E3 2014: MY TOP PICKS

Greetings all!!!

So, for a while I couldn’t think of anything to talk about because…not much interesting happened this week.

I did see Edge of Tomorrow, but there was no point in reviewing a film that has been out for a while, because everyone has probably already seen it. I wasn’t going to talk about the World Cup either because I don’t blog about sports.

But then in a conversation I had with my friend who was sent a code to try out the Destiny Alpha on PS4, I remembered..,

E3 HAPPENED!

So I’ll talk about the games I saw and picked the ones that peeked my interest…

Assassin’s Creed Unity

I’m not a die hard fan of the Assassin’s Creed games. Yes, I do have fun with them, but no, I have never actually completed them. In my opinion, Assassin’s Creed games are always a lot of hard work and require an enormous amount of patience.

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I was playing Black Flag on my PS4 the other night and I had to make a long ass journey by ship to my next destination, which left me sitting there thinking: “Why am I sitting through simulated sailing for the past 10 minutes when I could be doing something else?”

But maybe because Black Flag wanted you to be fully engrossed in the pirate experience.

I don’t know…

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But what makes me excited for this new installment is that it’s the first in the series made specifically for next gen and just because there’s no other game coming out on next-gen for a while to look forward aside Destiny.

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The time and the setting, which is Paris during the French Revolution, adds to it’s appeal. I also loved that, as demonstrated in the single player trailer, everything is seamless. You can go into a random building without having to load it up.

It’s the little things…

Mortal Kombat X

Mortal Kombat on the next gen platform…Need I say more?

This installment of the series is everything the Mortal Kombat series should be. Energetic, fun and brutal. And it looks like there’s exactly what it’s doing.

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What’s more is that it seems that some of the mechanics from Injustice: Gods Amongst Us have been incorporated into this game. You can grab objects from your surroundings and use them as a weapon.

There’s not a lot I need to say about this one, because the trailer and the gameplay speaks for itself.

The Order 1886

It was great to see more footage for The Order 1886, but for some reason I’m still on the fence with it.

It looks absolutely amazing. There’s no doubt about that. However I am not completely sold on it. I’ll probably wait for a hands on first impression before I decide to buy.

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Maybe it’s because of the premise of the game, or the fact that this is the start of a possible gaming franchise. Because it’s a stand alone release and hasn’t had a previous installment to establish that it’s worth getting I can’t put my faith entirely into The Order 1886.

Okay, yes, the guys who developed this game developed the God Of War PSP games but that’s not enough to go on.

Like I said let’s see what happens…

Tom Clancy’s The Division

This game has continued to impress me everytime new footage is released. It looks visually stunning. The gameplay looks superb.

I just can’t wait to get it for my PS4 and see it on my TV in all it’s glory.

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My only fear would be that it’s focused mainly on the multiplayer campaign, but I’d love it if it had a great single player campaign because it looks promising enough to warrant a playable story.

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Like Mortal Kombat X, the footage speaks for itself. Yes, I did mention that with The Order 1886, it wasn’t an established franchise yet, but considering The Division is being developed by Ubisoft, I have little to worry about.

No Man’s Sky

I didn’t know what to expect when the trailer for this game was about to play during E3.

Then it played…

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…and boy oh boy. I was surprisingly impressed.

I wasn’t expecting it to be impressive and I wasn’t expecting to be so interested in it. Because I’m not an “indie gamer”. I don’t play indie games. I play the big mainstream blockbuster releases, the games everyone has been hyping up for months.

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But this game, as an indie game, heck, as any type of game, looks impressive. And the scope of it sounds incredible. The fact that no two players will start in the same place and you can travel to anywhere and it’s infinite in quantity really excites me. And it seems so immersive.

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I can forgive it for being released in December next year. That much promise needs more developing time. So I can wait, and I have a feeling the wait will be worth it…

Batman: Arkham Knight

From the moment this trailer began actually showing the gameplay my jaw hit the floor.

THIS is the game that really impressed me at E3. It’s the Arkham games, so I expected no less. But it looks so amazing. From the gliding to driving the Batmobile.

And the Batmobile…

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It looks like a hell of a lot of fun to drive. I was slightly skeptical when it was announced that the Batmobile was a playable mechanic in the game, but this trailer ended those doubts.

The city of Gotham has never looked so beautiful, so real. At first, I was annoyed it got delayed, but after seeing this, all I can think is:

“If it looks this good now, how is it going to look when it’s finishing touches are done?”

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And I think we all know the answer to that…

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Also worth mentioning:

The really two big games also worth mentioning and I will gladly let them take my money would be Uncharted 4 and Rise of The Tomb Raider.

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Unfortunately, neither of these games exhibited any sort of gameplay footage but luckily their predecessor’s speak for themselves. The Uncharted series has always been a stand out, and if they carry on how they have done previously, like the Arkham games it should work out quite nicely.

If it ain’t broke don’t fix it…

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The same applies to Rise of the Tomb Raider. With the first one I was skeptical with playing it, but when I did get round to it, my mind was blown. It was one of the best games of 2013. It didn’t get the credit it deserved to be honest. But I have high expectations now for Rise of the Tomb Raider.

The last game worth mentioning, yes, I know it’s been out for nearly a year and I’ve already played it on PS3, but Grand Theft Auto V for PS4 is one for some reason I look forward to.

GTA5_mediumIt’s probably because I’m carrying the same logic I have with Assassin’s Creed Unity. Nothing big and new is coming out for a while so I’ll gladly give my money to GTAV. I’m sure a lot of people with a PS4 will be doing the same for The Last of Us.

So, what did you think of E3 2014? What were your top picks?

Comments please and I’ll see you on the next post!!!

 

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LET NATURE TAKE IT’S COURSE…

Greetings all!!!

So, this is my second post and I think these posts will be up on a regular weekly basis. So for anyone who reads or follows my blog, every Friday I’ll have between 1 to 3 posts up for you to enjoy!

Now, onto this week’s first post!

Another week brings with it another blockbuster, and this week was the turn of Godzilla. While I enjoyed the film there were two minor problems I had with the film, the first of which is split into two parts.

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(***SPOILERS AHEAD, SO IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE MOVIE YET, YOU HAVE BEEN FOREWARNED. DO NOT READ ON UNLESS YOU HAVE NO INTEREST IN THE MOVIE OR YOU DON’T CARE IF THE PLOT OF A FILM/SERIES IS RUINED FOR YOU***)

Amongst Godzilla, the other blockbusters I have seen this year include Captain America: The Winter Soldier and The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Cap’s second outing was brilliant. Spidey’s second outing was good but I was disappointed at some points. What I couldn’t help but notice about these three films in particular was how misleading their trailers were.

Bare with me for a second.

Whilst I do understand that trailers aren’t supposed to give too much of a film away, with Captain America, the trailer I feel, completely undersold the movie. When I first saw the trailer, I didn’t see anything that really grabbed my attention and blew me away. I was expecting it to be an average film just to fill the void between The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron.

But boy wasn’t I wrong.

Then, with ASM2, the significance of The Rhino to the plot of the movie was oversold by it’s several trailers. And, with Godzilla I got that same feeling. The role of Bryan Cranston’s character was displayed in the trailer as a coherently significant part of the film. I thought his character would make it to the end.

By at least the first 45 minutes, Cranston was gone.

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But that wasn’t the thing I was a bit troubled by. Hell, I would be lying to you if I said that Cranston wasn’t part of the reason why I went to see the movie. What I was slightly annoyed about, and this is me nitpicking here, was how the film was advertised in the trailer as a non-stop monster mayhem flick.

Instead, the movie featured the central human characters trying to avoid death at every cost, including trying to survive a train falling off a broken track or a bus full of kids attempting to escape a collapsing bridge as the army and Godzilla battle MUTO’s. Every time Godzilla would get into a bout, the film would close it off and switch to a news report of the battles taking place.

Now, while I appreciate film as an art form and I didn’t mind that the film did this, I can imagine a lot of people who, on a Friday night, are looking for a 2 hour mindless action destruction fest, end up being pissed at the movie for not giving them what they wanted.

The people paid to see Godzilla get down and rumble.

However, to the film’s credit, I think if they had shown every single one of Godzilla’s battles with the MUTO’s, after the second one I might have gotten bored because it would turn into one of those; “too many fireworks ruined the party” situations. And maybe that’s why as awesome as Pacific Rim is, I don’t think I could watch it again because the film is clustered with a bit too much monster vs monster (or giant robot) action.

Less is more.

My second issue with the film is in regard to the human characters and the outcome of their fates. Now, when it comes to disaster movies, I always hate it when it reaches a “happy” ending. In most disaster movies, by “happy” I don’t mean that the disaster is necessarily over, but by “happy”, I mean that most of the central characters at the heart of the film’s story somehow miraculously make it out alive. And reunite happily with their loved ones.

This has been the case in a lot of Roland Emmerich movies. Yes, I’m talking about you, Independence Day, Day After Tomorrow, 2012 and even Michael Bay’s Transformers: Dark of the Moon.

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I know I’m coming off as a bit cold-hearted, but come on! We’re now living in a time where cinema-goers want to see their films and their stories grounded in reality. For arguments sake, if a disaster occurred in the same vein as the movies I’ve just mentioned, can you honestly say so many people would accomplish that happy ending?

And when watching Godzilla, I thought the story was thinking amongst those lines. Bryan Cranston’s wife in the film is tragically gone at the start of the movie, and like I said, Cranston also meets a  heart breaking fate early in the film.

But the fate of his son, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, his son’s wife (portrayed by Elizabeth Olsen) and their son by the end of the film is that they are tearfully reunited even though the city has been levelled by Godzilla’s battle with the two MUTO’s. Endings like that take out the realism from the film and make it seem a little cheesy.

Yeah it sounds bad that I wanted at least one more central character to meet an untimely end but like I said, realistic circumstances and all that jazz…

That’s not to say the film is without it’s merits. The film’s first trailer mislead us to believe that Godzilla was the creature that had to be taken down because it looked like it was threat to mankind. So it was refreshing to see the giant lizard used as nature’s response to balancing out forces that was causing harm to the earth and it’s inhabitants.

Letting nature take it’s course…

9355740_600x338 On the acting front everyone played their roles well. Cranston, as always, gives a magnetic performance that has you pulled into the narrative and the characters. Maybe that’s why I’m a little pissed he wasn’t in the film for a huge portion of it, because none of the other characters filled that void.

Ken Watanabe spent most of the film with his jaw hung open in awe, whilst Taylor-Johnson, though you rooted for him to get back to his family, was quite stoic throughout the run of the film. His most memorable moments came when he had to convey some emotional depth, especially in his scenes with Cranston.

Elizabeth Olsen also gave a good performance but unfortunately we didn’t see a lot of her in the movie to judge her on.

Without a doubt, Godzilla is going to get compared with Pacific Rim, and there were some parts of the former I preferred to the latter. Godzilla was well filmed, which made the action sequences a lot more watchable and in all honesty I preferred Godzilla‘s action sequences to Pacific Rim‘s set pieces.

To reiterate; less is more…

While Godzilla‘s action was more on the human side, if I had to pick between the climactic sky diving scene in Godzilla to any Kaiju fight scene in Pacific Rim, I would happily pick the scene belonging to Gareth Edwards; picture. The execution of the Godzilla sky dive was superbly simple, yet while watching it at my local IMAX screen I found it to be incredibly breathtaking, especially when Taylor-Johnson’s Ford Brody dives alongside Godzilla’s gigantic scaly surface.

Overall, I enjoyed Godzilla. It’s amongst the other strong candidates in the summer blockbuster pile this year. Like I said, it will be compared to Pacific Rim on a lot of occasions, but it does stand on it’s own two feet and proves to be a film that is unique and different in it’s own right.

3.5/5