Thursday, 19 October 2017

Cuphead: Xbox One Review

Cuphead: Xbox One Review

Developed by StudioMDHR Entertainment
Platform: XBox One

Imagine if Steamboat Willie met with the gaming generation and you're half way to the reality of Cuphead, the XBox One exclusive.
Cuphead: Xbox One Review

With a very simple story (two mugs sell their souls at a casino to the Devil and now have to run about doing his bidding to claim them back), Cuphead's MO is less about narrative and more about the look and feel of the game.

Much like the return of Crash Bandicoot to the PlayStation 4, Cuphead's a platform run and gun game that thrives on its difficulty more than anything.

But that's actually no bad thing, as games these days lack the challenge they used to revel in.

So often would games guide you to where you needed to go to do what you need to do, and while Cuphead's simplicity is annoying in many ways, it's also refreshing.

However, that's not to say it's not punishingly difficult in places.
Cuphead: Xbox One Review

Jumping, running, shooting bosses and bouncing on different colour bombs lobbed your way to fill up your supermeter may sound easily, but the execution of the game is anything but. If timing is remotely off, you're in big trouble and restarting. It can be frustrating, but why should a game that looks this good be so easy anyway?

The game's artwork and animation is nothing short of superb.

Easily reminiscent of early 30s animation and early Disney work, as well as the personification of the WW2 vibe of comics and Korky the cat, the game's artwork is gorgeous. If there weren't so many things coming to kill you, it'd be worth taking it all in.

Ultimately, Cuphead looks good, plays with difficulty and reminds you of why you game - for a challenge, for something different and for something fresh. 
Cuphead: Xbox One Review

Cuphead is all of these things and more.

If you're prepared to sacrifice your sanity occasionally.

Home Again: Film Review

Home Again: Film Review

Based on no real kind of reality, other than the fluffiness that exists in the white privilege confines of the movies, Reese Witherspoon's latest unashamedly and unapologetically panders to the female audience.
Home Again: Film Review

Witherspoon plays Alice Kinney, the just-turned-40-year-old daughter and single mother-of-two of film-maker John Kinney, who's recently divorced.
Celebrating a night out with friends for her birthday, the eternally perky Alice meets Harry, Teddy and George, a trio of wannabe film-makers who've just been evicted but are on the verge of a big deal.

Nearly hooking up with one and finding the other two in her house the next day, Alice finds her mother (Candice Bergen, making the very most of her very few scenes) has invited them to move in while they search for the big break.
But problems arise in this odd family when Alice's former husband Austen(the begrizzled Michael Sheen) decides he wants her back.

Home Again exists in the kind of bubble that Hollywood rom-coms tend to perpetuate.

With everyone looking incredibly perfect and somehow incredibly bland, Nancy Meyers' daughter Hallie Meyers-Shyer's assembled a veritable piece of fluff that trades largely on Witherspoon's eternal likeability and girl-next-door-could-be-your-best-friend sheen to maximum effect.
Home Again: Film Review

With little attachment to any reality and some perfectly pristine house interiors, Home Again is a sort of wishful piece of life porn, where the very troubles that arise aren't actually really troubles and everything ends nicely at the end of the day for everyone.
It's so detached from real life and drowned in a sort of saccharine appeal that it's likely to give you diabetes.

That said, its target audience will lap up the tenuously underdeveloped love triangle, will laugh riotously at the bristling of the generations when Austen returns and swoon as the nice guy gets the girl by launching a charm offensive that culminates in him fixing a wonky kitchen cupboard and entering Alice's heart and affections.

It's not that Home Again is anything other than what it aspires to be, and while there are a few moments which will garner some amusement, there's a nagging feeling that any male will find this dangerously intolerable at times and any female will wilt in its presence and perpetuation of the Witherspoon appeal.
Home Again: Film Review

Broad and yet bland, Home Again manages to be just about inoffensive over its 90 minute run time - however, its lack of developing plots and desire to indulge only the slightest of plot developments inside its bubble mean Meyers-Shyer's debut is about as appealing as flat champagne - there are moments of sparkle, but the after taste is anything but pleasant.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

One Thousand Ropes: DVD Review

One Thousand Ropes: DVD Review

Tradition, spirituality, family ties, ghosts of the past long forgotten and haunting melancholia mixes together in Samoan director Tusi Tamasese's latest film, One Thousand Ropes.

Blending together a slow-burning concoction of humanity and redemption proves to be a fertile narrative ground for this tale of Maea (Uelese Petaia, quiet and dignified, with hints of more bubbling dangerously under).

Living in a simple life in a run-down empty house in Wellington, and working daily at dawn in a bakery before providing Samoan traditional massage to pregnant women, Maea finds himself trapped in a modern world that appears to be turning its back on his old ways.

From old ways of kneading dough to old midwifery, Maea is stuck dealing with the consequences of how he's handled life - and haunted by a warrior-like spirit lurking in the corner of his house that he believes he freed during a massage session.

Things further reach breaking point, when the bakery he toils at brings in a machine to keep up the pace and Maea continues to lose business to the local church and their midwifery ways.

When his pregnant daughter (Shortland Street's Frankie Adams) returns home, beaten and battered by her partner, Maea finds his quest for redemption inadvertently renewed - but will the sins of his past ruin what's left of his future?

One Thousand Ropes is gloomy, bleak and slow-moving - and all the more powerful because of it.

It also has something of a commanding presence in among the darkness as Tamasese weaves intricately and carefully laid out details into the fabric of this Samoan story that the audience will have to work with to get the most out of. He did something similar with 2011's The Orator, which delivered an emotional punch of some considerable heft.

While One Thousand Ropes occasionally teeters on leading a little too slowly towards its denouement, its stripped back paucity and ominous foreboding build a terrifically-laced atmosphere that washes over those willing to spend a little patience in the cinema. It's already had good reviews out of Sundance and also the Berlinale Film Festival, and it's easy to see why.

Themes of redemption and reconciliation co-exist and coagulate in the mix, as the a-lot-said-but-little-spoken forlorn film plays out. The pay-off is tangible too, and while Tamasese leaves a lot for the audience to connect the dots, the selective way the emotional moments land and the truths are revealed deliver maximum impact as well.

Predominantly, this is due to Petaia's dignified turn, one which is understated and subtle. Etched on his face, the man once known as The Lion and who's encouraged to smash the perpetrator of his wife's beating lumbers with the guilt of the past and teeters with fragility on the brink of giving in. This is a turn that delivers so much by doing so little.

There's some terrific imagery too - from the succubus-like Seipua haunting Maea and strangling him to Maea's incessant kneading of the dough demonstrating his volcano-like emotions bubbling under, Tamasese does a lot with lingering slow shots, filling the frames of the film and providing more than screeds of dialogue ever could.

If you succumb to the rhythms and the slow-creeping power pace of One Thousand Ropes, the end result is quite unsettling and powerful. Weaving together both myth and personal tragedy are a potent mix for Tamasese, and despite the sedentary pace potentially putting some people off, it actually works in ways you could never expect.

Evocative, haunting and hard to shake, One Thousand Ropes is a timely reminder, once again, that small-scale intimacy works infinitely better than big screen bluster.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Waru: Film Review

Waru: Film Review

Eight independently told stories over one 10 minute period, linked by one single tragedy, but not so highly strung together it feels stretched.

That's the premise of the Maori female director-led Waru in an attempt to both stimulate discussion on child abuse and other Maori issues.

At the centre of it all is Waru, a boy killed in circumstances fully unknown, yet depressingly familiar, and whose opening words over a black screen "When I died, I saw the whole world" hint at the heartbreak of tragedy rippling through a community stricken by various forms of grief and guilt.

Waru: NZIFF Review

From there, the 8 female directors take on varying stories; from an aunty setting up the kitchen at the tangi, to a school teacher at a local kindy where Waru was and ending with 2 sisters on the road, the film's poignancy is evident in its subtlety and its execution.

Each vignette, grounded in a reality that's all too depressingly common, has a different director and story thread, but they're all intertwined with the common theme - and all bar one, they're more than successful at delivering what needs to be said having gone their own path and eschewed the usual trope of seeing the same story from different sides. Using singular shots and swirling around the locations, Waru's team of helmers make great fist of both time constraints and revealing a complete story.

While the great majority of the film works on its subtleties and imbues its subject with the gravitas that's needed and adds in some typically Maori humour, it's sad to note that the ever-so-slightly over-the-top section on the media handling of the case feels like the only section which is slightly fudged. It's the only story that slightly betrays the tone and feels like its extremist approach, while with valid points to raise, could have done it more with a shade less vitriol.

Elsewhere, the story involving two grandmothers, a marae and a challenge for Waru's body is utterly emotionally devastating, a powerful calling card over what a short story can deliver when helmed and written with utter precision. It's an electrifying commitment to culture, clashes of guilt and apportion of blame and self-examination in the light of tragedy, and in many ways, it feels uniquely New Zealand.

Having led us through the darker edges, the final short, with Miriama McDowell, proffers up a degree of frustrated hope and Waru concludes with much discussion to be had. Granted, there are a few moments when there's a bit of lecturing that's aimed at the characters (and by extension, us) throughout, but Waru's greatest strength lies in its subtlety of execution - its portmanteau approach makes this collection of thematically similar shorts both a damnation of societal ills and a template for discussion for change. 

Monday, 16 October 2017

No Ordinary Sheila: Film Review

No Ordinary Sheila: Film Review

The name Sheila Natusch will be familiar to anyone who loves nature and anyone who's from the lower reaches of the South Island.

Director Hugh MacDonald's gentle film biography takes in the life of Sheila Natusch, with better access than most given he's part of her family.

Starting off in Stewart Island where Natusch was born (nee Trail), MacDonald uses a Kim Hill Radio New Zealand interview with Natusch herself to help paint a lot of the scene, as well as Sheila's own writings. From growing up with a fascination for the wildlife and a strict father to Natusch's friendship with Janet Frame after they bonded at teacher's college, the depth on display here is fairly exhaustive, even if MacDonald knows which bits are best excised.
No Ordinary Sheila: NZIFF Review

Using some stunning wildlife footage and shots from around Stewart Island itself, (a nice quick cut montage manages to show the range of what the island has to offer), the scene's set for Sheila's interests to be awakened.

Essentially a social document of growing up and life in the south from when she was born in 1926 on Rakiura, this telling of a life story is amiable stuff. It helps that it's centred so laconically by Sheila herself , a fairly upbeat sort of a character, whose enthusiasm is never in question throughout.

Very occasionally, there are some sadnesses on display, giving Natusch a more rounded edge. Be it the lack of children or the rejection of her Animals in New Zealand book by a publisher written off when one error was clocked, the more human frailties are brought to the fore by MacDonald's use of footage and other's questions.

But with an ethos of "If I'm going to look back, that's what I want to see", the toothy Sheila is a tough old bird, with an attitude which many could learn from - but sadly, most of the audience for this piece won't unfortunately be the youngsters they're looking to try and inspire, with a feeling that perhaps an older generation or a clutch of people from the South will benefit better from this gentle portrait.

It could occasionally do with an edit, and it's not always entirely convincing chopping and changing from different interviewers to tell the story of her life with soundbites or interview moments, but when the spotlight shines on Sheila, there's evidence of the spirit and the inspiration which shine through.

Quite a handy social document as well as salutation to one of New Zealand's pioneering naturalists, No Ordinary Sheila is genial fare, which is fortunate to be blessed with the cunning dry wit and warmth of its quintessentially Kiwi subject. 

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Life is Strange: Before the storm Episode 2 is coming

Life is Strange: Before the storm Episode 2 is coming

New Gameplay Trailer Available
Hi everyone,

Thank you for the amazing support you have given Life is Strange: Before the Storm since the release of the first Episode. We can now officially reveal that Brave New World, the second episode of the three part series, will be available on 19th October for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC (Steam).

Our new ‘Life is Strange: Before the Storm Episode 2 Trailer’ sets the scene for the events of Episode 2: Brave New World, showcasing some new characters and environments alongside others that are making a return from the first game. As Chloe and Rachel’s family life continues to crumble, their friendship blossoms and the two girls discuss running away together. But before they can go, Chloe gets involved with an errand for Frank Bowers which puts her in a dangerous situation and exposes an uglier side to Arcadia Bay…

LIFE IS STRANGE: BEFORE THE STORM is set in Arcadia Bay, three years before the events of the first game in the series. Players will take on the role of a rebellious 16 year-old Chloe Price who forms an unlikely friendship with Rachel Amber; a beautiful and popular girl destined for success. When Rachel’s world is turned upside down by a family secret, it takes this new-found alliance to give each other the strength to overcome their demons.

Spider-Man Homecoming: Blu Ray Review

Spider-Man Homecoming: Blu Ray Review

Released by Sony Home Ent

Here we go again, with the return of the Amazing Spider-Man.
Spider-Man Homecoming: Film Review

There's no denying that the latest adventure, Spider-Man Homecoming, has the Avengers DNA coursing all through its veins.

While that's no bad thing to the legions of Marvel Universe fans out there, the reliance on Stark and his technology almost threatens to over-burden parts of this go-round-again for Spidey, but never quite overwhelms but it does provide a deus ex Stark machina from time-to-time.

However, it's a great deal of charm from English actor Tom Holland that helps make this Spidey such a joyous high to behold.

After Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield's attempts at the web-slinger saw more of a mope-fest, this latest seizes on the sense of fun as Parker tries to wait for his call up to the Avengers, following his part in the Civil War.

Stripped of yet another take on the origins of the character, Homecoming builds on the work done with the brief Civil War appearance when everyone was at each other's necks.

Spider-Man Homecoming: Film ReviewDesperate to get the call back from Stark and the gang (Spidey's enthusiasm and Civil war moments are captured on phone cam) Peter finds himself stonewalled and sidelined.
Stuck doing the "friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man" thing and juggling school life as well, Parker's caught in a web of his own when he discovers that Michael Keaton's Adrian Toomes (aka Vulture) is taking Chitauri tech and re-purposing it for his own nefarious ends.

Unable to get a message through to Stark via Jon Favreau's dismissive Happy Hogan, Parker decides to take matters into his own hands...

Spider-Man Homecoming has a definite bluster to proceedings as it pastiches John Hughes' Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and as already mentioned, it's great to see a lot of the angst jettisoned from previous films in favour of a take on the teen growing up and dealing with average stuff, while desperately wanting to be older. 

From the pratfalling to being ungainly, Holland brings a humanity to Parker that is both refreshing and endearing; this really is a definitive stamp on the role and a signal of intentions that Spidey won't become burdened with the usual considerations of the MCU.

The Stark touches are there throughout, whether it's the female Jarvis style suit (voiced by Jennifer Connelly) or the brief moments appearing as a mentor; and peppered with a couple of other appearances throughout from one other Avengers alum and mentions of the Sokovia Accord, there's no denying the DNA of this movie runs deep from the Avengers' world. But it's the lighter touch employed by the script that helps keep it refreshed and entertaining.
Spider-Man Homecoming: Film Review

And a great deal of stock has to be set in Keaton's performance as the blue-collar Toomes whose evil aspirations seem drawn from economic concerns many will feel are familiar and timely. There's a great twist involving Toomes that helps Spider-Man Homecoming subvert expectations but there's also a very strong performance from Keaton as the Vulture that meshes both elements of Green Goblin and Birdman throughout.

Perhaps less successful is the muddied final CGI showdown sequence which takes place in a night-time setting and is hard to make out as it whirls around.

And unfortunately, women get very short shrift in Spider-Man Homecoming, a film that's definitively and disappointingly, predominantly for dudes.

Whether it's the unattainable hot girl of the school who needs to be rescued or the slightly ditzy Aunt May, the female sector of the MCU feels like a real step-back. Equally disappointing is the deployment of some Korean/ Asian stereotypes - one's a chess club nerd, the other's a schlubby goofball friend; there's an argument to say it's great to see roles represented, but given the piecemeal once over of the writing, it feels like a veritable slap-in-the-face for inclusivity of all genders and races.

Ultimately, despite a bit of a mid-way slump, Spider-Man Homecoming represents a strong signal of intent from the MCU in their handling of the web-slinger.
Spider-Man Homecoming: Film Review

Relying more on the fun side rather than the relentless quippery of before, this Spider-Man is a dazzling blast of entertainment, a deftly-delivered film that brings the entertainment in much the same way that Ant-Man did. And because of that blast of freshness in the ongoing stale atmosphere of the Infinity War cosmos, it scores highly on many levels.

It's a geeky heady treat, albeit one that has a few foibles but not enough to unpick the web that's been spun on screen.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Churchill: DVD Review

Churchill: DVD Review

The director of The Railway Man heads to Winston Churchill's quest for redemption in a character portrait about the man himself.

Churchill: Film Review

Set a few days before the D Day landings of June 1944, Cox's Churchill is undergoing a crisis - troubled by visions of the seas running red while he saunters at the beach, he fears the command to send troops in to remove the Nazis in Europe will lead to wholesale slaughter.

Summoned before King George (a wonderfully subtle turn from James Purefoy), Montgomery and Eisenhower (former Mad Men star John Slattery), Churchill finds his protestations to pull back and wait for everything to be right with Operation Overlord are largely ignored.

With the clock ticking closer to the window of launch, Churchill himself struggles to reconcile both his own past and the burdens of being a leader during the most difficult of times.

Against a backdrop of the 1736th day of World War II and with the horrors and guilt of Gallipoli central to Churchill's mental state, a hunched, portly and wilfully defiant Cox delivers a performance which teeters between poignant and bluster. Squat, angry and channeling the "Nar-zees" intonations of Churchill with ease, Cox disappears into the role with no trouble whatsoever.

Churchill: Film Review

And with his director wanting to shoot plenty of profile shots and moody slow-mo moments of a man puffing on a cigar and exhaling slowly, the portrait is evocatively realised to say the least.

Granted, there are some artistic licences taken with Churchill's last-minute protestations to the proposed landings, but Cox does nothing less than sell the moral dilemma of being a leader in war-time. While there's easily an argument to say very occasionally that Teplitzky over-eggs the dramatic pudding (something he was woefully guilty of during Colin Firth's turn The Railway Man) by relying heavily on the imagery to create the mood, the human edges are what really set this higher than the usual fare.

A wonderfully understated exchange between Purefoy's King George and Churchill is emotionally powerful, and simultaneously draped in tenderness, as the two discuss how Winston's desire to lead from the front is nothing short of foolhardy recklessness. In just 5 minutes on screen, these two actors lift this extraordinary sequence into the echelons of the compelling.

Equally, Richardson's long-troubled wife Clem, while under-used throughout other than to chide and scold the blustering pomposity of her angry husband, has a few scenes where the cost to the humanity and relationship of the central pair is smartly and deftly examined. It's here that Churchill manages to soar, as it rises above its time-ticking melodramatic edges and continual scenes of Churchill shouting out his guilty petulance while trying to navigate mentally quieter waters to appease his conscience.

Perhaps this is where Churchill could have been more successful than it already is.

Churchill: Film Review

With the theatre of war having been inexorably changed these days (to the simpler minded, it's merely the debate before the pressing of a button), Churchill is more successful when it examines the human cost of conflict. It reminds us of the mental consequences of the guilt of leadership, the burden of decision and the regret of past mistakes made.

Thanks to a lead actor who sinks into an almost chameleonic turn, Churchill thankfully becomes more than just a simple portrait of a man troubled by the sins of the past; it becomes a nuanced turn of historical interest, even if its questions of accuracy may dog it after the lights go up. 

Friday, 13 October 2017

Radio Dunedin: Film Review

Radio Dunedin: Film Review

Director: Grant Findlay

A short but sweet hyper-local slice of Kiwi history, Radio Dunedin is Grant Findlay's paean ode to New Zealand's oldest radio station and the staff within.
Radio Dunedin: Film Review

Founded in 1922 by volunteer announcers and with a definite place within the community, Radio Dunedin's place in the South Island is undeniable.
As anyone who's ever had any interaction with community radio knows, there's nothing to beat the local ethos and attitude.

Interestingly, Findlay's documentary has a low key charm as it begins with a man simply walking down a corridor, making a packet coffee and firing up the microphone.
As the sun rises over Dunedin's purple sky, the familiar feel of what radio means to so many starts to be explored by Findlay.

Wisely choosing to let the volunteers do the talking and give the insights into being there, Findlay captures the essence of being part of local radio.

There are a few moments when volunteers let loose about the Auckland-centric nature of the industry and it feels a little bitter early on, but Findlay wisely layers that in early so that the impact of the loss of Radio Dunedin's FM frequency and the centralisation of corporate bigwig Mediaworks can come into sharp focus at the end.
Radio Dunedin: Film Review

Radio Dunedin: Film ReviewArchive audio mixes well with honesty and there is a feeling that Radio Dunedin soon becomes a piece about where the industry's heading as a whole. Already globally centralisation has occurred with big groups swallowing up local stations and there's a pervading sense in Findlay's briskly paced piece that Radio Dunedin is fighting against the tide.

But as the little scrapper station that could, and with former Prime Minister Sir John Key espousing why he chose to stay a regular contributor, the loyalty speaks volumes from this honest and reflective piece.

It may potentially fail to garner as much attention outside of the South Island which is a shame for Findlay's efforts, but there's a distinct feeling that what's been captured here is very really a snapshot of the industry and the shape it's ending up in.

It's hard to deny the love for Radio Dunedin within the community, and Findlay's created a document that perhaps will find its home in media schools as well - with a bittersweet ending, Radio Dunedin is worth a tune in for anyone who's ever remotely been interested in the media or the faces and attitudes that go into making sure community radio survives as corporate conglomerates and media mergers continue to surface and threaten to forever change the landscape.

Flatliners: Film Review

Flatliners: Film Review

Cast: Ellen Page, James Norton, Nina Dobrev, Diego Luna, Kiersey Clemons, Kiefer Sutherland
Director: Niels Arden Oplev
Flatliners: Film Review

27 years ago, a couple of fresh faced Brat Packers made a sci-fi film that was pure hokum, but tapped into something that troubles many - and in the resulting film formed something of a cult.

Now, mixing a cast and one original together, the resultant toothless Flatliners remake is dramatically and creatively dead on arrival, feeling like a CW drama that doesn't even bother to really pack in the jump scare moments.

Centring on a group of interns, it's the same story.
Flatliners: Film Review

Page plays Courtney, who decides to embark on an experiment to see what lies beyond this world by stopping her heart and technically dying for a few minutes, before being brought back.

Dragging along Clemons and Norton's fellow students, the experiment initially promises a heady high, but soon delivers them all various nightmares.

Full of pretty people and a terrible American accent from Happy Valley ruffian Norton, Flatliners is frankly a mess.

It lacks any edge and is as flat as the ECGs in the film itself. Relying on wet bus ticket jump scares, the 2017 remake of Flatliners is creatively limp and narratively weak.

Page takes it all too seriously and becomes the science exposition nerd of the group, setting up the premise and presenting the calm in the ensuing laughable panic that sets in.
Flatliners: Film Review

There's just nothing that fires any of the neural synapses here whatsoever, and while Oplev manages to make some of the afterlife visuals feel hyperreal, it can't quite shake off the fact that it all seems like a music video for the MTV and teen-loving CW generation.

Maybe needlessly glamourising suicide and self-harm, the 2017 Flatliners is a waste of everyone's time from the cast to the audience. Slapped with a cinematic Do Not Resuscitate would be a kindness, because there's little here to engage anything of the cinema-going audience - be it in this life or the next.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Assassin’s Creed Origins Post-Launch Content Revealed

Assassin’s Creed Origins Post-Launch Content Revealed

Season Pass Content Revealed and Free Add-On Content Announced

Sydney, AUSTRALIA — October 11, 2017 Ubisoft has revealed details of Assassin’s Creed® Origins post-launch content, including the season pass and free add-on content available to all players. Players will be able to continue exploring a vast and mystical Ancient Egypt thanks to wide variety of post launch content including several hours of new storyline expansions & quests, timed events and customization items.

Click image below to view trailer.

The Assassin’s Creed Origins Season Pass includes:
·         DLC 1 - The Hidden Ones: This story-driven expansion builds upon the growth of the Brotherhood, taking players years after the events of Assassin’s Creed Origins as they clash with an occupying Roman force in a new region. This expansion will extend the level cap, allowing players to keep on making their character progress.  Available in January, 2018.
·          DLC 2 - The Curse of the Pharaohs: In this story-driven expansion focusing on Egyptian mythology, players will fight against undead pharaohs and explore a new, mystical realm. During their journey, players will encounter famed Egyptian beasts such as Anubis warriors, scorpios and more, as they investigate the cause of the curse that has brought the dead pharaohs back to life. The Curse of the Pharaohs will increase the level cap further and introduce brand new Abilities. Available in March, 2018.
·         The Roman Centurion and Horus Packs: Two exclusive add-on packs including a new outfit, weapons, shield and mount. Available in November, 2017.
·         A package of 500 Helix Credits, Available at the launch of the game.
·         An exclusive rare weapon, the Calamity Blade. Available at the launch of the game.

The season pass is included in the Assassin’s Creed Origins Gold Edition and is also available for purchase separately for $39.99.

On top of that, an extensive lineup of free content filled with new challenges and gameplay opportunities will be available for all players at or after the launch of the game, including:
·         The Trials of the Gods: Epic boss battles against Egyptian gods that take place during special timed events, victorious players will receive prestigious rewards. The first Trial of the Gods event will be available 15 days after the launch of the game.
·         The Nomad’s Bazaar: A wandering merchant gives players daily quests to complete in order to earn mysterious exotic rewards. Available at the launch of the game.
·         Photo Mode: Players will be able to capture and share the beauty of the Egyptian landscape and indulge their inner wildlife photographer while discovering in-game pictures taken by other players. Available at the launch of the game.
·         Horde Mode: Players will fight endless waves of enemies in the Gladiator Arena. They will be able to compare their scores with their friends and challenge them asynchronously.  Available in early 2018.
·         Discovery Tour: This new educational mode turns the world of Assassin’s Creed Origins into a combat-free living museum and will give everyone the opportunity to learn more about Ancient Egypt through guided tours curated by historians and Egyptologists. Available early 2018.

Assassin’s Creed Origins is a brand new vision for the franchise embracing Action-RPG elements where players level up, loot, and choose their abilities to customize their very own skilled Assassin. They will experience a completely new combat system allowing them to attack and defend multiple enemies at once and equip ultra-rare weapons against unique and powerful bosses. A revamped narrative experience allows total freedom for players to choose and complete quests at their own pace, each telling an intense and emotional story full of colorful characters and meaningful objectives. With an entire country to explore, from deserts to lush oases, from the Mediterranean Sea to the tombs of Giza, players will fight against dangerous factions and wild beasts as they explore this gigantic and unpredictable land.
Assassin’s Creed Origins will be available on October 27, 2017 for the Xbox One video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, PlayStation®4 Pro computer entertainment system, PlayStation®4 and Windows PC, and on Xbox One X at its launch on November 7 2017.
For more information about Assassin’s Creed Origins, please visit or



Attendees Set to Fight Primals from the MMO’s Second Expansion Stormblood
Sydney, Australia – October 12, 2017 – Square Enix® is excited to announce FINAL FANTASY® XIV Online will make its PAX Australia debut later this month with exciting activities planned for the Melbourne show, which takes place 26th – 29th October.
The MMO’s wildly-popular Battle Challenge will be available for Australian gamers to take on for the first time, as attendees are called to arms to face-off against two Primals, Susano and Lakshmi, from the critically-acclaimed second expansion Stormblood™.
Anyone who successfully defeats the Primals will receive a highly sought-after “I Beat” T-Shirt, while all participants will walk away with a lanyard. Free Trial discs will also be available at the booth for all PAX Australia attendees.
For further details on FINAL FANTASY XIV Online’s presence at PAX Australia, please visit: 
The FINAL FANTASY XIV Free Trial beckons new players to join the millions of adventurers in the realm of Eorzea™. The free trial allows anyone to access content up to level 35*, create up to eight playable characters, and experience the different playable races, classes, and jobs with no restrictions on playtime. New players who wish to experience the free trial may register here:
All editions of FINAL FANTASY XIV Online, including the FINAL FANTASY XIV: Stormblood expansion, may be purchased through the Square Enix® Online Store here:




New Zealand players get their first taste of the latest installments in both blockbuster franchises with exclusive hands-on of at this year’s Armageddon Expo in New Zealand.

Playable on the Xbox One X, Assassin’s Creed Origins will be in stunning 4K so players can explore the diverse environments of Ancient Egypt in breathtaking detail. A brand new vision for the franchise that explores the mysterious foundations of the Brotherhood. Assassin’s Creed Origins will be available to buy on October 27 for the Xbox One, PlayStation®4 Pro, PlayStation®4 and Windows PC, and on Xbox One X at its launch on November 7 2017. Embracing Action-RPG elements and a completely new combat system, players can explore an entire country, from the Mediterranean Sea to the tombs of Giza and fight against dangerous factions and wild beasts within a living and breathing ecosystem.

This week, Ubisoft revealed details of Assassin’s Creed® Origins post-launch content, including the season pass and free add-on content available to all players. Players will be able to continue exploring a vast and mystical Ancient Egypt thanks to wide variety of post launch content including several hours of new storyline expansions & quests, timed events and customization items.

Players at Armageddon will also experience the chaos, unpredictability, and ferociousness of the Far Cry franchise with Far Cry 5 on PlayStation®4 Pro computer entertainment system. Set in Montana, USA, players will have total freedom to navigate this serene-looking yet deeply twisted world solo or entirely in two-player co-op as they fight for survival and freedom.

Far Cry 5 will be out on February 27, 2018, on PlayStation®4 Pro computer entertainment system, PlayStation®4, the Xbox One, Xbox One X and Windows PC.

For more information about Assassin’s Creed Origins, please visit