Coco (2017) Review: A Magical Odyssey of Death and Family

Coco (2017) Review: A Magical Odyssey of Death and Family

Coco is a Pixar movie. That means it has a formula. There’s a uniquely colourful world featuring an outcast who enters that world on an adventure in order to learn the value of family and believing in himself. We’ve been there before. Pixar has been there before. I guess they call it formula. The trick is how well the animation studio uses that formula in a new world, and the world of Coco is so gloriously imaginative and colourful and funny and creepy and weird that it’s easy to get lost in. It’s one of the best movies they’ve ever made for big screen, mouth-agape viewing. The thing is gorgeously mounted and so funny and fun that you barely realize you’re being set up to bawl your eyes out until it’s happening and you can’t control it. Not me of course. I don’t cry at movies, obviously. But I’m sure someone will.

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Coco (2017) – image via Pixar Studios

This time, the plucky outsider who becomes a hero is Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez) a young boy who feels a passion for music in his bones, but is cursed to live in a family that won’t let him even listen to the stuff due to a family tragedy a few generations back. Miguel is determined though. He studios the videos of an old mariachi movie star named Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt) with hopes to win a local mariachi contest on the Day of the Dead—things go wrong though. Through a series of strange circumstances Miguel finds himself crossing over to the land of the dead, where he’s pursued relentlessly by his dead relatives who want to send him back. Miguel wants to find his hero de la Cruz, convinced that he might actually be part of his family. Along the way he hooks up with a slapstick silly skeleton named Hector who agrees to help Miguel if he can offer help on the other side. You see, those who live in the land of the dead only exist in the afterlife as long as their relatives remember them. Hector is about to be forgotten and needs Miguel to make sure his long lost daughter in land of the living does not forget him.

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Coco (2017) – image via Pixar Studios

Whew! By the typically stripped down narrative specialists over at Pixar, that’s a lot of ground to cover just to set up the story. It introduces not just a fantastical world to the audience, but an entire culture, and does so with grace and respect. Co-directors Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina were careful to honour mythology of The Day of the Dead and as a result it’s already a massive hit down in Mexico. It works beautifully for those who don’t know the world as well. Playing on themes of memory and family and the way we can live forever through legacy. It’s not a conventional Eurocentric view of the afterlife, but one that registers deeply. The filmmakers also run wild with the neon spooky aesthetic of the Day of the Dead, creating the most beautiful and deranged afterlife since Beetlejuice. There are times when you’ll wish you could pause the movie in a theatre and study all of the beautiful design work that the animators layered in. Yet it all suits the story. It’s never style just for the sake of it. The filmmakers elegantly mix style and substance.

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Coco (2017) – image via Pixar Studios

The voice cast of almost entirely Mexican actors is strong as well, varying from the goofily comedic to the heartbreakingly tragic (often within the same performance). Like all great Pixar flicks, the film plays as a pure comedic adventure for so long that you barely notice the tracks being laid for the eventual emotional payoff. The tale is so fun and imaginative with so many delightful characters, asides, and musical sequences (somehow the screenwriters even work in a hilarious Frida parody that suits the story beautifully) that when the final twists and messages snap into place, the waterworks flow like a faucet turned immediately to full blast. The final message is a gut punch of emotion that throws all the wacky fun and glorious imagery that comes before it into stark purpose in an instant. Pixar has gotten too good at this stuff.

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Coco (2017) – image via Pixar Studios

Coco is a wonderful piece of storytelling that hits all the possible pleasure buttons with ease and grace. The only pitfall the filmmakers face is the fact that Pixar has done this trick so many times, audiences are beginning to take it for granted. Some will claim Coco is overly familiar and formulaic to the studio’s house style. They aren’t wrong, but anyone who dismisses it is being overly cynical. Sure Pixar has hit these beats before. So have others. Rarely does it work this well though. This is a special movie. One that will have something to move, wow, and amuse just about everyone. Isn’t it nice when Pixar commits to an original idea rather than sequels? It’s almost as if they should be focused on that rather than cranking out Cars movies until the end of time. Worth a thought anyway.

Liked this article and want to read more like it? Check out Phil’s take on Blade Runner 2049, Happy Death Day, and It! He also had a chance to sit down with Guillermo Del Toro. Check out his interview here!

Want to see more videos? Subscribe to our YouTube channel and check out the First 15: Star Wars Battlefront II, Sonic Forces + Episode Shadow, and  Super Mario Odyssey!

Don’t forget to tune in every Friday the Pixels & Ink Podcast to hear the latest news, previews, and in-depth game discussions!

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CGMagazine is Canada’s premiere comics and gaming magazine. Subscribe today to get the best of CGM delivered right to your door! Never miss when a new issue goes live by subscribing to our newsletter! Signing up gives you exclusive entry into our contest pool. Sign up once, you’ll have a chance to win! Sign up today!

Rush: A Disney Pixar Adventure (Xbox One) Review – A little New Unnecessary

Rush: A Disney Pixar Adventure (Xbox One) Review – A little New Unnecessary

In a move to introduce older Kinect games to a new audience, Rush: A Disney Pixar Adventure was remastered to include controller supported play and modern graphics. While this remaster seems rather unnecessary, it does breathe new life into an old title.

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Rush: A Disney Pixar Adventure (Xbox One) – gameplay image via Microsoft Studios and ASOBO

Rush: A Disney Pixar Adventure consists of six Pixar worlds to explore: Toy Story, Finding Dory, The Incredibles, Up, Ratatouille, and Cars. Each world consists of 2-3 episodes and can vary in gameplay style. Cars is driving(duh), Dory is swimming(obviously) and the rest are mostly made up of platforming, similar to a bare-bones Disney Infinity. These episodes are short and only take a matter of minutes to complete, however, players can play through again to find secrets and try out new abilities. This does allow for replay value, but that value is measured in cents.

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Rush: A Disney Pixar Adventure (Xbox One) – gameplay image via Micorsoft Studios and ASOBO

The remastered graphics for Rush bring the title into the modern day technology. With 4K capabilities, the game really does have a crisper and more colourful appearance, even for those of us without 4K televisions. The sound isn’t anything to write home about, but it is acceptable. The introduction of the controller support works perfectly, allowing a seamless transition from being a strictly Kinect title to one that offers controller play. Although it’s easy to tell Rush was a Kinect game due to the simplistic controls and limited gameplay variety, Pixar fans will enjoy the opportunity to explore these franchises. Especially with the brand new Finding Dory episodes.

Rush is a very middle-of-the-road title. Nothing spectacular, yet nothing weighing it down. If you have already played Rush: A Disney Pixar Adventure, there is no need to revisit it. The new content of Finding Dory isn’t enough to justify recommending it for a second time. For young fans who have never experienced Rush, it is worth considering, just don’t expect hours of entertainment.

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Rush: A Disney Pixar Adventure (Xbox One) – gameplay image via Micorsoft Studios and ASOBO

Rush: A Disney Pixar Adventure was reviewed using “retail” Xbox One download codes provided by Microsoft Studios. You can find additional information about CGMagazine’s ethics and review policies and procedures here.

Liked this article and want to read more like it? Check out more of Melanie Emile’s reviews such as Cuphead, Plants Vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2, and Until Dawn!

Want to see more videos? Subscribe to our YouTube channel and check out the First 15: Super Mario Odyssey,  The Evil Within 2, and Cuphead!

Don’t forget to tune in every Friday the Pixels & Ink Podcast to hear the latest news, previews, and in-depth game discussions!

Never miss when new CGM articles go out by following us on Twitter and Facebook!

CGMagazine is Canada’s premiere comics and gaming magazine. Subscribe today to get the best of CGM delivered right to your door! Never miss when a new issue goes live by subscribing to our newsletter! Signing up gives you exclusive entry into our contest pool. Sign up once, you’ll have a chance to win! Sign up today!

Cars 3 Game Coming From Avalanche Software

Cars 3 Game Coming From Avalanche Software

Cars 3 is on its way from Pixar and Walt Disney, and the movie is scheduled for a June 16, 2017 release. But a video game is on its way to accompany the release as well. In a press release from Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media, the two companies announced that Cars 3 would also see a video game tie-in with the film, developed by Avalanche Software.

Originally founded in 1995, Avalanche Software was reopened by Warner Bros. after Disney Interactive discontinued Disney Infinity and shut down Disney Interactive Studios. Avalanche Software previously developed Tak and the Power of Juju, Prince of Persia: Arabian Nights, Rampage 2: Universal Tour and Rampage Through Time. When the studio reopened, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment also obtained the rights to the Octane engine, which will be used for Cars 3. The studio will be led by John Blackburn.

“It is a tremendous pleasure to welcome Avalanche Software into our development stable, and we look forward to working with our new team, Pixar Animation Studios, and DCPI to create Cars 3 based on the upcoming film and hugely popular franchise,” Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment President David Haddad said. “The Avalanche talent and technology are a great addition to our group of outstanding developers, and we are excited for this Cars 3 game as well as all of the future games the team will create under John’s leadership.”

Back in 2011, Cars 2: The Video Game was considered a successful and well-developed movie tie-in to the Cars series. The game was developed by Avalanche Software, and sold several million copies. No news yet on whether Cars 3 will borrow from Cars 2 or push towards a brand new gameplay style, but it seems likely that Cars 3 will introduce new gameplay mechanics to the video games. One can only hope for free roam in the latest installment.

Finding Dory (Movie) Review

Finding Dory (Movie) Review

With the exception of anything with the words “Story” or “Toy” in the title (though not necessarily in that order), Pixar sequels should be approached with caution. Not only does the production of one of these follow ups delay the studio from delivering their next brilliant original effort, but these aren’t even necessarily projects that the good folks at the studio even wanted to make. The company is part of the Disney empire after all and certain Pixar projects make better merchandise, so there are now demands placed on the company that stretch beyond their creative goals. Finding Nemo was certainly never a movie that seemed to warrant a follow up, but thankfully the one that arrived will hardly tarnish its legacy. Finding Dory might not quite match its predecessor, but it’s certainly better than the mess of Cars 2 and the mediocrity of Monsters University. The beauty, humour, and heart of the original movie certainly return. The only problem is a mild sense of déjà vu, but thankfully not enough to be a deal breaker.

Finding Dory (Movie) Review 2Mirroring the iconic and tragic opening of Finding Nemo, this tale kicks off with a prologue guaranteed to make the parents in the audience misty. This time we see Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) as a child struggling with short-term memory loss and her loving parents (Eugene Levy and Diane Keaton) inventing games to help her cope while worrying about her future. She loses her parents, but grows up into a content adult who is able to survive and even thrive with her condition thanks to kindness and good humour. The extended intro ends when Dory meets Marlin (Albert Brooks) in a familiar scene from the last movie. Then we flash ahead to sequel territory where Dory has suddenly remembered that she lost her parents and is determined to find them. Marlin reluctantly agrees to help, following a little push from Nemo, and the sequel settles into reprise territory of a few greatest hits from last time. However, the destination is far different and takes up at least half of the running time. You see, Dory is from a large-scale aquarium. Which is obviously a tricky beast for fish to enter from the ocean. Cue comedic fish heist aided by a surly octopus (Ed O’Neill).

So, there’s definitely plenty of repetition in this follow up. Another trip with the surfer turtles appears and there are some pretty hilarious silly sea lions taking the place of the lovable dopey seagulls from last time. The aquarium heist portion of the movie feels particularly repetitive. Sure, it’s a more elaborate fish escape sequence than the dentist office adventure from the last go around and features some down right stunning animation, but it’s ultimately more of the same. The sequel features a surly octopus delightfully voiced by Ed O’Neill to provide skepticism to counter Dory’s relentless optimism, but Marlin/Nemo’s quest often feels tacked on purely to keep those popular characters in the cast. It is still rather funny though, with folks like Bill Hader, Kate McKinnon, and Idris Elba providing amusing extended cameos to pile on the laughs and a hysterical appearance from a certain iconic 80’s actress that somehow only seems to get funnier every time she pops up. Yet, as silly as things get and as delightfully elaborate as the action sequences become, something feels oddly lacking compared to Finding Nemo. The set pieces often feel a bit forced to fit franchise requirements, giving the whole movie a case of sequelitis.

Thankfully, where director Andrew Stanton and co. don’t disappoint is in the emotional core. Finding Nemo might be beloved family entertainment, but it was also one of the first Pixar joints with a gut punch well of emotion that reduced every adult in the audience to sniveling tears even if they wouldn’t admit it. The way Stanton draws out Dory’s memory loss into something real and teases the struggle of parents raising a child with a mental disability (as well as adults learning to cope with their condition) packs a genuine whollup. What was once a comedic side character poking fun at fish memory (or the lack there of) is now a potent protagonist who sticks deeply with the audience. DeGeneres gets a lot of mileage out of clueless humour once more, but this time also plays things dramatically and delivers a performance above and beyond what many would think she’s capable of. Hinging the sequel on Dory seemed like a Cars 2 style commercial calculation when it was announced, but thankfully that decision proved to give this sequel a strong message and heart-warming core that is completely unexpected and wholly satisfying.

It also goes without saying that Finding Dory serves up the most beautiful CGI animation that we’re likely to see this year, with the endless blue ocean offering hypnotic eye candy and the aquarium escape serving up some of the finest set pieces the studio has ever delivered. The sequel follows the Pixar formula to the letter; serving up a mix of heart, humour, and spectacle in perfect balance. If anything, the movie follows the studio formula a little two slavishly, feeling somewhat predictable towards the finish line as Stanton ticks off all the necessary boxes. Still, these are concerns that will only bother those who Pixar obsessives. Kids won’t notice and their parents will be so pleased that they aren’t suffering through Ninja Turtles again that they won’t care. That’s all that really matters after all. This is of course a family film for the masses and it’s unlikely there will be a better CGI crowd-pleaser this summer for giddy tykes and parents pretending not to cry.

Finding Dory (Movie) Review 3

Disney Infinity 3.0 Edition Release Date Announced

Disney Infinity 3.0 Edition Release Date Announced

Disney announced the North American release date of Disney Infinity 3.0 Edition to be August 30 of this year.

As an incentive to get people to pre-order the game, Disney will be offering the Toy Box Takeover expansion.

Toy Box Takeover will include Disney characters from Star Wars, Marvel, Disney, and Pixar. Disney characters must save the day when Syndrome from The Incredibles gets a hold of Merlin’s wand.

The other expansion that will be available is Toy Box Speedway, a kart racing game also set to release this fall, which will offer more gameplay.

Read below for more details.


Disney Interactive Announces North American Release Date for Disney Infinity 3.0 Edition, Offers Toy Box Takeover Expansion Game as Pre-Order Incentive

Disney Interactive has announced that the Disney Infinity 3.0 Edition Starter Pack, featuring the Star Wars Twilight of the Republic Play Set, will be available in North America on August 30, 2015 (August 28 in th UK)

In addition to the Starter Pack the following items will also be available:

• Star Wars Twilight of the Republic Play Set (Anakin Skywalker and Ahsoka Tano figures included) for players who choose to digitally download the Disney Infinity 3.0 Edition Software; additional standalone figures (Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi) and Power Disc Pack
• Star Wars Rebels figures (Kanan Jarrus, Ezra Bridger, Sabine Wren, and Zeb Orrelios)
• Star Wars Saga Starter Pack
• Disney Pixar’s Inside Out Play Set (Joy and Anger figures included) and additional standalone figures (Sadness, Disgust and Fear)
• Disney figures (Mickey, Minnie, Mulan, Olaf, Sam Flynn and Quorra)
• Tomorrowland Power Disc Pack

Fans who pre-order a Disney Infinity 3.0 Edition Starter Pack at participating retail stores will receive an early copy of the Toy Box Expansion Game, Toy Box Takeover, an action-adventure valued at $19.99, featuring multiplayer gameplay allowing players to use all of their favorite Disney Infinity characters across Star Wars™, Marvel, Disney and Disney Pixar.

Toy Box Takeover is one of two new Toy Box Expansion Games available to play in Disney Infinity 3.0 Edition. The second will be Toy Box Speedway, a kart-racing game, also set for release this fall. Toy Box Expansion Games unlock additional hours of gameplay inside Toy Box 3.0. Players place a Toy Box Expansion Game Piece on the Disney Infinity Base to unlock pre-built games that instantly take them into the action, mixing and matching characters from across The Walt Disney Company and using unlocked toys and gadgets to complete missions.

Toy Box Takeover

When Syndrome gets his hands on Merlin’s magic wand, it’s up to the player to stop him. Using their favorite characters in Disney Infinity, they must battle across multiple worlds, such as Pirates of the Caribbean, Marvel’s Upper Manhattan, The Old West, or The Incredibles Volcano Lair to defeat the bad guys before they ruin the Toy Box forever. Players can complete missions with family and friends via two-player local co-op or four-player online.

Toy Box Speedway

Players can join their favorite Disney, Disney Pixar, Marvel’s and Star Wars characters and vehicles in an action-packed kart-racer. With nine franchise-themed tracks to choose from – Sugar Rush, Frozen, Tatooine, a classic Star Wars location, San Fransokyo, Agrabah, Monsters Inc., Halloween Town, Gravity Falls or Marvel’s Knowhere – they can choose from three different game modes including Time Trial mode, Race mode and Combat mode. Players put their driving skills to the test as they attack opponents with gadgets and weapons and earn trophies across three challenge cups.


Inside Out (Movie) Review

Inside Out (Movie) Review

After a flurry of movies in the 2000s that somehow managed to be crowd pleasing works of animated entertainment and almost audaciously ambitious films, Pixar’s output has cooled as of late. A splat of sequels, prequels, and a token Disney Princess feature were all well made and quite profitable, but lacked the depth that defined Pixar as such a special dream factory. Thankfully, that streak is finally over. Inside Out doesn’t just feel like vintage Pixar, it has the potential to be remembered as one of the finest projects they’ve ever produced. It’s a wonderfully entertaining and colourful little high-concept comedy that packs a moral punch about how to deal with emotions that would take most adults a few decades of therapy to come to terms with.
insideoutheader1The film takes place within the mind of an eleven-year-old girl named Riley (Kaitlyn Dias). Her mind is represented as a control room run by a collection of emotions: Joy (Amy Pohler), Anger (Lewis Black), Fear (Bill Hader), Disgust (Mindy Kaling), and Sadness (Phllis Smith). A quick prologue establishes that Joy is the leader of the group and the first emotion that Riley ever experienced. Soon sadness joined her and as the girl grew, as did the number of emotions running her control switchboard. Her memories are collected in big balls defined by each emotion and Joy has been careful to ensure that all of the core emotions that define Riley’s personality have been influenced by her perky self. However, that all changes when Riley’s family moves to San Francisco, tearing her from her friends, hockey, and even pizza without broccoli. This creates a new core memory spoiled by Sadness and when Joy tries to stop it, the two conflicting emotions are sucked out of the control center and into the deepest recesses of Riley’s mind. Fear, Disgust, and Anger take over Riley during this difficult time as Joy and Sadness rush through the girl’s imagination, subconscious, and dream centre fighting their way back home.

Like all great Pixar movies, Inside Out works on two distinct levels. The first is as a colorful adventure comedy the likes of which the folks behind Herman’s Head could only dreamed to have made. The emotions might be stock characters limited to their namesake defining traits, but they are so cleverly designed with voice actors cast so perfectly to type that it’s hard to notice. Obviously getting someone like Lewis Black to play anger is so perfect that it practically takes care of itself, but the real coups are Amy Poehler (who approaches her relentlessly optimistic role with just the right shade of irony to keep her from ever becoming annoying) and Phillis Smith (who deadpans the role of sadness perfectly and movingly). The writers, filmmakers, and animators clearly had a ball designing various aspects of the human mind as giant sets, serving up some inspired gags (such as Riley’s hysterical dream boyfriend or the ingenious movie set vision of her dreams) as well as a few adventurous set pieces to keep the pace pumping. There are also some wonderful characters around the edges, especially the melancholically funny Bing-Bong (perfectly voiced by the great Richard Kind), Riley’s imaginary childhood friend who embodies the film’s theme of letting go of childhood in the quest for maturity.
insideoutinsert7Of course the other level that Inside Out works on is an emotional/intellectual level that’s even stronger. The central metaphor of emotions controlling behaviour is strong and one that the Pixar team tease out in wonderful ways both big and small (even seemingly throw away choices like the order to which the emotions enter Riley’s mind or the way her mother’s mind is controlled by Sadness and her father’s by Anger speak to deep truths that some viewers might not even notice until repeated viewings). However, the central moral that co-directors Pete Docter and Ronaldo Del Carmen (who previously made Up! together) is a real doosey. The film is ultimately about the importance of letting sadness govern our lives as much as happiness and how embracing both extremes fosters emotional maturity. That’s a pretty complex message to squeeze into a frothy bit of animated summer entertainment, yet the filmmakers do so in such simple and eloquent ways that make the message poignantly clear. As you can imagine, since the movie came from Docter who previously delivered the tearful conclusion to Monsters Inc. and the gut-wrenching opening to Up!, audiences of all ages will get a pretty intense case of the feelies by the time the credits role.

Inside Out is weep-worthy, devastating, and thought-provoking, yet somehow also cheerfully entertaining and wildly creative. You know, just like a Pixar movie. There was a period when the studio managed to perfect and repeat that formula in such wildly different permutations that it was almost easy to take them for granted. After a few years of more modest fair, Inside Out feels just that much more special. It’s rare that any movie would do so much so well, let alone something that also offers beautiful CG animation and a story both simple and complex enough to work for seemingly any audience. This is a truly special summer movie. One that will delight kids almost as much as a barrage of dinosaur attacks and give their parents reason to devolve into blubbering tearful messes before re-evaluating the way they carry their emotional baggage over the drive home. That’s not easy, even if Pete Docter and co. make it feel effortless.

Brave (Xbox 360) Review

Brave (Xbox 360) Review

Generally speaking games based on movies are hastily cranked out affairs design to sucker kids and pushover parents into thinking that somehow the experience of the film can be replicated in the cheaply produced game. However, Disney movie games can and should be counted on for a little more. After all, the company has produced a few pretty fantastic games themselves over the years (Castle Of Illusion, anyone?) and if you haven’t noticed they seem to put a lot of energy into merchandising. Last year their decent Cars 2 racing game was actually better than the movie (though to be fair all that took was shutting up Larry The Cable Guy’s character for a while). This year they’re dropping another Pixar adaptation and it is decidedly not as good as the movie. Then again, most other movies aren’t generally as good as what the good at Pixar produce every year, so that’s not too much of a surprise.  For what it is, Brave isn’t bad. Certainly not something worth rushing to pick up, but if you have a youngin’ kicking around who loved the movie and needs a little more, you can at least buy this thing knowing their childish dreams won’t be crushed.

Brave (Xbox 360) Review

Pop this disc in your system of choice (it’s available on everything) and you’ll find yourself in control of Pixar’s princess Merida. She ain’t yo’ daddy’s Disney princess, so she’ll be talking smack and doing her own fighting in the game with her trusty bow n’ arrow at her side. The plot is loosely adapted from the movie, with the princess on the hunt for a demon bear Mor’du. Things kick off shortly after Merida’s mother is turned into a bear by a witch and the princess sets off to set things right. From there the story is completely different from the film. There wasn’t too much action in Merida’s big screen adventure, so the game essentially plunks her into a new quest with the same goal, only requiring far more cartoon enemies to be beaten up with weapons and magic attacks. It’s obviously not as much of an emotionally resonant version of the tale, but I find it hard to think that kids would want to play levels in which the princess and bear/queen

For the most part you play as Merida, but there are several interludes where you play as her mother the bear. These are essentially rampage levels and she’s got far more strength than her daughter with being a bear and all, so they are fun little breaks in the main action. As Merida you’ll have a sword for mêlée attacks and a bow and arrow accessible with the right joystick for long range attacks. Pretty simple combat controls, the kind of thing that developers keep returning to because they work, damnit. As the game goes on, you’ll also earn magic attacks based on the elements (water allows you to freeze enemies in ice, earth attacks spawn explosive sprites, and I dare you to guess what fire attacks do). The magic attacks allow just enough variance for creative boss n’ baddy designs, but never forget this is a kids game. It’s all very simple and without much challenge. All 8 stages can be knocked off in about five hours. For the target audience I’m sure that will work just fine, but don’t expect an experience that’s even as deep as the recent Lego Batman 2. There are also a few Kinect-based motion mini-games that I wasn’t able to try given my archaic non-Kinect gaming ways. I’m sure they are just as easy to play and beat as the campaign itself.find ways to connect. That’s movie stuff. Games like this are more about smashy-smashy.

Brave (Xbox 360) Review

On a technical level, movie tie-in games are rarely up to snuff because of how quickly they are produced. That’s just part of the deal and unfortunately it’s particularly noticeable in Brave given that the time-strapped designers were trying to replicate some of Pixar’s most gorgeous and complicated CG animation to date. The game does not look like the movie. That was a given though and it at least looks ok. There are irritating frame rate issues that pop up whenever there are large landscapes to be viewed (which sadly happens a lot). It’s nothing that young gamers will notice, but undeniably distracting for anyone with an eye for that sort of thing. The sound design helps make up for it with a nice mix of immersive sound effects and sweet, sweet Celtic tunes (note: I’m Scottish, you might not appreciate that as much as me).

So, overall Brave is a thoroughly average game with no glaring flaws. However, in the wild world of movie tie-in games, that makes it a minor triumph. It’s very brief and offers only a few collectables and mini-games for replay value. That’s not something that general gamers will want to rush out and get their hands on, but at least it’s a game that won’t deeply disappoint kids. Considering folks my age had to get our movie-game kicks on god awful and impossible side scrollers based on the likes of Who Framed Roger Rabbit or Back To The Future, these young whippersnappers of today sure have it made. Definitely worth a recommendation to anyone with children dying to play a game based on the new Pixar movie, but a mild curiosity at best for anyone else. That’s really all you could really ask from this sort of thing.

Cars 2 (XBOX 360) Review

Cars 2 (XBOX 360) Review

I do not have high expectations based on movie licenses games, Especially in terms of depth. So It Was a pleasant surprise When 2 Cars started off with a tutorial telling me how to drift and trick to fill up the turbo gauge. Avalanche Used in Tried and true recipe to make a kart racer with weapons Good, short-cuts, turbo boosts, and well-rounded multiplayer. While the game Is not as robust in ITS and advanced technical level selection as Mario Kart, it HAS Enough to make it Worthwhile Offerings on Its Own.

Essentially Cars 2 plays like Any Other kart racer, and the cast at Avalanche Software HAS added a Variety of Into the game mechanics to add flashy Some Ways to beat your Opponents. Doing tricks Helps refill your turbo gauge and if you max it out, you go “in the zone”, an ultra-boost That Mows down racers like the star in Mario Kart. If you really want to get fancy you-can flip backwards because your view and switch the players behind you to shoot while driving in reverse. Winning the Gold Cup Is A Matter of refueling your turbo gauge, hitting short-track racers gunning down and cuts.

The great thing about the tracks Is That THEY work for different game modes, but i got tired of Progressing in the missions and playing the Same setting in a different fashion. There Were Many times Where I Asked myself, “Did not I just beat this level?” The Level Can Be Also confusing if you’re Trying to climb back to first place. The race tracks Have huge lanes with lots of detours and short-cuts, making it feel like you’re driving in no Specific management to get to the finish line. It’s this quality occasionally That Makes it feel like my driving skills Will not matter in Helping me win, although it does make shooting and groin Easier.

Playing a kart racer Would not feel right Without The Ability to take out the cars in front of you. The weapons in Cars 2 Run the gamut of missiles, homing cars (bombs), oil spill, and satellite lasers, the Latter of Which is glorious When You get to rip it Into Your Opponents. The lower the position you’re in, the better your chances of getting high level weapons, although aside from the laser satellite, There Are not Many equalizers Powerful Enough to help you boost the lead. It Can Get a little frustrating if you’re just Trying to get to the next mission.

Those “CHROME” single-player missions are a bit of mixed bag, There Is Enough Variety aim to keep fresh Things with “Survival”, “Attack”, or “Hunter” modes. In “Survival,” your goal IS to collect purple rods to refuel your energy gauge. “Hunter” throws you in a giant arena in a hide-and-seek deathmatch to accumulate points in waves of attacks. “Attack” mode, Meanwhile, Asks you to rack up kills as Many as You Can by shooting enemy missiles with cars aka lemons. Each kill Increase the timer, and There’s Something about blowing up Gratifying 5 cars with one shot to gain a FEW extra seconds.

All of the single player modes and multiplayer Into transition seamlessly combines with Two Additional multiplayer modes to make for Some dynamic split-screen action. (Unfortunately for us adults, Disney opted out for online playability.) “Battle Arena” is Basically a deathmatch and “disruptive” is a capture-the-flag (CTF) mode. The responsive controls make for intense shoot-outs, Bringing back the old-school battles in Mario Kart 64 with Some fresh twists. That back-and-forth action spill-over to “Disrupt” Which mode Perfectly captures the essence of a typical CBC.

As for the visuals, and Pixar Avalanche WORKED together to get the animations and models to look like the original Disney characters and it shows. The cars look and move like in the movie They Do, They Do not Have although the Sami glisten and sheen. Is not Exactly missing the shine, But It Could use a bit of work. Some of the tracks come straight from the movie and scenes are Highly Detailed. Tokyo HAS tight streets with lights and bright signs weaving off of store Every corner, while Italy villas HAS Countless little sweeping across green valleys.

Many of the movie’s original cast members (Including Larry the Cable Guy, but not Owen Wilson or Michael Caine) are aussi here to Bring the feel of the movie Into the game, and the little touches of Disney peppered Throughout The game make the world of Cars 2 feel complete. If you leave the game on at the menu screen, the cars sit in the background That Will begin coming to life with quirky attitudes Their Own. Most cars unlocked Have To Be Giving You about 30 cars to choose Which leaves a lot of room for replayability.

In Spite of all my nit-picking, the game At Its Core Is A Racer family friendly for kids, and a good one at That. It’s a fun multiplayer with a gentle learning curve That leaves room for growth for Those Who Can take advantage of the advanced mechanics. While the Gold Cup is getting all the tracks IS tough, it’s Something That Would not Take More than a week to do. The Lack of Variety of tracks Means There’s Only So Many races You Can Win Before It feels like you’re playing the Same level over again, Even if it’s in a different fashion. Then again, this game Was not Meant for people as old as me. While Cars 2 IS a little out of my age group, the game’s fun for anyone looking for easy-to-year pick up multiplayer kart racer for the family.