Saturday, 28 November 2015

Self/ Less: Blu Ray Review

Self/ Less: Blu Ray Review

Rating: M
Released by Roadshow Home Ent

From the director of The Cell and Immortals, comes a sci-fi tinged drama that has a great central premise, but some poor execution.

Ben Kingsley is Damien Hale, a dying New York real estate magnate and estranged father to Claire (Downton Abbey's Michelle Dockery), who decides death isn't enough for him and that he wants to do more with his life. So thanks to a shadowy company and a Faustian pact involving shedding his previous body, he discovers there's a way to transfer his consciousness into a newer younger body - and unsurprisingly, he takes that opportunity.

But when he wakes up in a new body (in the form of a perma-scowling Ryan Reynolds) he soon discovers the company and the transfer are not all they appear to be, thanks to flashes and a conspiracy unfolding before him.

Over-long, tonally muddled and betraying its a mind is a great thing to waste premise, Self / Lessis just a film that doesn't quite know what it wants to do with itself.

Losing Ben Kingsley after the first 10 minutes is an inevitable narrative necessity, but still doesn't help the film on its way. With his New York accented venal mogul clearly being the best part of it, the film struggles to continue in the wake of his disappearance, setting on a course for mediocrity and predictability rather than exploring the morality of a great premise.

Meshing Flatliners with parts of Quantum Leap may have seemed like a reasonable idea, and to be fair to Singh, the visuals of the locations and the sensory flashbacks soar as ever in one of his films. However, the human element of the drama is undersold by a muted Reynolds who never really seizes on the promise of a second life and it's never fully helped by an apparent complete attitude change from the man who's inhabiting his body.

The problem comes in the script which is predictable as you'd expect and starts to play like a list of things to be ticked off, rather than invested in emotionally as Reynolds' character meets up with his past and former wife and child.

Ultimately, Self / Less becomes a trudge through its Twilight Zone idea rather than an interesting journey - thanks in part to Reynolds and some badly put together scripting, it's a fairly soulless saunter through a great sci-fi premise.


Friday, 27 November 2015

Call of Duty: Black Ops III: PS4 Review

Call of Duty: Black Ops III: PS4 Review

Released by Activision
Platform: PS4

The year is 2065 and cybernetics are rife - and with it a new breed of shooter is born.

Hitting the ground running is the name of the game in Call of Duty: Black Ops III, and it embraces the more futuristic elements of Advanced Warfare, allowing the soldiers to fight faster, stronger and smarter.

In terms of story, you play Jacob Hendricks, who for reasons that I won't spoil decides to undergo cybernetic enhancements to ensure he continues in the campaign. And there's a mission to complete too, which takes you to various locations and ensures that you won't be bored.

But it's really the multiplayer elements of the game which will keep you entranced in the latest Call of Duty iteration. Adding in the multiplayer is no new thing but the smoothness of this and the fact specialist skills have been added in makes it a bit of a trickier ask at times. One of the games I played was a capture the area type scenario, where weapons were good, but stealth was better. Simply put, this game took some of the finer points of Advanced Warfare and ramped them up to 11. Speed is definitely an issue with this iteration of COD and I do advice you to adjust to what's ahead before being thrown into the game, as you need time to adjust to skills and weaponry.

It's very fast paced and to be frank, if you're no expert on FPS games, Call of Duty Black Ops III may be a trickier ask for you to dive into. With a wealth of maps and ways to play there's certainly more than enough to keep you engaged.

From solo gameplay to multiplayer, there's also a Zombies game within to play through as well.

And we're not just talking about the main game being reissued in a Nightmares mode where the enemy are replaced by the undead.

Fully formed and its own beast, the Zombies element of the game features yet another storyline and cast that includes the likes of Heather Graham and Jeff Goldblum. It's a great addition to the main game and a chance for that side of the series to stand alone, and it works well keeping you amused and also bemused at the growing amount of content on this set alone.

From thruster jet packs which will save your day to marauding zombies, there's no denying Call of Duty Black Ops III is quite the full package. While some elements of the story may be a bit hokey and there's a bit of a reliance on cut scenes, this latest iteration shows the franchise has no desire to slow down and that by mixing cybernetics with shooters, the series has a dazzling future ahead of it if it continues to display the wealth of content that this release showcases.

Republique heading to next gen

Republique heading to next gen


NIS America is extremely excited to announce that the acclaimed episodic stealth-action game, République, will be arriving in Australia and New Zealand in Early 2016 on PlayStation®4 as both a physical and digital release!
GungHo Online Entertainment America is the publisher of the PS4™ game in North America.

About the game:
Now that République is on PS4™, players can finally take full control of Hope, a young woman held captive inside Metamorphosis, a shadowy totalitarian state ruled by the omnipresent Overseer. By hacking into this secret nation's elaborate surveillance network, players and Hope begin a treacherous and thrilling journey to freedom.
Seattle-based Camouflaj developed the game and has received numerous awards including “Excellence in Storytelling” from the International Mobile Gaming Awards (IMGA). With a 87 percent Steam user rating, République’s reviews have been positive.
Although it was previously limited to PC and mobile, now PS4™ players can look forward to experiencing the entire season—including the fifth and final episode—in one complete package.

Key Features:
Hacking Gameplay – Throughout the game, Hope will seek the player’s support to help her escape and protect her in the process by gaining control of any network-enabled devices and overcoming puzzle scenarios along the way. Players can hack into security cameras, power down lights, wiretap calls, summon elevators, and slam doors on Hope’s pursuers.
Engaging Story – République is more than a stealth-action game. By creating a gameplay system that drives the symbiotic relationship between Hope and the player, players become more engaged as Hope’s protector. Aside from the main story, players can help Hope collect banned books, cassette tapes, and other unique items that will further immerse players in this futuristic dystopian world.
Developer Pedigree – République is developed by a team of veterans in the industry who worked behind AAA games such as Metal Gear SolidHaloF.E.A.R., and cutting edge videos such as the Skyrim television spot and iconic iPod “silhouette” ads. Players will also be able to eavesdrop on interactive developer commentary while playing the game.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Lara Croft Go: Shard of the life DLC

Lara Croft Go: Shard of the life DLC 

Twitch Plays Lara Croft GO Event and 40 Percent Discount to Celebrate New Content Update

SYDNEY, 26TH November 2015 – Square Enix Montréal today announced that Lara Croft GOthe 2015 Best Mobile/Handheld Game of the Year nominee from The Game Awards and follow-up to the award-winning Hitman GO®, will receive a free expansion titled “The Shard of Life” on Nov. 26. The new content tasks Lara Croft® with solving the mystery of the Shard of Life, and will be available on all supported iOS and Android devices. In celebration of the release, Square Enix Montréal recently launched a week-long Twitch® Plays event, in which fans are invited to join in and collectively work to complete each original stage of Lara Croft GO in order to unveil the new content!

In the new expansion, Lara Croft charts a path into the depths of the Cave of Fire in search of the fabled Shard of Life. With 26 new puzzles to solve, numerous new cursed monsters to battle, two new costumes to earn, artifacts and gemstones to collect, the free new content will provide hours of additional gameplay for this unique turn-based experience.

To mark the occasion, Square Enix Montreal is hosting a limited-time flash sale of 40 percent off, and hosting a Twitch Plays LCGO event that will end with the discovery of the new content. The entire Twitch community is invited to come together surrounding Thanksgiving to aid in solving the harder-than-ever puzzles. Those wishing to participate can do so by logging into Square Enix Montréal’s official Twitch page located at:

Lara Croft GO is now available as a premium download on the App StoreGoogle Play. and Windows Marketplace.

About Lara Croft GO
The turn-based puzzle adventure casts players as the iconic Lara Croft as she explores the ancient ruins of a long forgotten civilization. Over the span of six chapters, players must help Lara fight menacing enemies, overcome dangerous obstacles and traps, and ultimately, uncover the myth of the Queen of Venom. Along the way, players can collect ancient relics hidden throughout the game world to earn extra Lara Croft features and costumes for the most nostalgic fans. 

Fallout 4: PS4 Review

Fallout 4: PS4 Review

Platform: PS4
Released by Bethesda

They say size isn't everything.

Well, in Fallout 4, that simply ain't true.

Because this open world game is quite possibly one of the largest worlds you've ever seen. Starting with a world under the threat of nuclear annihilation, Fallout4 takes place in Boston and allows you to play either a man or a woman (it's your choice) ahead of the bombs dropping.

With fear in the air, you and your clan are guided to the bomb shelter and given the chance to survive. However, that's not all that is on offer (to reveal more is to spoil) and soon you wake up a couple of hundred years later with a rather personal quest to fulfill. That's if you don't decide to simply wander the Wastelands of Boston trying to survive.

Fallout 4 is incredibly large and Bethesda has done all it can to ensure that no corner has gone left un-turned or disturbed.

Whether you want to follow the epic storyline or deviate from it is entirely upto you and to be honest, a bit of both is recommended. Hours into the game, and there's no end in sight, which is an incredible thing really when you think about it.

From bugs that are radioactive and killer to various survivors willing to pick you off, Fallout 4 has its own world that has its own life. Exploration and scavenging are the name of the game, with buildings yielding plenty of loot and bits and bobs to help you melt down and reconfigure for weapons. From ashtrays to lights, there's enough to keep you looted up and to give you enough to trade or use.

It's the personalisation in this game that works too - from setting up your character to interacting with Dogmeat, your faithful Alsatian pal, the game has a way of hooking into your world and hooking you back into it as well. The engagement is impressive and the depth is deeply immersive and that alone will keep you working for hours.

There are plenty of side quests to get through as well - and before leaving the vault, time had been blown away by my character interacting with a computer terminal that fired up a Fallout variant of Donkey Kong. It's these moments alone that Fallout 4 excels in - everything within the world has been created to keep you in.

Sure, there are a few bugs here and there; occasionally, raiders have been stuck in buildings making it easy for me to pick off but these moments are few and far between, and really would be one of the side effects of such a massive open-world gaming experience.

And it is an experience; from crafting new weapons, playing with your wrist's Pip Boy to interacting with Dogmeat and Mr Codsworth your robot butler, this is a game that gives more out from the more you put in. Granted, that may come at the expense of exploring NZ this summer, but Fallout 4 is a storytelling and experience masterpiece, well worth diving into.

Who needs real life friends anyway?

(Note - a further Fallout 4 review add on will be coming soon)


5 To 7: Film Review

5 To 7: Film Review   

Cast: Anton Yelchin, Berenice Marlohe, Olivia Thirlby
Director: Victor Levin

There's plenty of wish-fulfillment in 5 To 7 for you to lose yourself in.

Anton Yelchin plays aspiring novelist Brian, a New York inhabitant whose writing career is stalled. All around him is inspiration - mainly as director Victor Levin shows us from written plaques scattered around the city.

But Brian finds his muse one day when he sees beautiful French lady Arielle (a sultry Marlohe) smoking outside and decides on a whim, to talk to her. The pair find a common ground and begin a relationship that's predicated on one thing - Brian can only see Arielle between the hours of 5 and 7pm...

Subverting some of the norms of the rom com genre and injecting them more with elements of drama and Woody Allen-esque two hander scenes, 5 To 7 is all about the glamour than the grit.

Yelchin's youthful outlook and his desperation to dive completely in stands in opposite to Marlohe's more European ways; and Levin's direction and the story certainly subvert your ideas of where the drama of this film could come from.

Traditionally a film like this would make great fist of the fact Arielle's married and build a drama around discovery but 5 To 7 is not your typical film. It's swathed in the contrasts between European and American views to love and relationships, but smart enough to use them as a prop rather than a crutch.

It's certainly exquisitely shot; the camera adores Marlohe and the more romantic elements of New York, with shots of people around the city and silhouetted sexy shadows as the pair consummate their desires to a brassy jazzy French beat.

Equally, Brian's parents (played to perfection by Glenn Close and Frank Langella) add a touch of humour and truth as the proceedings start to feel a little drawn out. Certainly, the dinner with all of them captures the frisson of tension and the keenness of learning as new relationships blossom and all parties meet.

But there's an occasional aloofness to both Brian and Arielle as well as the whole situation of the husband and the weirdness of the children simply accepting Brian as a boyfriend of their mother that some may find a little unusual. It's certainly a fact that being open-minded yields more pleasures from 5 To 7 but given there's little conflict between the duo, parts of the drama feels manufactured and as a result, a little more inconsequential.

5 to 7's lead duo ensure the film stays on the right side of the audience and while the film's sumptuously shot and precisely acted, its straying from traditional narrative alleyways help it along as well as hinder it.

Articulate and meticulously assembled, 5 To 7 is an indie that's full of love and its sentiments but in its final romantic / culture clash it curiously fails to hit the heart-strings in the way that you'd perhaps expect.


Life is Strange: PS4 Review

Life is Strange: PS4 Review

Platform: PS4
Released by Dontnod Entertainment

Dontnod Entertainment is responsible for one of the most over-looked games of the past few years - Remember Me.

A clever mesh of thriller and time-twisting, Remember Me was a stylish game that never garnered the wider success it deserved. But it's served the execution of Life Is Strange in ways that perhaps couldn't have been seen.

With the news the Life Is Strange five episodic series is getting a physical release, it seems a good time to go back over the release.

Set in the world of Arcadia Bay, it's the story of photography student Maxine Caulfield who discovers that she has the ability to wind back time and thwart moments of the Butterfly effect. But as ever, with those kind of choices, there are still natural consequences to the actions.

The game opens with an apocalyptic vision of a lighthouse being destroyed by a tornado and follows it up with the murder of a friend in a bathroom. Rewinding time obviously prevents the death, but Maxine then goes all Veronica Mars and tries to solve the murders while protecting her friend and inextricably heading towards her own destiny.

Using the interactive world we've come to expect from the likes of the Telltale Games series, Life Is Strange follows a similar path, but weaves in deeper darker threads that are a lot stronger than you'd perhaps expect. With decisions having deeper emotional consequences further down the line, it takes a while for the ramifications of the Butterfly effect to really play out. But when they do, they really hit.

Maxine is a realistic protagonist, from her vulnerability to her awkwardness, the universal feeling she evokes is one many will have experienced at school or in college.  While you're confined to the areas around Arcadia Bay, the fact you revisit them time and time again makes you feel more connected to the narrative and the world within.

Ultimately, there are moments within Life Is Strange that stand out and others that slightly fall short, it's good to see another developer take some chances within the genre. It's worth taking the risk, because much like Remember Me, one suspects that Life Is Strange will come to be regarded as a title that shaped a different way of episodic gaming.