With The Avengers breaking all sort of records at the box office (some predictions are suggesting that only Avatar & Titanic will be above it in the all time highest grossing films) it’s not too surprising to see Sony putting out a new 4 minute preview of The Amazing Spider-Man. Whilst I do think it’s over-selling the film saying it’s the “most anticipated film of the summer” (obviously never heard of the Avengers/Dark Knight Rises/Prometheus!), my hopes of the film are now higher than they have been. I did have concerns that it could be over-shadowed by the 2 other big super hero releases and I wasn’t too sold on the new origin story either. But the new clip has impressed me, with Andrew Garfield looking like he can pull off being the Spider-Man/Peter Parker and we get some good footage of the old web-slinger in action as well. The Amazing Spider-Man will be released July 3rd.
Whilst it is early days, this entry could have material which could be considered to be spoilers.
So after the recent news of Ben Kingsley as a villain for Iron Man 3, this humble blogger went straight to the conclusion that his next challenge was the Mandarin. However it seems I was slightly off the mark as it seems that Guy Pearce is set to play geneticist Aldrich Killian, from the Warren Ellis’ 6 part series, Extremis. The plot of the series sees Tony Stark experimenting with nanotechnology made by Aldrich. It then falls into the hands of terrorists (Ben Kingsley I assume), a new threat is unleashed and it is up to Iron Man stop it.
Of course that’s a fairly basic description based on limited knowledge. But saying that, it looks like Marvel have got their casting dead on yet again, with two very good actors taking on key roles. The likes of Don Cheadle and Gwyneth Paltrow are back as well and hopefully a more Iron Man focused script (rather than the Avengers), Iron Man 3 is setting up to be great. It looks set to be released May 2013. If you can’t wait that long, I’m sure there’s a film coming out soon which will keep all your Iron Man needs satisfied…
20th Century Fox have a special treat for those excited about Ridley Scott’s forthcoming film Prometheus. A new viral caompaign video was recently put up over at YouTube though it is yet to appear on the Weyland Industries website yet though it’s probably only a matter of time. The video can be viewed below but I would advise those of you wanting to remain completely spoiler free for the film to avert your eyes now.
Yep, happy birthday David, you creepy android! As you can see the video is focused on Michael Fassbender’s character David (8th generation) who will no doubt have a huge part to play in the upcoming Alien prequel, most likely involving a directive that his human counterparts might find, distressing or unethical. I can’t help but think of Ian Holme’s Ash from Alien when watching this, the ticks and especially the way he speaks at the close of the videos.
Prometheus will be hitting cinema’s in the UK on the 8th of June.
Welcome back to the Arcade Next news, we’ll pick up directly where we left off earlier by moving onto Lionhead Studios Fable Heroes, which is due to be released on May 2nd at the humble price of 800 MS points. According to Xbox Live’s Major Nelson, who made the original announcement of all the Arcade Next title’s here a little while back, this will be a hack-and-slash adventure which;
“Delivers a fresh spin on the “Fable” franchise with a unique art style and gameplay that takes playful competition to the next level. Whether on the couch or using Xbox LIVE, up to four players work together to defeat enemies while also competing with one another to collect gold coins and level up.”
Now I LOVED the original Fable, I still have the disk and still play through it every now and again, so keeping that in mind I gives me no pleasure to say that Fable Heroes leaves me a little cold. I have really fallen out of love with this franchise since Fable III, which although it was kinda fun, just didn’t inspire my interest like the Xbox original. Four player coop could well be pretty fun if you have the right crowd but to be honest if I want to play a good hack and slash adventure game on Xbox 360 I will be playing Torchlight, again, cos its ace, go get that instead. Maybe if more people buy that Torchlight II will be released on Xbox live (stupid file size limitations suck!).
Finally we come to what is possibly going to be my personal favorite from the Arcade Next season, Minecraft: Xbox 360 edition from Mojang. I am a minecrafter, I bought the game a while back on PC when it was still in alpha, and have been addicted ever since. I’m pretty excited at the prospect of being able to play the game I like so much on my console with the big TV especially given the numerous additions that have been made to the PC build that my bog standard desk top PC struggles to handle (need a new graphics card I know!). The video below is one of the many gameplay videos that are available over at YouTube, most of which are of varying quality but the one below is one of the best though be warned it is 12 minutes long.
There is a new simplified crafting system and of course the controls have been fine tuned to better suit the Xbox 360 controller. There will also be split-screen multiplayer which should be fun as well as Xbox Live online play so prepare for some serious greifing people! According to the wiki, the game when released will be the equvilent of the Beta 1.6.6. build with Mojang planning to release updates after the game is released to bring it closer to the current PC version though the console version may always lag a little behind.
Mods and texture packs have also been mentioned though I don’t know if these will be free or if Microsoft plans to charge for them. Minecraft is set to be released on May 9th and will set you back 1600 MS points. Well that’s all for now folk’s, please feel free to leave a comment letting me know what you think of these games, will you be picking any up?
After two critically acclaimed instalments Bioware and EA’s finally released the final chapter of the Mass Effect story earlier this month. Its release was hotly anticipated with the expectations of many gamers weighing heavily on the developers shoulders. Not since the release of the much maligned Star Wars prequels (or the cancelation of Firefly?) has there been such a focus or so much controversy surrounding a Sci-fi franchise. The big question as it is with many ‘three-quels’ is can this game possibly live up to the hype? Not just of the publisher and developer, but of an increasingly vocal video game community which seems to so easily slip into outrage mode.
I have personally enjoyed the story, characters and universe created by this franchise during both its previous instalments and the extended universe material (mainly the comics), and I am happy to say that I was not disappointed by Mass Effect 3. I had a massive amount of fun with the game (both in single and multiplayer) and although there are a couple of missteps with the story telling, the overall experience was highly enjoyable, in fact upon completing the game I immediately started over using the story/character import tool with another of my many Mass Effect 2 play throughs.
Upon first inspection Mass Effect 3 appears to be little different graphics wise from Mass Effect 2, however as the game progresses it becomes clear that the scale has been substantially ramped up and the game has a genuinely cinematic feel. This extends from the in-game action set pieces to the hugely impressive cut scenes, and there are A LOT of cut scenes. Many of these were not interactive, especially at the start of the story and although this sounds like it could potentially be a little disengaging, the scope of what Bioware was throwing at me visually in combination with some fantastic story telling was so impressive I didn’t care. I was happy to sit there when I had to and just watch and listen as events unfolded until it was my turn to say, punch a diplomat or a reporter.
Most of the cut scenes also melded very well with the game play. Most, for example, ended with the camera panning out to the playing position before you are plunged into the next fire fight which certainly helped me feel more immersed in the experience (sorry that’s the first and last time I will use the word immersed!). There were the occasional glitches where a conversation is taking place between two non-existent parties or where you would talk to someone and they would teleport onto a nearby table for no reason but asides from that it was all pretty smooth with more lens flare than JJ Abrams could possibly dream of.
The game has definitely reclaimed much of its RPG heritage which was mostly lost in Mass Effect 2 with weapons customisation, more in-depth armour customisation for Shepard and a more detailed levelling system allowing for flexible character customisation. The main thrust of the story, i.e. the building of a galactic coalition to fight the reapers also works well giving you a real feeling that you are having a larger effect in the universe other than reducing Cerberus’s monthly pay bill.
New characters are interesting and many of the old favourites are back with the decisions made in previous games having a definite impact upon your options and the story this time round. There are some genuinely sad moments, some anger inducing moments and other times I felt truly elated, such real emotional punch is hard to pull off but to their great credit the writers did it repeatedly. With the exception of almost literally the final cut scene, the story throughout is fantastic and it really is up to each individual to decide if they want to let 2 or 3 minutes spoil what could have been upwards of 70 hours of gameplay.
Another important aspect was the score, I managed to snag a-ahem, not so limited N7 collector’s edition which came with a digital copy of the score which I have since put onto my MP3 player and listen to pretty frequently. Clint Mansell and Audio Lead Rob Blake do a masterful job with Mansell’s compositions greatly complementing the atmosphere of the story being weaved by the writers.
Finally we come to the multiplayer which I was genuinely surprised by, in a good way. I played the demo pretty obsessively and am now doing the same with the finished game. The game is most akin to say Halo’s Firefight or Modern Warfare’s Spec Ops modes but with additional emphasis on cooperation and objectives. There are six maps where you and three other people face eleven waves of increasingly ferocious foes with the addition of objectives thrown in to keep things interesting. Objectives might be to take out key enemy personnel, or to hold a certain position while a download is completed, the important thing to note is that failure ends the game so people are forced to work together. The Reaper forces are particularly ferocious, almost every time I hear the wail of the Banshee it is almost always greeted by a wave of expletives and ‘oh noes!’ over my headset! Trust me when one of them is coming at you it doesn’t take long to figure out who amongst your team has your back!
As you complete waves you are awarded xp and credit to level up your wide array of characters (classes of which are taken from the campaign) and to purchase upgrades, ammo packs and character customisations. The gameplay is good, the levelling system is addictive and you can also promote a fully levelled squad to your single player campaign as a war asset giving you even more reasons to keep coming back. Presumably there will be new maps and characters via DLC to keep the multiplayer mode fresh.
I mentioned before that it was up to the individual to decide if they were going to let a couple of poorly executed cut scenes spoil the experience they had accrued over three long games (and 5 years). I stand by that statement but I choose not to do it myself, I am half way through my second play though and I will probably play it again when I’m done after going right back to Mass Effect and playing all the way back through. I have enjoyed my time with Shepard, Garrus, Liara and all the other characters of this universe and intend to do so for a long time. Mass Effect 3 is a great game and it definitely gives you the opportunity to finish the fight even if it leaves you wanting to start another one right away.
Well the new full HD trailer for Ridley Scotts Prometheus just landed and has effectively ratcheted up my anticipation meter well past 11. Asides from the quality of the visuals on show here (you must watch it in as close to HD as possible, it is worth the loading time!) we are being given a tonne of story details about how the Prometheus crew end up on what looks like LV-426 and more importantly what they find there.
I simply cannot wait for this film to drop, it looks amazing, the cast is amazing and the prospect of tying this to the original Alien series is amazing (did I mention it looks amazing? No? AMAZING!). Also there is the other video below which is part of the growing viral marketing campaign featuring our soon to be favorite android Michael Fassbender.
Possible spoilers below?
Speculation is rife at the moment about how this is going to tie into the Alien story with one theory being that the humans, or one of them at least, become the Aliens as we know them during the film. This sounds pretty solid though I can’t wait to see how the space jockeys fit into it. I’m sure all will be made clear on June 1st. Add it to your diaries folks!