Skewed 'n Reviewed http://sknr.net Movie News and Reviews Wed, 22 Oct 2014 20:39:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Lords Of The Fallen Developer Diary http://sknr.net/2014/10/22/lords-fallen-developer-diary/ http://sknr.net/2014/10/22/lords-fallen-developer-diary/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 20:39:46 +0000 http://sknr.net/?p=76124 BANDAI NAMCO Games America today released the first in a series of extensive developer diary videos for CI Games’ brutal new Action-RPG title, Lords of the Fallen. The 2.5 minute video introduces gamers to the talented team at Deck13 and CI Games, and explains the how the team created foes that provide an ample but fun challenge for gamers, and how the design created diverse weapon and enemy sets.

 

Lords of the Fallen will be available on the PlayStation 4 computer entertainment system, the Xbox One, the all-in-one entertainment system from Microsoft, and PC across the Americas on October 28, 2014.

 



 

 

 

 

 

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The Walking Dead: Pinball http://sknr.net/2014/10/22/walking-dead-pinball/ http://sknr.net/2014/10/22/walking-dead-pinball/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 17:48:04 +0000 http://sknr.net/?p=76121 Already having tables based on Marvel superheroes and Star Wars, Zen Studios works its magic with another licensed property: The Walking Dead. Based on Telltale’s award-winning graphic adventure series, The Walking Dead Pinball (available for Zen Pinball 2 and Pinball FX2) condenses the characters, events and settings of the first season into a single table.  The result is probably one of the fines Zen pinball experiences yet.

One of the greatest things about the table is the way it adapts the episodic structure and choice-driven story of TWD into its mission design. In the upper area of the table, a walker can be seen reaching out of a hatch.  If you hit this walker three times, the hatch will close to reveal access to the mission hole.  Upon entering the missions, you will be asked to choose from one of five episodes – which directly correlate with the Telltale series – and then one of a few events will occur.  Events that will require you to make a choice.  Look for help, or wait for night?  Take the supplies, or leave them for the original owners?  Save Duck or Shawn?  Do you side with Kenny, or Larry?  Do you reveal that Lee has been bitten, or leave it be?  Once the either-or decision has been made, the mission will activate, and play will resume with one of a few different scoring objectives.  If you successfully complete an episode, its title will light up in the progress tracker located in the lower center of the table, just above the flippers.  But you have to be quick.  Compared to other tables, the choices and missions for TWDP have shorter time limits – adding the appropriate sense of urgency considering the subject matter.

In addition to the main missions, the table offers a wide variety of side challenges and mini-game events. Some of these occur as part of the regular action, such as ongoing objectives to collect rations or gather weapons/ammunition by hitting certain ramps.  There are also more elaborate mini-games, which are activated by shooting marked lanes enough times to spell out a word associated with the mission.  For example, by hitting the ball up the “Sniper” lane enough times, you will begin a mini-game similar to a shooting gallery with a – you guessed it – sniper rifle.  Activating the “Smile” lane causes avatars of Lee and Clementine to begin kicking a soccer ball, while the pinball turns into a soccer ball itself that needs to be passed through marked ramps – within a time limit of course.  These are only the tip of the zombie pile – as it were – when it comes to the mini-games.  By far, the most fun is “Swarm”, where the atmosphere switches from day to night and you must kill 15 walkers that are shambling toward the flippers.

Zen also did a fantastic job capturing the atmosphere of TWD games, as key locations from the series form the foundation of the table. Working from bottom to top, the left side of the table depicts Clementine’s house and backyard, the barn from the St. John’s Dairy Farm, and the Travelier Motel parking lot, while the entire right side of the table is lined by the city streets of Savannah, Georgia.  A couple car from the train in episode three can be also seen extending down from the top of the screen.  None of these locations play any type of interactive role, but a couple others do.  A ramp going up the right side winds around the top of the table, tunneling through the Savannah bell tower and eventually letting out in the Everett Pharmacy, where a self-contained mini-table with its own set of flippers is located.  Hitting the flippers into the walker targets inside the drugstore can open a hatch to the super jackpot, or activate a nighttime multi-ball phase.

The only drawback I see to TWDP is the audio. Sure, it’s great that the voice actors for Lee, Clem and other Season One cast members provided new dialogue specifically for the table, but the voice-overs are largely wasted on lines of dialogue that loop repeatedly, and, in general, fail to offer any real sense of storytelling or character depth.  On the flip side – pun intended – the music and ambient walker groans and growls do add a subtle level of tension and urgency to the experience.

Setting aside TWD theme for just a moment, the table itself is laid out really well. The lanes and ramps have a good balance of being tricky to hit, while also maintain a smooth flow.  This means the ball rarely gets caught up on edges or stuck going in one direction.  The only downside is the placement of the bumpers.  They are not as accessible as they need to be, especially since many of the episode missions require scoring a million points from hitting the bumpers or spinners only.  The way the lanes and ramps are laid out always seems to funnel the ball around the bumpers, rather than providing a clear path to feed into them.  When a mission is in progress, a magnetic field does appear within the bumpers to help attract the ball, but even with that little bit of help, completing certain episodes often seems to hinge not on skill, but a getting a lucky bounce.

Turning a narrative adventure series based entirely on choices and consequences – with little in the way of actual gameplay – into a game of arcade pinball might not sound like an ideal pairing. Somehow, though, Zen Studios has married the two very different styles together in magnificent fashion.  With an engaging variety of missions, fun mini-game challenges, true to its source atmosphere and presentation, and an overall balanced table flow, The Walking Dead Pinball is deserving of a spot in your Zen Pinball 2 / Pinball FX2 collection.

4.5/5

 

 

 

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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Vs. Gotham: Who Will Survive http://sknr.net/2014/10/22/agents-s-h-e-l-d-vs-gotham-will-survive/ http://sknr.net/2014/10/22/agents-s-h-e-l-d-vs-gotham-will-survive/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 17:29:43 +0000 http://sknr.net/?p=76119 It is a debate that is destined to be one of fan boy legend. Gotham vs Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. which one is better, and which one will find long-term success.  For this discussion I am overlooking the superhero themed shows on the CW Network as they are aimed at a younger audience and generally follow one particular character whereas the other shows follow several characters and in expanded universe.  Gotham has approximately 6,000,000 viewers which are good when you consider it’s up against heavyweights such as the Big Bang Theory, Monday Night Football, and The Voice.  The show which details the origins and early years of many classic heroes and villains from the Batman universe has been heavily anticipated and publicized as anyone who was at San Diego Comic Con will tell you, it was hard to miss the ads covering the light rail trains as well is the zip line located next to the convention center.

Fox who has a notoriously short fuse with shows, recently extended their order for episodes to bring the initial season up to 22 which bodes well for the show getting another season provided the ratings do not take a dramatic nosedive between now and then. This is also show that is heavily recorded and will likely do quite well once the DVD sets come to market and to Netflix.

Agents on the other hand has seen a yo-yoing effect with their ratings which did increase last season after the show concluded strong thanks to a tie-in with the latest Capt. America movie. Although the debut this season was a bit rocky they surged to 7.1 million viewers for their most recent episode in large part to an expanded cast. A branching storyline and several surprises in store for fans.  Next week the trailer for the upcoming “The Avengers: Age of Ultron”, will be shown during the broadcast which is likely to draw in more casual fans and it appears next week’s tie-in to the recent cinematic universe events surrounding Hydra as part of the strategy to bring in and maintain viewers.

One of the biggest obstacles the show’s face is trying to do justice to the characters while maintaining a television budget. Marvel has had huge success at the box office with big budgeted films that have reignited the passion of fans and set the standard for how comic book-based film should be made.  Warner Bros has had success with the Batman series but found that Superman was a bit of a rocky venture until the recent film.  Undaunted, they’re moving ahead full speed with a host of films several of which have raised the eyebrows of fans due to their unusual castings, and aggressive schedule.

In this regard Marvel has the huge advantage over their competition, as not only does their ownership owner the network in which they air on, but they have a constant and ever-expanding universe which allows multiple crossover opportunities to promote current and future film projects.

Gotham on the other hand is constrained by having to remain in the origins era of the characters. It would be very difficult for them to have Superman, Wonder Woman, The Green Lantern, or any of their other heroes appear on the show at a time when they were essentially children.  Unless we want to go into one of those Star Trek style time loop shows this is something to best stay clear of.

I had said that one of the biggest problems with Agents was trying to do a show without a strong lead as essentially the cast are made up of supporting actors and actresses who are not entirely capable of caring the show on their own. That combined with the fact that they are trying to tell an ongoing story without getting in the way of upcoming film projects while staying fiscally responsible makes it a bit tricky.  They don’t want to fall into the monster of the week category, but at the same time fans are going to expect something more than faceless minions and body armor facing off against a team each week.

Gotham must contend with the fact that the origins of the characters have been fairly well-established over the decades and considering we’re at least 10 years away from them becoming their more infamous costume selves for the most part, does also lead to the dangerous path of the show becoming a monster of the week or police procedural. I can almost see it as an X-Files type show where Commissioner Gordon investigates a strange and bizarre supernatural occurrence each week with the occasional involvement of the future superhero or villain in their childhood state.

I think Gotham is getting by on the fact that it’s an interesting show and there is definitely a curiosity factor to it.  That being said, both shows need to remember their core audience and try to find a way to appeal to them as well as drawing new viewers despite the difficulties presented with episodic television.

With new adventures of several classic Marvel characters coming soon to Netflix as well as new movies on the horizon, it will be very interesting to see how well both of the shows do long-term. Marvel/Disney has a lot invested in Agents and I could see them riding out potential storms that may arise simply because it is in their best interest of having a platform to promote their future cinematic offerings.

DC on the other hand does not have this luxury as Fox has had a long history of canceling John or shows with promise such as Firefly, Almost Human, and others when they did not immediately grab the audience that was expected of them.

For now Agents appears to have a slight edge thanks in no small part to being in their second season, but it will be very interesting to see what the future holds for both of the shows and if fans will continue to embrace them.

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Insidious 3 Announced With Video http://sknr.net/2014/10/22/insidious-3-announced-video/ http://sknr.net/2014/10/22/insidious-3-announced-video/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 16:52:19 +0000 http://sknr.net/?p=76116

 

FOCUS FEATURES WILL RELEASE INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 3 IN THEATERS MAY 29, 2015

 

The newest chapter in the terrifying horror series is written and directed by franchise co-creator Leigh Whannell. This chilling prequel, set before the haunting of the Lambert family, reveals how gifted psychic Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye) reluctantly agrees to use her ability to contact the dead in order to help a teenage girl (Stefanie Scott) who has been targeted by a dangerous supernatural entity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cosplay Tips from Comic-Con NYC http://sknr.net/2014/10/21/cosplay-tips-comic-con-nyc-2/ http://sknr.net/2014/10/21/cosplay-tips-comic-con-nyc-2/#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 17:18:02 +0000 http://sknr.net/?p=76112 The New York City Comic-Con has exploded in size, bringing thousands of excited cosplayers to the Javits Center in Manhattan for four days of fandom. The NYCC is in its ninth year, and is already beginning to rival the famous San Diego Comic-Con in terms of size. According to Business Insider, more than 133,000 fans were in attendance for the 2013 NYCC. With so many people and so many costumes, here are just a few lessons you can learn from the awesome cosplayers in attendance, so that you can create your own costume and get the most out of your cosplaying experience.

Bring Friends

Group costumes are not only a fun way to cosplay with friends, but they often carry a tremendous impact with fans. While one “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” costume is fun, seeing all the Rangers together could leave some convention-goers nearly delirious with joy. When you go with a group of friends in costumes that are similar or the same, you can often get away with simplifying your individual costumes. Take for instance, these members of the Survey Corps from “Attack on Titan” who were in attendance this year. While a single person in a green cloak might not stand out in a crowd of more than a hundred thousand attendees, a group of three is instantly recognizable.

Props Matter

A character can be almost unrecognizable without the right prop. For many people, a costume of “Game of Thrones” Daenerys, of House Targaryen in a blue dress might be indistinguishable from a costume of Elsa from “Frozen.” Avoid the mishap with the simple addition of a trio of dragon’s eggs—it makes all the difference.

A costume can be enhanced with a simple item. While the right haircut, a cigar, some claws and a white tank top can make a good Wolverine, choosing the right leather jacket for that Wolverine costume can make you stand out among the countless inevitable variations on Wolvie. With popular characters like Wolverine, Spider-Man or Batman a little creativity and variation can go a long way towards making your costume unique.

Dream Big

Have you ever had an idea for a costume that seemed impossible to actually create? Maybe you just haven’t thought about it in the right light yet. After all, one popular costume from NYCC was Prince Robot from “Saga,” which at first might seem impossible with the television screen head and yet it’s been done.

If you want to dress as the Chosen Undead from “Dark Souls” but can’t afford your own set of Gothic plate metal, check out the dozens of tutorials listed at Cosplay Tutorial. You can learn how to make your own costumes, including armor with materials like acrylics, cardboard, plaster, fiberglass, craft foam and more. Cosplayers have constructed entire suits of armor out of papercraft, so there’s really nothing that can’t be accomplished with a little creativity and hard work.

Having a tough time creating a weapon for your character? Luckily, companies like Hello Cosplay specialize in creating custom props for cosplayers, including masks and weapons that are realistic recreations of many recognizable props. If you have the money to spend, a professionally made prop can complete the costume you never thought you could have.

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Fluster Cluck http://sknr.net/2014/10/21/fluster-cluck/ http://sknr.net/2014/10/21/fluster-cluck/#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 16:52:41 +0000 http://sknr.net/?p=76105 One of the more interesting aspects of the Playstation 4 and Xbox One is that they have allowed many independent publishers to enjoy access to a mass audience in much the same way as Steam did for PC games.

When things like Playstion Plus are factored in in which subscribers are given free access to a series of games each month, and when you look at the price of such games being far lower than a studio release, there has been a rush of developers eager to get out there to the public.

One of the more interesting and humor laden games in this genre has arrived in the form of Fluster Cluck. The game offers a frantic and comedy based adventure where players can play against the system or in a 2vs 2 mode to gather resources for the Chikkinizer.

In a battle of corporate politics, players fly around maps in flying saucers to use their capture beams on cows, camels, and other objects, to transport them to the Chikkinizer for processing. The player with the biggest haul wins the round and then moves onto the next level where it all starts again.

Of course the other players will not go down without a fight and they fire their lasers at you as well as all manner of tricks at their disposal to take you out, distract you, your objectives, and so on.

It can take a few moments to get used to the controls as the left stick moves you and the right stick directs and fires your weapons but in no time flat you will be spinning around. I did have a bit of frustration with the requirement to win the round in order to move on as repeating rounds is never ideal when your getting a sense for the game. We also had some issues with the game not pairing with the Dualshock 4 one evening but that has not happened since and we have been able to play without issues.

The casual graphics and gameplay style are fun but do reflect the independent nature of the game but the developer Loot, knows the audience and infuses the game with as much fun as it can.

3.5 stars out of 5

 

 

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Dying Light Announces Their 4-Pack http://sknr.net/2014/10/20/dying-light-announces-4-pack/ http://sknr.net/2014/10/20/dying-light-announces-4-pack/#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 23:59:53 +0000 http://sknr.net/?p=76103 Starting today, Steam users can pre-purchase Techland’s upcoming open-world zombie action game Dying Light in a special 4-Pack bundle. At a price of three games, players receive four copies of Dying Light, one for them and three giftable extra copies for their friends. This promotion is a great way to delve into the world of Dying Light with a trusted team and get the most out of the game’s extensive multiplayer options.

“Featuring well over 70 unlockable skills and about one hundred weapons, our game is a perfect playground for co-op sessions. The best part is you can enjoy it however you want” explains Producer Tymon Smektała. “If you and your friends don’t feel like completing quests or taking part in co-op challenges, you can simply wreak havoc in the open world. Another thing is that it’s always good to have someone at your side when the Night Hunter invades.”

Invasions by the Night Hunter are the asymmetric multiplayer aspect of Dying Light, revealed in the latest

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New York Comic Con 2014 http://sknr.net/2014/10/20/new-york-comic-con-2014/ http://sknr.net/2014/10/20/new-york-comic-con-2014/#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 23:20:26 +0000 http://sknr.net/?p=76100 By Ed Giza

Over 150,000 fans swarmed the Javits Center last weekend for the ninth annual New York Comic Con. As comics continue their steady takeover of the film, television, and video game worlds, NYCC has grown into a sprawling event showcasing some of the most exciting happenings in the entertainment industry.

 

The main entryway to the showroom floor was stocked with sculptures and weapon replicas of every variety. Weta Workshop’s booth greeted visitors with massive recreations of Smaug and Azog from the Hobbit trilogy, as well as some nifty rayguns from their Dr. Grordbort’s line of steampunk-y goodness. TriForce also had plenty of large pieces on display, from Gears of War weaponry to Batman and Deadshot cowls. They even featured large Tetris blocks to decorate your living room (so long as someone else doesn’t beat you to purchasing all of the line blocks!).

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Marvel screened a number of teasers at their members-only Marvel Unlimited Plus event, including the first peek at next year’s Ant-Man flick. They also granted a second look at the Avengers: Age of Ultron footage shown earlier this year at San Diego Comic Con. The rest of us will be able to see the Avengers trailer next month alongside Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar.

 

On the comics side of things, Marvel will be kicking off a year-long “Secret Wars” event in 2015 on the heels of “Time Runs Out.” Details are currently slim, but writer Jonathan Hickman has supposedly been waiting to pounce with his take on the 1980s classic.

 

Although DC did not have a booth on the showroom floor, they had a number of panels to show off their newest television endeavors. With Arrow firmly established, Gotham and Flash in their infancy, and Constantine launching this week, DC is clearly taking their jump to television seriously.

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DC’s Digital: Download This! panel showcased a handful of upcoming digital series. In the vein of Batman ’66, Wonder Woman ’77 will be based on the TV series starring Linda Carter. Mortal Kombat X will jump to the future to fill in bits of story about the next game between fatalities. A digital Fables series based on Telltale Games’ Fables: The Wolf Among Us was another nifty surprise, especially as the main series winds through its final issues.

 

Capcom’s booth was bursting with enthusiasm over Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, due for release in early 2015 for the Nintendo 3DS. Seasoned veterans of the franchise were lining up for a chance to take down monsters old and new. The hardcore hunt will feature true online multiplayer, as opposed to previous editions that required hunters to rely on local wireless. Resident Evil Revelations 2 was also demo-ready, and will be released for Playstation 3, Xbox 360, Playstation 4, and Xbox One in early 2015.

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Comic dealer booths were bustling with fans wheeling and dealing to fill gaps in their collections. Key Guardians of the Galaxy issues were in particular demand, hot on the heels of their film debut. It’s funny how much of an impact a little thing like a summer blockbuster can have on a franchise’s popularity. There were likely more fans in Starlord garb this year than at every previous New York Comic Con combined!

 

New York Comic Con surpassed San Diego Comic Con in attendance this year, becoming the biggest comic convention in America. This will hopefully lead to more splashy reveals, bigger demos, and a grander presence from some companies. It is already near-impossible to see everything in a single day, but the thought of heaping more onto the plate makes the adventure sound that much grander.

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Whales Splash The Cash http://sknr.net/2014/10/20/whales-splash-cash/ http://sknr.net/2014/10/20/whales-splash-cash/#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 20:58:59 +0000 http://sknr.net/?p=76096 Somewhere in the region of just one per cent of all mobile gamers — who are known as “whales” within the gaming business (we hope for their spending power rather than any resemblance to the Simpson’s Comic Book guy) spend almost 30 per cent of all the money spent on mobile gaming in the US.

This is one of the stand-out points from a recent survey of the industry in the US by Everyplay. This has massive implications for gaming providers which, no doubt, is why the research report was produced in the first place.

Everyplay is games producer Unity Technologies’ mobile-sharing division. And, as we all know, there’s an enormous scramble going on for market share in the mobile gaming industry. Industry analysts expect this market to double in size in the US from its current level of around to $17.5 billion to over $35.4 billion over the next three years alone! This is according to a separate report by the mobile game marketing outfit AppLift along with market research company Newzoo.

So everyone with a stake in the industry is desperate to know what the key drivers are for end-users. This applies to retailers, developers, advertisers, publishers, and marketeers. They want to get ahead of the curve in understanding what gamers are thinking, which way they’re going, who the leaders are – and how much people are prepared to spend in this are to get ahead of the competition.

With casino based mobile games, the competition is, if anything, even more fierce. Some providers like 888, skybet, 32Red and others are aggressively marketing their wares through increasingly generous introductory offers including straightforward “no strings” free cash. If you visit the 32Red mobile casino, for example, you’ll soon see that you get a first £10 completely free with no need to make a deposit; such is the scramble for our business.

This is rather like many other tech markets we’ve seen developing over the last 20-odd years now. And as Apple and Microsoft have shown us in the past – the only certainty is that there is no certainty! So you can bet your bottom dollar that industry forecasts and conventional expectations about mobile gaming will be confounded in one way or another.

Looking back, say, five years from now and the kind of projections the industry has been looking at will prove to have been wildly overly optimistic or perhaps vice-versa; who can really say?

But that isn’t the same thing as saying we shouldn’t be listening to them. Even if it’s guesswork, it is at least educated guesswork and all business people need to try to make provision for the future based on best-guess expectations today.

The Everyplay survey was based on a study of 3,000 mobile gamers in the US on both iOS and Android and devices. Everyplay operates by allowing mobile gamers to capture videos of their gameplay – and to then share them with friends to promote and sell them obviously. And part of the survey revealed that, not only do a tiny percentage of gamers spend all the cash, but that the main way these spenders find their new games is through word-of-mouth and video. The same survey also revealed that the big spending players are generally much more likely to take part in social sharing than other players. This includes stuff like telling friends about different games and/or inviting friends to play and rate games etc.

So what all this boils down to is that, for the time being, catching the whales first is the way to reel in all the minnows thereafter – who will then become as big as whales in their own right hopefully!

The trouble with this approach is that the industry is changing almost daily. So you just kind of “know” there’s something coming right around the corner that will change everything. Deciding what that is is quite another thing though.

 

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Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Launch Trailer http://sknr.net/2014/10/18/call-duty-advanced-warfare-launch-trailer/ http://sknr.net/2014/10/18/call-duty-advanced-warfare-launch-trailer/#comments Sun, 19 Oct 2014 00:53:44 +0000 http://sknr.net/?p=76092 Talk about getting a treat so soon after Halloween,  a new Call of Duty game that looks amazing.  Have a look at the launch trailer.

 



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