Friday, 30 September 2016

Dishonored 2 | Pre-order to Play a Day Early | New Gameplay Video – High Chaos in the Clockwork Mansion

Dishonored 2 | Pre-order to Play a Day Early | New Gameplay Video – High Chaos in the Clockwork Mansion


We’re pleased to announce that anyone who pre-orders Dishonored 2 will be able to play the game a day early before the official worldwide release.

In addition, we’ve just released a new gameplay video entitled ’Kill the Grand Inventor’.

 Watch as Emily Kaldwin navigates the grand inventor’s treacherous and intricate Clockwork Mansion using her supernatural abilities, weapons and gadgets – eliminating anyone who gets in her way.

 Reprise your role as a supernatural assassin in Dishonored 2, the next chapter in the award-winning Dishonored saga by Arkane Studios, set to launch worldwide on November 11, 2016 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Delilah, a mad witch with black magic powers, has seized the throne from Empress Emily Kaldwin, leaving the fate of the Isles hanging in the balance.

As either Emily Kaldwin or Corvo Attano, travel beyond the legendary streets of Dunwall to Karnaca – a once-dazzling coastal city that holds the key to restoring Emily to power. Armed with the mark of the Outsider and powerful new supernatural abilities, hunt down your enemies and forever alter the fate of the Empire. Stay tuned tomorrow for ‘Save Anton Sokolov’ – a low chaos stealth and non-lethal playthrough of the Clockwork Mansion. For more information about the game please visit dishonored.bethesda.net.

New Trailer for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered

New Trailer for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered

Today, Activision releases a brand new trailer for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered. We are sending you the trailer now as a standalone video that you can post on your sites.

Additionally, anyone who pre-purchases or who has pre-purchased a Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Legacy or Digital Deluxe Edition on PS4 will be able to play the Modern Warfare Remastered campaign 30 days early, beginning October 5.

For more information on how to get the campaign early access, fans can visit: https://support.activision.com/articles/en_US/FAQ/Call-of-Duty-Modern-Warfare-Remastered-Campaign-Early-Access.

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered combine in one package which launches worldwide November 4th on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. 

Me Before You: DVD Review

Me Before You: DVD Review

Rating: PG
Released by Roadshow Home Ent

The Fault in Our Stars, If I Stay, Last Cab to Darwin; there have been a growing number of cinematic entrants to the pantheon of doomed love and illness literature in the past few years.

The latest contender, Me Before You, taken from Jo Jo Moyes' book and adapted by the author, is the most current addition to the cinematic experience that is kryptonite to many - the weepie.

Buoyed by likeable (and bankable) stars Emilia Clarke (she of dragons and Thrones fame) and Sam Claflin (he of Hunger Games fame), large swathes of this story are forgiven their cliches because of the chemistry between this duo.


Claflin plays Will Traynor, an aristocratic castle-dwelling guy who lives life to the full, has it all and in a sequence before the credits, has it all taken away and is paralysed from the neck down when hit by a motorbike. Trapped in a chair in a small town, his life as a quadriplegic his future. 

Enter Game of Thrones' Emilia Clarke as the eccentric small town girl Lou Clark, a perpetually perky, expressively eye-browed, quirkily dressed potential carer, whose life is a struggle to help her family and make ends meet. Initially reticent and hostile to Lou, Will finds her perkiness wears him down - and the two begin to form a friendship.

However, in the background, a dark secret is waiting.


Meshing the Intouchables with an English sensibility and a different performance from Clarke, this fairy tale story of the guy in the castle in the village is exactly what you'd expect from the genre.

Wrapped in portions of humour - some appropriate, some not - and blessed with two chalk and cheese leads that you actually manage to care about even though it's a story you've seen a million times before, Me Before You is a twee journey that dawdles a little on its way to its eventual destination.

The problem is that the struggle for Will never feels real and a story decision over assisted suicide feels narratively necessary for the film and book's USP rather than the cinematic catharsis. It's no discredit to Claflin at all, whose subtle performance is perfectly in keeping with the genre and shows his bitterness at times, but merely the writing which lets him down.

He's not alone though, as the film is packed full of underwritten and underused supporting characters that hardly feature except when it suits proceedings. (Step forward, Matthew Lewis akaNeville Longbottom and Lou's boyfriend) 

Inevitably the Hollywood trappings and tropes of the genre forbid the darkness from seeping into this rom-com-sick-lit piece, and it's a shame that the final portion of the film actually lacks some of the emotional heft it could have achieved. (Though there were some women at the screening with wet eyes). 


Still in a film where one of the leads has never seen a subtitled film or where another is constantly apparently in pain but never glimpsed, it's to be expected of Me Before You. 

Shoe-horning in melodrama at the end and washing everything over with a twee brush and a MOR soundtrack is to be expected, and ultimately, Me Before You works within the confines of its genre, 

However, it means this mix of wannabe optimism, bizarre take on the reality of being disabled and predictable formulaic fare is what you'd expect - but given its euthanasia edges and the debate of a right to die storyline, those involved fudge the most interesting kernel of the piece in favour of a quirky and mawkish rom-com. 

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Titanfall 2 - Single player Cinematic

Titanfall 2 - Single player Cinematic



Good morning Pilots,

A new Cinematic Single Player Trailer for Titanfall 2 has dropped this morning.

Pilots are the dominant force on the Frontier, combined with a Titan their powers become unmatched in battle no matter the odds.

What truly separates a Pilot from a grunt is the Bond between Pilot and Titan, experience it in Titanfall 2's brand new Single Player campaign dropping on October 28th.

Batman: The Telltale Series Episode 2: Children of Arkham PS4 Review

Batman: The Telltale Series Episode 2: Children of Arkham PS4 Review


Developed by Telltale Games
Platform: PS4

The latest chapter of Batman: The Telltale Series Episode 2: Children of Arkham digs deeper into the corruption of the Wayne family and with Bruce dealing with their legacy.

While the first was a little slow burn, this one carries that trend a little as it heads towards showdowns and a particularly gruesome final sequence that happens in a live TV debate which would make Hillary and Trump shudder.

There's not heaps of action in this one, but the storyline's deepened by the mystery of what actually is happening as it looks like a puppetmaster is emerging from the shadows and no-one is who they claim to be. Though admittedly a lot of the set up makes this feel a bit like the TV Series of Gotham where the villains aren't there yet - and perhaps some of the suggested jeopardy may make it feel like Telltale is a little constrained from either bringing in shock moves or breaking from mythology (time will tell on that front).

But this episode concentrates more on the relationships (as well as a very Nightwing-esque bar fight) - and sees Bruce given the choice of how to handle his burgeoning cat pal, Selina Kyle as well as Harvey Dent. It's here the meat and bones of the episode's drama rise and fall and in many ways, the meat and bones of Telltale Games' delve into the Bat-world. It's great to play Bruce so much more rather than simply diving into the tech and mask of the Batman (even though this episode's major choice is about whether to visit a corrupt city official as Bruce or Batman).

While the story's an involving element, parts of the gameplay of episode 2 felt a little disjointed.

Trophies for completion of episodes were popping up halfway through a couple of the latter part's sequences rather than waiting till it had finished; there seems to be a lot more loading times in episode 2 as well. And a couple of times, the game's QTE fight sequences still took place without me choosing an option - it's an intriguing development from Telltale - I've yet to be either killed or maimed in this game or have to start again.

All in all, Batman: The Telltale Series Episode 2: Children of Arkham is actually an episodic level that feels like the investigations and the mystery add more to the story than any arcane action sequences; here's hoping there are real consequences ahead for the decisions made in episode 2 or it'll feel like Telltale Games is toying with us and running coy from the moral weight that Batman should actually hold.

The Tomorrow Children: PS4 Review

The Tomorrow Children: PS4 Review


Platform: PS4
Developer : Q Games

The Tomorrow Children is an oddly beguiling affair.

Mixing the red peril with Minecraft leanings and a hefty dosage of Jigsaw, with the premise and the idea of communism, the fact it’s an online open world sandbox seems delightfully and wilfully, amusingly wry.

Set in a world where the Soviet Union has somewhat gone awry and the world’s become enveloped in a kind of dystopian void, it’s wilfully perverse when it comes to its game mechanics and raison d’etre.

You play a girl, whom you later learn is a Projection clone and is therefore able to function within the white wide expanse known only as the Void. Armed with only a satchel, you stumble around the void until a TV set on a stick rises slowly from the white nothingness….and a disembodied address comes your way, with some instructions and some vague level of menace. It’s like Jigsaw from the SAW movies has been trapped within the TV screen and is working on bringing the Russian world back to life.

Basically, in a nutshell, it’s up to you to re-build the world and create a glorious utopia again – and the ethos of sharing plays a big part in that. As the TV set receded into the distance, a massive structure rose up out of the ground and the glorious leader granted me a pick-axe to smash my way into the building and to do his bidding.

What transpires though is that you need to have some inkling of how to solve some basic puzzles and employ some lateral thinking as too much time in the dark sees your projection clone start to twinkle with green static. Given a portable lamp is a clever touch, but how to use that when you have to carry metals from within and with only one set of arms is a puzzle that may take an ounce of simple thinking to solve.

Here’s the interesting thing about The Tomorrow Children though; it seems to thrive on a pool of economies rather than a one for themselves ethos. The metals I gathered were taken out of the complex and dumped into an area that was marked “Storage” – before I was granted access to the subway and a personal upgrading for the work I’d done. It’s quite clear the Red philosophy permeates every pore of the DNA of this game.

Taking you on the subway to what would appear to be the hub of the game brings you into an area that resembles, in part, a monopoly board. Divided up into portions and with bits going on around you, there’s plenty to do as you start to absorb yourself into this world.

From the wry Russian humour to the fact you’re told to "Line up", there’s an air which pervades The Tomorrow Children that shows it's something a little wilfully different
The Islands prove to be the key point to this game as you get to visit them and mine for resources. Building your own town and visiting others seems to be a raison d'etre too - but in parts, most of this game is about you doing your job and conforming to the socialism ideals.


There are creatures waiting to attack you – the Izverg seemed determined to make my life a misery. Attacking one seemed to link it as an albatross around my neck and it would merely follow me and attack. Even if I was in the middle of another interaction with someone else – which is more than a mild irritation given how I was unable to continue with what I was doing.

In among the propaganda films and the Russian ethos, there’s an inkling that The Tomorrow Children is something different and is shaping up to be an indie that’s more than just quirk. But it takes time to feed into this and to build your own attitude as well - it looks beautifully rendered, but it's not a world that cries for you to spend time within. It may not be to all tastes, but The Tomorrow Children is worth spending some time in - it feels more like a missed opportunity than a fully formed ideal, but it';s certainly a sign the indie sector can shake things up.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Re: Core: XBox One Review

Re: Core: XBox One Review


Platform: XBox One
Developer: Comcept and Armature Studio

Melding a sort of Tomb Raider vibe while crossing it with some Force Awakens' style Rey heroine and throwing in a Ratchet and Clank ethos works for the large part of Re:Core.

Set on the far away colony of Far Eden, you are heroine Joule Adams, who awakens after a cryo-sleep to find that not everything is how it should be. With her trusty robot dog Mack by her side, you take control of Joule as she travels across Far Eden, trying to right what's gone wrong - and facing off against robot baddies in the sand.

Solving puzzles and taking on combat is essentially Re:Core's MO, a game of such fun, that even its hellishly long loading times can't diminish (Though the developer has revealed that these are strictly in their crosshairs and a forthcoming patch will fix this). As you power through the desert, the game's graphics truly stand out and the sandy world feels like the kind of place you'd easily re-visit.

But Re:Core is also about combat and pulling out the cores of the machines that attack you to help you either power up your own weapons or to take on the upgrades of Mack and other bits and bobs around the world. Facing off against enemies that have cores within them is all about ensuring a degree of combat strategy. Fight with different coloured weaponry to break down their defences and then grapple their cores out of them, it's a method that's both engaging and reflex provoking. Press too hard on the R3 stick and you'll end up snapping the robotic tug of war and falling flat on your ass.

There's a degree of repetition in the gameplay as the missions roll around, but it's enjoyable enough fluff as you battle flying bats, spider creatures and track down missing robots to help you in your quest.

Mixing platforming trials and light combat work well for Re:Core and while it may lack a little oomph to keep its place in the gaming pantheon as we head the triple A storm that hits this time of year, this XBox One exclusive is certainly a good way to spend the rainy school holidays.


Hardcore Henry: DVD Review

Hardcore Henry: DVD Review


Rating: R18
Released by Roadshow Home Ent

How you may feel about Hardcore Henry will largely depend on how you feel about being subjected to extended action from a  first person viewpoints.

Waking up in a lab Henry has been brought back from the dead by his scientist wife; given a robotic arm and then shot at, it's straight into survival mode for Henry as his life and wife are put in jeopardy. With a clutch of killers on his tail, it's survival time for Henry...

A pure shot of adrenaline filled lunacy and clever use of its POV camera work, Hardcore Henry feels like you're in a VR version of a video game. Unrelenting it definitely is and while it borders dangerously close to causing nausea, a lot of Hardcore Henry shows just how committed to its MO it is. Haley Bennett and Sharlto Copley deserve kudos for their part in this (and Bennett shows why she's being touted as a rising start) , but the real star of the piece is director Ilya Naishuller, whose vision is nothing short of singular.

One of a kind cinema experiences are very rare these days, and Hardcore Henry is certainly that. It won't be for all tastes but for those willing to strap in for the ride, it's a hedonistic and mental reward.


Monday, 26 September 2016

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children: Film Review

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children: Film Review


Cast: Asa Butterfield, Terence Stamp, Eva Green, Samuel L Jackson, Chris O'Dowd, Ella Purnell
Director: Tim Burton

It should in theory work, as it has all the kooky elements of a Tim Burton caper – unusual kids, an unusual setting and some spooky bad guys.

But Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is mired in a lengthy set-up that takes forever to tie all its ends together and even get started, crippling it for the first hour.

For those unfamiliar with American author Ransom Riggs’ number 1 best selling novel and its Harry Potter-esque trappings, it’s the story of Jake (Enders’ Game Asa Butterfield who brings a degree of intensity even if his character is saddled with exposition) who heads to Wales after the grotesque death of his grandfather Abe (Terence Stamp).

Jake was close with his Grandpa, who used to regale him with night-time stories of the oddball children who’d live at a school under the watch of Eva Green’s Miss Peregrine. Believing the stories to be true, Jake stumbles into their world in Wales and marvels at the peculiarity of it all.

But what initially appears to be dream-like soon turns into a nightmare with something stalking the children and their charge to carry out a terrifying scheme…

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children mixes the macabre and the Burton vibe with a degree of visual aplomb as the allegory for Jewish persecution and child alienation is brought to the fore.

There’s eccentricity all over the place but thanks to a disjointed flow and some middling acting from some of the younger charges under Burton’s watch, the piece never quite achieves the levels of quirkiness it’s aspiring to.

Samuel L Jackson gives good scenery-chewing as the ultimate bad guy menacing the kids, Eva Green is barely there as the slightly plummy, stuffily British toothy pipe-smoking schoolmarm (Scary Poppins, anyone?) and Butterfield manages the awkward emotions of Jack quite well and is fine, but nothing more; it never fully gels in the way it should on the human front, thanks to a convoluted plot and a muddled attempt to get there.

Even Burton’s touches on this feel muted, almost as if a darker approach proved a little too out there for the audience it was aiming for.

It’s a shame the Beetlejuice vibe is played down as the Gothic gallows humour that appears in places is a welcome touch, and the more comic touches add to an air of oddity that's crying out to be set free, but which withers under such underwritten side characters.

Nowhere is this more evident than a brilliant showdown on Blackpool’s pier (of all places) with animated skeletons taking on stretched Slender-men style shadow creatures. It’s inventive, meshed with touches of both Burton and Harryhausen as the bony bodies bounce manically around. (A similar stop-motion scene with two doll puppets, a la Toy Story spider-babies, fighting to do the death is equally as welcome.)

It’s certainly dark, and the more nightmarish touches may explain why Burton had to reign it in for a more Addams Family vibe (but without the jokes) and an ongoing gag about why Florida is so horrific to so many.

The darker touches work well too – the inherent sadness of the war, the displacement of children, mental health problems and parents summarily dismissal of their child's illness, the impressive visuals as the Nazi bombs drop towards the house, the persecution of Jews by human monsters, they all lurk below the surface, but never fully bubble upto the top, almost as if there are fears the audience wouldn’t engage.

Ostensibly lashed with timey-wimey sensibilities and more confusing moments, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is a fascinating could have been movie from Burton; the offbeat touches meshing with the more gruesome edges to form a queasy cinematic experience that frustrates rather than thrills. It could have done with more of its danse macabre ethos, and a little more ooky rather than just kooky to ensure this children's home is one you'd want to check into again.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Newstalk ZB Review - Bridget Jones' Baby, Don't Breathe and Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Newstalk ZB Review - Bridget Jones' Baby, Don't Breathe and Hunt for the Wilderpeople


This week with Jack Tame, I discussed what to expect when Bridget's expecting in the surprisingly delightful Bridget Jones' Baby; I took a look at new thriller Don't Breathe and also took on the home release of Hunt For The Wilderpeople, the $12.15M grossing NZ hit and the 6th biggest Kiwi film of all time.

Take a listen below


Saturday, 24 September 2016

Dad's Army: DVD Review

Dad's Army: DVD Review


Broadcast between 1968 and 1977 on the BBC, David Croft and Jimmy Perry's sitcom staple Dad's Army was a much loved series about the Home Guard that captured the zeitgeist and pomposity of authority at a local level.

The 2016 film version of Dad's Army is a curious beast, coming 45 years after its last cinematic outing and unlikely to garner a new fan base and likely to appeal only to an older generation, already versed in the ways of Mainwaring, Pike and the catchphrases.

With World War II drawing to a conclusion and with the Allies poised to make one final push, the small seaside town of Walmington-on-Sea becomes a hotbed of activity for the Home Guard. With a female journalist (a wannabe vixenish Catherine Zeta Jones) visiting and winning over the troops led by Captain Mainwaring (Toby Jones), there are fears there's a spy operating in the area.

Mainwaring and his woefully inept men are tasked with tracking down the spy... is this a job Dad's Army can get right?


There's something willfully old fashioned and extremely reverent about the Dad's Army movie.

From its "You have been watching" end credits nod to the TV shows of the 70s and 80s to Toby Jones' nigh-on perfect encapsulation of Arthur Lowe's pompous and self-officious Captain Mainwaring, there are plenty of moments for old fans to revel in. (Including a cameo from one of the few surviving members of the show).

But the problems extend beyond the faithful line that's adhered to throughout.


Simply put, it may coast by on affection, but there's barely enough plot to fill a 30 minute episode of the series let alone pad out a 100 minute feature film, despite everyone's best intentions.

Dad's Army feels terribly old school, a throwback to Ealing comedies with the screwball elements of the show toned down for a wider audience. But in doing so, the film fails to either capitalise on anything more than nostalgia. In fact, it feels very much like a plot from the TV series writ large but inessentially brought to the big screen.

Thankfully, the casting of the film is spot on.

Toby Jones is excellent as the pompous buffoon Mainwaring, getting the inflections of his voice down pat and bumping up some of the slapstick as well as delivering a comedic turn that benefits brilliantly from timing and plays to his strengths. He manages to turn something in that is as reverential as it is stand-alone and delights by giving the film its lead that it needs. Others, such as Courtenay, hit the beats of their characters from the past with ease; Gambon's dodderiness as Godfrey is amusing as much as it is grating. 


Sadly, the script is not up to par and creaks in places as much as some of these old timers' joints potentially do too. With the smarter women played as nothing more than hen-peckers and the men as fools, it feels like a pantomime from the 1970s, a Carry On film without the grace of the innuendo to propel it through, and an excuse to shoe horn in some of the show's catchphrases with no more grace than a wink and a nod to the older end of the audience.

It's hard to see exactly who Dad's Army will appeal to. 

A younger generation will avoid it, scoffing at its corniness and its yesteryear sensibilities; and the older generation, brought up so relentlessly on the continual servings of the 9 series, will feel it lacks something concrete and is nowhere near as good as it could be, given the immense talent of the ensemble involved.

It's entirely pragmatic to believe this nostalgia tinged wannabe broad appeal flick has nothing short of good intentions but its gentle and under-padded comedy unfortunately doesn't quite cut it in a savvier cinematic world and with audiences now used to subtler comedic fare.

Rating:


Friday, 23 September 2016

The Huntsman: Winter's War: DVD Review

The Huntsman: Winter's War: DVD Review




If the latest entrant into the Huntsman franchise is to be believed (Liam Neeson's sonorous voiceover at the end hints of more to come) then the series seems to be in danger of losing any identity it has.

Meshing Merida from Brave, a sort of Tolkien-esque quest complete with dwarves and throwing in a snifter or two of Frozen's plotThe Huntsman - Winter's War somehow fails to really eke out any real USP of its own.


This time around in a sort of prequel cum sequel (it's a tad confusing), the once upon a time concentrates on the sisterly relationship between Theron's Ravenna and Blunt's Freya. When Freya suffers a tragedy, her latent ice-queen powers are unleashed and she flees the kingdom to wreak her own terror.

Recruiting stolen children into an army of Huntsmen, Freya's forbidden any kind of love - but when Hemsworth's Eric and Chastain's Sara defy her wishes, they're banished from each other. 

Seven years later and Eric, along with Nick Frost and Rob Brydon's dwarves. are tasked with finding the Magic Mirror before it falls into the clutches of the Ice Queen....

Missing Kristen Stewart's Snow White in only the slightest fashion, The Huntsman 2 - Winter's War is nowhere near the level of film that it could be or that a sequel should be.

Tonally lurching between comedy dwarves / banter to love torn apart drama doesn't serve it well and actually makes the whole piece feel unsure of itself and also leaves it lacking in any kind of emotional stakes.

Despite some incredible production designs and costuming (though Charlize Theron's returning Ravenna looks like she's stepped out of an emo L'Oreal ad at the end of the film), the film's only saving grace is its Tarsem Singh-esque visuals and FX work which is restrained and left for set pieces.

It doesn't help Hemsworth and Chastain have little chemistry - not to mention bizarre Scottish brogues - and feel like their Sara and Eric's love story doesn't even hit home with them as they move into Romancing the Stone territory style squabbling. At times, you're never quite sure whose story it is either - is it Sara and Eric, is it Freya and Ravenna; they're all blurred and blended up together in a mixture that feels under-cooked.


On the plus side, the CGI is used sparingly and is saved for Ravenna's almost Spider-Man Venom like attack on the Huntsmen and a creation of a Goblin also impresses. Director Cedric Nicolas-Troyan was in charge of the FX the first time around, and he does a good solid job of ensuring it doesn't overwhelm proceedings, but he has little to work with other than some nicely choreographed fight sequences.

And to be fair to the dwarves' dynamic, Sheridan Smith and Rob Brydon work well in terms of banter and humour; Frost and One Chance's Alexandra Roach add a softer sweeter touch to their interactions.

All in all, The Huntsman - Winter's War may have promoted its co-lead and his raffish Hemsworth charm to lead, but by not providing enough to work with and muddling other portions, the whole underwhelming thing feels like it's failed the Mirror, Mirror test before it's even started.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Forza Horizon 3: XBox One Review

Forza Horizon 3: XBox One Review


Developed by Playground Games
Released by Microsoft Studios
Platform: XBox One

There’s nothing like the open road.

A clear stretch of terrain, the wind in your hair (or whatever you have left) and the thrill of just flooring it.

And that’s what once again Playground Games has tapped into with yet another brilliant iteration of its Forza Horizon franchise. This is a game series that has excelled and revelled in its arcade nature and as a result, has sped ahead of the rest of the pack.

This latest version heads from Europe and relocates down under in good ole Aussie (and there’s even a cheeky nod to giving NZ a wave in one of the throwaway lines) and while the game is pretty much the same as it always is, it’s got some new additions to the pack.

Obviously, this being Australia, utes are thrown into the racing mix – but there’s also the chance to decide where the festivals should take place as you are now a director of the Horizon festival and can decide on which locations to open up. But those opportunities only come if you garner enough fans to your cause – and that, of course, means some pedal to metal racing to keep everyone impressed.

Winning races has its usual benefits – from gaining credits, and XP – it’s all necessary to access newer cars, increase your fan base and also, excitingly help you recruit other drivers and their drivatars to the team.

It’s small touches like this which make Forza Horizon 3 feel so fresh and just so damn playable.

Graphically, the game is top notch, with the grunt of the Xbox One really hitting the spot and making great fist of the backgrounds and the Aussie terrain. Whether it’s racing through swamps, smashing through people’s white picket fences (honestly, they were just asking for it) or being mid-race when the rain starts to fall, Forza Horizon 3 looks the best throughout, with no falling frame rates or freezes.

Personalisation is major pull of this iteration of Forza Horizon 3 – from choosing your own name at the start to deciding where the festivals will take place on the massively wide open road map, this is a game where you clearly are in the driving seat.

With over 350 cars at launch and dozens more likely to come, there’s plenty of reason to drive on in and ride off into the distance. Whether you fancy a long term players session or just a quick couple of races, Forza Horizon 3 satiates on all levels. 

It’s hard to critique the game, given the ease of efficacy of it all and the attention Playground Games have given it; it’s a game that’s fun, frivolous and celebrates the fun of racing – in short, it’s everything and more a Forza Horizon 3 game should be.


(The multiplayer component of Forza Horizon 3 will be road-tested when the game is publicly available on September 27th to give it a true test of its online compatibility)

Dishonored 2 | New Gameplay Video – Emily and Corvo’s Creative Kills!

Dishonored 2 | New Gameplay Video – Emily and Corvo’s Creative Kills!


We’ve just released a new gameplay video for Dishonored 2 titled, ‘Creative Kills’. Watch as both Emily Kaldwin and Corvo Attano showcase a few of the seemingly limitless creative combinations of their supernatural abilities, weapons and gadgets to dispatch enemies.

Reprise your role as a supernatural assassin in Dishonored 2, the next chapter in the award-winning Dishonored saga by Arkane Studios, set to launch worldwide on November 11, 2016 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

Delilah, a mad witch armed with powerful black magic, has seized the throne from Empress Emily Kaldwin, leaving the fate of the Isles hanging in the balance. As either Emily Kaldwin or Corvo Attano, travel beyond the legendary streets of Dunwall to Karnaca – a once-dazzling coastal city that holds the key to restoring Emily to power. Armed with the mark of the Outsider and powerful new supernatural abilities, hunt down your enemies and forever alter the fate of the Empire.

Will you choose to play as Empress Emily Kaldwin or her father, the royal protector Corvo Attano? Will you make your way through the game unseen, make full use of its brutal combat system, or use a blend of both? How will you combine your character’s unique set of powers, weapons and gadgets to eliminate your enemies?

For more information about the game please visit dishonored.bethesda.net.
 

Hunt For The Wilderpeople: Blu Ray Review

Hunt For The Wilderpeople: Blu Ray Review


Turning Barry Crump's novel "Wild Pork and Watercress" into a distinctly family film populated with quintessentially quirky Kiwi characters, future Thor Ragnarok director Taika Waititi has got a guaranteed hit on his hands (and one which has already taken Sundance by storm).

It's the story of Ricky Baker (the charmingly cheeky but eminently human Julian Dennison), a wannabe chubby gangster whose ping-ponging between foster carers lands him at the remote farm of overly enthusiastic Brenda (Housebound's Rima Te Wiata) and gruff bushman Uncle Hec (Sam Neill).

But tragedy strikes, and the authorities (led by Rachel House's stuffily up-herself Child Welfare member Paula) decide that Ricky's future lies back in foster care. However, Ricky doesn't want that and so goes on the run in the bush - inadvertently teaming up with Hec and sparking a nationwide man-hunt, under the belief Hec's kidnapped him and gone mad...

In Hunt For The Wilderpeople, Waititi's crafted something that will have a broad family appeal.

Essentially light in touch, but with obligatory yet subtle moments of sentiment and drama, Hunt for the Wilderpeople hits the right tone from the start.

Meshing comedy with Waititi's trademark quick cuts proves to be the killer intro to Julian Dennison's soon to be Kiwi icon Ricky Baker.


But as well as injecting Dennison's character with some brilliant quips, Waititi's smart enough to ensure this kid has moments of realism and sadness bubbling under. A thread about fostering and the effects on others simmers quietly and sadly underneath, appearing when least expected but never manipulated for emotional effect, ensuring that the melancholy subtlety touches hit with tragic-effect.

Dennison steals every scene he's in, landing each moment with a self-assuredness that's frighteningly good. Equally, Sam Neill's gruff Uncle Hec captures many a truism and a down bush Kiwi approach that will win over many audiences both locally and internationally. It's their straight roles which impress in a world of bush buffoonery.

And that's where the strengths of Hunt For The Wilderpeople lie - its broadness and universality. Waititi's pulled together a piece that revels among the quirk of the Kiwi characters but keeps it reined in so that it's not totally a cartoonish piece. It's a cross between The Fugitive, The Revenant and Thelma and Louise but with heart and humour and through the prism of Taika Waititi.


However, Hunt for The Wilderpeople, even though it's drawn from Barry Crump's source material (and even plays on one of his infamous lines about how things are about to get bumpy) is resolutely Taika's film. The scale of it is genius and while a car chase at the end is essentially classic farce, Taika delivers the chaos of it with a clarity and an assuredness that never loses sight of the action. It's a sign that this director is drawing deep and delivering bigger, which promises great things for Thor's latest outing. Equally, there's a montage sequence which will have used some digital trickery but essentially folds all elements of various groups chasing Hec and Ricky into one rotating diorama tapestry and it's dizzyingly exciting and clever.
  
In among the riotous set pieces and the broad comedy, there's tremendous heart in Hunt For the Wilderpeople. 

Buoyed by two great lead performances, it's destined to become another classic at the local box office and may even surpass the success of Boy in our affections - no mean feat by any stretch of the imagination.

Show Me Shorts Film Festival 2016 Programme announced

Show Me Shorts Film Festival 2016 Programme announced

New Zealand’s leading international short film festival, Show Me Shorts, has announced the full programme of short films in the 2016 line-up. The 11th edition of New Zealand’s pre-eminent short film festival will showcase 47 superb short films from New Zealand and around the world, at more than 20 cinemas nationwide from 1 October.

Show Me Shorts received 1,500 submissions from more than 60 countries this year – a massive 50% increase on 2015. The final selection includes 19 New Zealand short films, 23 international short films and five local music videos.


Show Me Shorts will host ten world premieres and twenty-four New Zealand premieres during the festival.

NZ musician-turned-director Joe Lonie’s Shout at the Ground is having its world premiere in the 2016 Show Me Shorts. This raucous road-trip ‘vom-com’ follows a rock band on tour, racing to the ferry crossing, while they deconstruct a heist that robbed them of the door-take from their gig.

Award-winning animation director James Cunningham's new family-friendly film, Kitten Witch will also make its debut outing. Other New Zealand-made world premieres include: Break in the Weather, starring Aidee Walker and Peter Elliot; dramatic thriller Long Time Coming by Tom Augustine; a dramatisation of a true story, Eight Years Later, by Andrew R. Blackman; the tense, shocking Fract by Georgina Bloomfield; and Unfaithful by Lucy Timmins.

International filmmakers choosing Show Me Shorts for their world premiere include Iranian director Adnan Zandi with Butterflies; American director Tom Teller, whose ambitious sci-fi film, Icarus is set on Mars; and Fabricated - a dystopian animation set in an incredibly detailed world that took ten years in the making!


Show Me Shorts is delighted to have secured the New Zealand premiere of UK director Daniel Mulloy’s award-winning Home - a sensitive, layered and complex exploration of the breakdown and rebuilding of trust and love amid the trauma of war and migration. This role-reversing portrait of an English family heading out on what appears to be a holiday is both timely and intimate.

A German comedy is among the international films making their New Zealand debut in the 2016 Show Me Shorts. The Bathtub by Tim Ellrich dives into nostalgia and hilarity as three brothers attempt to re-create a childhood photo for their mother.
                          
Seide, directed by Elnura Osmonalivea of Kyrgyzstan, comes to NZ after screening at high profile international festivals such as Venice and Sundance. It showcases the breathtaking beauty of Kyrgyzstan’s snowy mountains, only just eclipsed by a powerful performance as a girl tries to avoid her arranged marriage.

The films and music videos have been divided into six categories, that each contain around eight short films united by a common theme. The session titles are:
        Secrets and Lies
        Heartstrings
        My Generation
        Homeland
        He Tangata
        Bump in the Night

The 2016 festival will not only screen in cinemas nationwide from Kaitaia to Stewart Island. For the first time, the Show Me Shorts circuit also includes Scott Base in Antarctica thanks to collaboration with Antarctica New Zealand.
 “Antarctica New Zealand is very excited to be part of the Show Me Shorts Film Festival programme in 2016,” says Jeanine Foster, General Manager Communications, Antarctica New Zealand.
“The team at Scott Base are grateful for the opportunity to be part of it all. Despite being one of the most isolated locations in the world, Scott Base has hosted many aspiring short film makers over the past 60 years. But we’ve never be fortunate enough to have a whole film festival available to the staff and scientists working on the New Zealand Antarctic Research Programme – so from all of us at Antarctica New Zealand – thanks!”
All of the films and music videos will compete for a range of awards and prizes (valued at more than $35,000) to be presented at the Auckland Opening Night and Awards Ceremony at The Civic on 1 October. As New Zealand’s first Academy Awards-accredited film festival, the winners of the Lightbox Best Film Award and the Best International Film Award will become qualified to enter the Academy Awards®.

Full programme information and details about the films is now live here: http://www.showmeshorts.co.nz/programme/

BATMAN - The Telltale Series - Episode Two: Children of Arkham' Out Now - Cast Interview

BATMAN - The Telltale Series - Episode Two: Children of Arkham' Out Now - Cast Interview


BATMAN - The Telltale Series - Episode 2: Children of Arkham' Now Available





Citizens of Gotham City,

Today we can announce that BATMAN - The Telltale Series - Episode 2: Children of Arkham is now available for download on PC/Steam, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. We'll be announcing release dates for additional platforms later this month.

In today's all-new behind the scenes video, hear from Troy Baker (Bruce Wayne/Batman)Laura Bailey (Selina Kyle/Catwoman) and Travis Willingham(Harvey Dent) on their creative process in bringing these iconic characters to life with a fresh spin, as well as the exciting and challenging experience of performing in an interactive narrative. 


In Episode Two, with Gotham City's first family mired in corruption, and an old friend now a dangerous adversary, the life of the Dark Knight is turned upside down. What was Thomas Wayne entangled in, and why was he killed? Determined to learn the truth about his father, Bruce sets out to question those involved in Gotham's criminal past. But which mask will he wear - The billionaire, or the bat? Huge decisions will forever change the Batman and the lives of those around him, as he meets the Children of Arkham.

In their 9 out of 10 review of Episode Two, Game Informer said the chapter is,"dark, and is loaded with shocking moments and riveting character twists" also calling it, "one of Telltale's best efforts yet."  IGN.com said, "The way Children of Arkham's story confounds my expectations of events as a long-time Bat-fan is its most alluring quality," also saying that the episode, "continues to build an engaging Dark Knight story in a unique and uncharted version of the D.C. legend's universe."


The series is also available to purchase at retailers now as a special Season Pass Disc, which includes the first of five episodes in the season, and grants access to the subsequent four episodes as they become available for download via online updates. 


Rendered to look like a living, breathing comic book, Telltale's vision of Batman features an award-winning cast of talent, including Troy Baker in the role of Bruce Wayne, Travis Willingham as Harvey Dent, Erin Yvette as Vicki Vale, Enn Reitel as Alfred Pennyworth, Murphy Guyer as Lieutenant James Gordon,Richard McGonagle as Carmine Falcone, Jason Spisak as Oswald Cobblepot,and Laura Bailey as Selina Kyle. Additional cast and characters will be revealed as the season progresses.

BATMAN - The Telltale Series Episode 2: Children of Arkham is rated M (Mature) for Violence, Blood, and Drug References by the ESRB. Future content in the season is yet to be rated by the ESRB. The series is published by Telltale Games in partnership with Warner Bros. 

For more information on Telltale Games, and more news surrounding the series, visit the official websiteFacebook, and follow Telltale Games on Twitter@TelltaleGames.