TL;DR – Gory, gruesome, and yet also just a ton of fun.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene
Disclosure – I was invited to a press screening of this film.
Mortal Kombat Review –
When I was growing up, Mortal Kombat was this illicit thing that everyone knew about because the adults kept trying to get it banned. A baby Brian’s first experience with the Streisand Effect. So when you got to play it, well, it was almost an act of defiance, which of course, added to its appeal. As time when on, it mostly faded from my radar, and the two past films did not help, well more the second, the first still had the banging soundtrack if nothing else. But when you hear that they are doing a remake holding nothing back … well, this is something you need to check out.
So to set the scene, we open in on 1617, Japan, at the house of Hanzo Hasashi (Hiroyuki Sanada) and his family. Hanzo is the Shirai Ryu ninja clan leader, and as such, his home is well protected from threats. However, one fateful day while he was out fetching water, Bi-Han (Joe Taslim) of the Lin Kuei assassins arrived and killed all the guards and Hanzo’s family. They fight, but Bi-Han uses his ice to win the day and stop the prophecy of Hanzo’s bloodline being Earth’s salvation. Well, almost, as Lord Raiden (Tadanobu Asano) arrives, he hears a cry call out from the house, for a baby had been hidden away and was saved from the slaughter. Today, Cole Young (Lewis Tan) is just going about his life as an MMA fighter when that birthmark shaped like a dragon turns out to be a bigger deal than he ever thought.
TL;DR –A little convoluted yet strangely compelling ride through the expanded lore of one of the most popular video games out there.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
Disclosure – I paid for the Netflix subscription that viewed this series.
DOTA: Dragon’s Blood Review –
DOTA is one of those video games that I know, but I have never been able to get into, and that is not from a lack of trying. It is this phenomenon that I have watched from a distance with this odd curiosity. While the game itself feels like an impenetrable mess, there is a lot of style and intrigue going on, and I know that there is a whole lot of lore built into the game that could be good to explore.
So to set the scene, we open with a huge info lore dump that you probably don’t need to understand fully. We then cut to the middle of a battle as many militiamen get ripped apart by a dragon that dives in and out of the ground. It is a losing conflict until Davion (Yuri Lowenthal), the Dragon Knight, enters the fray as his squire Bram (Josh Keaton) watches on. It is a glorious battle that dives in and out of the ground, and eventually, it is killed. It a moment of rejoicing. However, Frühling (Matthew Waterson), the captain of the guard, is less than pleased because an elder dragon still sleeps nearby, waiting to attack. But when he goes down into the lair of the best, he finds there is more terror there than he expected. Now from here, we will be looking at the season as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.
We are getting a new expansion for Civilization VI, well, not quite. Over the next year, we have a season pass, the New Frontier Pass, which will give us several new Civilizations and Game Modes(which you can find out more information HERE). The final new Civilization has been announced, so let’s dive into Portugal.
João III of Portugal Overview
Civilization Leader: João III Preferred Religion: Catholicism Civilization Capital: Lisbon Civilization Bonus: Casa Da Índia – International Trade Routes can only reach cities on the coast or with a Harbour, +Yields on International Trade Routes. Trader units get +range on Water and can embark from the start of the game. Leader Bonus: Porta Do Cerco – All units get bonus sight, bonus trade route when you meet a civilization for the first time, Open Borders with all City-States. Unique Unit: Nau – Cheaper maintenance, Starts with one free promotion, has two charges to build Feitorias. Unique Tile Improvement: Feitoria – +Gold, +Production, Portugal gains +Gold, +Production to all trade routes to a city with one. Must be built in a foreign city with Open Borders on the coast next to a bonus or luxury resource. Cannot be removed. Unique Building: Navigation School – Replaces the University, +construction of Naval units, +science for every two Coast or Lake tiles in the city, +Great Admiral Points. Cities: Viseu, Évora, Faro, Guimarães,
TL;DR – Conflict on a planetary scale that combines orbital mechanics with the chaos of Worms
Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
Disclosure – I paid for the game.
Interplanetary Review –
When you play online games with a group of friends occasionally, there will be the call of “what does everyone have?” followed by everyone scanning through their Steam lists for options as a suggestion after suggestion gets vetoed by a different member of the group. Last week this happened with my friends and them someone threw out the request Interplanetary, a game that I played a bit when it first came out in 2015 but hadn’t thought much of it since. Then we discovered that Interplanetary had an Enhanced Edition and well we loaded it up and cried havoc and let slip the dogs of war.
So to set the scene, Interplanetary is a game set in what I would assume is a very dystopian universe. You play the role of one of the planets in a solar system that has just descended into war. You don’t have access to space ships, but you can build railguns on your planets and rain down fire across the solar system. From a mechanics perspective, Interplanetary is a turn-based artillery –focused strategy game. In your turn, you can build new weapons, resource, or defence buildings. You can pick research to boost your attack, and most importantly, you can fire your weapons. This is a game that takes a lot of inspiration from Hard Science Fiction so where you position your weapons on your planet is essential as it rotates, as it orbits around the sun. To attack, you will need to set an orbital insertion path while taking into account the orbits and gravity of every other planetary body in the solar system.
TL;DR: A genuinely flexible civilization with a side of military expansion
We are getting a new expansion for Civilization VI, well not quite, over the next year we have a season pass, the New Frontier Pass, which will give us several new Civilizations and Game Modes over the next year (which you can find out more information HERE). The next new Civilization has been announced, so let’s dive into Vietnam.
TL;DR – A game where the mechanics, story, music, and design all pulls you in, so you keep trying to escape your captivity run after run after run
Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Disclosure – I paid for the game
Hades Review –
At the start of this year, I thought I would take some time to catch up on some of the things I might have missed last year, and I also wanted a bit of an escape from the current world around. With this in mind, several people I respect had Hades on their ‘Best Video Game of 2020’ lists so I thought that might be an excellent place to dive in and I was right.
So to set the scene, you are Zagreus (Darren Korb) the son of Hades (Logan Cunningham) and Prince of the Underworld. However, a prince he may be, but in reality, he is trapped, a prisoner to his father’s wishes and demands. When he discovers that Nyx (Jamie Landrum) The God of Night is not his birth mother, Zagreus takes on himself to escape from the Underworld, even if that means fighting his way through Tartarus, Asphodel, and Elysium to get there.
TL;DR – This is a film dipped its toes into the weirdness, and I wished it had done a bomb dive of the highest platform into the weirdness instead
Rating: 2.5 out of 5.
Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene
Warning – There is extensive use of strobe lighting effects
Disclosure – I paid to see this film.
Monster Hunter Review –
Alas, another video game adaptation bites the dust. I wish this were something I didn’t have to keep saying, but time after time we see that adapting a video game to the big screen is a difficult job and very few films can pull it off. In today’s entry into the list, we have a film that should get credit for adding elements of the gameplay into the film and then frame it around one of the most generic action films imaginable.
So to set the scene, in some desert on Earth (there are actual GPS location coordinates but I was not quick enough to jot them down, if you got them, please let me know) a military expedition is out exploring trying to discover what happened to another of their teams. The United Nations team is led by US Army Ranger Captain Natalie Artemis (Milla Jovovich), and they find the last position of Bravo Team just as a large sandstorm appears out of nowhere. As Alpha Team tries to outrun the storm, markers on the side of the road start flashing, and then the world falls out from underneath them. They wake up on some sand dunes that look nothing like where they left, which is about the point where Alpha Team comes under attack from things that lurk beneath.
TL;DR – A buggy experience that even when you power through it, you find a mostly surface-level game failing to delve into the world they had created
Rating: 3 out of 5.
Warning – Contains scenes that have been reported to induce seizures
Cyberpunk 2077 Review –
To be honest, I was wondering if I was actually going to write this review. The discourse around this game has been unpleasant, to say the least, and what difference would be one more voice howling into the void make. I mean, I even found myself cleaning the house to put this off. But in the end, I paid full price for this game, a game that was clearly not ready for release, and also this is my profession, so I kind of owe myself and the working hours I put into this game to contextualise that into words.
So to set the scene, in a boardroom, on the streets of Night City, or in my case on the northern outskirts of the city, we meet V (Gavin Drea/ Cherami Leigh) as his car is being put together. He is a nomad but without a clan or family anymore and is just trying to get ahead. One uppity sheriff later and he is on the way to meet his contact Jackie Welles (Jason Hightower). All V has to do is smuggle this little crate into the city, and he will have enough money to set himself up. There is just one border crossing between him and freedom … what could go wrong. When he thinks he has survived that skirmish, he is offered a chance to put together the heist of a lifetime involving the mysterious Johnny Silverhand (Keanu Reeves). From this point forward we will be looking at the game as a whole, so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead.
TL;DR – A fascinating game full of interesting places, solid mechanics, and many bugs
Warning – Contains scenes that have been reported to induce seizures
Cyberpunk 2077First Look –
It took longer to get to us than anyone including the developer planned, but today the world finally got their hands on CD PROJEKT RED latest work Cyberpunk 2077. I must admit I came into this game with a little hesitation, a lot of people had recommended to me The Witcher 3, and well I bounced off that game as if it was Henry Cavil’s torso. But given this was a new franchise and new genre for the company, it was the perfect place to get it a second try.
Now before we dive in, we need to make a couple of clarifications. The first of which is that this is a ‘first look’ not a full review. I have spent a couple of hours with the game and enough time to get a sense of the world and the mechanics but not a deep dive into the story which will come in our full review. Also, I am playing this game on PC, so your experience may vary depending on your console or the rig you are playing this on.
So to set the scene, on the outskirts of Night City, we meet V (Gavin Drea) as his car is being put together. He is a nomad but without a clan or family anymore and is just trying to get ahead. One uppity sheriff later and he is on the way to meet his contact Jackie Welles (Jason Hightower). All V has to do is smuggle this little crate into the city, and he will have enough money to set himself up. There is just one border crossing between him and freedom … what could go wrong.
TL;DR – From remasters, to loot boxes, to COVID-19, we look at the Video Games news from the week
It has been a busy week for video games, and while many people are diving into the next-gen consoles this week (not super jelly at all), I thought it would be a good time to look back at the news that was this week for video games and related
Mass Effect Remastered –
The worst kept secret of video games has finally been announced on N7 Day with all three of the original Mass Effect Trilogy (sorry Andromeda). The remaster officially called the Mass Effect Legendary Edition will be out in Spring (or Autumn for those of us Down Under) in 2021.