- A third Syndicate title is in development, and is set to be released in February 2012. The original isometric shooter (1994) was a huge hit with sci-fi fans, so this franchise reboot should gather a big following in the lead-up to its release.
- Shank 2, a sequel to the popular XBLA/PSN side scrolling fighter released in 2010, has been announced as coming to consoles in 2012. It will feature offline and online co-op modes and other unannounced new features.
- The release dates for the demos of racers Forza Motorsport 4 and Need for Speed: The Run have been announced by Turn 10 Studios and Activision respectively. The former will be released on Monday October 3rd (with the full game coming Friday the 14th) and the latter on Tuesday the 18th (The Run ships November 18th).
Friday, 30 September 2011
CVG (93%)- "A more charismatic, tactical FIFA that's finally taking steps in a new direction."
IGN (95%)- "FIFA 12 has not just innovated for the sake of it- the gameplay innovations greatly improve the way FIFA plays. Matches unfold with a realistic tempo, taking it much closer to the real thing. Revolution? Evolution? Who really cares."
GAMESRADAR (8/10)- "With a lean towards creating the most thrilling multiplayer sports title to date, FIFA 12 has overlooked those looking to escape into the world of football on their own. It looks amazing and still provides an authentic experience, but the single player experience is severely lacking."
NOWGAMER (86%)- "Still a worthy sports title, especially with friends, but the new control system is nightmarish in its learning curve and it's not that different to 11 when the old, superior controls are applied."
OFFICIAL NINTENDO MAGAZINE (80%)- "Plays a good game, but FIFA 11 owners will be annoyed at how similar this is."
METACRITIC AVERAGE: PS3/360- 92%, WII- 70%
So as good as ever really, if reviewers are to believed, but a title which is as ever sure to please its large fanbase. FIFA 12 is out now.
- First up, some sad news: the BBC have chosen to axe the behind-the-scenes spin off Doctor Who Confidential, which was broadcast on BBC3 every Saturday after its respective episode. When Time Froze, which features a mini-episode written by school pupils and a comprehensive look at River Song's timeline, will mark the final episode, then, tomorrow, but you can sign this petition as I have (and as have nearly 20,000 other fans!) to alert the corporation of our disappointment and bring the show back: http://www.petitionbuzz.com/petitions/savedwc
- On a brighter note, James Corden has told Den of Geek that he would love to return to Who in Series Seven: "I've had some emails from Steven Moffat this week, actually, about trying to do something. It's just whether we can squeeze something in. But I would love to. I feel so proud to be part of it, I can't tell you." So perhaps we'll get returns from Craig and Stormaggedon, Dark Lord of All, in 2012!
- Finally, Nicholas Courtney will be paid tribute to in tomorrow night's episode The Wedding of River Song (I'll be previewing that later tonight). The actor played Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart in over 100 episodes of the sci-fi, and passed away in February.
Thursday, 29 September 2011
SATURDAY 1ST- TV: Doctor Who: The Wedding of River Song; Doctor Who: Death Is The Only Answer (On Confidential, of which this is the last episode- more on that later); Merlin: The Darkest Hour Part One
MONDAY 3RD- TV: The Sarah Jane Adventures: Sky Part One; Two & A Half Men Episode 2
TUESDAY 4TH- TV: The Sarah Jane Adventures: Sky Part Two; Smallville: Booster
THURSDAY 6TH- TV: Glee Episode 3; House Episode 1
FRIDAY 7TH- Movies: Johnny English Reborn; The Lion King 3D; Games: RAGE; Dark Souls; Just Dance 3; NBA 2K12; TV: An Idiot Abroad Episode 3
SATURDAY 8TH- TV: Merlin: The Darkest Hour Part Two
MONDAY 10TH- DVD: Doctor Who: Series Six Part Two; Senna; TV: The Sarah Jane Adventures: The Curse of Clyde Langer Part One; Two & A Half Men Episode 3
TUESDAY 11TH- TV: The Sarah Jane Adventures: The Curse of Clyde Langer Part Two; Smallville: Dominion; Games: Sesame Street: Once Upon A Monster
THURSDAY 13TH- Books: The Brilliant Book of Doctor Who 2012; Doctor Who: The Encyclopaedia; TV: House Episode 2; Glee Episode 4
FRIDAY 14TH- Games: Forza Motorsport 4; Skylanders Spyro's Adventure; Spider-Man: Edge of Time; Ace Combat: Assault Horizon; Dead Rising 2: Off The Record; TV: An Idiot Abroad Episode 4
SATURDAY 15TH- TV: Merlin Episode 3
MONDAY 17TH- TV: The Sarah Jane Adventures: The Man Who Wasn't There Part One; DVD: Green Lantern
TUESDAY 18TH- Games: Rocksmith; TV: The Sarah Jane Adventures: The Man Who Wasn't There Part Two; Smallville: Prophecy
THURSDAY 20TH- TV: Glee Episode 5; House Episode 3
FRIDAY 21ST- Games: Batman: Arkham City; Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One; Dance Central 2; The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn; TV: An Idiot Abroad Episode 5
SATURDAY 22ND- TV: Merlin Episode 4
TUESDAY 25TH- Books: Harry Potter: Page to Screen; TV: Smallville: Finale
THURSDAY 27TH- TV: Glee Episode 6; House Episode 4
FRIDAY 28TH- Games: Battlefield 3; Disney Universe; Kirby Mass Attack; Kinect Sports: Season Two; TV: An Idiot Abroad Episode 6
SATURDAY 29TH- TV: Merlin Episode 5
MONDAY 31ST- DVD: The Sarah Jane Adventures Series 4; X-Men First Class
FILM REVIEWS- Does Johnny English Reborn make the hilarious impact the 2003 original did? Plus reviews of The Green Hornet, X-Men: First Class and loads more exciting new DVD/Blu-Ray releases...
GAME REVIEWS- As I said, we're well into the Autumn of Gaming, and the next thirty days are going to bring loads of reviews of 2011's latest and greatest. I can promise I'll be taking Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine, Bodycount, X-Men: Destiny, Spider-Man: Edge of Time, Forza Motorsport 4, Battlefield 3, Kinect Sports: Season Two and of course Batman: Arkham City, better known as my Most Anticipated Game of the year.
BOOK REVIEWS- My thoughts on Prisoner of the Inquisition, Doctor Who: The Silent Stars Go By, The Brilliant Book of Doctor Who 2012 and thrilling sequels Lorien Legacies: The Power of Six and Skulduggery Pleasant: Death-Bringer.
TELEVISION COVERAGE- Doctor Who's epic series finale The Wedding of River Song reviewed, the final season of The Sarah Jane Adventures examined, new instalments of Glee, House, An Idiot Abroad and Merlin rated, and a look at the best shows to watch in the Winter!
PREVIEWS/FEATURES- We're coming towards 2012- but what can we expect from the year in entertainment? I'll be providing an in-depth look at why The Woman In Black, Star Wars 3D, The Hunger Games, Mass Effect 3, The Avengers, Men In Black III, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Dark Knight Rises, The Bourne Legacy, Halo 4 and Tomb Raider are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg in weeks to come...
Monday, 26 September 2011
10. Will Young: JEALOUSY
9. Damien Rice: CANNONBALL
8. Olly Murs feat Rizzle Kicks: HEART SKIPS A BEAT
7. Ed Sheeran: THE A-TEAM
6. Pixie Lott: ALL ABOUT TONIGHT
5. James Morrison: I WON'T LET YOU GO
4. Jason Derulo: IT GIRL
3. One Direction: WHAT MAKES YOU BEAUTIFUL
2. Maroon 5 feat Christina Aguilera: MOVES LIKE JAGGER
1. Dappy: NO REGRETS
10. THE CHANGE-UP
9. THE SMURFS
8. JANE EYRE
7. KILLER ELITE (NEW)
6. FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS
5. DRIVE (NEW)
4. THE INBETWEENERS (4/5)
3. WARRIOR (NEW)
2. CRAZY, STUPID LOVE (NEW)
1. TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY (3.5/5)
10. RUGBY WORLD CUP 2011
9. LEGO PIRATES OF THE CARRIBEAN
8. RESISTANCE 3
7. WARHAMMER 40,000: SPACE MARINE
6. DRIVER: SAN FRANCISCO
5. DEUS EX: HUMAN REVOLUTION
4. ZUMBA FITNESS
3. DEAD ISLAND
2. F1 2011 (NEW)
1. GEARS OF WAR 3 (NEW)
Sunday, 25 September 2011
Saturday, 24 September 2011
NEW SHOWS- Returning to an alternate reality, Clark faces the wrath of his ex-father in Smallville: Kent, while Karl travels on the Trans-Siberian railway in An Idiot Abroad 2: Trans-Siberian Express, Outnumbered reaches its penultimate story. After his death, the Doctor will also come face to face with an old enemy and a new friend in Doctor Who: Death Is The Only Answer, a short-story written by a school class set to air first in the Episode 13 Confidential. Oh, and two big episodes of major fantasy shows on the way too- more on them in a bit!
NEW MOVIES- Taylor Lautner returns to the box office scene in thriller Abduction this week, and better yet Shark Night 3D and The Debt are coming to cinemas too. In DVD and Blu-Ray, Summer flicks Attack The Block and Thor make their disc débuts.
NEW GAMES- Though they're hardly the biggest releases of the Autumn of Gaming, many fans will be eager to see how X-Men: Destiny and FIFA 12 turn out this week. Next month, I'll be bringing you a Review Blitz, featuring and comparing some of the most anticipated titles of 2011...
DOCTOR WHO: THE WEDDING OF RIVER SONG- Okay, so Closing Time was good rather than absolutely great (my review tomorrow), but it did at least set up Doctor Who's epic finale very well! Set in what appears to be an alternate reality, the climactic episode sees returns from Dorium, Charles Dickens, Winston Churchill, Madame Kovarian, Amy Pond, Rory Williams, the Daleks, the Silurians, the Silence and River Song, the latter of whom seems poised to kill the Doctor...can the Time Lord make it out of this one alive?
MERLIN: THE DARKEST HOUR- As one BBC One drama ends, another begins- Merlin returns for a fourth season, and this time the stakes are higher than ever. Morgana opens the veil between worlds, bringing a deadly evil dragon to Camelot and threatening to destroy the kingdom if it does not meet her vengeful demands. It's time for this show to enter dark new territory...
PLUS: The Autumn of Gaming's second month preview; the best release of September 2011; our top five most anticipated releases of next month; and of course even more world exclusive coverage from GAMEFest!
Friday, 23 September 2011
OUT: November 18th (Wii)
VERSION TESTED: Wii
IMPRESSIONS: Is it just me, or has the Zelda franchise really been struggling to stay fresh in recent years? Skyward Sword appears to the address this to an extent, mixing in loads of interesting uses for the frequently overlooked Wii MotionPlus, archery, swordfighting and free-falling included. Little was revealed of the story, but I played a part of a dungeon, and it seems the puzzles have stepped up a notch in terms of testing your creativity too. My problem with the series still remains: there's barely anything here you haven't seen before in some form. If Miyamoto and pals have managed to keep things interesting for the 50-100 hour duration of Skyward Sword, though, then perhaps the tide can turn for Zelda...
EXCITEMENT RATING: 4/5
OUT: September 30th (360, PS3, Wii, DS)
VERSION TESTED: 360
IMPRESSIONS: If I found Edge of Time mediocre, then X-Men: Destiny was utterly tepid. Silicon Knights have hastily attempted to shake things up by adding in a few role-play elements to their latest title, but from what I can see this concept of choice won't actually play to the franchise's favour, detracting more from the world of the comic books rather than adding to it. If you want the chance to play alongside your favourite mutants in a repetitive brawler, though, then look no further than this next week.
EXCITEMENT RATING: 1/5
OUT: October 14th (PS3, 360, DS, 3DS)
VERSION TESTED: 360
IMPRESSIONS: My thoughts so far? If I'm being honest, Edge of Time came off as the lesser brother to last year's promising Shattered Dimensions (8/10), struggling to find many ideas bar a compelling time-travel storyline and a decent variety of mechanics. The demo was at least made bearable by some 'consequence' objectives and freefall sections, however right now I'm not feeling the love for Beenox's latest as I was for their 2010 effort.
EXCITEMENT RATING: 3/5
- Forza Motorsport 4: Same old Forza but with snazzier graphics and Kinect controls, looking like the peak of video game racing! (October 14th)
- Kinect Sports: Season Two: Enjoy last year's Kinect Sports? You'll love this- darts, golf, American Football etc round off a great package full of charm and humour, the perfect Christmas party starter. (October 28th)
- GoldenEye 007: Reloaded: Last year's Wii GoldenEye 007 shooter was ace- this is your chance to play it on 360/PS3 in dazzling high definition. Not much new other than the visuals, obviously. (November 4th)
- Mass Effect 3: One of my most anticipated games of 2012, this epic conclusion to the sci-fi trilogy features a refined version of ME2's shooter engine, looking sublime in the opening level. (March 6th, 2012)
- Assassin's Creed: Revelations: The multiplayer modes (returning from Brotherhood) were on show at GAMEFest, and while there was very little notable difference fans should enjoy playing with the new characters and environments. (November 15th)
- Mario And Sonic At The London 2012 Olympic Games: Predictably, if you played the 2008 Olympic Games version, you'll very much know what to expect here. All the events from the competition, and stadiums with a typically British theme. (November 29th)
- Street Fighter X Tekken: This mash-up of two big fighting franchises looked surprisingly subdued in the demo, featuring little in the way of innovation or selling points. Let's hope Capcom can provide some real incentives for cash next year...(Summer 2012)
- Metal Gear Solid: HD Collection: There isn't much I can say about this one you don't already know- the classic MGS PS2/Xbox games, remade with slightly better graphics (nothing groundbreaking, mind), complex and convoluted as ever. (November)
- Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D: One of the HD Collection's games gone 3D for DS, nothing revolutionary yet a good one for the franchise fans to savour. (Spring 2012)
- The Lord of the Rings: War In The North: Easily one of the goriest, hacky-slashiest games on show, War In The North looked like a decent RPG, but this year is going to struggle with the likes of Dragon Age II, Dead Island and Skyrim here to stay. (November 25th)
In the next few days and posts, I'll round up my hands-on impressions with the games I got better and longer looks at last weekend! (Image: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/3/3a/ME3cover.jpg)
Thursday, 22 September 2011
Wednesday, 21 September 2011
- First up, the exciting synopsis for Episode 13 from DWM, who are more giving context to the story than telling us what to expect regarding River, the wedding or the Doctor's death: "The city of London, 22 April 2011- soaring buildings, glittering and mighty under a perfect blue sky, and life tumbling onto pavements below. And horse-drawn Roman chariots driving through the streets. And a Victorian steam train on a monorail...hang on, like in a sci-fi city, but with Romans and steam trains? And hot air balloons? And pterodactyls? And Charles Dickens appearing on BBC One's Breakfast? Something isn't quite right...In Buckingham Senate, at 5.02pm, Holy Roman Emperor Winston Churchill calls for his soothsayer to be fetched from the Tower. Greying, unkempt, older, tireder, but unmistakably- it's the Doctor. "Tick tock goes the clock," Winston tells him, "but they don't, do they? The clocks never tick." It's always 5.02pm these days. All of history is happening at once. "What happened to time?" asks Winston. The answer, it seems, is a woman..." The Wedding of River Song sees returns from Karen Gillian, Arthur Darvill, Alex Kingston, and Frances Barber (all of whom will make their most recent appearances in this week's Closing Time), as well as Simon Callow's Charles Dickens (The Unquiet Dead), Simon Fisher-Becker's Dorium Maldovar (The Pandorica Opens, A Good Man Goes To War), Richard Hope's Silurian scientist (Cold Blood), Ian McNeice's Winston Churchill (Victory of the Daleks, The Pandorica Opens) and the Silence. All those cast names have been released by DWM, and we're assured by the mag all this tells us very little about the story in question's plot...
- The new issue (439) also reveals the names of some of the 2011 Christmas Special's cast: Outnumbered mum Claire Skinner and comedians Bill Bailey and Alexander Armstrong will feature in the hour-long episode, focusing on a pair of children's evacuation during World War Two to a house with a caretaker sporting a bow tie and where their Christmas present is big and blue and box-shaped!
- Finally, DWM Editor Tom Spilsbury reveals in the Editorial section that "the show will return in Autumn 2012", confirming Steven Moffat's plan to begin airing Season Seven later in the year to help tie-in with the fiftieth anniversary of the programme in 2013. It's unconfirmed whether an entire season and a Christmas Special will be shown next year, or whether we'll get a few episodes before Christmas, the Special, then the remainder of Series 7 and likely another bumper-season in 2013, but at least we now know some details about the programme's future directions.
Doctor Who's final two episodes air this Saturday and next Saturday, and meanwhile the fifth and final season of The Sarah Jane Adventures commences on Monday October 3rd.
Tuesday, 20 September 2011
TIME TO SPARE- The first thing you should know is that some time has passed since last week's story, The God Complex- 200 years to be precise. You know what that means...the Doctor is at the age and time for his death by Lake Silencio in Utah. He's making one final stop, though, to see his old friend Craig, who's now had a baby and is living happily with Daisy.
TIME TO WORK- As with playing football and working in an office in The Lodger, the Doctor's going to try something new on his house call, which happens to be working in none other than a toy shop. Why's he there? If you ever watched the classic series, you may remember the Cybermats, mobile accomplices of the Cybermen who look quite toyish. And speaking of the Cybermen...
TIME TO FIGHT- Back after their brief cameo in A Good Man Goes To War, the Doctor's old adversaries have a new evil plot for the Time Lord to save the Earth from before he tries to save himself. But what have the Cybermen got planned?
TIME TO TRIGGER THE FINALE- No, that's not as good a sub-title, but still! Although Steven Moffat has chosen to do a one-part finale, there are still going to be major elements to lead us into Episode 13 here in Closing Time. Hints? I don't know much, but the Radio Times have revealed the cast list features Karen Gillian as Amy Pond, Arthur Darvill as Rory Williams, Alex Kingston as River Song and Frances Barber as Madame Kovarian (the Eyepatch Woman), and they've told us to expect some questions to be answered at the episode's end, so perhaps we're going to be just as surprised as we were at the Ponds' departures in The God Complex...?
- The first trailer for Rockstar's story-driven thriller Max Payne 3 has been released. The game sees its titular protagonist on the run from his enemies, desperate to find answers to an assassination attempt, and will utilise many of the features found in its 2001 and 2003 franchise predecessors. Catch the trailer below; Max Payne 3 retails in March 2012.
- Travellers' Tales have announced they will release LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7 on November 18th on the 360, PS3, Wii, 3DS, PSP and DS here in the UK. The title features adventures in iconic locations from the fifth, sixth and seventh books and the final four films, including Grimmauld Place and Godric's Hollow, but will that be enough to save it from being forgotten, seeing as it's released just days after Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Uncharted 3, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Assassin's Creed: Revelations...?
- After Kaos Studios were shut down earlier this year, many wondered if their Homefront franchise would continue. Today, publisher THQ has revealed that CryTek, acclaimed developer of the Crysis and FarCry series, will now helm the series. Exec vice president of THQ Danny Bilson said the choice of dev "underscores [their] strategy of working with the industry's best talent", and that THQ is "supremely confident that the next Homefront will deliver that AAA-quality experience players demand." Expect the next entry in the series to be announced in 2012, as the current fiscal year for its targeted release is 2014.
- PS3 owners who missed out on the original Assassin's Creed when it first released in 2006 are in luck- the title will be packaged in with Sony's version of Assassin's Creed: Revelations, out November 15th.
- And now for the bad news: the PC version of Batman: Arkham City has been delayed to November 15th. Sorry 'bout that. The 360 and PS3 versions will still be out October 21st.
10. 30 MINUTES OR LESS (NEW)
9. ONE DAY
8. RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES
7. I DON'T KNOW HOW SHE DOES IT (NEW)
6. THE SMURFS
5. THE CHANGE-UP (NEW)
4. JANE EYRE
3. FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS
2. THE INBETWEENERS MOVIE
1. TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY
Monday, 19 September 2011
Video game developers CryTech and Team Ninja have announced new projects they're working on at the 2011 Tokyo Game Show. CryTech plan to bring us a console version of Crysis, the infamous PC shooter which for a time required very high-end computers to run, and which spawned a popular sequel on 360 and PS3 (the hardware getting the DLC release) in the Autumn. The guys at Team Ninja, meanwhile, intend to release Dead Or Alive 5, the latest entry in their innovative fighter franchise, so far confirmed to feature old favourites Hayate and Ryu Hayabusa, next year on the current generation consoles (no news yet on whether it'll come to WiiU, the first 'next generation' console since the PS3 arrived in 2007, though).
(Images: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/a/a9/Doa5logo.jpg; http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/e/e9/Crysis_Cover.jpg)
(Images: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/a/a9/Doa5logo.jpg; http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/e/e9/Crysis_Cover.jpg)
10. Leona Lewis feat Avicii: COLLIDE
9. Will Young: JEALOUSY
8. Christina Perri: JAR OF HEARTS
7. Calvin Harris: FEEL SO CLOSE
6. Example: STAY AWAKE
5. The Saturdays: ALL FIRED UP
4. Olly Murs feat Rizzle Kicks: HEART SKIPS A BEAT
3. Pixie Lott: ALL ABOUT TONIGHT
2. Maroon 5 feat Christina Aguilera: MOVES LIKE JAGGER
1. One Direction: WHAT MAKES YOU BEAUTIFUL
10. CARS 2
9. LEGO HARRY POTTER: YEARS 1-4
8. RUGBY WORLD CUP 2011
7. LEGO PIRATES OF THE CARRIBEAN
6. ZUMBA FITNESS
5. DEUS EX: HUMAN REVOLUTION
4. DRIVER: SAN FRANSISCO
3. RESISTANCE 3
2. WARHAMMER 40,000: SPACE MARINE
1. DEAD ISLAND
Sunday, 18 September 2011
NEW SHOWS- This is a big week for TV, with Two & A Half Men (now starring Ashton Kutcher), Glee, Modern Family and An Idiot Abroad all returning to our screens via Sky One and Comedy Central. Plus, the Doctor makes one final trip to see his old pal Craig and face off against the Cybermen in Doctor Who: Closing Time and Clark discovers the legacy of his DNA with an old enemy in Smallville: Scion. Reviews on as many of the new shows as possible, plus last week's Who, very soon!
NEW MOVIES- Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is now out in cinemas- will it top the charts? Entering the box office this week are Crazy, Stupid Love, Drive, The Killer Elite and the 3D re-release of Steven Spielberg's classic dino adventure Jurrasic Park...
NEW GAMES- Xbox 360 owners know what to look out for: Gears of War 3, the hugely anticipated shooter finale, hits stores this Tuesday. Not much else to report on here this week, but as promised I'll bring you as the full scoop on this week's charts.
GAMEFEST- And even more promised, a bunch of WORLD EXCLUSIVE pieces covering everything I saw (loads!) and played (not so much, but seeing the stuff was great enough) at the Birmingham NEC this weekend, including Forza Motorsport 4; Kinect Sports Season Two; GoldenEye 007: Reloaded; Spider-Man: Edge of Time; X-Men: Destiny; Mass Effect 3; Assassin's Creed: Revelations; Mario & Sonic At The London 2012 Olympic Games; Street Fighter X Tekken; Metal Gear Solid HD Collection; The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword; Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D; Mario Kart 7; Super Mario 3D Land; The Lord of the Rings: War In The North; Sonic Generations; Batman: Arkham City and LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7!
Thursday, 15 September 2011
OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE (9/10)- "Same Gears-y goodness; Horde 2.0 is a great expansion; occassional AI let-downs, and the online modes stand a good chance of making you forget about Battlefield and Call of Duty. Bravo, Epic."
CVG (90%)- "Original or not, the solo campaign is sold in every department and brimming with class, while the ambitious DLC plans should see Gears live on for years- even if this is the last time Epic has to use that chainsaw gun."
GAMESPOT (95%)- "Gears 3 concludes an excellent trilogy with engrossing cooperative play, taut competitive action, and a masterful campaign."
EDGE (9/10)- "The degree of refinement and technical polish across every facet of Gears 3 is enough to make most other games look tatty. A few head-scratching nitpicks exist, but they don't chafe much."
IGN (90%)- "The noted hitches, design decision and 'been-there, done-that' feel of much of the content colors the overall experience, but it certainly didn't keep me from having one hell of a good time."
LOADS more posts are coming to the blog this weekend, and I'll be rating Gears myself later this month. Gears of War 3 arrives next Tuesday, September 20th.
Saturday, 10 September 2011
NEW MOVIES- If you're looking for a Freaky Friday-style comedy starring Ryan Renyolds and Jason Bateman (The Change-Up), a rom-com where people just don't know how Sarah Michelle Geller does it (I Don't Know How She Does It), a crime heist thriller featuring The Social Network's Jesse Eisenberg (30 Minutes Or Less) or an intriguing detective Brit romp where Gary Oldman apparently gives an Oscar-worthy turn as John LeCarre's creation Smiley (Tinkor, Tailor, Soldier, Spy), then the cinema is just the right place for you this week! No 'Best Film' contenders here, with the possible exception of the LeCarre adaptation, but all of them will provide some great nights out for guys and gals.
NEW SHOWS- 71 Degrees North and medical comedy Doc Martin return to iTV1, and meanwhile Clark faces a disaster of Hangover proportions (literally) in Smallville: Fortune, the Doctor faces Weeping Angels, a minotaur and his worst fear in Doctor Who: The God Complex, and Jack and the team fight to end the Miracle in the episode season finale of Torchwood: Miracle Day, The Blood Line! (Next week, tons of new shows- Two & A Half Men, Glee, Modern Family and An Idiot Abroad all return...)
NEW GAMES- Pretty darn quiet on this front to be honest, which is surprising given the extent of releases out last Friday, but if you feel the need to play the HD Splinter Cell Trilogy on PS3 or- even better- Phineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension on DS, now's your chance. Can't say fairer than that, eh?
GAMEFEST- It's here where the fun is really at, though! Taking place in the Birmingham NEC from Friday-Sunday, this video games convention provides a huge showcase of some of the biggest titles coming to us this Autumn and next year, including Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, Forza Motorsport 4, Uncharted 3, GoldenEye 007: Reloaded, X-Men: Destiny, Spider-Man: Edge of Time, Modern Warfare 3, Battlefield 3, Mass Effect 3, Assassin's Creed: Revelations, Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, Sonic Generations, Street Fighter X Tekken, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, Super Mario 3D Land, Mario Kart 7, Batman: Arkham City, LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and FarCry 3. I'll be bringing you as many world exclusive hands-ons direct from the showfloor as possible, so keep an avid eye on the blog over the weekend!
A new single-player level in the main campaign of Battlefield 3 has been teased by developer DICE with a brand new trailer. 'Operation Guillotine' sees a group of soldiers attempt to enter a city placed on a faultline, only for them to find their position completely bombarded by enemy forces, bringing with them a host of explosions and gunfire. It's a stunning video to watch, but it does bring up one shortcoming that worries me with the shooter- it looks very linear, not unlike Call of Duty, and I just hope that EA haven't risked the franchise's open-ended integrity by trying to make it more similar to its competitior simply for a few more sales. See what you think...Battlefield 3 is out October 28th.
Not content with having released Grand Theft Auto IV, Grand Theft Auto: Episodes of Liberty City, Red Dead Redemption and LA Noire in the last four years, Rockstar Games are already hard at work on more projects, one of which is the highly anticipated third-person shooter Max Payne 3. Set in Sao Paulo, Brazil, the game sees its epenomyous hero on the run as he is double-crossed by a criminal mastermind deep within the city, forcing him to resort to the most extreme of measures to confront his enemies and find the truth. It could truly be one of 2012's greatest games, and Rockstar are really going to have to pull out all of the stops to put it up with Mass Effect 3, BioShock Infinite, Halo 4, Assassin's Creed 3 (let's be honest, that's got to be on its way next year) and Tomb Raider for sales and critical acclaim. Max Payne 3 has been confirmed to release next March on PS3 and 360.
It's been almost a year since a proper bunch of games for Kinect were released as part of its launch line-up last November. SEGA's horror hack-and-slasher Rise of Nightmares, then, should come as a relief then, leading in front of the likes of Kinect Sports: Season Two, Dance Central 2, Forza Motorsport 4 and Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary (all exclusive to Kinect or using motion comptability) in spectacular fashion- right...? Sadly not, if you read into the reviews released by games critics these last few days. Here's a round-up of what the press are saying about Rise of Nightmares so far:
IGN (4/10): "Rise of Nightmares is an ambitious title, and it's even function for the most part (aside from the most basic of actions, walking). But ambition and basic functionality alone don't make a game good. The control scheme is so basic it comes off feeling like a game for kids, when it tries so damn hard not to be."
GAMESPOT (5.5/10): "Awkward motion controls and shallow combat make it a frighteningly unremarkable adventure in zombie killing."
CVG (5.5/10): "Rise feels like an experiment, a small first step on the way towards proper action games for Microsoft's motion senser. Horror fans could consider this a worthwhile rental, but for those holding out for Kinect's truly killer R-rated app, the wait goes on."
OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE (3/10): "The lobtomised, slash-block combat is the final straw- it offers nothing in the way of action, puzzles, intelligence or maturity. It's a heartbreakingly lame way to kick off the adult Kinect genre."
So, not quite perhaps what were hoping for then. Will Kinect Sports 2, Forza 4, Dance Central 2 or Halo fare any better? I'll find out and rate them all for you in the months to come! Rise of Nightmares is out now for Xbox 360.
SERIES TWO? Yes, but only just! Captain Jack Harkness' many long lives were explored in further detail during the improved new run, with episodes like Adam and Exit Wounds really doing a good job of filling in back story on the Boeshane Penninsula, and really helping us to engage with the immortal legend more than usual. Miracle Day attempted this (and failed miserably) with Immortal Sins, but once again the majority of its episodes were consistently average or good, whereas here again the quality could drop considerably in 'non-arc episodes'. (Image: http://www.cheapbluraymovies.co.uk/boxset/images/torchwoodseries2dvd.jpg)
1. "The nicest man in the world- and today's the day I kill him."
2. Jack's blood is, as you'd imagine, vital to the entire episode!
3. Jilly Kitsinger plays a bigger role than usual...
4. ...as does Oswald Danes- Bill Pullman is without doubt the star of the show for the season as a whole, but Eve Myles and John Barrowman match him stunningly this week.
5. What must Jack do to stop the Blessing? What will happen to Rex, on the verge of death but kept alive by the Miracle, when death returns? Can Gwen's father be saved? All is revealed...
Friday, 9 September 2011
A new clip of comedy sequel Johnny English Reborn has been released by Universal Pictures via Digital Spy. Reborn, starring Rowan Atkinson as the titular spy, focuses on Agent Johnny English's return to MI5 when a group of assassins threaten to provoke international anarchy. The clip shows English in typically funny territory, attempting to face off against trained martial artists to regain his status as an MI5 agent! Johnny English Reborn is out on October 7th.
- Gears Of War 3
- Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary Multi-Player
- Kinect Sports: Season Two
- Forza Motorsport 4
- Dance Central 2
- The Gunstringer
- Doctor Who at the BBC Proms 2010- A video recording of the 2010 Who prom, which saw Matt Smith's Doctor pay a visit and a little boy saving the Royal Albert Hall! (Originally available on the Christmas Carol DVD, TBC by 2Entertain)
- Doctor Who Confidential featurettes for all fourteen episodes
- Additional Scenes- Five scenes specially shot for the package that help bridge the gap between episodes, and range from 2 minutes to 15 minutes in length. These are titled Good Night; Bad Night; First Night; Last Night and Up All Night, the latter starring James Corden and the other four starring Matt Smith and Karen Gillian.
- Prequels: We've seen most of these, but you can now watch the prequels to selected episodes of the season and watch their corresponding stories directly afterwards. The prequel stories are for The Impossible Astronaut, The Curse of the Black Spot, A Good Man Goes To War, Let's Kill Hitler and The Wedding of River Song.
- Monster Files: Special Confidential-style mini documentaries focusing on the baddies of Series 6. There are files on the Silence, the Flesh, the Antibodies and the Cybermats here.
- Audio commentaries for selected episodes.
- Trailers & Ads- Selected previews of the new season released to the media in 2011.
The Gathering, the latest episode of Torchwood: Miracle Day, succumbs to all the shortcomings this long, frankly overblown fourth season of ten episodes has been plagued by since its premiere: far too much time is spent building towards next week's finale, be it with teasing lines of dialogue or glimpses at the so-called 'Blessing', which seems to be some sort of...alien hole thing. Yep, that's really what we've been waiting eight hours for, a chasm that I at first mistook for being the crater in the Earth, yet which actually turned out to be a giant mouth for what ever extraterresterial force lies at the heart of Miracle Day. On the bright side, the acting is superb all round, with Bill Pullman still managing to prove this season's best casting as the disturbingly empathetic paedophile Oswald Danes, Mikhel Phifer at least coming into his own when Rex was at the heart of a CIA investigation, and Lauren Ambrose managing to take PR history-maker Jilly Kitsinger to new heights of eerie confidence as she meets the Three Families' ultimate weapon deep in Shanghai. Were the plot so solid and consistent as the performances, then I'd have a much happier outlook on the penultimate instalment, but as it is we basically just get Gwen's father being taken back to the concentration camps, Jack and the team including Oswald being led to Shanghai, and ultimately Jack's blood drawing a line to the Blessing (funny how the finale's called The Blood Line, isn't it?). Time and time again in this run, we've had simply very minor plot developments instead of the proper advances a strong drama should each week, and unless Episode 10 can really surprise us with some huge revelations and twists (I doubt it), then Starz, showrunner Russell T Davies and BBC America need to ask themselves a question when taking the next season back to the drawing board- should Torchwood revert back to its standalone 'case of the week' format? That is, of course, providing Starz choose to pick the show up again...based on Miracle Day, I'm not sure what decision I'd make in their shoes...
Wednesday, 7 September 2011
September is always a busy time for both new TV shows arriving on our shores and returning favourites making more appearances on national channels. As if it weren't enough to have Doctor Who, Torchwood, Outnumbered and Smallville already airing each and every week, Sky1 and the Radio Times have announced the broadcast dates for the second series of An Idiot Abroad, the third seasons of both Glee and Modern Family and the final season of Spooks. An Idiot Abroad 2: The Bucket List, starring Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant and Karl Pilkington, has been confirmed to air its first episode on Friday September 23rd at 9pm on Sky One. Meanwhile, musical comedy Glee will return to our screens for new numbers and drama on Thursday September 22nd at 9, just two days after the United States get Episode 1, and exclusively on Sky 1 to boot! Modern Family bursts in with all the calibre, vigour and general laughs it's known for on Friday the 23rd, while Spooks begins its tenth season a little earlier, on Sunday September 18th. All of these airdates will be added to the 'September Release Dates' list I wrote earlier this month, and I'll repost that piece on the blog's official Facebook page.
10. COWBOYS & ALIENS
9. HARRY POTTER & THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART TWO
8. APOLLO 18 (NEW)
7. FRIGHT NIGHT (NEW)
6. FINAL DESTINATION 5
5. BODYGUARD (NEW)
4. THE SMURFS
3. ONE DAY (NEW)
2. RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES
1. THE INBETWEENERS MOVIE