Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor Belated Update: Some Evil, Some Good and How It’s All Done…

Yeah, yeah, I’ve been behind a bit on this upcoming game from WBIE and developer Monolith Productions, but that’s because I’m confident it’s going to be a worthy Middle-earth experience no matter what it’s played on. I think I’ve said that already but it bears repeating. Respecting a developer and enjoying whatever they’re working on goes a longer way than nit-picking that work apart for not being 100% accurate to the original works. Particularly if that game does something out of the ordinary yet seems familiar at the end of the day. Pity the last-gen versions aren’t getting all the AI bells and whistles as the current (or next, if you’ve yet to update) gen new systems, but that’s the way the ball bounces. You get more power to use and you use it wisely. Hmmm… isn’t that one of the lessons Tolkien was trying to get across in his books? Well, well, well… I’m already up to speed, then.

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor is out September 30, 2014 for PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. Yeah, pre-order madness exists in the form of different “exclusive” DLC from different retailers (boo), so do what you need to do if you want that extra perk. or maybe just buy the game outright when it’s in a store and hope WBIE decides to release ALL those bonuses once a few weeks or so have passed. Or they’re available as in-game unlocks once you’ve played long enough…

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The Making of Mind Zero #4: A Bit Late, But A Nice Reminder I Need To Get This One…

Hmmmm. I still need to pick up a copy of Aksys’ new Vita RPG Mind Zero and play it, but I’ve seen mostly mixed reviews, some of which seem to “get” the game and others that don’t. It seems it’s only superficially like the Persona games, but here’s a case where a quick read of the game description and features can make one who follows Atlus’ more popular series raise an eyebrow at the similarities. Ah well, we shall see, I guess. We shall see. My backlog is still insane and not going down thanks to a few more games I’m staring at in a few folders on the laptop or on my desk here. Well, no time for dawdling, I guess. Time to knock a few reviews out over the next week or two…

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor Behind the Scenes #1: On Performance and Polish.

 
Initially, I’d thought this was going to be one of those online only games or an expansion to The Lord of the Rings Online, so it got sent to the bottom of my list of games I was interested in this year. Well, as this years E3 revealed, I need to pay a lot more attention. Monolith Studios is making what looks to be a really cool action game using the Rings license for current and next-generation platforms that’s worth taking a longer look at, so here you go – the first of a few making of videos. Enjoy!

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel Making of Episode 1: “If You’re Going to Shoot, SHOOT. Don’t Talk!”

 
Hey, Kids! Wanna know how video games are made? Well, this video doesn’t go into ALL the not so gory at all details, but it IS a fun watch if you’re intrigued. Gearbox Software seems to be a fun enough place to work, although some gamers with too much time on their hands and rickety soap boxes to stand on will give them eternal grief for at least two games they’ve worked on until the Earth rolls off its axis. Me, I just move forward and keep an eye on what they’re doing next. Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel isn’t made entirely by the studio, but you know 2K Australia is using what Gearbox has created in this collaboration to whip up this spaced-out loot frenzy that happens to take place in the fun-tastic Borderlands universe.

Given that this one is only on PS3, Xbox 360 and PC, I’m betting some of you are kind of ticked off that you traded in that “old” console in trade for a newer one, right? Oh well. Next time, don’t trade in or give away any system until you ONLY see budget games coming out for it. Or even better, NO games at all. That way you’re SURE there are no surprises coming down the pike…

Guardians of the Galaxy Featurette 2/TV Spot 5: Settling In For The Long Haul (And Reliable Predictability)…

 
I’d say right about now that Guardians of the Galaxy will indeed be comfortably predictable on a few fronts. I usually go in to these movies with zero expectations, but I suppose I have to accept the fact that Marvel wants fans to know they’re getting the full meal deal here: LOADS of in-jokes, some serious stuff in between the jokes, plenty of last-minute escapes and plot twist or four and some fun use of music if you happen to be well-aged and savvy about such things or just happen to “get” the musical stuff the film drops into your ears when it does.

 
And yes, you HAVE to stick around until the credits roll because there’s going to be a surprise reveal that ties into previous and upcoming Marvel movies that some fans will be wanting to drop that ticket and merchandise money on. All that is a given at this point because messing with the formula (as formulaic and formic as it can be) is a recipe for confusion among some folks. But it’s something that works well for what it’s worth, so I’m not complaining much (if at all)…

KROMAIA: All Hail The Kraken Empire!

kromaia_store_banner_03Although I’ve voted for a small batch of Steam Greenlight games since the program was introduced, I tend to avoid most of them until they’re actually completed just to avoid any potential disappointment in that “Hey! I paid for an alpha but the finished game isn’t as fun!” manner. Anyway, the fine folks at Kraken Empire (based somewhere in Spain, I believe) are cooking up a hot little gem called KROMAIA and yes, it’s on Steam Greenlight as well as Desura. If this small team can get everything working as promised, I predict this physics-based space shooter will be one of those great “Did you play this yet?” games of this year (or whenever it’s completed)… Continue reading

Orphan Black 2:10 Recap: A Few Less Sisters, A Few More Surprises…

 
Well, it’s a wrap on Season 2 of Orphan Black and as with the first season, more questions than answers crop up, but thee also seem to be a few things that got resolved in one way or another. Still, some things were a bit odd to me. A few of the important characters from the first season ended up dying (in oddball manners, at that), although I’m thinking one may make a return as we only saw her somewhat gravely injured and not actually “dead.” Shades of Helena’s “demise” in the first season, I guess. speaking of Helena, her arc was pretty interesting up to the point that she somehow got snatched near the close of the show, meaning so much for the happy reunion/dance party that cheered up the proceedings for a bit.

 
Poor Cosima looked as she wasn’t going to make it through the entire episode at all, but thankfully, she was still hanging on at the end. That said, she still needs to be cured of what she’s got, but thanks to another dead character, it seems that cure might be one for the books (or IN the books, if you saw the show and smiled at a certain scene). I got a bit confused at one point, so I’ll need to watch the episode again thanks to me looking down at something I was writing for about thirty seconds and missing something important. Oops.

 
Still, the end reveal made me see that Season 3 will be a bit packed in terms of plot twists and even more surprises. I kind of figured there was more than one clone type out there, but who it turned out to be was an interesting bit of business, that’s for sure. Oh well… here’s to waiting for the announcement of when Season 3’s shooting gets underway. Hopefully, BBC America will keep the first two seasons On Demand and not split them up to a “pay more to see this!” service like certain other dopey networks have done with their programming…

Guardians of the Galaxy International Trailer 2: August Will Be Scorching For A Few Reasons…

 
Yes indeed, the more I see of this, the more I like it so I hope to all the hot hells it doesn’t disappoint. I already know what to expect from a Marvel Studios film, so I know that I need to keep my eyes peeled for in-jokes and cross references to other ME properties, there won’t be any mention of Spider-Man (different studio!) and you’ll NEED to sit through the entire end credit sequence so you can get slapped upside the head with a shocker of a fanboy surprise other people who see this won’t get because they’re not Marvel fans at all, but dragged their kids (or were dragged BY their kids) to see this. I keep thinking of this kid who started yelling at his parental unit to “WAIT!” when I went to see The Avengers because “WE HAVE TO SEE THE ENDING!” and half the theater telling that daddy dearest to sit down so the kid would stop with the wailing. Good times? Nope, but hell, you may as well get that full ticket price worth, I say. At least that dad agreed to listen to the masses and didn’t drag the kid outside, so there’s a victory for the loud small fry contingent, I guess…

Orphan Black 2:9 Trailer: Those Ties That Bind Are Also Good For Wrapping Things Up…

 
So, was anyone else slightly freaked out by Tony last week? It was weird in a fun way to watch Tatiana Maslany play a guy and that guy (who might be a girl, as what’s up with the testosterone shots he’s taking?) not knowing he’s part of the whole clone thing for a good chunk of the show, so it looks as if season 3 might have a new character to deal with provided he survives the remaining two episodes. On the other hand, I’d say he needs to be written a bit better if he does return, as jamming in so much of him into last week’s show and still having him feel like a late addition to the plot definitely showed. Ah well, here’s what’s happening tonight (lots of trouble for the gang, Helena’s back and cranky again and is this the last of Cosima? We’ll seeeeeeeee…:

Game of Thrones 4:9 Recap: A Bit Late, But I’m Still Recovering…

 
Hey, this week was so packed with stuff that I didn’t get a chance to post a post-show impressions post. That’s too many posts in that last sentence, but I’ll let you forgive me while I ramble on a bit. So, the Wall did not fall, but plenty of good and bad men did thanks to everything from unhappy accidents, being in the wrong place and general last man standing stuff… Continue reading