Monthly Archives: April 2012

Hulk… Smash!

Avengers Assemble

Last night I went to see the Avengers movie, and trust me, it doesn’t disappoint.

This movie has been long awaited, since it was first hinted at in the after credits scene in the Incredible Hulk way back in 2008 with simply the line “we’re putting a team together” put forward by tony stark (Robert Downey Jr).

Then came the teaser images, and finally, we got a trailer in 2011 at the end of Captain America, and expectations were high. Slowly over the course of a year, we were all drip fed an array of images and teaser trailers until finally, April 26th 2012 came, and the Avengers assembled on the big screen.

Within minutes of the film starting the entire audience was hooked, we are presented with a brief introduction to Shield commander, Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) and their experiments on an item know as the Tesseract, known as the cosmic cube in the comics, then, all hell broke loose as Loki (Tom Hiddleston), brother of Thor, entered the equation. Then for the next two hours, it was pure geek heaven.

The plot of the movie is a simple one, the avengers must overcome their own egos and prejudices and learn to fight together for the greater good of mankind, and to put an end to Loki’s plans.

Before seeing the movie I did re-watch all the previous marvel movies relevant to the Avengers, starting with Iron Man. And I’m glad I did, many of the finer points of these films are tied together within The Avengers, and its nice to have a bit of background knowledge of past events going into the movie and to understand why some things happened. An example of this is in Captain America the cube is dropped and briefly we see space, or what appears to be space, an event which is never really explained, however after seeing Avengers Assemble, it makes perfect sense now.

The movie never assumes you know all the characters back stories, I was pretty unfamiliar with both ‘Black Widow’ (Scarlett Johansson) and ‘Hawkeye’ (Jeremy Renner) however a character history is provided, however brief it may be.

 

 

What surprised me most about this film was not the amount of action, which was always going to be a key part of this movie, it was the amount of humour.

There were some genuinely funny scenes in the film, and some very funny back and fourths between key characters, something I was not expecting to see.

Another surprise was Mark Ruffalo, who did an amazing job portraying the Hulk/Bruce Banner, I was expecting to be disappointed at 
the change of actor, however his performance was near perfect, it was clear this was a man who was constantly battling the rage inside him, and who could snap at any moment.

If I had to pick one criticism, it would be that the film was not long enough, with so many characters it felt as if not enough time was spent on each, Thor, played by Chris Hemsworth, was rarely seen to be doing anything other than throwing his hammer about, and whilst that was in itself very cool, it would have been nice to see a little more of his ‘human’ nature come through like we saw in the Thor movie.

Also Captain America (Chris Evans) didn’t seem to care too much about being revived almost 60 years after the events of his film, he wasn’t to bothered that the entire world had changed, or that he never made it to his ‘date’. It is not a big criticism, but it’s the only one I have.

All in all this movie will please near on everyone, fans of the comic series will definitely not be disappointed, fans of the movies will love it, and those who see it without having seen the other films will also get a lot from it.

Avengers Assemble is a movie that stands to please on every level, a must see movie that will leave you anything but disappointed.

Have any thoughts on the film? Have your say below!

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American Pie: The Reunion

The year is 2001, a young boy goes round his friends for a sleepover, all is normal until his friends older brother comes in from the video store with a film called ‘American Pie’. Hilarity ensues.

When I first saw American Pie, I was ten, and to a 10 year old boy the film is funny, more so for the slapstick quality to it. Then you grow up, you hit the age of 15, it all becomes so clear, the boy isn’t simply ‘dropping’ his pie on his lap, it was something far more sinister, and a lot funnier.

The reason I bring this up is because if American Pie: The Reunion, soon to be released in cinemas, and it got me wondering, will it still be funny? And more importantly, do we actually need another one?

I have grown up with the American Pie films, they have always been there, slowly decreasing in quality as the original cast became uninvolved with the franchise, only to be replaced with some relative of ‘Stiflers’ who bore no resemblance to the original character in looks or personality, and ultimately made everyone lose interest in the franchise.

Now the original cast are back, we can see what has happened to ‘Jim’ and the others now they are grown up.

Again this makes me think, will this be funny? Will we actually care?

What was once funny in the 90’s is not really seen as funny nowdays, times have changed, but has this film moved with it.

Judging from the trailer, sadly, the answer is no, ‘Stifler’ is still a sex obsessed jerk, ‘Jim’ is still an unconfident wreck and ‘Finch’ is still the posh, sophisticated cappuccino drinker, nothing seems to have changed.

Hopefully I’m wrong, I would like to be as I was always a fan of the previous films (excluding the additions like ‘Band Camp’ and ‘The Naked Mile’) and would very much like to see them return to their former glory.

What do you think? Are you looking forward to your next slice of American Pie, or do you simply not care? Sound off in the comments below!

I used to write a blog, but then i… oh forget it…

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim 

In November last year, I spent the most worth while forty five pounds on a game I have spent in my twenty years. What did I buy? The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

At first I was a little hesitant about purchasing the game, having never played an elder scrolls game before, I didn’t really know what to expect, whether I would enjoy it, or even like it at all.

However, thirty minutes into playing, I was hooked. Dragons, swords, bows, giants, trolls, this game had everything you could want from an RPG all rolled into a great story.

Players fill the boots of the ‘Dovahkiin’ or ‘Dragonborn’ someone who is able to speak in the dragon language, enabling you to use ‘dragon shouts’ powerful words that each have a different result, words which can be learnt throughout the game.

The Dovahkiin’s quest is simple, stop the dragons that have mysteriously returned to the Skyrim, a province of Tamriel, the land the Elder scrolls games are set within.

The main quest itself will only take about 10 hours to complete, the real value for money come from the world around you, the towns dotted about the map, wanderers scaling mountains and various other interesting people you will bump into along your travels, these people offer up side quests for you to undertake, some of which can be as simple as collecting a particular item, or as difficult as taking over a fortress singlehandedly. These quests are randomly generated, meaning there is literally no end to this game. These types of side quests can even be ignored completely and there is still plenty to do, key characters from around the land will provide you with quests that have three or four stages, or even more.

One such quest sees you siding with either the Nordic ‘Stormcloaks’ or the ‘Empire’ and trying to win the war for skyrim for one side or the other, a quest line that can take several hours to complete, depending on how you tackle it.

Even ignoring the quests the game stands on its own, exploration is key in this game, looting items, discovering locations, fighting creatures, and learning new shouts, all is important for level progression, allowing you to level up and earn more perks to improve your characters skills.

The main thing I love about this game is its longevity and randomness, each time you load up a game, you will get a different experience, dragons attack at random, and the inhabitants will ‘live’ out there lives whether or not you are around to see it.

I would recommend this game to anyone who hadn’t yet bought it, it is extremely good value for money, and never gets dull, I have currently clocked over 157 hours on Skyrim, that’s almost 7 days of constant gaming, and I still love it, I’m still not bored of it and I cannot see that changing.


Bethesda will only improve upon the game in the future too, with the recent addition of ‘Kinect’ support you can now ‘Fus Ro Dah’ your way through the inhabitants of Tamriel to your hearts content. Also the addition of the creation kit on Steam (PC only) allows infinite possibilities within the modding community. As well as the downloadable content (DLC) that is sure to come in the near future, this game is only going to get bigger.

Have you played Skyrim? Let me know what you thought, and I wont make any more arrow in the knee jokes!

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Assassins Creed III

(Ratohnhake’ton)

When I first heard about Assassins Creed III being announced, I was very, VERY excited. Nothing has changed since.

The first thing that got me excited for this game is the new location and setting. Set during the American Revolution (1763 – 1783) the game is going to be very different from anything we’ve seen in an Assassins Creed game so far. Fighting across the American frontier is going to be a massive change from the crowded streets of Rome or Jerusalem, fog will hide you from enemies, footsteps in the snow will give away your location and trees will provide a good vantage point from which to get the drop on unsuspecting redcoats. Not to mention the various wildlife that will also pose a threat, or play victim to your hunting skills, depending on your play style.

This time around we also meet a new Assassin, Connor, or Ratohnhake’ton if you know how you pronounce that.

Vastly different from any of the Assassins seen in the previous titles, Connor has no allegiance to a particular side, son of a British father and a Mohawk mother his only allegiance is to his quest for freedom, and to find his place in a world that see’s him as an outsider. As Connor you will be able to hunt animals across the wilderness, hone your bow skills and learn to master the art of the assassin. As I mentioned before, Connor will have no set side in the war, and will be taking missions from the British Redcoats, the American Forces and possibly even the American Militia.

Connor brings a bunch of new weapons to the table from his native tribe, most notably (and perhaps most awesome) is the Tomahawk, shaped like the assassin seal, which can be dual wielded with Connor’s knife and/or hidden blade, a staple for the series. This will change combat complete, which itself has been given a complete overhaul in the new engine, which I will discuss later, allowing Connor to engage several enemies at once.

Throughout the story Connor will meet key characters from the American Revolution, Ubisoft have already announced that George Washington will feature within the game, as will inventor and scientist Benjamin Franklin who will, I imagine play a similar role as Leonardo Da Vinci from Assassins Creed II.

The engine that runs the game has been changed too; AC3 will run on the Anvil Next engine, this new engine allows for much more fluid control when free running between rooftops and tree branches, and completely changes combat within the game, the new engine can support up to 1000 enemies on screen at once, which will play a key part in certain areas in the game when Connor will fight his way through battle fields to find targets.

I am extremely excited for Assassins Creed III as I have been a fan of the franchise since I first played number one, however not being too thrilled with the previous two installments (Brotherhood and Revelations) I’m glad to see a return to the numbered entries as I found them a lot better in story, and found the expansion titles a little repetitive and found I got a bit bored with them.

For Assassins Creed III I would like to see a bit more of Desmond, not in the puzzle sequences we saw in Revelations but in actual platforming and action sequences like we saw at the very end of Brotherhood.

Another change I would like to see for Assassins Creed 3 is a change to enemy attack patterns, with previous games combat has dumbed down to little more than standing blocking until an enemy attacks, and then pressing counter to finish them quickly and then repeating, I would like to see more than one enemy attacking at a time, and to have Connor counter or engage both targets simultaneously, this is already half there as Ubisoft have announced they have changed the control system, making it no longer possible to block constantly and counter with a different button, they are now the same button, meaning players will need to perfect the art of countering attacks.

I cannot wait to see what else Assassins Creed III has in store for us, whether this will be the final instalment in the franchise, what will happen to Desmond and how Connor will stack up against Altair and Ezio, I guess we’ll all have to wait and see come October.

Assassins Creed III will be released on 31st October 2012 alongside several special editions containing extra content not contained in the standard edition.

If you’ve not seen the reveal trailer yet, check it out here:

Have any opinions or concerns about AC3? Let me know in the comments!

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God of War Ascension = God of War IV?

A few days ago, an image was leaked, hinting only the line “will vengeance bring redemption?” followed by the date 04.19.12, this kicked into overdrive rumours and speculation of what the image (below) was teasing, a new God of War game? Or was it something else entirely?

Many have awaited news of the next game in the series, however after the ending of God of war 3 (SPOILERS AHEAD!!!) in which we saw kratos make the ultimate sacrifice following his defeat of Zeus only to have his body be missing after the credits, replaced with a trail of blood leading off a cliff, many wondered if he had in fact survived his attempted suicide to take up arms against the being masquerading as Athena, however it seemed unlikely this was the case and that news of a sequel would ever come.

However today we were shown exactly what it was, and that was in fact a new entry in the God of War Franchise, God of War: Ascension, and I personally couldn’t be happier.

Today’s reveal came with some potential box art, along with a trailer (I will post the video at the end of the article) and by the sounds of it we will be following Kratos’ story before he became the god of war, before he murdered his family before and made his pledge to the god Ares.

A likely possibility is that this game will feature the events before he became the ‘Ghost of Sparta’ and was general of the Spartan army, evidence towards this theory came earlier today when the website was updated with the tag line “before he was a god, he was a man” hinting ever more towards the possibility of a pre-chains of Olympus storyline, but what does this mean for fans? And more importantly, how will it hold up against the existing games?

Personally I am both excited and nervous about this, I love the god of war games, but found the PSP titles God of War: Chains of Olympus and God of War: Ghost of Sparta lacking in some way. Perhaps it was simply the fact the stories focused on other quests rather than Kratos’ mission to destroy the gods seen in the numbered titles, whilst the PSP titles were still entertaining, for me the storylines were not as exciting as the main games. Will this game suffer the same flaw? Who knows!

How will Sony keep the franchise fresh and original and what new features will they include?

I would like to see the return of first person QTE’s (Quick Time Events) like in God of War 3, the ending QTE for the Poseidon boss fight was one of my favourites throughout the franchise, seeing the brutality from the perspective of the victim was a fresh and exciting addition, the likes of which I personally hadn’t seen in a game before, and I loved it. This being a god of war game, we can expect it to feature heavily on gore and brutal finishing moves, however, I think a good addition would be more of them, and maybe context specific finishers. What I mean by this is, if an enemy has been downed near a fountain for example, and the big circle prompt is flashing above their head, why not use that piece of environment within the execution? I’m sure a character as resourceful as Kratos could think of at least a dozen ways to use a fountain effectively, the guy uses a severed head as a weapon after all! Maybe a fountain is a bad example, but I hope you understand what I mean.

I’m sure Sony Santa Monica will think of exciting new additions, perhaps even some type of Multiplayer.

In the next few months I’m sure we will be getting a lot more information about the God of War: Ascension, and I will post all I can up here, so be sure to check back!

God of War Ascension Official Teaser Trailer:

What would you like to see in the next installment? Let me know what you think and any other opinions you have in the comments!

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