Episode Title: “Choose Your Pain”
Air Date: October 16, 2017
Episode Title: “Choose Your Pain”
Air Date: October 16, 2017
Despite being intended as merely a downloadable expansion for Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, since being promoted to a half-price, standalone release, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy has established itself as the rubric for a brighter future of the franchise that is free of Nathan Drake, his brooding backstory and personal dramas, and the relentless padding of his overlong, overrated games.
That isn’t a controversial opinion. The Uncharted games are good, and have periodically flirted with excellence, but they have never been the masterpieces that critical acclaim and corporate pride suggested they were. The Lost Legacy returns the series to its insouciant, knowingly pulpy roots with an experience that is half as long and twice as focused; a low-stakes adventure that retains its parent game’s engine and remarkable production value, and developer Naughty Dog’s extremely high standard of character writing and set-piece design. This is the best complete Uncharted experience, and the first to finally realise that the least interesting aspect of Nathan Drake’s tropical excursions has always been Nathan Drake himself.
In Telltale’s Gotham City, before he was gunned down in Crime Alley, Thomas Wayne was a master criminal. Gotham Gazette reporter Vicki Vale led a terrorist group, The Children of Arkham, which had risen from his nefarious activities. In Arkham Asylum, a man known only as John Doe hoped to rehabilitate; he was friendly, helpful, intelligent, but he also had green hair, pale skin, and a wide, chilling grin.
In Telltale’s Gotham City, choices have consequences.
After many apparent hesitations, director Luc Besson and his wife decided to write an English-language French science fiction action-adventure film titled Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. It is based on the French comic series Valérian and Laureline. I am not familiar with the comics but in the past couple of months, I have admired the trailers from a visual standpoint. Then again, the movie did have a budget of 197 million Euros, so it should look mightily impressive. The movie has nowhere near matched the budget in the box office, and it is the most expensive European and independent film ever made. Ouch. I would hate to deliver that news to the board.
Close your eyes for a minute and imagine a space station. Wait, this will not work. Instead, clear your mind for a minute and imagine a space station in 2020. Then years later, leading countries of the world attach their station to this one. Then many years later, other species from different planets send their station to join in on the action. This continues to happen until the 28th century. We now have one large planet made of cities (named Alpha) with a multitude of peace agreements. Still with me? Good. Now, imagine a planet far away with pale looking, peace loving Avatars, who are living in harmony amongst powerful energy-containing pearls, in a tropical paradise. All of a sudden, huge ships crash into their planet and they are wiped out. Lead male character Valerian wakes up. He just had a dream about this decimated planet and he is about to embark on a mission with Laureline ordered by his commander to retrieve a converter. They are later told that Alpha is infected by an unknown force and they must investigate and protect the Commander, suspiciously performed by Clive Owen.
Can you see why I told you to close your eyes? This narrative has so many obstacles to jump around that, at times, it felt mentally challenging.
A grand finale for the Planet of the Apes reboot series. This time it is the War for the Planet of the Apes and the clue is in the title.
Soon after the events of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, an army of humans hopes to find Ceasar, which results in suffering unimaginable losses for the lead character. Ceaser shows a darker side as he aims to avenge his losses and puts himself up against the Colonel, the leader of the human army they were hiding from. This also means that the fate of both species is in their hands, really upping the stakes, which are way higher than the previous films. The entire movie feels like an ending to a trilogy but it is delivered masterfully from start to finish in ways that I was not expecting. War for the Planet of the Apes is not only a fantastic movie but it sets a benchmark in how to deliver a memorable trilogy.
I know, I know, I know. Nobody cares about an average, eight-year-old movie tie-in video game that didn’t even make much of a splash when it was released on the Playstation 2. Typically I wouldn’t even play it, never mind spend my valuable time writing a thousand-odd words about it. But, fate conspired to have me spot this title sitting in a shop window with a price tag of literally pennies, and I was compelled to buy and play it by a question which popped into my head immediately upon seeing the cover: I wonder if that one is better than Blood Stone?
[This review contains a big spoiler for the main story of Assassin’s Creed Unity. You’ve been warned.]
In my rambling analysis of Assassin’s Creed Unity, I didn’t mention anything about the game’s myriad performance problems. I didn’t talk about Arno getting stuck in the middle of a hay cart or hovering in mid-air. I didn’t complain about having to restart checkpoints or reset my console. That’s because I played a post-patch version of the game which had had most of those bugs and issues teased out. So I didn’t see any of that stuff. Aside from some rather glaring dips in framerate, and the occasional texture pop-in, Unity ran pretty smooth for me. No crashes, no lost progress – not much fun, admittedly, but for wholly different reasons.
Still, as compensation for shipping a game that was (allegedly, I suppose) thoroughly broken at launch, Ubisoft made a smart decision. They cancelled the game’s Season Pass and made the first planned piece of downloadable content, Dead Kings, free for everyone. I hadn’t even realized it had been released before my Xbox One had downloaded it, installed it, and thrown a little notification onto my screen with that all-too-familiar blip: “Assassin’s Creed Unity: Dead Kings is ready to play”.
Well, if you insist.