Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Moonlight: DVD Review

Moonlight: DVD Review

More is unsaid in Moonlight's triptych than is actually revealed and in parts, it's as intoxicating as it is tantalising.

Drawn unequivocally from its roots as a play and transposed on screen as such under a three act structure, Jenkins' film of the coming of age story of a black man growing up in Miami delivers subtly and with swathes of nuance as it plays out, relying heavily on the viewer to listen for minor details and to bring the tapestry threads together.

But not once does Moonlight ever shift the intimate scale or focus from its leads as we take in three stages of Chiron's life.

From badgered kid to bullied teen to ultimate manhood, Chiron's tale is finely balanced and precariously executed as the world swirls around.

A minimalist score and pared back soundtrack give Moonlight a resonance and a power that compel, but it's the personal moments which leap head and shoulders above anything else here.

This is never anything more than Chiron's journey pilgrimage through life from start to finish, and if that sounds like a trite dismissal of the film and its protagonist, it's not. Over 3 phases of Chiron's life, the struggle for his identity and his place in the world is carefully, quietly and powerfully positioned.

Whether it's bathed in the titular moonlight at the edge of the sea at the beach or swathed in the red glow of the room of his combusting addicted mother (Naomie Harris) as she rails against him, Jenkins' eye for visual detail predicates the story's journey.

But it's the raw and humane delivery of the story by the different age leads that build a dramatic powder-keg of a personal portrait in a (less successful and more obvious) wider tableaux of social commentary that's dripping with sub-text.

And while there's an argument that Jenkins' script shines a light on the continuing problems faced by black Americans, the truths espoused within are universal and yet intimately dispatched.

It's hard to resist Chiron's story or not empathise with his heartbreaking situations - from bullying at school, to violence from a mother, to seeking acceptance from and continually being rejected by his peers. There are universal truths within Moonlight that work as powerfully as they can because of the simplicity of the story's execution and the pared-back nature of the film's execution.
Ultimately, it's the stripped back almost play-like feel of Moonlight that helps it shine - even though there are abrupt cuts at times that are symptomatic of a dramatic curtain call, the emotion is never lost as the story unfurls. With a sparse OST and large periods of silence, Jenkins' builds a veritable atmosphere that ironically, helps it to speak volumes.

From Mahershala Ali's dealer surrogate father figure to the three iterations of Chiron, the vulnerable veracity and tale of acceptance seep through, be it in the dialogue or within the relatability of the story.

As a contemporary portrait of African-Americans, it's vital;  and it's also easy to see why awards are being showered on this occasionally Oscar-bait piece; but as a piece of film alone, it's a strong cinematic experience that never once loses its focus and nuances to help it connect to global audiences.

Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition: PS4 Review

Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition: PS4 Review

Released by Gearbox Software
Platform: PS4
Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition

In many ways, with its spit and polish and release on the next gen consoles via the Unreal Engine, great swathes of Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition feels like some kind of successor to last year's Doom.

It's not, because the original was released way before then, but with the next gen version of the game now hitting consoles, the fight and fight mentality, coupled with the popcorn style violence and lunkhead action movie dialogue, is really something to behold.

Set in the 26th Century, you take the lead as one of the black ops teams and run the gauntlet of the game as Grayson Hunt, a lamb chopped nutter with a gun, whose squad is taken out. Stranded on a nearby planet Stygia, and with most of his colleagues killed, apart from one Ishi, who's been blended with an AI, it's a race against time and against hordes of marauding gun happy killers.
Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition

Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition ain't going to win any awards for subtlety. Nor will it garner any praise for its extreme violence, but goodness gracious, if it's not playable fun.

Using an electric leash to lassoo victims towards you, and then killing them by either kicking or shooting them as they slow-mo through the air, isn't half fun - even if it's not exactly cerebral stuff. It helps that the game looks slick (and in no real way looks like a remaster) and plays well.

Bodies explode, environmental kills can be unleashed and explosions can take out multiple targets. Leashing into electronic pods gives you a chance to upgrade and opportunities to cash in skillshots rewards for other weapons - it all feels like something that comes together more than it actually should. Kicking people into poles, firing them through the air into spikes all sound like a homicidal wet dream, and in fairness, they play out like that.
Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition

It won't win any originality stakes, and while it's quite cool to play the game as Duke Nukem, it has to be said that Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition is simply leave your brain at the door shooter gun fun. It's a hell of a good time, and is more entertaining than it really has a right to be.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Why Him?: DVD Review

Why Him?: DVD Review

It's the eternal dilemma.

Your beloved brings home a better half that is less than desirable in your eyes.

This is the crux of the latest comedy from director John Hamburg (Along Came Polly, I Love You Man) with Breaking Bad's Bryan Cranston as Ned the dad threatened by his daughter Stephanie's choice of beau.

Stephanie's fallen for Silicon Valley CEO Laird Mayhew (a fully committed James Franco), a tats and all stoner slacker whose infatuation with Zoey Deutch's Stephanie is evident from the start. When Stephanie diverts the family on their Christmas vacation to spend the break getting to know her new other half.

But this is the last thing on Ned's mind with his paper company facing extinction and now his beloved daughter shacked up with the wrong man, the scene is set for conflict as Laird tries to win Ned over...

Why Him? sets its stock out in its first scene - there's a hint of raunch, a liberal dose of foul language and a feeling that low hanging fruit is the easiest option to go for.

From the uptight Cranston to the free and easy Franco, each commit fully to their roles but are never asked to deliver much by the lazy script.
The sense of opposition isn't trowelled on and any conflict is tantamount to nothing more than a few forced in scenes and moments which fail to garner much drama or humour.

Fortunately, Keegan-Michael Key's estate manager Gustav delivers the lion's share of some gags with some strait laced deadpan performance moments giving the film the energy it needs and the laughs it so desperately craves.Along with one scene where Ned tries to fend off his stoned wife (Mullally), there are a few scenes that genuinely offer some laughs and unexpected pleasures.

And there are no scenes which offer any depth to the main characters - particularly Zoey Deutch's Stephanie whose apparent rift with her father is given no rhyme or reason, and therefore no dramatic weight.

But they're too few and far in between in this patchy comedy that underuses all of its team players. There's a nice side element of the old versus the new conflict as is demonstrated by Ned's being in paper, Laird's being in the internet and Ned rolling out a Pink Panther reference that's lost on the younger end, but there's not enough to give any meat to the relatively thin bones.

The young and old conflict may be there and is woefully under-exploited - Why Him? ends up being a lazy, unfunny comedy that misses the mark so often and drags that the only nagging thought you're left with as you leave the cinema, is a resounding "Why me?"

Styx: Shards of Darkness: PS4 Review

Styx: Shards of Darkness: PS4 Review

Platform: PS4
Released by Cyanide Studios
Styx: Shards of Darkness

The last set of goblins that were sneaking about to be recalled were those pesky ones in the Lord Of The Rings.

So it's with some glee that Styx: Shards of Darkness perpetuates the sneaky nature of the goblins and continues to build on that reputation in this fun and foul-mouthed game. With a very basic story, you take control of the Styx, and have to infiltrate the Dark Elven city of Korangar to find out why the dwarves have teamed up against your race.

Using a variety of tricks, such as clones, and traps, such as acid related shenanigans, this take of Assassin's Creed is quite eminently playable and fun in a disposable way. With the stealth mechanics and the simplicity of execution, Styx is actually a game that makes it frivolous and flippant as you traipse around portions of the world trying to achieve your aims.
Styx: Shards of Darkness

Ropes, grappling hooks, the chance to turn invisible and plenty of others come to mind for Styx to help you achieve this, and while the game's ease of execution means you can dive right in, it does also mean that it's actually quite simple and easy to fail in your ambitions, leading to replays and growing levels of frustration.

Styx, as a character, is also fun. Loading screens see him taunting you and death scenes see him mixing in both film references and cocking snooks at other games to give the game a sense of flippant meta-touches which prove to be both amusing and clever. As the fourth wall is smashed with regularity, you actually get a growing bond with your goblin, even if he has the tendency to flip you off for doing so.
Styx: Shards of Darkness

Ultimately satisfying, but also extremely gratifying when this character gets offed, Styx: Shards of Darkness is a game that's as foul as it is fun.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2: Film Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2: Film Review

Cast: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Kurt Russell, Michael Rooker, Sylvester Stallone, Elizabeth Debicki, Karen Gillan
Director: James Gunn

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2
It's a tough ask to discern how exactly you follow up one of the freshest films in an ever-expanding Mavel Cinematic Universe catalogue of superheroes, fantastical figures and weighty mythology.

The 2014 worldwide $773 million smash hit Guardians of the Galaxy's riposte by way of its first outing was to largely confine a lot of what had become Marvel's stuffy staple to the sidelines and present a bright blast of technicolour goofiness, set it all in space and against a backdrop of 70s music tunes.

Loud, brash and above all fun, Guardians Volume 1 was the perfect tonic to the growing tedium of the MCU, injecting humour into a ragtag bunch of reprobates who quickly became family.

So, how do you follow that up?

Like that tricky second album syndrome that blights so many artists, James Gunn and Marvel's answer is - let's do it all again and throw more music and more humour at it.

But, disappointingly in parts, that sadly doesn't quite make this sequel quite as spectacular.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2

With the central themes of family and familial conflicts thrust largely to the fore, the sequel concentrates on two simple storylines. When Rocket rips off the group's latest employers, they're forced to go on the run.

Stranded on the planet Berhart after their betrayal's discovered and the Milano, their ship, crippled, the issue of Chris Pratt's Starlord's parentage comes to the fore when his father (played with 80s style gusto by Kurt Russell) mysteriously shows up....

It's not that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 is a bad film, it's simply that it feels like it's squandered some of the promise and good will of the first.

Visually, Gunn and his team have assembled a truly vibrant universe. From its opening moments where a squid-like creature takes on the gang spewing out all the colours of the rainbow from its mouth, to the gold-covered race The Sovereign, via planet vistas adorned with hues of reds, blues and greens, there's plenty visually to admire and wallow in. And once again, music is the sixth Guardians character, with sounds from the 70s and 80s providing a proliferation of grooves and moves among the CGI.

But the film too often falls back on its humour as a constant crutch to punctuate scenes, and it becomes repetitive and irritating. 

Whether it's the constant bickering between the Guardians, or Bautista's literal Drax saying inappropriate and initially amusing things or members of the Ravagers making comments, there's way too much of this throughout to do anything other than a) feel lazy and b) set your teeth-grinding. And whilst it was part of the fun of the first, the sequel adds much more than is necessary.

Equally, if it's not the humour, it's the reliance on the Baby Groot ex Machina to help with the story. Though, admittedly, Groot's cuteness and abject tendency towards adorable are initially very appealing and amusing. (The aforementioned fight is brilliant in its execution thanks to a combination of ELO's Mr Blue Sky, an out-of-focus battle in the background and a shimmying couple of inches tall tree character).
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2

As the film goes on, the over-use of the humour tends to scupper the more obvious emotional edges of what transpires. If everything's a joke to everyone all the time, it really does make it hard to care about what happens to these self-professed a*holes and the various predicaments they face.

More successful are the quieter moments of the film.

There's a distinct profoundness to some of the more humane scenes involving the ongoing conflict between Saldana's Gamorra and Gillan's Nebula, as well as Pratt's portrayal of a man who just desperately wants to know who his father is. Add in a nuanced turn from Rooker's Yondu, seeking redemption, and there's more than enough meat to keep the narrative running and just enough to provide distraction from the incessant hilarity that's injected at every turn.

It's here that Gunn excels and imbues some love for the wise-cracking characters we came to care about in the first film. He achieves the required poignancy with ease, and masterfully delivers it. 

But in among the day-glo colours, superb visuals from the WETA Digital team and 80s references (The Blob, Journey To The Centre of the Earth, arcade games and other Easter Eggs too fun to spoil et al), it's these kernels of emotional truths which resonate in Guardians Vol 2 and which give it the heart it so desperately needs and so perfectly achieved in its first outing, setting them above the usual smash and grab CGI world destructions that have become the Marvel denouement norm.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2

But they're nearly overwhelmed by everything else that transpires on screen; and while it felt fresh the first time around, the over-insistence on a "More, more, more" ethos means it comes dangerously close to destroying the good-will it had previously generated.

With a third outing for the Guardians of the Galaxy already signed up, it's no stretch to say that this latest, with its flaws and occasional bloat, is a good time at the movies, and a cut above the usual blockbuster fare.

However, all of that candy-blast and sugar-coated reliance on humour prove sufficiently corrosive to Gunn's stated intentions of going deeper with the characters; and, worryingly, if they don't ease up on those elements in the third outing, it could end up inducing a diabetic cinematic coma to audiences.

Drawn To Death: PS4 Review

Drawn To Death: PS4 Review

Platform: PS4
Part of the PS Plus line up for April

We've all spent time doodling, passing away those endless hours at work or at school employing our creative juices in an all together more fruitful pastime.
Drawn To Death

This latest, from David Jaffe, takes the pencil-drawn shenanigans to the next level and places it all in an arena shooting match, that's an online 4 player experience.

It begins in what feels like a VR Experience as you find yourself in a classroom, with the teacher droning on in front of you. But glancing down at the doodles on your book and the silly scribbles below, brings the world of the ballpoint pen scrawl to life.

Taking you into the game, you get to play a character that looks like a Sid Vicious punk dragged through a 2000AD prism and sprayed in Viz like sensibilities. Tutored by a frog that fires insults your way, the opening levels give you the basics on how to shoot, spray bile and survive, before you end up in an arena and fighting others.

Drawn To DeathDrawn to Death's visuals are pretty incredible when you consider that basically, they're just paper drawings brought to life via computer. They manage to stand out from the background, and feel like they have depth even though your mind tells you this can't really be possible.

As you enter the arenas and take on others, the game's juvenile disposability comes to life and the game's cheaper and simpler premise makes the whole thing more playable than it should be. Chasing others around an arena and using an array of weapons to take them out while racing to the top of the leaderboard makes the game's simple MO its one pleasure.

Sure, the childishness comes through, but the game's in keeping with its puerile point of view. From drawing women with melon shaped breasts to general abusiveness, this is a game that feels like it's been torn from the mind of a teenager.
Drawn To Death

While occasionally some of the matches suffer because of different weapons being better than others, the playability of the game itself helps over-compensate for its own failings. If you're willing to put up with a degree of repetitive gaming and also a fairly shallow experience, then Drawn To Death is for you. If you're looking for more depth in an online shooter, then there's plenty more fodder in the PlayStation Store for you to unload cash upon - but given this one is free as part of PlayStation Plus for April, you can't really complain.

Troll and I: PS4 Review

Troll and I: PS4 Review

Platform: PS4
Developed by Spiral House

It had such potential, but, unfortunately, Troll and I never quite reaches the heights it's aspiring to, thanks to a muddied combat system and graphics that don't give the game the best look.

Loosely, the story concentrates on Otto, a boy who's separated from his mother after tragedy hits their village. Forced out into the wilderlands and to fend for himself, Otto finds he's ultimately not alone with the discovery of a friendly Troll.
The pair team up and have to perform a series of quests and missions, guaranteed to showcase the co-operative bond and capabilities of the game.

However, what it actually offers is simply a case of switching between the two once they've teamed up to perform limited moves.

With his Derek Zoolander clipped way of talking, Otto's not the most verbose of characters and his penchant for muttering a limited amount of catchphrases soon grinds gears than inspires wanting to spend more time with him.
Equally, with the troll looking reminiscent of a dread-locked ET, the characterisation doesn't perform very strongly in this piece, which is a real shame.

Limited moves for both, along with crafting, make Troll and I feel like a budget game rather than a big scale adventure with heart and soul that was initially promised in the trailer.
It doesn't help that graphically the game looks like something from the PS2 era and the baddies look unfinished in their design. But it's frustrating in the extreme as there's clearly a great adventure to be had here, with this sub-par rip off of the buddy dynamic not really cutting it from the get-go.

Early scenes see you having to duck and dive, hunt and trace around, but the game's difficulty curve throws a substantial spanner into the works with moves you make not being recognised. That further exacerbates frustration as the game seems intent on ensuring repetition of mistakes despite you trying all different ways to achieve your goal.

Crafting brings a bit of an edge, but there's little else to collect in the world, other than weapons which perform adequately, but not sensationally.
Troll and I: PS4

It's a shame as there are some moments that really hang together for Troll and I - its adherence to the folklore and friendship aspect of the game makes its premise eminently playable and there's pain to be felt when either side of this buddy-friendship is hurt.

But ultimately, Troll and I's frustrations and sub-par rendering make it feel like a head-smashing experience and an exercise in what could have been.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Parappa The Rapper: PS4 Review

Parappa The Rapper: PS4 Remastered: Review

Platform : PS4

It seems like a year of the remaster is hitting PlayStation again this year.

And in some ways, that's no bad thing.
Parappa The Rapper:

There's no denying the excitement of the relaunch of a remastered Crash Bandicoot and Wipeout, two personally influential franchises on this player alone.

From out of the reaches of nostalgia comes Parappa The Rapper, 20 years later, about a street-wise rapping dog creature thing in an orange beanie getting schooled on the art of rap.

To the credit of this remaster, it's actually a small file, and a relatively cheap, fun piece of a blast from the past. The game first showed in 1996 and was of course the trend-setter for many of the reactive button and music mashers we saw hit the console generation for years to come.
But the remaster, aside from offering a few remixes, does little else to warrant an immediate purchase.

Some of the problem lies with the cut scenes which have been left in their original PS One format, and as a consequence look fuzzy and faded. Why they weren't given a spit and polish isn't quite clear, but aside from the idea of nostalgia and rose-tinted glasses, it's a bit of an oddity.
Parappa The Rapper:

Especially when the rest of the rhythm game looks so crystal clear and polished. The sequences where you have to rap, and keep up are sparkingly clear and stand in direct contrast to the cut scenes which look muddied and old.

But the gameplay itself, along with the catchy as hell music, haven't changed for the worse.
And it is annoyingly catchy - there's no way that you can't get swept along with Master Onion's rallying cry - Kick, punch, it's all in the mind; these are iconic words from an iconic title.

Parappa The Rapper Remastered isn't exactly a massive fail - its core gameplay is still intact and its simple mechanics make the title still a family favourite.

It just feels a shame that the game's not exactly embraced the next gen console and traded more on nostalgia than necessity.

Sherlock: Season 4: Blu Ray Review

Sherlock: Season 4: Blu Ray Review

The game's back afoot in this latest and, possibly final, clutch of three stories from Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss.
Sherlock Season 4

Benedict Cumberbatch returns once again as Conan Doyle's detective, in the modern day setting - and with his partner Martin Freeman's Watson married and with kid, Holmes is at a bit of a loose end.
However, as the first story kicks off, everything's about to change for the duo with the apparent return of Moriarty and a major conspiracy underway.

As ever, the stories are beautifully shot and put together, but this time around, the three stories are somewhat of a mixed bag as they get tied up in their own knots. Certainly, the opening episode isn't as clever as it thinks it is, and there's an argument to say the third episode really feels a little indulgent (but has some great moments).

More successful is the second which showcases Toby Jones as a baddie Culverton Smith and whose obsequiousness and general slimy demeanour really rattles things along.

At its heart this year, Sherlock is a more personal story and is really a stronger look at the relationship between Holmes and Watson. If the series ends here, it feels like it's possibly time, with a lot of the bulk of these stories feeling more like they're pandering to fans rather than a wider audience.

That said, when it fires, as it frequently does, it's still infinitely superior to anything on TV, thanks largely to the acting talents of the leads.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

The Walking Dead: The Telltale Series - A New Frontier' Continues with Episode Four: 'Thicker Than Water' on April 25th

The Walking Dead: The Telltale Series - A New Frontier'  Continues with Episode Four: 'Thicker Than Water'  on April 25th

'The Walking Dead: The Telltale Series - A New Frontier' 
Continues with Episode Four: 'Thicker Than Water' 
on April 25th

Series Continues with Episode 4: 'Thicker Than Water' Arriving Tuesday April 25th

Fellow Survivors,

Today we can share the official trailer and release date for the critically-acclaimed The Walking Dead: The Telltale Series - A New Frontier's upcoming Episode 4: 'Thicker Than Water'.
Beginning Tuesday April 25th, players can download Episode 4: 'Thicker Than Water' on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC/Steam, iOS, and Android-based devices. The episode will also download for all users of the special Season Pass disc for consoles, which includes the critically acclaimed two-part premiere episodes, and grants access to Episode 3 and all subsequent episodes in the five episode season for download as they become available. 

Upon discovering the true nature of the New Frontier's leadership, relationships within the Garcia family have come to a head. As Javier, you will decide the shape and nature of your chosen family. All the while, a herd of walkers moves ever closer to Richmond, putting pressure on allies and enemies alike. With distrust running rampant, you'll have to determine if blood is thicker than water...

The two-part premiere of The Walking Dead: The Telltale Series - A New Frontier launched to widespread critical acclaim. In their review of the premiere, said that, "Smart characterization and writing for Javi and his family, plus the return of Clementine, add weight to a largely unfamiliar but already engaging new frontier that I can't wait to continue to explore," adding that its "uncharted territory feels familiar and, excitingly, fresh." GamesRadar said that A New Frontier"demonstrates the resonant power of interactive storytelling," and that it, "finds the right balance between rewarding longtime players who've shaped their own version of the story and welcoming those who might be hopping aboard this grim adventure for the first time." Game Informer said the two-part premiere has, "shocking deaths, intense betrayals, and split-second decisions to second-guess," claiming that "Everything leads up to a hell of a cliffhanger, making me intrigued to see what happens next." 

The Walking Dead: A New Frontier acts as both a new beginning for players fresh to the series and unfamiliar with Clementine, as well as a continuation for players who have experienced Seasons One and Two. Players new to the series are able to start a story that is tailored to this new beginning. Players continuing onward from prior seasons have multiple options for quickly configuring their tailored backstory, or importing past save files from various platforms.
The Walking Dead: The Telltale Series - A New Frontier Episode Three: 'Above The Law" is rated 'M' (Mature) for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language, and Use of Drugs by the ESRB. Future content in the season is yet to be rated.
To date, The Walking Dead: A Telltale Games Series has sold more than 50 million episodes worldwide, earning more than 100 Game of the Year awards from outlets including Metacritic, USA Today, Wired, Spike TV VGAs, Yahoo!, The Telegraph, Mashable, Polygon, Destructoid and GamesRadar, and was also the recipient of two BAFTA Video Games Awards for Best Story and Best Mobile Game. 
The Walking Dead is set in the world of Robert Kirkman's award-winning comic book series and offers an emotionally-charged, tailored game experience where a player's actions and choices affect how their story plays out across the entire series.

GTA Online: Tiny Racers Coming April 25

GTA Online: Tiny Racers Coming April 25

GTA Online: Tiny Racers Coming April 25 - Watch the Trailer

Get ready for a new spin on classic Grand Theft Auto action, with Tiny Racers, coming April 25th. Watch the new trailer above to catch a glimpse of the retro-inspired stunt racing this all-new mode will bring to GTA Online next week.

In honor of 420, save (and score) some extra green via The Open Road with 50% off Weed Farm Businesses and Business Upgrades. All Weed sales from your Business will also earn you 50% more profits. And burn out with Green Tire Smoke from LS Customs, also 50% off today.

DARK SOULS™ III: The Fire Fades™ edition ignites into retail stores for Playstation 4, Xbox ONE and PC

DARK SOULS™ III: The Fire Fades™ edition ignites into retail stores for Playstation 4, Xbox ONE and PC
DARK SOULS™ III: The Fire Fades™ edition ignites into retail stores for Playstation 4, Xbox ONE and PC

The Full DARK SOULS III Experience Now Available

Leading interactive entertainment developer and publisher BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment Europe has released DARK SOULS™ III: The Fire Fades™ Edition for the PlayStation 4 computer entertainment system, Xbox One and PC to retail stores. DARK SOULS III: The Fire Fades Edition gives players the complete DARK SOULS III experience, bundling the critically acclaimed DARK SOULS III together with both downloadable expansions; Ashes of Ariandel™ and The Ringed City™ into one incredible package for consoles and PC.

Reborn as ash, players must make their way across the kingdom of Lothric in search of the risen Lords who have abandoned their duties to keep the age of Fire continuing as the once powerful fire begins to fade. Players will traverse a multitude of lands including murky swamps, dank dungeons, opulent castles, and rickety shantytowns, a painted land, and the eventual end of the world, across their journey.  A large cast of non-playable characters will be on hand to assist players with new spells, items and weapons to help overcome some of the most challenging bosses and fearsome foes in the DARK SOULS series.




Lust for Blood and Live for Death As You Search for Answers
to the Forgotten Past

BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment Europe today announces CODE VEIN™ for release on major home consoles in 2018. Feast on the blood of enemies through a journey across a massive interconnected world to unlock its mysterious sanguine past in this grueling action-RPG. 

In the not too distant future, a mysterious disaster has brought collapse to the world, as we know it. Towering skyscrapers, once symbols of prosperity, are now lifeless graves of humanity’s past pierced by the Thorns of Judgment. At the center of the destruction lies a hidden society of Revenants called Vein. This final stronghold is where the remaining few fight to survive, blessed with Gifts of power in exchange for their memories and a thirst for blood. Give into the bloodlust fully and risk becoming one of the Lost, fiendish ghouls devoid of any remaining humanity.

In this challenging action-RPG, CODE VEIN finds players assuming the role of a Revenant. After stumbling into Vein, players are tasked to embark into the world with a companion picked from the various residents of Vein to uncover lost memories and an exit out of this new demented reality. The world of CODE VEIN is dangerous, full of vicious enemies and monstrous bosses to put players’ combat skills to the test

Revenants also have access to Blood Veils, devices capable of draining the blood of their enemies in order to enhance their own abilities. Exploiting these enhanced abilities known as Gifts, players can change their form to increase their strength, weaken enemies, and utilize new weapon abilities with overpowered attacks. Utilizing the vast array of weaponry along with each character’s Gift, players can adapt and strategize to a variety of battle conditions that suit their play styles.

Shred And Sled With Steep’s New Winterfest Add-On Content

Shred And Sled With Steep’s New Winterfest Add-On Content 


To download all assets please visit the press extranet:

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA — April 21, 2017 —Ubisoft® has announced that Winterfest add-on content for Steep will be available for season pass or Gold Edition owners on May 3 on Xbox One, PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system and Windows PC.

With the Winterfest add-on content, players will be able to jump into Steep’s stunning Alps to participate in the craziest in-game snow sports festival ever organized.Steep's massive open world playground gets even more fun with the introduction of a new sport: the Winter Sled. In addition to this new sport, Winterfest delivers 21 wacky Winterfest challenges, more than 10 zany costumes, customization items and brand new bosses that will draw players into a breathtaking adventure and invite them to defeat fantastic new foes.
Click image below to view trailer.
With development led by Ubisoft Annecy*, Steep is designed for a culture that’s all about sharing experiences with the world. Steep features seamless multiplayer, populating the world with players as they explore the Alps and Alaska. Players and friends across the globe can take on challenges together, or compete with each other to snag the top spot on the leaderboards. The game’s replay feature expands this experience, allowing players to relive their wildest tricks and memorable lines and even share them as videos on social media. It doesn’t stop there, as challenges can be created from any line to compete with friends and achieve the best time or score based on customizable factors, such as completing tricks to score.

For the ultimate Steep experience players can purchase the Gold Edition, which includes the game and season pass. The season pass gives players access to the now available Adrenaline Pack, and the upcoming Winterfest add-on content and Extreme Pack add-on content, three packs that include exclusive challenges, unique costumes, and adrenaline-pumping add-on sports to make each ride unique and each experience even more exciting. Season pass owners will also receive an exclusive Snowman Costume, 10,000 Steep credits, and in-game helicopter tickets.

Doctor Who: Return of Doctor Mysterio: Blu Ray Review

Doctor Who: Return of Doctor Mysterio: Blu Ray Review

Riffing on superhero lore and also cocking a sly wink at the general silliness of their spectacle, the Christmas episode, Return of Doctor Mysterio saw a return to the screens for Peter Capaldi's Doctor after a year long absence.

When the Doctor inadvertently creates a child superhero, he ends up back in New York stuck with an invasion from a group of brain-sucking baddies. And caught up in the middle of a love triangle involving a caped superhero, a man nanny and a female reporter...
Doctor Who, starring Peter Capaldi

Romp is perhaps the best way to describe Doctor Who: Return of Doctor Mysterio and that's no bad thing with Capaldi given the chance to play a little looser with the character than in the previous season's heaviness.

Freed from the weightiness of the emotional arcs, it can feel a bit lighter than usual (and possibly works within the context of a Christmas broadcast) but there are more hints when Capaldi alludes to his darkness within.

Ultimately, Doctor Who: Return of Doctor Mysterio plays with superhero silliness quite well and while it may feel friskier than usual, it's great to see Who not taking itself as seriously or being so self-involved.

It all bodes well for Capaldi's final year, starting in Easter 2017.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Silicon Valley : Series 3: DVD Review

Silicon Valley : Series 3: DVD Review

The boys of Pied Piper are back for yet another series of awkwardly generated but belly smashing laughs.
Silicon Valley : Series 3: DVD Review

Starting with Thomas Middleditch's Richard being fired as the CEO of his own internet company, this latest attempts to bring fractures between the teams, but never loses sight of the occasional absurdity and heart which keeps the show going.

Dabbling a little with the click farm politics that hits portions of the internet from time to time, there are plenty of moments in this latest that make the third season of Silicon Valley feel both pertinent and contemporary, while never losing some of the timelessness of the comedy.

From TJ Miller's boorish wannabe to Kumail Nanjani's hen-picked but hilarious programmer, there's an ensemble here that crackles with the writing. It helps that the show's paciness and general embracing of the genre and the concept all comes together with considerable aplomb.

The appearance of Stephen Toblowsky as a potential partner also is welcome this year and while he's not in the entire run, he injects plenty to ensure the show doesn't feel staid and willing to rest on its laurels.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Going in Style: Film Review

Going in Style: Film Review

Cast: Michael Caine, Alan Arkin, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Dillon, Ann-Margret
Director: Zach Braff

For an audience of a certain age, the movie-going experience can sometimes be a bewildering one.
Going in Style
Wishing for more gentle fare perhaps is what's led to the release and remake of the little known 1979 caper film Going in Style with an older cinema alumni aimed at giving the older generation something to enjoy, rather than the non-stop barrage of blockbuster action.

Caine, Arkin and Freeman star as Joe, Al and Willie, a clutch of retirees who are rocked by the news their pension fund from the manufacturing company they've worked at all their lives is being seized. Having recently been a bystander in a robbery at his bank, Joe decides that the group should risk it all to pull off a similar heist to ensure their final days are given a degree of comfort after they've been financially screwed over.

Going in Style is less The Italian Job, more a stuttering OAP job.

Granted, with growing enmity toward the corrupt banking sector, and even a swipe at pension thefts and the average Joe getting shafted by those they've worked for for years, Going in Style had the potential to have a bit of a modern sting in its admittedly broad-brush strokes execution.

Former Scrubs actor and Garden State director Zach Braff brings little to the directorial table other than a simple presentation of the narrative, and even peppering the entire film with an upbeat jazzy OST throughout doesn't help it feel like anything other than a pill-induced high.
Going in Style
Admittedly, one "chase" sequence involving an OAP speedster mechanical cart, a security guard and a bag of flour provokes some laughs, a sort of slow-mo race for the older generation, but the laughs are few and far in between.

And while the trio get to play to their erstwhile strengths (Caine's insistence that one should "stay in the bloody car", Arkin's continuing cantankerous old man schtick and Freeman's ever-present geniality), there's a terrifying feeling this bunch of old timers have been handed better fare in their acting years and are simply schilling themselves for scraps.

Though, while there will be some who feel the pangs of recognition as the trio watch trash TV like The Bachelor and discuss its lack of merits, there's little for a younger audience in this movie who would benefit from some of the messages within - unless you wish to see the great actor Michael Caine attempting to smuggle Spam out of a shop.

It's not a terrible film in many ways (though Christopher Lloyd's alarming turn as a dementia patient is terrifying for all the wrong reasons), and it's competently put together, but it just lacks panache and substance, even in its swirling recreation of the actual heist.

Going in Style
Fairly stock standard Saturday afternoon family fare it is, and with its messages of seizing the day, embracing family and friends et al, there's enough to garner a whimsical reflection from its target audience.

But in the final stretches, this bland script from Hidden Figures scribe Theodore Melfi doesn't really garner the protagonists a redemptive arc that feels earned; it's simply a case of playing on the fact you wouldn't want your own grandparents to be screwed over, and unfortunately, that doesn't feel enough to warrant the film's conclusion or the journey within.

A bland and generic mishmash of heist films and buddy antics, Going in Style lacks the substance needed, the poignancy that should have been deserved or the sentiment required to give these old timers the send-off they're clearly aiming for.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

War On Everyone: DVD Review

War On Everyone: DVD Review

It's hard to work out if the writer / director of the sublime Calvary has his tongue firmly in his cheek in his first American film foray.

At times, War on Everyone, with its scuzzy OTT moments, appears to be parodying the 70s Cop shows that were so prevalent and so over the top with their characters and testosterone-filled leads. And yet, you're never quite sure if this was intentional or a pure drizzle of cinematic coincidence.

As it starts on a great philosophical question of "If you hit a mime with a car you're chasing him in, does he make a sound?", you could be forgiven for thinking this tale of two corrupt and nihilistic cops is going to do more than revel in its black humour.

Skarsgard and Pena play Monroe and Bolano respectively, who are one chastisement away from being kicked off the force because of their unconventional methods. But when they come face to face with tweed wearing Brit bad guy Lord Mangan (played by Theo James), the duo could have bitten more off than they can chew....

It's not as if War On Everyone doesn't have the McDonagh black humour trademarks scored through. With some truly off-kilter one-liners and some continual prodding of the Brits via an Irish character, the hallmarks are there for laughs.

But somehow, the delivery of the whole thing feels flat and at the end of the day, what should be steeped in irony and deliciously dead-pan ends up grating and frankly, at times, irritating as hell. The comic banter between the duo becomes annoying and tiresome as the satire falls flat and the film begins to drag.

For an American foray, McDonagh has his genre bases well covered and there are anarchic touches that are welcome throughout - it's almost as if it was a 70s cop TV show through a profanity laced filter.

As one character remarks, "You ain’t got a good script, you ain’t got shit". It seems an awfully meta touch from this criminal that really does hit the crux of the problem on the head. Whereas Calvary and The Guard were steeped in a dark delicious humour that delivered emotionally and cinematically, War on Everyone spends most of its time trying to beat you into submission like a moustachioed police officer trying to garner a confession from a crim.

It's not a fatal flaw for War on Everyone, but this lack of consideration over how it will sound on the screen does hold the film back from soaring and making you reflect on why films like Lethal Weapon and the buddy dynamic work so well.

Instead, this cop film deserves to be locked up - and McDonagh needs to be given a warning over its disjointed narrative and execution. 

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Passengers: DVD Review

Passengers: DVD Review

They say in space, no-one can hear you scream.

And that's perhaps a good thing, given that Morten Tyldum's space romance has a major twist in its tail, that was unshown in trailers and leaves a nasty taste in your mouth.

Guardians of the Galaxy star Chris Pratt plays engineer Jim Preston, who's in deep sleep on board the SS Aurora along with 5,000 other passengers. When his suspended animation pod malfunctions, he wakes up in the middle of the journey with no clue why. The real kicker is that the ship won't arrive at its destination, the newer version of Earth aka Homestead II, for another 90 years, effectively condemning him to death.

Stuck alone on the ship with no human interaction - the sole character Preston has to deal with is Michael Sheen's android bartender, Preston starts to go slowly mad as the reality of the situation kicks in - and he faces a moral dilemma - wake another passenger and condemn them to the same fate or spend a lifetime alone...

With production values that really reflect the space age look to a tee, and the loneliness of space is certainly evident early on in the piece as the ship hurtles to its destination and begins to malfunction.

Tyldum uses Pratt's charisma to great effect and showcases it well, with montages of the humdrum nature of his ship bound life setting the scenes excellently. But Pratt's charisma can only go so far - and while his interactions with Sheen are brilliantly dry, smarmy and deadpan, it takes the appearance of Jennifer Lawrence to really fire the dramatic spark that's needed.

Unfortunately, that spark is somewhat dimmed by the glossing over of the moral dilemma and the creepy state of affairs as this space-set ode to Stockholm Syndrome progresses. Tyldum and the script's desire to gloss over the implications of the decision that's made by the idealistic and desperate Preston prove to be slightly fatal in the ultimate wash.

There's something here about class divides as Lawrence's Aurora is clearly a step above Preston's engineer; from the quality of breakfasts she's doled out by the automated vending machines (standing in contrast to Pratt's faceless weetbix style lumps) to the quality of life, the writers could have made more of the divide between the two, rather than playing on the easy chemistry between the pair which isn't enough to weight the story.

Complete with narrative conveniences, such as malfunctions for no real reason and a sci-fi setting that's primarily doused in soapy romance rather than sci-fact, Passengers is only just a trip worth taking because of Pratt and Lawrence. It's their interaction in the coldness of space that just about will convince the romantic dreamers of the audience.

But for a high concept film, it fails to deliver on its premise unfortunately and relies on one moment that will polarise any rational member of the audience. Not exactly a disaster, but nowhere near a success, it remains a frustrating experience.