Award: Best International Game”.

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The night was not without controversy however. During the announcement of the “Game of the Year Nominees” seven out of the 11 nominees were not announced, leaving the Eidos- Montreal team to congratulate the studios for their work. 

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AMD & Intel Lose Market Shares, NVIDIA Increases 2.2% in Q3 http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/16/amd-sees-strong-q2-gpu-market-share-plans-growth/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/16/amd-sees-strong-q2-gpu-market-share-plans-growth/#respond Wed, 16 Nov 2016 22:20:18 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=89824

By Ana Valens

Q2 2016 suggested that AMD would be facing a strong year for the company. A press release reporting on the company's standings back in August revealed a 13.5 per cent share of the graphics chip market, while NVIDIA saw a 2.8 per cent drop. Now those numbers have nearly reversed. According to Jon Peddie Research, NVIDIA […]

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By Ana Valens

Q2 2016 suggested that AMD would be facing a strong year for the company. A press release reporting on the company's standings back in August revealed a 13.5 per cent share of the graphics chip market, while NVIDIA saw a 2.8 per cent drop. Now those numbers have nearly reversed. According to Jon Peddie Research, NVIDIA saw a 2.2 per cent increase in Q3, whereas Intel lost 1.6 per cent of the market and AMD saw a 0.6 per cent loss.

In total, AMD holds 13 per cent of the GPU market, Intel has 70.9 per cent, and NVIDIA has earned 16.1 percent. NVIDIA's increases are tied with a 39.3 per cent PC graphics shipment increase from Q2 as well, suggesting NVIDIA is moving units quite well. "It was one of, if not the best quarter in NVIDIA's history, which the company attributes to the strong acceptance and demand for its new Pascal line of graphics chips and boards," Jon Peddie Research wrote. "The company's share price is at an all-time high."

It seems like PC sales are largely tied into gaming sales as well. According to the report, the PC market "rose in Q3 from the previous quarter," suggesting that the "quarter to quarter gain" the PC field is experiencing is largely thanks to the gaming industry. "PC suppliers are seeing growth in gaming desktops and notebooks, and hope this will offset the slowdown in overall PC shipments," Jon Peddie Research wrote. This led the organization to suggest the gaming market "is lifting the entire PC market and has overwhelmed the console market."

Jon Peddie Research argued that the gaming industry will continue to boost the market, especially through "the promise of Virtual Reality." It's hard to say whether VR will enormously improve PC sales, but it seems PC gaming is gaining a stronger foothold on the market every day. This could spell more products available for PC players across technology stores, from GPU upgrades to pre-built machines. While it's tough to say at the moment, Q4 will certainly confirm the direction that NVIDIA, AMD and Intel are headed, in the meantime. Stay tuned as the holiday shopping season enters full swing.

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EA Introducing Disclosure Requirements for YouTube, Twitch, Twitter http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/16/ea-introducing-disclosure-requirements-for-youtubers-twitch-streamers/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/16/ea-introducing-disclosure-requirements-for-youtubers-twitch-streamers/#respond Wed, 16 Nov 2016 17:58:32 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=89674

By Ana Valens

Video content has been booming in the gaming community recently, with let's players, reviewers, streamers and comedians turning to sites such as YouTube and Twitch to reach their fans. Of course, because of the informal nature that both of these platforms encourage, issues with private endorsements have arisen in recent years. In an attempt to […]

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By Ana Valens

Video content has been booming in the gaming community recently, with let's players, reviewers, streamers and comedians turning to sites such as YouTube and Twitch to reach their fans. Of course, because of the informal nature that both of these platforms encourage, issues with private endorsements have arisen in recent years. In an attempt to push back against that issue, EA is requiring any content sponsored by the company to be disclosed explicitly, according to an official post by EA on their German site.

Originally covered on NeoGAF with translated information provided by user w3bba, the post notes that any user collaborating with EA for producing content must disclose their relationship with the publisher. Multimedia content producers can also use two new PNG labels created by the company to disclose their connection to EA. They read "Supported by EA" and "Advertisement," both with the EA logo attached.

Disclosure comes in two forms. Content creators that receive some form of support from EA, such as press invitations or payment for travel, must include a "Supported by EA" watermark or "#supportedbyEA" hashtag. Meanwhile, content with EA's direct influence is labeled as an advertisement and must be reported with the "Advertisement" watermark or "#advertisement" hashtag. This includes Instagram, Facebook and Twitter posts.

EA insists these disclosure terms reinforce their "Players First" motto, supporting transparency by allowing viewers to easily distinguish conflicts of interest at play. The watermark files are also easily available from EA on the post, giving content creators an approachable way to start disclosing their connections if they haven't already. Analyst Daniel Ahmad pointed out that EA's move takes a stand against the access gap in which "social media influencers" are given faster opportunities to play the latest releases before initial release hype cools off.

EA's move towards explicit disclosure may cause a ripple effect in the industry, too. With press, publisher and developer relations remaining a hot button issue throughout the gaming community, EA's move towards transparency may encourage other publishers to follow the company's lead by creating their own ethics policies. Time will tell as German YouTubers, Twitch streamers and Twitter advertisers take their first steps towards disclosing their connections to EA.

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PlayStation 4 Pro (Hardware) Review http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/playstation-4-pro-hardware-review/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/playstation-4-pro-hardware-review/#comments Wed, 16 Nov 2016 17:35:15 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=89656

By Elias Blondeau

Up until this year, I was under the impression that I was pretty adept at video games. After all, I’ve spent most of my life around them. But a few months ago, Sony proved me wrong with the announcement of their upgraded PlayStation 4—the PlayStation 4 Pro. It was then that I realized I was […]

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By Elias Blondeau

Up until this year, I was under the impression that I was pretty adept at video games. After all, I’ve spent most of my life around them. But a few months ago, Sony proved me wrong with the announcement of their upgraded PlayStation 4—the PlayStation 4 Pro. It was then that I realized I was a mere amateur to the company, a laughing stock to the community. The only way I could validate my “professional” status to the rest of the world was plopping down $400 USD for Sony’s triple-decker console.

PlayStation 4 Pro (Hardware) Review 1Jokes aside, the PlayStation 4 Pro is finally here, ushering in a brave new era of console wars. See, this isn’t the next PlayStation console—but at the same time, it totally is. Unlike the Slim, the Pro actually offers more than the vanilla model, boasting features not present in that incarnation. It’s undoubtedly a different machine. Yet there’s no actual Pro-exclusive software, and from the sound of it, there won’t be. The games will be the same. On top of that, the user interface is identical, and the console itself looks almost the same, outside of an extra “layer” on top. For all intents and purposes, the Pro is still very much the same console you bought back in 2013, just a little bigger.

What you’re buying, then, is a beefier version of that system. The Pro offers a big boost in terms of raw processing power, as well as the ability to upscale games to 4K resolutions. No, this isn’t actual 4K gaming—let’s be honest, it’ll probably be a decade before a home console can offer something even the most premium PC currently struggles with. Much like the Xbox One S, the Pro uses High Dynamic Range (HDR) to upscale games to a higher resolution. Essentially, it makes use of that multi-thousand dollar TV you probably won’t buy for another few years but doesn’t fundamentally alter the games themselves.

That is, in some cases. Ratchet and Clank and Uncharted 4, for example, merely get upscaled for higher resolutions. Those are already gorgeous games, though, and to the average bear, there won’t be much of a difference. Where you’ll notice differences, then, in are titles like Rise of the Tomb Raider. Crystal Dynamics’ masterpiece ends up being the definitive console version of the game on the Pro. Players can choose three graphical options: 4K resolution, better texture quality, or faster framerate. This is something PC players have been hip to for years, but is new to home consoles. The higher framerate alone makes this a better version than the original release, and the difference feels like night and day to me. Other games get performance bumps, too. Dishonored 2, for example, looks noticeably sharper and less aliased than other console games, as does Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. For me to go from my primary platform (PC) and come away impressed by the anti-aliasing capabilities of a console… well, that speaks for itself.

PlayStation 4 Pro (Hardware) Review 2While a good PC is still leaps and bounds better than any console on the market (sans the dearly departed Wii U,) people who might not have the dosh for that won’t come away disappointed. The upgraded CPU and GPU (a 2.1GHz 8-core Jaguar and 4.2 TFLOP AMD Radeon, respectively,) enable the average consumer to play prettier, faster games at a relatively inexpensive cost. Hopefully more developers will take advantage of this, and we won’t get as many thoroughly garbage console ports in the future. The Witcher 3, I’m looking at you.

Other upgrades just sweeten the deal. The PS4’s notoriously awful internal modem has been thrown out, and it shows—download speeds and online connectivity are noticeably snappier. Same goes for the Bluetooth, which has been bumped up to v4.0, meaning historical input lag problems have been solved.  There’s also an additional USB slot thrown in, which PSVR users should be happy about. Speaking of VR, the Pro also offers some enhancements for that as well, with most of the games getting tweaked visuals, faster framerates, and all sorts of other trimmings. The Pro seems to have been built with PSVR in mind, and as a moderately happy owner of a headset, I appreciate that.

PlayStation 4 Pro (Hardware) Review 3 PlayStation 4 Pro (Hardware) Review 4

So, will the PlayStation 4 Pro validate your desire to be acknowledged as a true gaming professional? That remains to be seen. Is it a definitive upgrade to Sony’s flagship system, and a worthwhile purchase overall? I’d hazard to say yes. Certain games do look prettier and perform better, and the internal upgrades (modem, Bluetooth, and USB,) fix my longstanding issues with the system. If you don’t have a PS4, this is the one to get. If you do, and you’re incredibly anal about certain design flaws, this will make for a holiday wish list addition.

PlayStation 4 Pro (Hardware) Review 5

Now, if only Sony could do something about the thing sounding like a leafblower during certain games…

Score:8.5

Final Thoughts:PlayStation 4 Pro ends up proving its worth with upgraded performance, a better internal modem and some slick additions to the significant PS4 library.

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PlayStation 4 Pro Sales Account for 70 Per Cent of Recent PS4 Units http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/16/media-create-playstation-4-pro-sales-account-70-per-cent-ps4-units/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/16/media-create-playstation-4-pro-sales-account-70-per-cent-ps4-units/#comments Wed, 16 Nov 2016 17:28:21 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=89653

By Ana Valens

The PlayStation 4 Pro launched Nov 10th to critical acclaim from reviewers, with many suggesting that Sony's latest offering is the perfect choice for any newcomer to the Japanese company's console offerings. Initially met with skepticism, the console is gradually seeing early adopters. At least, reports from PlayStation 4 Pro's launch week suggest that the […]

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By Ana Valens

The PlayStation 4 Pro launched Nov 10th to critical acclaim from reviewers, with many suggesting that Sony's latest offering is the perfect choice for any newcomer to the Japanese company's console offerings. Initially met with skepticism, the console is gradually seeing early adopters. At least, reports from PlayStation 4 Pro's launch week suggest that the Pro is a popular choice among Japanese consumers. According to statistics from Media Create reported by Famitsu, the console sold over 65,194 units with total PlayStation 4 sales charting over 90,000 total purchases in Japan since Nov 7, 2016.

Prior to the PlayStation 4 Pro's release, the PS4 only sold 32,041 units. With the Pro coming in, however, the total number of PlayStation 4 units sold on the market jumped to 92,344. Because 65,194 of those units are actually PS4 Pro sales, that leaves 27,150 sales from alternate PlayStation 4 offerings. In other words, over 70 per cent of last week's PS4 purchases were compromised of PlayStation 4 Pro sales.

Analyst Daniel Ahmad chimed in with some commentary on the PlayStation 4 Pro's sales in a series of tweets. While he feels Japan is facing a "dying console market," he was still impressed by the device's performance in Japan, suggesting that the Pro "seems to be meeting expectations for Sony in growing the overall numbers of PS4's being sold." But he did acknowledge that Sony's 20 million target for the end of the fiscal year would be tight.

Sony has certainly invested their time and energy into making sure the PlayStation 4 Pro competes well on the market. For Andrew House, it's a machine intended to compete with the PC, which traditionally takes an upswing over console owners during a console's mid-cycle years. Whether the PS4 Pro will actually have room to stand out against the PC, though, is still an open question. Check back as more news on consumer behavior is revealed over the next couple of months.

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Small Radios Big Televisions (PS4) Review http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/small-radios-big-televisions-ps4-review/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/small-radios-big-televisions-ps4-review/#respond Wed, 16 Nov 2016 16:29:43 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=89639

By Alex Avard

Can a game be recommended on the merits of aesthetics alone? If Small Radios Big Televisions is anything to go by, the answer to this question is a resounding “yes.” The latest title from Adult Swim Games boasts a colourful but minimalistic art style, coupled with a hypnotic synth-led soundtrack. Both manage to impress as […]

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By Alex Avard

Can a game be recommended on the merits of aesthetics alone? If Small Radios Big Televisions is anything to go by, the answer to this question is a resounding “yes.” The latest title from Adult Swim Games boasts a colourful but minimalistic art style, coupled with a hypnotic synth-led soundtrack. Both manage to impress as players explore the five abandoned factories that make up the game’s two to three hour campaign.

Small Radios Big Televisions (PS4) Review 3 Small Radios Big Televisions (PS4) Review 4

Though players can only interact with the world using a cursor to move through doors, solve minor puzzles, retrieve items to progress, and play various video tapes, Small Radios Big Televisions engages as an exercise in therapeutic immersion. As a puzzle game, the team at Fire Face Corporation are more interested in testing people’s memory than their problem-solving skills, as the labyrinthian structure of each factory makes it easy to get lost within their many rooms and hallways, while the poorly designed in-game map doesn’t exactly do anybody any favours for navigation. Though hints and tips are creatively provided through colour cues and other visual aids, effective communication is sometimes lacking for a few of the more complex puzzles.

The real highlight of Small Radios Big Televisions, however, comes in the form of the collectible tapes. Using the “TD-525” player, which is essentially what a virtual reality headset might look like if it was invented in the 80s, these video tapes can be played to transport you to other worlds entirely. Though the main purpose of these small but atmospherically rich environments is to find and collect keys to unlock doorways, the enchanting ambience of each represents a real treat for the senses. The excitement of discovering where the next video might take me was what kept me enthralled throughout my time with Small Radios Big Televisions.

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There is, in fact, a story to the game as well, which managed to initially capture my interest, even if it ultimately failed to capitalize on that investment by the end. Though there are a select number of cutscenes that play out after the completion of each stage, the story is told more creatively and effectively through the environment. Each factory provides new questions and answers about the world and your purpose in it, and putting together the narrative pieces that were teasingly drip-fed throughout the environments felt like a puzzle in itself. That said, the self-indulgent climax, trippy as it is, ultimately doesn’t make good on all of the build-up that had led to that point.

Score:7.5

Final Thoughts:Small Radios Big Televisions is a short but stimulating trip into a world of multiple realities.

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Marvel Announces Inhumans TV Series for Fall 2017 http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/16/marvel-announces-inhumans-tv-series-for-fall-2017/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/16/marvel-announces-inhumans-tv-series-for-fall-2017/#respond Wed, 16 Nov 2016 14:40:05 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=89631

By Adam Nizam

Marvel Television announced plans to bring the Inhumans to ABC as a television series in 2017 as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The story is confirmed to follow the mute hero Black Bolt and his royal family, but details on the cast and showrunner are yet to be announced. In a completely new release […]

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By Adam Nizam

Marvel Television announced plans to bring the Inhumans to ABC as a television series in 2017 as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The story is confirmed to follow the mute hero Black Bolt and his royal family, but details on the cast and showrunner are yet to be announced. In a completely new release strategy for television, the first two episodes will be shown exclusively in IMAX theaters for two weeks at the beginning of September 2017. The series will then run weekly in the fall on ABC, with exclusive content that can only be seen on the network.

Originally created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the Inhumans are primitive humans who were experimented on by the alien Kree race - who are already established in the MCU via appearances in Guardians of the Galaxy and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - and given advanced intelligence. The Kree forgot about their creations and eventually they formed their own civilization in a walled city on an island in the Atlantic sea. They discovered a substance called “terrigen” that gave them superpowers or bizarre appearances, and based their entire culture around their use. The series follows Black Bolt, the king of the Inhumans whose voice is so powerful that he destroys cities when he speaks, and other members of his Royal Family.

Marvel initially announced an Inhumans film to be released in 2019, but after a delay it was taken off the release calendar entirely. The Inhuman race has been crucial in the plot of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., though it is unknown if this series will connect to other Marvel television offerings. This will be Marvel’s third show on ABC, after the still running Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the cancelled Agent Carter, and joins Iron Fist, The Punisher, Cloak and Dagger and Runaways on Marvel’s announced upcoming TV slate.

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Justice League: The Extinction Machines (Comic) Review http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/justice-league-extinction-machines-comic-review/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/justice-league-extinction-machines-comic-review/#respond Wed, 16 Nov 2016 12:35:18 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=89615

By Boyd Reynolds

The world is in peril. Massive earthquakes are erupting all over the globe. Alien warships have landed, taking humans at will. Four giant luminous humanoids, called the Kindred, have risen to enact their Purge. The stakes are high and the only ones standing in the way of full destruction are DC Comics’ greatest superheroes. Just […]

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By Boyd Reynolds

The world is in peril. Massive earthquakes are erupting all over the globe. Alien warships have landed, taking humans at will. Four giant luminous humanoids, called the Kindred, have risen to enact their Purge. The stakes are high and the only ones standing in the way of full destruction are DC Comics’ greatest superheroes.

Just another day at the office for the Justice League.

Justice League: The Extinction Machines (Comic) Review 4Justice League #1, the first issue following Justice League Rebirth #1 , starts with pedal-to-the-metal action. This five part series, titled The Extinction Machines, takes readers down a non-stop thrill ride of a storyline. The regular starting lineup is here – Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg, the two rookie Green Lanterns and the Flash, all except the Man of Steel. The Superman the Justice League knew in The New 52 is dead, and with this new Superman, there are trust issues. Batman, the most skeptical of the Justice League, must go to Clark’s home and ask for his help. Accompanied by Cyborg, the Last Son of Krypton needs to take a boom tube down to the Earth’s core and try and stop whatever it is that’s creating the devastating earthquakes.

Writer Bryan Hitch does a solid job kicking off Justice League’s first mini-series in DC’s Rebirth. All our heroes get their time to shine. Without each pulling his or her weight, the world would surely perish. The one flaw with Hitch’s The Extinction Machines is the pace. The action moves so quickly, it feels rushed. Perhaps if the series was extended a bit, the pace could slow down at points, allowing the reader to catch his or her breath and enjoy the relationships between DC’s Finest. There is a well-crafted moment between Batman and Superman and his family in issue 3. For this reviewer, there needed to be more moments like this. Not an oversaturation of them, but at least a few more to allow those small moments to give depth to the story.

Justice League: The Extinction Machines (Comic) Review 3The Extinction Machines is illustrated by Tony S. Daniel. Daniel does a solid job bringing Hitch’s story to life. His greatest moments are in the action, offering visually arresting, larger-than-life splash pages. You can’t help but slowing down to take in all the intricate details.

Looking back at The Extinction Machines, it’s a decent start to the Justice League’s new life. The series never had me salivating for the next issue, but I wasn’t turned away either. It ran the middle of the road, being an above average series but never really giving readers that explosive first taste of Justice League - Rebirth style. As the team moves forward, my interest in the escapades of DC’s Finest hasn’t waned. Watching a group of powerful superheroes work together as a team is still fun. My hope is that the team behind Justice League Rebirth will utilize the natural consequences of people working together –great conflict and great collaboration.

Come on, DC. You know you can do better with the Dark Knight, Man of Steel, Scarlett Speedster, and Amazon Princess at your disposal.

Score:7

Final Thoughts:The Extinction Machines kicks off Justice League’s Rebirth with non-stop action, sometimes at the detriment of the work.

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War Dogs Blu-ray Giveaway http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/16/war-dogs-blu-ray-giveaway/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/16/war-dogs-blu-ray-giveaway/#respond Wed, 16 Nov 2016 11:29:49 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=88089

By CGM Staff

CGM is giving away more movies! 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 War Dogs. Based on the true story of two young men who won a $300 million contract from the Pentagon to arm America’s allies […]

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By CGM Staff

CGM is giving away more movies!

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 War Dogs.

War Dogs Blu-Ray GiveawayBased on the true story of two young men who won a $300 million contract from the Pentagon to arm America’s allies in Afghanistan.

Own the Blu-ray™ 11/22
Digital HD Available Now

© 2016 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.  All Rights Reserved.

War Dogs Blu-ray Giveaway

 

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Nintendo Switch Not Releasing Alongside Zelda: Breath of the Wild http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/15/nintendo-switch-not-releasing-alongside-zelda-breath-wild/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/15/nintendo-switch-not-releasing-alongside-zelda-breath-wild/#respond Tue, 15 Nov 2016 22:35:29 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=89626

By Helena Shlapak

One of Nintendo’s most anticipated games, Zelda: Breath of the Wild has been delayed again and will not release with the Nintendo Switch this coming March, despite being in the preview video for the Switch. A report that was independently corroborated by Eurogamer wrote that Nintendo insider, Emily Rogers, revealed that Zelda: Breath of the […]

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By Helena Shlapak

One of Nintendo’s most anticipated games, Zelda: Breath of the Wild has been delayed again and will not release with the Nintendo Switch this coming March, despite being in the preview video for the Switch.

A report that was independently corroborated by Eurogamer wrote that Nintendo insider, Emily Rogers, revealed that Zelda: Breath of the Wild was going to take more work than Nintendo initially expected. This doesn’t come as a surprise considering Zelda: Breath of the Wild will be a major departure in terms of gameplay and mechanics from its 18 predecessors. The new gameplay includes an open-world environment twelve times larger than Twilight Princess and also promises multiple questlines, NPC’s and the ability to explore dungeons in any order.

Zelda: Breath of the Wild has been in development since 2013 and was set for an initial release date of 2015 for the Nintendo Wii U but the game was delayed due to the company wanting to make an ultimate and most complete Zelda game. In April 2016, Nintendo announced that due to problems with the new psychics engine, Zelda: Breath of the Wild would be delayed again to 2017 and would be available on both Wii U and Nintendo Switch systems.

Here’s hoping that the extra polishing will pay off but for now, it begs the question as to what the Nintendo Switch’s official launch title will be. It appears as though the new launch title will be the upcoming Mario game. Despite Mario’s massive fan base, disappointment may just be a major blow to the company as a lack of exciting titles may slow the Nintendo Switch’s sales like what happened with the Wii U and 3DS launches.

In the meantime, fans should try and get their hands on the Nintendo Entertainment System Classic to play the original Zelda while they eagerly await the arrival for Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

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Suicide Squad Rebirth: The Black Vault (Comic) Review http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/suicide-squad-rebirth-black-vault-comic-review/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/suicide-squad-rebirth-black-vault-comic-review/#respond Tue, 15 Nov 2016 17:35:56 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=89600

By Boyd Reynolds

Suicide Squad is one of DC’s hottest properties. The film, although maligned by critics, has grossed over $700 million since its release in August. This past Halloween, Harley Quinn costumes were among the most popular worn by girls of all ages. And the comic series has been relaunched in DC’s Rebirth, with a teen plus […]

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By Boyd Reynolds

Suicide Squad is one of DC’s hottest properties. The film, although maligned by critics, has grossed over $700 million since its release in August. This past Halloween, Harley Quinn costumes were among the most popular worn by girls of all ages. And the comic series has been relaunched in DC’s Rebirth, with a teen plus rating to boot. Its first storyline, titled The Black Vault, was an entertaining four part series. And alongside each issue was a short story following the past of a Suicide Squad member.

Suicide Squad Rebirth: The Black Vault (Comic) Review 3Suicide Squad: The Black Vault begins at Belle Reve Penitentiary in Louisiana. Amanda Waller, head of Task Force X, lets her Suicide Squad know of their new assignment. The team must head secretly into Russia, starting out in space then parachuting into the red state in order to steal an other worldly, game-changing weapon.

Piece of cake. And with a team named Suicide Squad – what could go wrong?

Well, opening the weapon, aka the phantom zone, and unleashing General Zod, for starters. Zod is a terrific addition to The Black Vault. The interactions between the Suicide Squad members really work, but bringing in Zod ups the ante. He has all the power and might of Superman, but with none of the Man of Steel’s Midwestern values. Zod as well is a throwback to those of us who remember him in the film, Superman II. “Kneel before Zod,” is a classic line from that film – one used for pure nostalgia in The Black Vault. And it works perfectly. Zod becomes a lightning rod to unite the team while wreaking much havoc in the process.

Writer Rob Williams does a good job bringing Rebirth’s Suicide Squad to life. The joy of seeing this team of misfits and villains doing the government’s dirty work is nothing but fun. While Harley Quinn might be the clear favourite for most popular Suicide Squad member, Williams brings readers into the lives of the other Squad members.

Suicide Squad Rebirth: The Black Vault (Comic) Review 4The legendary Jim Lee does the artwork on The Black Vault. His illustrations give a weight to the comic series; his work pulls the reader in and reminds us that he’s still doing great work. His depiction of Zod is his most joyous creation. Zod’s over-the-top antics, the eye popping screaming especially, remind older readers of Terence Stamp’s Zod in Superman II, minus the muscles.

The Teen Plus rating of Suicide Squad is a must – giving The Black Vault the freedom it needs to tell a proper Suicide Squad story. People being decapitated, bodies being incinerated - this is just all in a day’s work for Task Force X.

The short vignettes at the end of each issue are a nice touch, each giving us the backstory of a particular  member. The most intriguing is that of Miss Harley Quinn in issue #4. The reason – the Joker makes an appearance. Just by involving the Clown Prince of Crime, the story has a greater weight. The Joker makes anything that much better, and his involvement in the Harley storyline shows us that while the Joker still holds a power over her, this is not the Harley Quinn from her beginnings in Batman: The Animated Series. This Harley is all grown up and can stand on her own two feet.

Score:8

Final Thoughts:The Black Vault is a comic series worth reading. While the series is a short four issues, it offers a memorable start to Task Force X in DC’s Rebirth.

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Super Mario Run Hits iProducts Dec 15, Features One-Time Payment http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/15/super-mario-run-hits-iphone-ipad-dec-15th-features-one-time-payment/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/15/super-mario-run-hits-iphone-ipad-dec-15th-features-one-time-payment/#comments Tue, 15 Nov 2016 16:55:04 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=89576

By Ana Valens

Super Mario Run has been one of the most highly anticipated Nintendo mobile titles in 2016. Announced during Apple's September iOS Keynote, fans have been speculating when Nintendo's first Super Mario mobile title would hit Apple's App Store. According to a Nintendo press release, Super Mario Run will  launch in over 150 areas starting Dec […]

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By Ana Valens

Super Mario Run has been one of the most highly anticipated Nintendo mobile titles in 2016. Announced during Apple's September iOS Keynote, fans have been speculating when Nintendo's first Super Mario mobile title would hit Apple's App Store. According to a Nintendo press release, Super Mario Run will  launch in over 150 areas starting Dec 15th.

"Developed under the direction of Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto, Super Mario Run brings a new take on the series’ beloved action-platforming gameplay to iPhone and iPad for the first time," Nintendo of America's Senior VP of Sales and Marketing Doug Bowser states. Super Mario Run is available for free as a trial version, with a $9.99 USD purchase unlocking the full game for players. Before unlocking, the game's three modes are available to try out, so the free version is more like a demo than a standalone title. But microtransactions have not been announced, and Nintendo seems set on stressing that the $9.99 purchase is a "one-time purchase," so it seems the total cost to consumers will be the flat purchase for the game.

Super Mario Run's gameplay forgoes traditional Mario controls in exchange for a more simplistic approach to smartphone and tablet devices. The player has to tap the screen at the right moment to prevent Mario from running into pitfalls and enemies. Three game modes will ship with Super Mario Run on Dec 15, 2016: World Tour, a standard Super Mario-style adventure with six worlds for a total of 24 courses; a multiplayer competition for gathering coins and pulling off stylish moves called Toad Rally; and the customizable kingdom creator called Kingdom Builder.

It's safe to say that Super Mario Run is Nintendo's flagship mobile release. Whether it will outcompete the summer hit Pokémon GO, however, is a complicated question. Stay tuned for the game's official release during December.

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ENIGMA: (PC) Review http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/enigma-pc-review/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/enigma-pc-review/#comments Tue, 15 Nov 2016 16:40:00 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=89509

By Ana Valens

Visual novels are different from most games. Unlike first-person shooters or strategy titles, VNs pride themselves on the stories behind their worlds. Good writing is fundamental to every visual novel, and glancing through the most highly rated VNs will explain why. Games like Snatcher and VA-11 Hall-A introduce memorable characters in living worlds, taking the […]

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By Ana Valens

Visual novels are different from most games. Unlike first-person shooters or strategy titles, VNs pride themselves on the stories behind their worlds. Good writing is fundamental to every visual novel, and glancing through the most highly rated VNs will explain why. Games like Snatcher and VA-11 Hall-A introduce memorable characters in living worlds, taking the player through a complicated story with drama, tension, and friction between people living their everyday lives. Visual novels are designed to be immersive, and a good visual novel suspends disbelief in that regard.

ENIGMA: (PC) Review 2Developed by Uzumeya and published by Fruitbat Factory, ENIGMA: tells the story of Chester, a soldier with a terminal illness named “Enigma.” While out at sea, Chester experiences a shipwreck and drifts ashore onto the hidden island of Carlyle. Chester proceeds to learn more about the island, building close friendships with its inhabitants, and learns of a mysterious forest that supposedly eats people. Its name is also “Enigma.” As Chester grows closer to his new neighbors amidst his coming death, he sets out to discover more about Carlyle’s secrets.

ENIGMA:’s developer, Uzumeya, has been traditionally billed as a female-oriented visual novel group. But that’s a bit of a misnomer: ENIGMA: isn’t exactly an otome game, even though it does share some tropes from the female romance genre. Instead, it’s more of a mixture between mystery and romance, veering towards women players but open to practically any VN fan interested in a touch of mystery.

But ENIGMA:’s writing is exactly where the game falters.

Uzumeya’s premise gives the game an interesting starting point for a mystery story. Throw a man on an uncharted island, give him just a couple days to live and make him figure out the untold secrets behind where he lands. But the game gets a slow start, and even amidst the action scenes that pepper the middle of the story, ENIGMA: never quite draws the player in.

There are two reasons for this failure. For one, ENIGMA:’s pacing is lopsided. Serious moments will quickly turn into jokes, and character development scenes tend to veer away from developing anyone’s personality beyond their surface values. At best, the game ushers the player away from rich storytelling moments in order to advance the plot. At worst, ENIGMA: shatters the player’s suspension of disbelief by applying a deus ex machina just to salvage its own writing.

ENIGMA: (PC) Review 4Which leads to ENIGMA:’s second major problem: The game’s characters just aren’t interesting. Sure, the game’s island inhabitants live quite differently from the main character on their little island, but there isn’t anything unique, exciting, or engaging about ENIGMA:’s character design from a VN perspective. You have the tsundere feminine boy, the doting housekeeping sister, the female healer, the mysterious and stoic magic girl, and so on and so forth. While the writing itself behind these characters isn’t bad, and the action scene illustrations are quite well done, ENIGMA: doesn’t introduce any characters that stand out on the screen. Everyone feels like a trope, not a character. ENIGMA: is just too bland.

Which is a shame, because ENIGMA:’s production value is quite strong for a doujinshi game. For one, there’s a wide range of available expressions for each character. When Chester speaks to Colette, for example, Colette responds with a variety of eye, mouth, and lip changes. Characters also turn their heads to and away from each other in dialogue, which isn’t always the case with smaller visual novels that have a limited art budget. Actions aren’t recycled all that often in ENIGMA:, and transitions from one expression to the next are extremely fluid between lines. This makes the game’s characters feel lively during dialogue, as if the world is in constant motion. Not to mention, the art behind each character is quite strong.

ENIGMA: (PC) Review 5Even looking past the writing, there are some awkward quirks at play with how ENIGMA:’s user interface is laid out. Chester is incredibly large compared to the game’s female characters, which looks off-putting on the screen. For that matter, most women feel a bit too small compared to their male counterparts; An increase in size for the game’s ladies would make conversations appear a bit more natural. There’s also ENIGMA’s default resolution. The game runs at 800x600, which is the only offered output. While a 4:3 ratio isn’t the worst experience for a visual novel, it definitely feels outdated: most VNs clock in around 1280x720, if not higher. And while the game scales decently enough in fullscreen mode, it just doesn’t look as crisp as it would for a widescreen monitor. Which, again, makes the game feel a little dated in comparison to visual novels like Long Live the Queen and VA-11 Hall-A, which were developed with widescreen monitors in mind.

ENIGMA: (PC) Review 6These might feel like small grievances, but visual novels aren’t just literary experiences. They’re also about the feel and design behind the game’s artwork and interface. Because ENIGMA: has such weird UI issues, it’s easy to break immersion while playing. In other words, when these small problems come together, they leave the player with a game that has some serious presentation issues that make for an unpleasant experience.

Which is a shame, because ENIGMA: isn’t a bad visual novel. It looks nice enough, it plays well enough, it has an interesting idea behind it, and its characters are plausible. The problem isn’t that the game is poor; ENIGMA: sets out to do everything it wants to, and it succeeds for the most part. The problem is that it simply isn’t memorable. It’s not enough for a VN to look nice; it has to suck the player into its world, too. Some players might be willing to put down their money on ENIGMA: right from the start, but it’s hard to recommend the visual novel. At least, not until the game goes on sale.

Score:5

Final Thoughts:ENIGMA: may provide a unique premise for a mystery story, but don’t expect stellar writing. Hold off on this visual novel until it goes on sale.

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Famicom Mini Sells Over 260,000 Units in Japan During First Week http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/15/famicom-mini-sells-260000-units-japan-first-week/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/15/famicom-mini-sells-260000-units-japan-first-week/#respond Tue, 15 Nov 2016 15:40:38 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=89556

By Ana Valens

The NES Classic Edition and Famicom Mini hit store shelves in early November, following weeks of anticipation amidst the coming holiday season. Reviews have already come in praising the console's abilities and slew of retro titles. In Japan, the Famicom Mini is selling quite well, too. Famitsu reports that the Famicom Mini clocked in with […]

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By Ana Valens

The NES Classic Edition and Famicom Mini hit store shelves in early November, following weeks of anticipation amidst the coming holiday season. Reviews have already come in praising the console's abilities and slew of retro titles. In Japan, the Famicom Mini is selling quite well, too. Famitsu reports that the Famicom Mini clocked in with well over 260,000 units sold within its first four days, which places the Japanese offering in a comfortable range with the Nintendo Wii U's own launch numbers.

The news, which was shared on NeoGAF along with additional information on Japanese console launches, reveals that the Famicom Mini came in with 262,961 Japanese sales over the course of four days. In comparison, The PlayStation 4 sold 322,083 units in two days and the Nintendo Wii U hit 308,570 sales in its first two days as well. While the Famicom Mini doesn't necessarily outpace either, it still holds a strong showing on the gaming market.

For those unfamiliar, the Famicom, or the "Family Computer," was the initial Japanese release of what would later be referred to as the NES in America. The Famicom's physical design differs sharply from the NES, in that it features a white and red colour scheme over the NES's darker, bland and grey look. Obviously, Japan received a miniature version of the Famicom, as opposed to the NES Classic.

The Famicom Mini's sales numbers aren't a coincidence: Nintendo's Virtual Console has also shown high sales numbers with the company's classic re=-eleases. According to a financial results briefing from Nintendo of Japan for their 2015 fiscal year, Pokémon Virtual Console titles accounted for the top four sales in the entire Nintendo eShop. In particular, Pokémon Red, Green, Blue and Pikachu faced a total of 1.5 million downloads. Nintendo sees this success as an opportunity for more retro releases. "We believe that we have successfully created a chance to appeal to the nostalgia of consumers who played these titles when they first came out," Nintendo President Tatsumi Kimishima confirmed.

The NES Classic's chances look promising in the United States, too. In the report, Kimishima confirmed that "half of [Pokémon Virtual Console] downloads came from the American market." But it's hard to say for certain until official stats are released in the West.

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Surface Book I7 Performance Base (Hardware) Review http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/surface-book-i7-performance-base-hardware-review/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/surface-book-i7-performance-base-hardware-review/#comments Tue, 15 Nov 2016 15:03:10 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=89550

By Brendan Frye

With the launch of Windows 10, Microsoft shifted away from a passive player with hardware, diving headfirst into making their own devices. This attention to delivering uniquely Windows experiences is evident in the Surface Book range of laptops. With its fall 2015 launch, the Surface Book gave us a good idea of what to expect […]

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By Brendan Frye

With the launch of Windows 10, Microsoft shifted away from a passive player with hardware, diving headfirst into making their own devices. This attention to delivering uniquely Windows experiences is evident in the Surface Book range of laptops. With its fall 2015 launch, the Surface Book gave us a good idea of what to expect from the flagship Windows laptop. Now with 2016 coming to an end, Microsoft has released an update to the line with the Surface Book with Performance Base. While not a true successor to the range, it still manages to be one of the most impressive laptops on the market, even if that power does come with a hefty price tag.

Surface Book I7 Performance Base (Hardware) Review 9

The Surface Book remains one of the more inventive 2-in-1 laptops currently available, even a year after release. The unique dynamic fulcrum hinge gives the notebook a new futuristic feel. Combine that with the silver magnesium body with beautiful, sharp lines and the Surface Books look straight out of a science fiction film. It's a stunning 13.5 device that stands a testament of how new laptops should look.

The vibrant 3000x2000 display is completely removable with the simple press of a button, revealing one of the most powerful tablets currently on the market. The 13.5-inch size makes it a great note taking machine, with the help of the included stylus pen.

The real excitement happens when you drop the screen into the dock. This base is much more than a simple keyboard – it allows the real power of this laptop to be unleashed. Packing a NVIDIA GeForce 965M with 2GB, and an extended battery that will extend the life up to 16 total hours. The base gives the system access to power performance users crave. The fact Microsoft was able to pack this all into a form factor that is only marginally heavier than last years model is impressive (3.7 lbs vs. 3.5 lbs).

The model tested was the fully loaded $3,300 rig. This computer comes packed with a high-end I7 CPU, 16GB Ram, 1TB SSD, and the aforementioned Nvidia 965M dedicated graphics chip. This notebook is no slouch, even running multiple tabs, working with Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Premier, there was no noticeable slowdown. The Surface Book hummed along taking every program we could throw at it.

Surface Book I7 Performance Base (Hardware) Review 3With all this horsepower, the Surface Book with Performance Base can run games, and in some cases, very well. It will not replace a dedicated gaming rig, or a modern gaming laptop working with the latest and greatest from the Nvidia 1000 series, but if you are a game player on the go and only have this, you should be able to enjoy even some of the most recent titles.

In our tests, we tried it all, the latest titles from Microsoft first party studios including Forza Horizon 3, Gears of War 4, along with titles such as Civilization VI, Overwatch and Diablo 3. Forza Horizon 3 was the worst of the lot, even with the graphics turned way down and running at 1080P, the Surface Book could not manage to achieve a playable framerate. Gears of War 4, on the other hand, worked surprisingly well. With native resolution running on medium setting and V-Sync off, the Surface Book managed to get a very playable framerate at around 30FPS. It did not look as good as you would see on a well-equipped gaming desktop or even the Xbox One,  but it was very playable. I even managed to get some Multiplayer in a while testing the laptop and saw no issues during high intensity gaming sessions.

Surface Book I7 Performance Base (Hardware) Review 5Civilization VI, as expected, ran as any player would hope. With all settings turned up, running at native resolution, the Surface Book showed no lag or stuttering. The game was a pleasure to play, and with the added touch screen features, was a real joy to play on with the Surface Book. The same can be said for Overwatch and Diablo 3, while both can run well on relatively modest hardware, The Surface Book with performance Base managed over 75FPS at 1920 x 1200, and Diablo 3 maintained an impressive framerate at max settings at native resolution in crowded areas.

Overall the Surface Book surpassed all my gaming expectations. It is an ultraportable 2-in-1 that any gaming enthusiast can use, and not regret. It will not replace that beefy gaming laptop anytime soon, but it also is far more portable for a long trip.

Looking at the 3DMark’s Cloud Gate benchmark we see the Surface Book with Performance Base achieve an impressive score of over 8800. In the more intensive Skydiving test, it squeaked out at over 10,000. Those numbers put it above most gaming laptops from 3-4 years ago, and even above many every day bigger laptops from 2016. There is no denying, the Surface Book with Performance Base is a beast of a machine wrapped in a very stylish package. While it won't have any chance of running VR on either the Oculus Rift or the HTC Vive, it is hard to expect a laptop in this class to come close to the specs for VR, especially without producing significantly more heat.

Surface Book I7 Performance Base (Hardware) Review 6

With all its features, the Surface Book would be wasted if it was not enjoyable to use. Thankfully, Microsoft managed to make one of the most comfortable laptops I have ever tested. The keyboard has the perfect level of feedback and travel to make every keystroke satisfying. The glass touchpad is also best in class. Many Windows laptops drop the ball when it comes to the touchpad, making them nearly unusable. Microsoft has managed, by some miracle, to make a touchpad that feels as good as a Mac trackpad, and that is saying something. All touch gestures work as expected, and the size works perfectly on the small form factor device.

The 16-hour battery life that Microsoft boasts, while possible, is not the norm. If you are doing any possessor intensive computing, the Surface Book with Performance Base will archive around 10 hours, and that number could drop to around five if you start any rendering in Premiere. While not the near mythic levels of battery that Microsoft advertises, you should have little issues running the Surface Book in a normal days use without a charger. If you are going on a trip, bring a charger with you, but the peace of mind knowing your laptop will last you through the day is a great feeling.

Surface Book I7 Performance Base (Hardware) Review 2 Surface Book I7 Performance Base (Hardware) Review 1

Microsoft has opted to not drop all standard USB ports and SD Card readers in favour the newer USB type C standard, and that is fine by me. It was refreshing to be able to use the Surface Book for field work and be able to use it with a range of devices without the need for dongles or adapters. All standard cables plugged into the 2 USB 3 Ports on the side, and the SD card, as always, was an invaluable tool to have when taking photos.  The magnetic charging cable was also a welcome sight. I have broken many a laptop by tripping on the charging cable, so the fact I have one less thing to worry about is a relief.

At over $3000 this is not a small investment and something that may set it out of reach of many would-be buyers. But if you have the funds to spend, the Surface Book with Performance Base is a great laptop.  It is the flagship device Microsoft needed, and it is one that any Windows fan should keep in mind this holiday season. Yes, there are cheaper laptops that can do most of what the Surface Book with Performance Base can do, but few look or feel so good doing them.

Score:9

Final Thoughts:If you have the funds to spend, the Surface Book with Performance Base is a great laptop.

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Pokémon Sun (3DS) Review http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/pokemon-sun-3ds-review/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/pokemon-sun-3ds-review/#respond Tue, 15 Nov 2016 14:00:23 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=89528

By Cody Orme

Ever since its inception 20 years ago, Pokémon has been the main seller of Nintendo mobile hardware. Fans young and old flock to their portable devices in droves for every entry. But for all the fanfare and goodwill the series amassed over two decades, there’s a feeling of sameness. Pokémon Go helped buck that feeling […]

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By Cody Orme

Ever since its inception 20 years ago, Pokémon has been the main seller of Nintendo mobile hardware. Fans young and old flock to their portable devices in droves for every entry. But for all the fanfare and goodwill the series amassed over two decades, there’s a feeling of sameness. Pokémon Go helped buck that feeling by completely changing the game while bringing in new fans as well. Now, all eyes are on Game Freak as they head into their first post-Go game with Pokémon Sun and Moon. This is the perfect time to take inspiration from its smart device counterpart and inject some much-needed changes to freshen up the formula. Clearly, that timing was perfect, because this is the most fun I’ve had with a Pokémon title in a very long time.

Pokémon Sun (3DS) Review 3The new direction is apparent right from the start with an actual cut scene. Players are plopped in the Alola region, a series of disconnected islands in the vein of Hawaii. As a young child who moved into the region to start a Pokémon adventure, trainers are thrusted into the world of legal animal fighting. But before you can profit off the pain of your super-powered pets, you actually need a pocket monster or two. That’s when a professor who doesn’t wear a shirt under his lab coat greets this young child and his mother by just walking into the house.  Even though he just barged into this single mother’s home, he’s welcome for some reason – I guess his casual lab attire makes him trustworthy.  During this visit, he talks about getting this trainer to see the village elder to get a Pokémon. Unfortunately, he’s nowhere to be found, and during the search, the island’s deity Pokémon rescues the trainer to be, so that means this he’s special or something. While this is the start of your Pokémon adventure, it’s also the beginning of a side story involving the professor’s assistant and her Pokémon.

While the narrative is still very cookie cutter, it’s presented in a way that’s new for Pokémon as a series. Pokémon Sun relies heavily on cinematics, more than ever before. Cut scenes are prevalent, and plot points are more than just text boxes. It’s refreshing to see so much effort put into changing up the formula.

The job of the player, however, remains the same. Fill out the new Pokedex powered by an actual Pokémon while also completing the new take on gyms, the Island Challenge. This is an interesting change up on what is a pretty essential part of the Pokémon formula. Instead of going from city to city, fighting gym leaders and winning badges, players perform different trials set up by captains. These trials can vary from defeating a set amount of Pokémon, or locating items, things like that. At the end, you fight a “Totem Pokémon” (a large, super charged creature) in a boss fight of sorts. Don’t worry, there still are gym battles, but in a much looser sense, and they still fall under the guise of trials. At the end of the trial, Pokémon masters receive a Z-Crystal instead of a badge.  Z-Crystals are another new addition to the game; they activate a series first Z-Move, which is pretty much a special attack where players can unleash super-charged moves for the full effect. Once the trial is complete, and trainers get the new Z- Crystal, they are deemed strong enough to move to the next area.

Pokémon Sun (3DS) Review 4This is my first big issue with Pokémon Sun – its hand holding. Pokémon has never been a hardcore RPG, but it’s still an RPG. It’s hard to feel that I’m part of a huge adventure when it is so linear. Maps follow very specific trails with little chance to deviate, and you can’t move past literal barricades until you complete trials. RPGs are supposed to be big, open adventures, and while Pokémon Sun feels big, it is far too streamlined. But that’s not very new for the series.

Still, the world is easier than ever to move through with the ability to call on Pokémon to ride.  This isn’t completely new to the series, as riding Pokémon has been part of the franchise since its inception. However, that was always reserved for either the water or air. Now, players can call upon land Pokémon to ride.  From the start, players are given a Tauros, whose charge is strong enough to break rocks that dare stand in its way. It’s a nice addition to the game that eliminates the need for a bike or roller blades, which again makes this feel like a new direction in the series.

Continuing with this new line of thinking, the process of initiating battles changes in Sun.  Trails are filled with NPCs, some looking to battle, others looking to talk. In the past, there was no way to differentiate between the two. Now, when you walk past another trainer, your screen changes. Black lines cut across the top and bottom of the screen, and everything gets a little darker the closer you get to a character looking for a fight. Even battles with Pokémon are a little different. Pokémon in tall grass can now charge at trainers, and bird type can initiate combat outside of tall grass swooping in on unsuspecting adventurers.   Touches like this buck the trend of past titles, but sometimes they aren’t completely refined. At one point while playing, two Pokémon attacked me one after another, despite standing in the same place with very little time between attacks.  It felt like I was being punished for checking a text on my phone.

Thankfully, the battle system is still familiar even with its new additions.  In the middle of battle, Pokémon can call a friend to drop down and help. While this is very prevalent in Totem battles, it does happen with regular, run-of-the-mill Pokémon as well (they just have less of a chance someone will answer their plea).  This adds a bit more intrigue to any battle, but for the most part, the Pokémon that answers the call of duty is severely under-levelled, making it easy to make quick work of them.  I use the term “quick” very loosely here because it makes the frame rate drop to an embarrassingly slow chug. I played on an original 3DS, so perhaps that was the cause for this issue, but whenever there were three Pokémon on a screen, it felt like the game couldn’t keep up. There were times when even going into a regular battle, old hardware might cause issues. The frame rate on pre-battle animations before the Pokémon would appear on the screen would drop completely, and that issue was prevalent outside of battles as well.

Pokémon Sun (3DS) Review 5Pokemon Sun also boasts a new online feature called the “Festival Plaza”. In this area accessed in the options menu, players can interact with other trainers through local wireless communication or the Internet and they can trade or battle. By meeting with NPCs, doing tasks, and battling, players can gain Festival Coins to spend on the minigames littered throughout the land. They serve a purpose though, these help trainers upgrade Pokémon or get items that help them grow faster. As a social platform, it’s a pretty ingenious way to keep people playing and coming back.

And I can see myself picking this game up a lot. For the first time in a long time, Pokémon feels fresh, and some occasional frame rate issues won’t change that. This is the accumulation of all the small steps the series implemented over the years mixed with legitimate leaps by Game Freak. Pokémon Sun captured me in a way the series hasn’t since the first time I popped my first Pokémon game all those years ago, and much of that is because of these new changes. While it can feel a little linear at times, there is something magical about the start to any Pokémon adventure, and that’s what makes Pokémon Sun so great.  This is the title for those who grew tired of the franchise or felt it stagnating.

For those who haven’t felt the series needed change, this is still a strong Pokémon game, and quite possibly one of the best titles in the Pokémon line.

Score:8

Final Thoughts:While it can feel a little linear at times, there is something magical about the start to any Pokémon adventure, and that’s what makes Pokémon Sun so great.

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Beauty and the Beast: Official Live-Action Trailer Releases http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/14/beauty-beast-official-live-action-trailer/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/14/beauty-beast-official-live-action-trailer/#respond Mon, 14 Nov 2016 19:33:50 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=89505

By Helena Shlapak

It’s a tale as old as time…well, as old as Disney’s original 1991 cartoon. Beauty and the Beast returns with a live-action film and today the first full official trailer releases. Beauty and the Beast became one of the highest grossing Disney films of all time and made its way into the hearts of millions. […]

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By Helena Shlapak

It’s a tale as old as time…well, as old as Disney’s original 1991 cartoon. Beauty and the Beast returns with a live-action film and today the first full official trailer releases.

Beauty and the Beast became one of the highest grossing Disney films of all time and made its way into the hearts of millions. The songs have been covered by thousands of artists, the merchandise is still selling and the Broadway musical was and is and smash hit. With a film that was nominated for Best Picture and won for Best Song, it stood to reason that Disney would remake their beloved classic.

The live-action Beauty and the Beast went into production in 2014 and fans waited for an eternity before the teaser trailer finally released in May. Fans still wanted more and patience finally paid off when the first official trailer drop today.

From the looks of it, Beauty and the Beast is capturing the essence of the original film while cranking up the epic, much like they did with The Jungle Book trailer, they reworked the main theme into a heart pounding and powerful score. The CGI is still unfinished but aside from that it looks like a gorgeous, breathtaking and overall grander-scale film. The amount of detail we’ve seen so far with the Beast’s castle, the character designs and the costumes, is simply astounding. Based on what we have seen so far, scenes like the final fight, the battle with the wolves and the famous dance will be exactly like we remember and more. CG went hand-in-hand with the traditional art in the original, now let’s see if it can be used to its full potential alongside the real sets.

It’s often difficult to work up excitement for a love story but Disney hasn’t let us down yet with these live-action remakes. With more films coming out soon like Aladdin and Mulan, let’s hope the live action Beauty and the Beast will awaken the five year old girl in all of us and have us squealing and singing along again. It’s time to be Disney’s guest one more time.

Beauty and the Beast will be releasing in cinemas March 17, 2017.

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Superman: Action Comics: Lois Lane, Back at the Planet (Comic) Review http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/superman-action-comics-lois-lane-back-planet-comic-review/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/superman-action-comics-lois-lane-back-planet-comic-review/#respond Mon, 14 Nov 2016 19:03:28 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=89511

By Boyd Reynolds

Lois Lane entered my life in 1978. That year, Superman descended upon North American cinemas. It showed eager audiences that a man could fly, but it also gave young boys and girls a heroine right for the times. Margot Kidder played a powerful yet vulnerable Lois Lane—a reporter who lived life as fast as she […]

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By Boyd Reynolds

Lois Lane entered my life in 1978. That year, Superman descended upon North American cinemas. It showed eager audiences that a man could fly, but it also gave young boys and girls a heroine right for the times. Margot Kidder played a powerful yet vulnerable Lois Lane—a reporter who lived life as fast as she could type. What Superman the Movie did, for those of us brought up in the late 70s and early 80s, was visually represent women who strong-willed, fiery and sexy all at once. Just remember, this was a time when Princess Leia in Star Wars and Marion Ravenwood in Raiders of the Lost Arc traversed the silver screen.

Lois Lane, Back at the Planet (Comic) Review 3Now while Lois Lane’s emergence in Superman’s life goes back to Action Comics #1 in 1938, it was this film version of her that will always cloud my judgement when reading or watching new incarnations of her. And that is why Superman Action Comics two-parter, Lois Lane Back at the Planet, was such a treat to read.

The mini-series covers Superman Action Comics #965-966 and spends much quality time with the Man of Steel’s main squeeze. In DC Comics Rebirth, there are two Lois Lanes. The one in Lois Lane, Back at the Planet is the Lois Lane pre-New 52. She has been living in secret with her pre-New 52 Superman—until the New 52 Superman died and his shoes desperately needed refilling. Pre-New 52 Lois has been having dreams from New 52 Lois and decides to head back to the Daily Planet and uncover what these dreams really mean.

Confusing? Not if you’ve watched soap operas like General Hospital or Days of Our Lives.

Admittedly, I fall into that category.

So what is it about Lois Lane, Back to the Planet that makes it special, and not just a short story-line to plug some plot holes until we get back to the regularly scheduled Superman action?

Lois Lane, Back at the Planet (Comic) Review 4It has to do with what I wrote about earlier. Lois Lane, Back at the Planet’s writer Dan Jurgens conjures up the spirit of that old Lois, the one from Superman the movie, and connects right to her and that time. I’m not sure if that was even intentional, but as the two-parter comes to an end, Lois does a narration on why she’s heading back to The Daily Planet. It’s the Lois Lane who can only be Lois Lane, even in spite of herself. She has to stand up for the powerless, call out the wrongs, and use her greatest superpower: her intellect.

For Lois Lane, the pen is truly mightier than the sword.

Stephen Segovia’s illustrations for Lois Lane, Back at the Planet are solid. While this isn’t an action packed mini-series with loads of splash pages to drool over, Segovia conveys Lois as someone who is conflicted—should she do what is right for herself or do what she feels obligated to for Clark and her son? Segovia also shows real emotion and passion between Superman and Lois, which is something that also reminded me of my youth with Superman.

While only a short spin in Lois Lane’s heels, Superman Action Comics: Lois Lane, Back at the Planet offers readers a quality peek into her life and what makes this champion journalist tick.

Score:7

Final Thoughts:Superman Action Comics: Lois Lane, Back at the Planet is a surprisingly entertaining two-part miniseries, bringing back a Lois Lane we all know and love – at least those of us brought up on Superman the Movie.

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First 15 - Watch Dogs 2 http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/14/first-15-watch-dogs-2/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/11/14/first-15-watch-dogs-2/#respond Mon, 14 Nov 2016 17:16:05 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?p=89500

By CGM Staff

CGM Looks at the beginning of Watch Dogs 2 from Ubisoft.

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By CGM Staff

CGM Looks at the beginning of Watch Dogs 2 from Ubisoft.

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Dishonored 2 (PS4) Review http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/dishonored-2-ps4-review/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/dishonored-2-ps4-review/#respond Mon, 14 Nov 2016 16:54:42 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=89480

By Cole Watson

When a dark but forgotten secret re-emerges to claim the Kaldwin throne, players must reprise their role as a mystic imbued assassin in Dishonored 2. Sequel to one of the best first-person action titles of the last generation, Dishonored 2 builds off the powerful gameplay of the original game in a number of new ways […]

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By Cole Watson

When a dark but forgotten secret re-emerges to claim the Kaldwin throne, players must reprise their role as a mystic imbued assassin in Dishonored 2. Sequel to one of the best first-person action titles of the last generation, Dishonored 2 builds off the powerful gameplay of the original game in a number of new ways and gives players more choice in how they can tackle their objectives. Add in a new lore-enriched setting coupled with a heavier focus on despicable villains, and this game ended up being one of the most fun experiences I’ve had so far in 2016.

Dishonored 2 (PS4) Review 3Dishonored 2’s story is set 15 years after the events of the first game with the young Empress of Dunwall castle, Emily Kaldwin, and her Royal Protector, Corvo Attano, attending a remembrance ceremony in honour of her late mother. The role of Empress has become a hard one for Emily to cope with in recent months thanks to the new appearance of a royal-killing assassin known as the Crown Killer, thought to be Corvo taking out Emily’s enemies. Tensions continue to rise with the appearance of the immortal witch Delilah, who claims to be the late Empress’s sister and rightful heir to the throne.

After this event players make their first critical decision in Dishonored 2: whether to reprise their role as Corvo or try a fresh experience with Emily. Whichever character players pick, the other becomes locked out for the rest of the campaign. Now on the run from the very people they’ve sworn to protect, players must find out the secret to Delilah’s immortality by hunting down all of her lieutenants for answers if they ever have a hope of taking back their home. Fundamentally the two characters will experience the same story, and they feel identical to each other during gameplay. The big differences between the two are their ability sets and dialogue.

During my first playthrough of Dishonored 2 I gravitated towards playing as Emily so I could get a hold of all her new and unique abilities. Compared to Corvo, who has access to more direct damage abilities like summoning rats and stopping time, Emily will appeal to players who like to play stealthier. Her Domino ability is the star of this set and allows players to link together targets into sharing the same fate, which completely changes how you approach any encounter. Her shadow walk ability is another favourite of mine because of all of its upgrades, allowing me to traverse into all of the hidden nooks and crannies of the environment as a cloud of smoke but also serving as a powerful weapon that can literally rip my threats apart.

Dishonored 2 (PS4) Review 4While I loved the diverse abilities of our two protagonists, their dialogue left me feeling disappointed. This is the first time the Dishonored protagonists have been able to speak and unfortunately, their performances come off as sub-par. Compared to the life and drama I felt from the world’s citizens and cast of villains, the two main characters suffer from a distinct lack of expression. Everything Emily and Corvo say is delivered in bland monotone and ultimately their individual dialogue offerings are just different ways of the saying the same thing. I would have loved to see some more development out of these characters, but instead I was left craving the dialogue choices of the first game.

The key ingredient that made me fall in love with the original Dishonored was the land of Dunwall, and the new setting of Karnaca feels even better. Brimming with colourful detail, architecture and even richer lore than the first, I recommend players take their time and soak in all that Karnaca has to offer because Dishonored 2’s missions only come to life when players explore the game’s various themed environments. By venturing into rundown buildings, dark alleys and listening in on conversations between citizens, players will quickly become informed on who their main target is for that mission and how their actions can affect the world by stopping them in either a lethal or non-lethal matter.

Dishonored 2 (PS4) Review 6 Dishonored 2 (PS4) Review 7

Every action players make in the world of Dishonored 2 contributes to unlocking a corresponding ending. By killing everything in sight and assassinating key targets, players will be considered as High Chaos assassins. These decisions will also make the world behave differently, such as seeing more guards out on patrol because they know the mindset of the player is to fight them instead of stealthily infiltrating. My first run as Emily resulted in me achieving a low chaos ending. I always looked for the non-lethal way to eliminate my targets, but if any guards spotted me I quickly took them out with my sword before returning to the shadows.

Dishonored 2 (PS4) Review 5

However, when I reached my high chaos ending with Corvo I felt cheated. I won’t spoil the endings I got in Dishonored 2, but I will say that I felt disappointed that all of the time I spent diversifying my playstyle only resulted in brief variations of the same ending I experienced as Emily. If I make a decision as a player to completely dedicate myself to a certain play-style, or even change my character, I want to be rewarded with an ending or epilogue that’s worth the weight of those choices and that’s where I’m left unsatisfied with Dishonored 2.

While Dishonored 2 takes multiple strides to improve off of the original I’m left feeling only half of them hit the mark. The gameplay and the world hooked me in exactly as before and I had high hopes for the story, but the decisive part Arkane Studios wasn’t able to execute on was the choice between playing as one of two characters. Since they have to experience the exact same missions, Corvo and Emily’s monotone dialogue and lack of diverse endings only resulted in them feeling merely like different ability sets when I reached the credits for a second time. I believe Dishonored 2 will still be loved by fans of the original who have been craving for more since the game’s reveal at E3, just don’t expect an Assassin’s Creed 2 jump in quality.

Score:8

Final Thoughts:Dishonored 2’s world and gameplay feel just as tight and diverse as the original.

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Watch Dogs 2 (PS4) Review http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/watch-dogs-2-ps4-review/ http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/watch-dogs-2-ps4-review/#respond Mon, 14 Nov 2016 15:37:23 +0000 http://www.cgmagonline.com/?post_type=reviews&p=89458

By Mike Cosimano

Watch Dogs 2 does not feature towers to climb in order to reveal parts of the map. This being an open-world game released in 2016, a lack of Ubisoft Towers must come as no small relief—one less piece of busywork. It’s emblematic of Watch Dogs 2’s sharp approach to open-world gameplay, eschewing many of its […]

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By Mike Cosimano

Watch Dogs 2 does not feature towers to climb in order to reveal parts of th