Slow, Sleepy Sunday Soars…

 

the wind rises MPSo, I saw The Wind Rises today and it’s quite a magnificent sendoff for Hayao Miyazaki (if this is indeed his final film), although it’s not quite a film for kids unless you want to be studying aviation history and a few other things afterward. It’s absolutely gorgeous to look at and while the grand dream sequences and a stunning interpretation of the massive 1923 Kanto earthquake here are amazing blends of that wonderful Studio Ghibli hand-drawn and CG animation, the film’s intentionally slow pace means some viewers might find themselves drifting off when the film is making it’s points. For a biographical film (animated or not) both the subject and subject matter call for post viewing brain expanding because unless you’re an aviation nut who knows names, places and anime faces really well, some parts of the film may seem hard to follow until you can place dates to some of the important events shown.

This isn’t a review at all, though. It’s a recommendation if you’re wanting to hit the theater near you, this is playing and your curious as to whether it’s worth the price of a ticket. The short and easy answer is a resounding yes. Okay, back to being bored as hell by Mad Men. Man, this show needs to end or hopefully get better. I missed it, but after such a damn long delay, I find I don’t care about it all that much now…

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Random Film of the Week(end): Nights of Cabiria

(thanks, TrailerItaliano!) 

Nights of Cabiria_MPThe first time I saw Nights of Cabiria, I was wide awake and it was the middle of the afternoon, but I was so wrapped up in watching Giulietta Masina’s spectacular performance that I’d stopped reading the subtitles and missed a chink of the story. Of course, this being a Fellini film, the visuals and expressive acting spelled out most of what happened and Masina’s work as a happy go lucky hooker with a head of stone and dreams of finding love kept me entranced until the ending.

I’ve seen the film quite a few times since and have introduced it to friends with no explanation because how do you properly describe a film about prostitutes that manages to be funny and sad and human all at the same time without getting wrapped up in someone’s “Uh, so… it’s a movie about what?” eyebrow. Granted, you can always take the easy way out and make it a double feature night with Fellini’s La Strada first, as like this film, it won an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film and has Giulietta Masina giving another performance for the ages. That SHOULD wipe away any smudgy thoughts about pedigree and content.

Continue reading

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing 2 Gets Knockbacked Into May…

VHII_Mayday 
Game delays are nothing new, so this isn’t really a big surprise. Still, you have to love the press release Neocore Games sent out to announce the delay:

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing II Delayed due to Monster Invasion

Slightly delayed, but no need to worry – all that extra time will be spent polishing the game. The new release date is set to May 22, 2014.

So, what happened to the April release date of The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing II? Well, we could blame the supernatural or the bad Vrikolak meat in the fridge, but the truth is, we want to release a superb game as polished as possible on release and that will take a little longer than we thought. We want to make sure the sequel is superior to the first game in every aspect and it keeps you nailed to your chairs all the way to the end with its engaging new story. Now the new date will also mark the anniversary of the first game’s release. So be ready to hunt down the new swarm of monstrosities when the game hits Steam on May 22, 2014.

All of you are reaping souls right now anyway, aren’t you?

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing II is available for pre-order on PC. To pre-purchase the game, head to neocoregames.com/store and choose from the various supporter packages in various price ranges.

Me, I’m currently NOT reaping souls because Blizzard has ignored PS3 and Xbox 360 owners of Diablo III, but I have other stuff to keep me occupied while I wait for the man with the hat and Lady Katarina to make their second appearance in a more polished form. That, and I can also replay the beta a few more times just to see how all those other character classes do against the hordes.

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing II Beta Hands-On: It’s The Reckoning For That Hunter…

 

VHIIaThanks to the fine folks at Neocore Games, I had the opportunity to take a beta version of The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing II for a spin and am happy to report it’s looking like a bigger, badder, meaner and harder game than the first one, especially if you’re hopping into it with your saved hero from the original. I hadn’t played the first game save for some hours with the demo, but Neocore also sent me a code for the Complete Pack, which got a marathon playthrough over the past week or so (and me a nicely maxed out Level 30 Hunter by that cliffhanger ending).

The new game starts off with a rather massive siege on a factory by many enemies being airdropped in capsules and a large army of civilian soldiers assisting Van Helsing and Katarina, his ghostly (and snarky) AI companion. Granted, one could play the beta using a few default high level characters in a few classes, but after trying out a few of these overpowered guys, I decided to take the longer, tougher (yet highly enjoyable and rewarding) route and go through the first game just to have a more personalized experience… Continue reading

Earth Defense Force 2025 Mission Pack 3 Deployed! Go Smash Some (More) Bugs!

INCOMING TRANSMISSION!

Okay, I’ve been a bit tied up with stuff coming in to review plus a few other things (making sure I’m still breathing and surviving this stupid weather we’re stuck with – it’s REALLY cold again), but D3Publisher of America has recently released (as of 4/11) the third and final Mission Pack, Beyond Despair for Earth Defense Force 2025 on PSN and Xbox Live. A few teaser screens are below:

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Joining The Earth Defense Force 2025 Special Ops Mission Pack (5 extra missions for $2.99) and the Mutant Rampage Mission Pack (20 additional missions for $8.99), this final set of 20 missions is also $8.99 and gives you more mutated bug and boss variants to play around with in some familiar maps with new elements that add much more challenge whether you play solo offline, couch co-op or go online with up to three other teammates.

If you’re still blasting through solo play and need to farm up some great weapons, these Mission Packs offer up some incredible levels of challenge and some say an “easier” opportunity to gain weapons you may be having a hard time getting in the main game’s missions. “Easier” is a relative term, as even on the easiest difficulty, the enemies are about three times as fierce and twice (or more) as numerous. You’ll be an EDF veteran after a few of these missions, GUARANTEED.

MORE Free Stuff? OK, Win An Earth Defense Force 2025 Prize Pack (via Facebook)

EDF_Prize PackGot a facebook account? Good. Like to win free stuff? Even better! D3Publisher of America is giving YOU a chance to win a PS3 or Xbox 360 copy of their epic bug-blasting extravaganza Earth Defense Force 2025, all three DLC packs AND a bunch of EDF 2025 swag (which MAY or may not be some or all of this cool stuff) all for filling out that sweepstakes form. Uh huh, I can hear you bouncing up and down in your seat over there, so stop that before you break that chair (it’s squeaking because it’s old!) and go enter already!

WIN FREE STUFF! The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing Steam Codes!

 
Thanks to the awesome Orsolya Toth over at Neocore Games, I have TWO Steam codes for their excellent Action/RPG The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing to give away to TWO lucky winners! NOTE: This is the original version of the game, NOT the Complete Pack (but you can upgrade to that if you like via Steam by buying that additional content if you like the game!) and yes, the game is PC and Macintosh compatible. How do you enter? Well, just FOLLOW the site if you haven’t yet and leave a comment below. I’ll randomly pick two of you and shoot over your codes within 24 hours. No need to leave your email, as we have ways of knowing who you are… (mua-ha-ha-haaa!)

And whether you win or not, you SHOULD support the sequel, The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing II over at Necore’s online store. There are some great premiums for folks with funds to spare (you can be in the game!) and the sequel’s MUCH bigger than the original, but costs exactly the same! I’ll be giving the beta of VHII a shot shortly and let you know what’s what with that soon. Stay tuned…

System requirements for the game and official rules for the giveaway are below the jump… Continue reading

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing II: If You’re Hungary For More, Come Get Some!

VanHelsingII_BoxArtOkay, I’m late to the mad monster party thanks to such a massive games backlog that I won’t be seeing some of the bigger titles I downloaded last year until late this year (or next year!), which is pretty sad. But I understand quite a lot of people have this problem thanks to too many bundle sales and low prices on single games that are way too hard to pass up.

Anyway, I bumped up the demo to The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing a few weeks back to “PLAY IT!” status when I was cleaning up my Steam library and realized I’d downloaded but not played it. It hooked me in right away and made me wish it was on more platforms because as great as Steam is, not everyone who’d love this fun and funny action/RPG is playing it.

Of course, me being late to the party means Hungary-based Neocore Games has been a hard at work on a sequel that’s going to be even bigger than the original and they want you to climb aboard the even more comedy-laced monster killing train early:

What was that? You say things were moving too quickly and you want screenshots? Um, okay – here you go:

VanHelsingII_Pre-orderScreens_01 VanHelsingII_Pre-orderScreens_02 VanHelsingII_Pre-orderScreens_03 VanHelsingII_Pre-orderScreens_04 VanHelsingII_Pre-orderScreens_05 VanHelsingII_Pre-orderScreens_06

Feel better now? Good. But wait, there’s MORE… Continue reading

Assault Suit Leynos To Get PS4 Remake (Or: Target WORTH!)

LEYNOS_PS4 
Well, alright! I’ve never heard of Japanese developer Dracue Software, but they certainly made a name for themselves at this year’s BitSummit in Japan by announcing they’re working on a remake of the classic Sega Mega Drive game Assault Suit Leynos. The game, known in the US as Target Earth, will be a PlayStation 4 exclusive (at least for now, but I hope a Vita version is in the pipeline). The only thing up media-wise other than the game site is this teaser trailer that’s all footage from the original with the reveal that the new game is PS4-bound:

 

Yep, it’s a buy whenever it’s done and hopefully won’t be either a download-only game that gets buried on PSN with little fanfare outside its home country or worse, play like the Assault Suits Valken “remake” for the Japanese PS2. THAT game was based on the Super Nintendo-only sequel to Leynos (called Cybernator here in the States) and the PS2 version was just a chore to play effectively thanks to cumbersome controls and pretty accurate enemy shooting. My hopes are for the best, as Leynos was and is a great game to play through multiple times. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the soundtrack stays the same as the original game or isn’t remixed and/or fiddled with too much. Eh, we’ll see… I have faith in Dracue to not screw this one up…

Sylvain Chomet Makes The Simpsons Worth Watching Again…

(Thanks, Animation Domination!)

Ha. In case you don’t know who Mr. Chomet is, drop everything (well, not your phone or tablet or laptop if you’re somehow reading this in transit or while sitting in a coffee house of some sort) and go rent his wonderful animated films The Triplets of Belleville and The Illusionist, I’ll wait (La la laaaa, la dee dah, la la la laaaa). Oh, you’re back. Anyway, what he’s done with Homer and his family is amazing and YES, I’d LOVE to see how he’d handle a complete episode. Granted, the time that would take would be pretty ridiculous, but given that nothing seems to stop The Simpsons from dying again, it won’t matter how long it takes to get completed after all. Or hell, at least let’s see a Treehouse of Horror short from the guy (which will still take almost forever to get made)…