Month: February 2018

The Tick Season 1 (Amazon) Review

The Tick Season 1 (Amazon) Review

I’ve been waiting for a show like The Tick to come along. Often times comic book properties will take themselves too seriously, or go way too over-the-top to the point of pure parody, yet The Tick has always managed to hit that perfect stride. It’s the character that everyone needed, even if folks are still unaware of his presence. By all accounts, this show shouldn’t exist, but I’m glad Amazon took a chance on it.

The Tick Season 1 (Amazon) Review 3
Peter Serafinowicz and Griffin Newman in The Tick (2017) – image for this review courtesy of Amazon.

To say The Tick started off rocky is an understatement. What we initially got with the pilot (which debuted an entire year before we got the first half of this inaugural season) was a sort of rudderless, high concept superhero project. Arthur, a troubled nobody, was dragged into the dealings of a dangerous crime syndicate and into the life of The Tick, a good-natured strong man, but there was just one problem—we didn’t actually know if The Tick was real or just a concoction of Arthur’s mental hardship. It was equal parts absurd and daring, and I’m glad they immediately cleared that up (to comedic effect) right after the first part of the season dropped because I’m not sure they could have kept that ruse going or done that idea justice.

The peerless optimism of The Tick and Arthur’s constant despair pair together just fine. The Tick is clueless, sure, but Peter Serafinowicz’s incredible performance evoking heroic Americana of old sells it, and in the process he creates a clear dichotomy between himself and the man who formerly took up the blue mantle, the actor born to play Tick, Patrick Warburton. The show’s humour is never one-sided and no one is safe from a good ribbing, which Serafinowicz plays into. When you have a badass mercenary that hides up in the rafters, is discovered by a civilian and responds “stop looking at me” without missing a beat, you know that anything is fair game. By the same token, a heated fight between a talking superhero dog and that same mercenary cyborg doesn’t feel out of place. It’s all about balance and restraint.

The Tick Season 1 (Amazon) Review 1
Michael Cerveris and Yara Martinez in The Tick (2017) – image for this review courtesy of Amazon.

While I feel like the show struck that chord early on, the second part of the season is a clear uptick, at least initially. We’re getting more characters and given that one of the source material’s biggest strengths is its rogue gallery and swath of heroes, that’s only a good thing for a Tick adaptation if it’s done right—and it is. This expansion allows Jackie Earle Haley to slip further into the skin of The Terror, a villain that straddles the line of terrifyingly hilarious and actually terrifying. When The Tick gives a speech that would typically sound saccharine coming from another real-life actor or larger-than-life superhero, Serafinowicz makes us believe it. The Terror works just as well as an actual force of nature rather than just the legend he mostly was in the first half, and Arthur, after hearing The Tick’s incessant “you’re a hero” speeches for days on end, finally attempts to become one. The only part of the first season that really let me down was the final episode when everything wraps up just a little too conveniently without granting much agency or importance to the cast outside of Arthur.

The Tick Season 1 (Amazon) Review 5
Valorie Curry in The Tick (2017) – image for this review courtesy of Amazon.

Part of the reason for this show’s success is the casting department, which deserves a raise. Along with some relative newcomers we also have a bunch of incredibly hard-working career character actors coming along for the ride, and it’s high time they’re finally recognized. There’s also a minimal use of CG, which is more a by-product of the pragmatism of a low budget production but is also a blessing. The costuming department does a lot of the legwork, playing off of the aforementioned performances. The Tick’s slight antenna jerks (handled by a Jim Henson workshop puppeteer) coupled with Serafinowicz’s perplexed looks go together like wine and cheese. I can also appreciate the writing and that there isn’t an over-reliance on edge for the sake of it. Far too often scripts can fall into the over-the-top trap of “R-rated superheroes,” a folly that would have been possible on an off-network TV show like this but is swiftly avoided.

The Tick Season 1 (Amazon) Review 6
Peter Serafinowicz and Griffin Newman in The Tick (2017) – image for this review courtesy of Amazon.

There were myriad reasons to be sceptical of this rendition of The Tick when it was announced. Amazon doesn’t have a lot of experience with superhero productions, the cast didn’t sound enticing on paper, and the iconic suit looked like a flop in promotional art. But just like the unlikely hero Arthur, everyone, from the performers to the crew, rose to the occasion. With Amazon cancelling shows left and right to pay for their Lord of the Rings deal it seemed like The Tick was next on the chopping block, but season two is already bought and paid for and I couldn’t be happier.


Liked this article and want to read more like it? Check out more of Chris Carter’s  reviews, such as Tokyo 42 and Preacher Season 2!

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Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden Announced For PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC 2018

Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden Announced For PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC 2018

Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden, is a brand new title from independent game developers Funcom and publishers, Bearded Ladies, a trailer for the game can be viewed below.

The trailer takes place in a post-apocalyptic urban environment. Humans have been mutated into strange, chimaera-like hybrids. The aesthetics of the trailer seem to portray the game as an interesting blend of titles such as Beyond Good and Evil and even The Last of Us, with an emphasis more on the former.

Funcom is an indie games developer and publisher, and Bearded Ladies, a Sweden-based game development studio, which includes the likes of former Hitman designers and Ulf Andersson, the designer of Payday.

Players must take control of a team of unlikely heroes, such as Dux (a crossbow-wielding, walking, talking duck) and Bormin (a boar with serious anger issues), and help them navigate Earth’s abandoned cities and crumbling highways, with mutated monsters on every corner. The ultimate goal: save yourselves by finding the legendary Eden – a haven for weary wasteland folk.

“It’s an unusual label for a game, but tactical adventure really fits the bill, no duck pun intended,” says Executive Producer Ulf Andersson at Bearded Ladies. Andersson is also known for being the designer of the 2011 megahit, ‘PAYDAY’. “Our goal is to blend the deep and tactical combat of ‘XCOM’ with a branching storylines that unfold as you explore overgrown forests and abandoned cities with your team of Mutants. Mixing that with real-time stealth gameplay gives you a unique way to approach or avoid combat situations you encounter while exploring.”

Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden is set to come out sometime later this year on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.

 


Liked this article and want to read more like it? Check out Wayne Santo’s Review of The Last of Us Remastered on the PlayStation 4.

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Anki Overdrive: Fast & Furious Edition Review 5

Anki Overdrive: Fast & Furious Edition Review

Slot cars used to be a staple toy I played with as a kid. Despite the fact that they almost always flew off the track, and I almost never finished an actual race, there was something special about the toy. So much so, that when the Anki Overdrive: Fast & Furious Edition arrived at the office, I jumped at the chance of giving it a full review, and was not disappointed.

For those uninitiated, Anki Overdrive: Fast & Furious Edition is a follow-up to Anki Overdrive, which released in 2015, and for the most part little has changed beyond some added features and a heavy F&F overhaul in the app. But honestly, how can things not be made more fun with the addition of more Vin Diesel and friends?

Anki Overdrive: Fast & Furious Edition Review 6
Anki Overdrive: Fast & Furious Edition (image for this review credit: CGM Staff).

At $239.99 CAD ($169 USD) Anki Overdrive: Fast & Furious Edition is not a cheap purchase, but for that price, you will get two cars based on the Fast and Furious franchise: Hobbs’ MXT truck and Dom’s Charger. You will also get a series of track pieces, guard rails, and a charging station that can charge up to four cars at once.

To get things started you will need to download the Anki Overdrive: Fast & Furious Edition app. This app is very similar to the standard Overdrive app, but as mentioned before it has a Fast & Furious makeover that includes artwork along with voice talent from the films. The app is currently available from the iOS App Store, Play Store, and the Amazon app store for anyone on the Fire range of devices—so whatever device you are on, you should be able to find the app and get things going.

To play you will need to set up the track pieces into a configuration that fits your needs and jump into the app and claim a car. You can even compete against your friends, provided they have a phone or tablet with the app installed.

Controlling the cars is very easy, and since the cars are smart and learn the track you should not need to worry much about flying off the track. You control the cars with the small on-screen buttons: accelerate with the gas pedal, change lanes by tilting the device. There is no way to reverse or brake, although should you wish to slow down, you can remove your finger from the gas pedal button. There is also the possibility to fire weapons depending on the mode you chose.

Should you wish you jump into the battle modes, you will be able to use the weapons to temporarily disable opponents, or even just earn points that can be used to unlock better weapons for use in future games. Anki has managed the delicate balance of the progression we expect from modern mobile games while giving the tactile feel of a race set, and it all works far better than I would have expected.

Anki Overdrive: Fast & Furious Edition Review 5
Anki Overdrive: Fast & Furious Edition (image for this review credit: CGM Staff).

This being the Fast & Furious Edition of Overdrive, there are a few options that you will not find in the base game, including the ability to play as characters from the film like Dom (Vin Diesel), Hobbs (the Rock), Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), or Tej (Ludacris), and while they do not add much to the way the game plays, they will say a selection of sound clips as they race. I will be honest and say while this adds a bit of flavour to a game, once you have heard a few clips, the novelty does wear off. Parents will be happy to hear that although these are lines from the films, there are no sexual references or profanity so it will be safe for the young ones.

While the game does include Dom’s and Hobbs’ cars in the box, characters are not limited to any specific vehicle. Should you wish to have Tej jump into Dom’s Charger, there is nothing stopping you. While it may never happen in the films, this is your racing world so you can build your own fiction and just have fun.

Anki Overdrive: Fast & Furious Edition Review 1
Anki Overdrive: Fast & Furious Edition (image for this review credit: CGM Staff).

The base game should be enough to build a hefty track that will allow for a few configurations, although you have the option to pick up additional track pieces should you want a bit more variety. In the box, you have four straight pieces along with six curves. They work and look just like Overdrive tracks beyond the small Fast & Furious logo on the edge of the tracks. Anki has clearly taken time developing the track system since it is durable and exceedingly easy to set up. The tracks connect together with the help of magnets, and while parents may want to plan things for younger kids, most older children should have no problem setting things up and getting the game started.

This being Fast & Furious, the cars can get up to some good speeds, so to prevent cars from flying off the track Anki has included a series of guard rails. While not necessary, if you want to spend more time racing and less time resetting cars, they can be a good idea. In testing cars would frequently get pushed off the track putting a minor halt on the fun.

Unlike slot cars of old, the Anki Overdrive cars do not get their power from the track and must be charged in the special charger. The good news is a single charge will get you around 7-8 full races before needing a top up. Even better still, should the car die in the middle of a race, it will only take around 30 minutes to bring it back to full power.

Anki Overdrive: Fast & Furious Edition Review 2
Anki Overdrive: Fast & Furious Edition (image for this review credit: CGM Staff).

If you have never played with a slot car before, the concept of watching small toy cars run around a track may not sound all that exciting, but controlling the car with your phone on a track you built makes for a surprisingly fun toy that is well worth the time and money.

Anki Overdrive: Fast & Furious Edition comes with a variety of modes to jump into. There is a campaign to let you race with the different F&F characters in a range of races including Open Play and Time Trial that allow a good range of play styles with which to experience the track. As mentioned before, going through the different modes will net you points that can be spent on upgrades that make your cars a bit more powerful going forward.

What makes Anki Overdrive so interesting is the autonomous nature of the system. Before each race, the cars will map out the track and learn what needs to be done as they go through the race. Even if the cars know the track there are the odd times they will get nudged off; luckily, more often than not the car will find its way back to the track and back into the race.

While the single (or autonomous) may be fun, the real meat and potatoes of Anki Overdrive: Fast & Furious Edition is when you jump into a competitive race with a friend or family member. The multiplayer is where the real fun is to be had. You can jump into any of the single-player modes with up to four people, and this is when battle races really come into their own.

While the experience was—for the most part—free from any major bugs, there was the odd time when the car lost connection to the phone, along with an instance of a car not wanting to jump back into the race after going off track, but these issues where few and far between, and did not hamper the overall enjoyment of Overdrive.

Anki Overdrive: Fast & Furious Edition Review
Anki Overdrive: Fast & Furious Edition (image for this review credit: CGM Staff).

The Anki Overdrive: Fast & Furious Edition is the best possible evolution of the slot car formula. It combines all the greatest aspects that made the classic toy so fun while mixing in some video game elements that make the overall experience a solid toy from the minute it was unboxed. While it is pricey, the fun, customization, and expandability make it well worth the price of entry.  Should you or someone in your family enjoy toy cars and racing, do them a favour and invest in Anki Overdrive: Fast & Furious Edition.

A retail version of this device reviewed was provided by the manufacturer. 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 Brendan Frye’s work such as his interview with EA Motive about Star Wars: Battlefront II, and his in-depth look at the Equifax Hack!

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Deep Sky Derelicts – Illustrious Monuments update released

Deep Sky Derelicts – Illustrious Monuments update released

1C and developer Snowhound Games are proud to announce that Deep Sky Derelicts, an original combination of turn-based strategy and RPG that is enriched with tactical card combat and popular rogue-like elements, has just received an illustrious update as part of its Early Access journey toward full release. Eager scavengers supporting the project can now enjoy and take advantage of loads of new content. The universe of Deep Sky Derelicts has just been expanded by lightyears, stretching average game duration to nearly double what it was before.

New updates will continue to be delivered every month according to the current roadmap, together with more frequent fixes, until the full release of Deep Sky Derelicts on 31 May 2018.

Check out some illustrious new screenshots from Deep Sky Derelicts: http://bit.ly/2x33Ehn

The February ‘Illustrious Monuments’ update enables players to expand their pool of choices and find new ways of getting deeper into the game, to explore new derelicts, engage in new situations and encounters, and find new ways of getting through them successfully. Full-fledged citizenship for characters is still a few months away, but another part of the unforgiving road has been laid towards a better life for space scavengers trying to make a living in the Deep Sky sector.

The Illustrious Monuments update includes:

  • 3 new character levels (level cap now at 7)
  • 5 skill specializations, with 1 for each type
  • 7+ very rare Illustrious mods
  • 8 new extension mods
  • 5-6 additional room conditions that can affect both exploration and combat gameplay
  • Energy management changes, along with a brand-new Research lab
  • 5 more derelicts (9 per play-through in total)
  • Progression from Tier 1 to Tier 2 ships
  • 10 new enemies
  • New main and side missions (each derelict has at least 1 of each)
  • Updated Arena with revised encounters (max 20)

“We’re very thankful to all the fans of Deep Sky Derelicts, for their valuable support. We’re striving to create a very distinctive gaming experience, and happy to see it paying off so well. The player reviews we’ve seen, as well as their creative suggestions – some of which have already made it into the game – are lighting our way to what we believe will be a successful, well-accepted and popular title among true tactical game lovers.” – Dmytro Zhovtobryukh, CEO of Snowhound Games.

About the game

 

“They drift in the void. Desolate but not empty.”

In a grim dystopian future, where mankind has scattered across the galaxy and the human society has split into two distinct classes, you are a poor stateless outcast forced to live off scraps from derelict alien stations and ships in the outer space, yet you dream of becoming a privileged citizen and living on the surface of a habitable planet, enjoying non-synthetic air, water and food. A fabled alien derelict ship somewhere within the Deep Sky sector of space is your voucher for a citizenship and a promise of cozy life on a hospitable planet.

Hire and control a squad of up to three mercenary characters and set on to explore derelict ships within your reach from the scavenger’s base. Searching the derelicts for loot and clues, you come across many friendly inhabitants and traders, but more often – various enemies. Challenge and defeat them in tactical turn-based fights, where randomly-drawn cards form your changing arsenal of combat actions, gain experience for yourself and your crew, loot dead bodies, resupply and upgrade once back at your base. The scavenger’s home ship gives you the opportunity to heal and level-up your mercenaries, equip them, upgrade their gear or recharge energy for life support during missions.

Features

  • Fresh take on turn-based combat with cards
  • Refined sci-fi comic book look & feel
  • Endless customization options for characters and scavenging teams
  • High replay value thanks to procedural generation of content
  • Story of the human society divided within a dystopian universe
  • Two game modes: story and arena

 

Game Information

Platforms:                             PC Windows, Linux, MacOS
Release in Early Access:         15 November 2017
Release Date Full Game:        31 May 2018
Publisher:                             1C Company
Developer:                            Snowhound Games


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For The King, Comes Out Of Early Access In April, Heads To Console In 2019

For The King, Comes Out Of Early Access In April, Heads To Console In 2019

Award-winning publisher Curve Digital, has partnered with IronOak Games to publish For the King, a rogue-like RPG adventure which sees players journey into procedurally generated levels to avenge their recently murdered King.

To celebrate the one year launch anniversary on Steam Early Access, IronOak Games has revealed For The King will move into a full release this April – and that PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch versions of the game will release in early 2019.

For The King is the first game from IronOak Games in Vancouver, Canada, formed in 2015 by a team of industry veterans who’ve previously worked on titles such as Sleeping Dogs, Dead Rising and Need For Speed. Driven by a desire to create a game they wanted to play, the founders quit their day jobs specifically to make For The King – and that passion and love helped the game become a huge Kickstarter smash in 2015, before going on to enjoy Steam Early Access success in 2017.

Mixing up a challenging blend of strategy, JRPG combat, and rogue-like elements, For The King features both a single player experience as well as the ability to play cooperatively both online and locally. Taking place in the gorgeous, hexagonal kingdom of Fahrul, players must strategically explore and battle their way through the fairytale, low-poly landscape in a bid to discover and survive, lest they succumb to death.

For The King is a passion project for us and very much an homage to the RPG genre,” said Colby Young, Game Designer of IronOak Games. “Early Access has been great for the game, allowing us to listen to fans and make the game as strong, polished and fun as possible. Now with its full release, and our new publishing deal with Curve, we can’t wait for more players to experience For The King.”

“We’ve been following For The King since its Kickstarter, and we’re extremely excited to announce today that IronOak have become part of the Curve family,” said Jason Perkins, Managing Director of Curve Digital. “The office is full of board game players and we frequently play them in our downtime. To have a title which encompasses this passion is thrilling – we can’t wait for the title to be fully released.”

The once peaceful kingdom of Fahrul is in chaos – the King is dead, murdered by an unknown assailant. With nowhere left to turn and stretched beyond her means, the queen has put out a desperate plea to the citizens of the land to rise up and help stem the tide of impending doom. In For The King, players can choose to create a makeshift party, either splitting up to cover more ground or sticking together for protection. A sound strategy can mean the difference between life and death.

Each playthrough is made unique with procedural maps, quests, and events. Players must brave the relentless elements, fight the wicked creatures, sail the seas and delve into the dark underworld. Brutal, turn-based combat unfolds using a unique slot system for attacks and special abilities while herbs can be gathered to heal wounds and cure maladies. Safe camps protect from the horror that nightfall brings but players must remember, they do not do this for the riches or fame but for their village and for their realm. For The King!

For The King will leave Early Access on Steam in early April. To coincide with this, the price will increase to from $14.99 to $19.99. Anyone wishing to purchase For The King now will benefit from the reduced price up until full release.


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