Alien: Covenant Does The #TBT Thing A Day Early


 

Well, well. Referencing that infamous dinner scene from the original ALIEN, this “Last Supper” prologue also manages to give an idea of how close to the vest Alien Covenant is going to be playing a few of its cards. Granted, I wasn’t expecting anything revolutionary with the upcoming film, so this clip does indeed hit the right notes. I liked what I saw, although that larger crew means a lot more victims which will hopefully not translate to the film feeling repetitive. Eh, I’m not really worried much, though.

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Oh, by the way, when you go to that site link above and register, make sure you mess with the MU/TH/UR 6000 computer interface for a bit of fun. Ask it some questions that are ALIEN-related, if you need a hint.

-GW

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Diablo III 2.4.3 Update: Party Like It’s 1996 (Or, To Hell & Back, Grinning)


 

Well, oooh. I wasn’t expecting to be this surprised by an update, but yep, Blizzard did just what I was thinking they were going to do with a bit more throwback action, albeit it short-lived. The update also popped up on PSN (as the 1.15 patch), which is the version I played through last night and messed around with into this morning. Other than it not having the retro UI, it’s exactly the same content. I was more surprised that the team had not a lot of info from the original Diablo and had to piece things together using fan wikis, but hey – most fans are helpful when they’re not fighting with each other.

(Hey! Subscribe to my boring YouTube channel, already!)
 

The throwback maps made me grin like a loon as I took a newly created Monk through those hellish stages. I went through on Normal the first time, which is why The Butcher went down without killing my holy fist punching dame. Actually, in my original Diablo play back in ’96, I didn’t die against that brute until my second time through because I got overconfident, his room was on a new spot on the map with a dead end outside I got trapped in and the exploding barrels I hit took off a wee but too much health when he rushed up with that axe. Ow. Actually, I had a run later through the PlayStation version in 1998 where I got stuck dying on the 7th floor thanks to a lightning fast lightning magic blasting mob parked right at the stairway. I think I still have that save data on an old memory card here.


 

In any event, if you’ve a PC, PS4 or Xbox One, remember spending too much time in digital Hell and want a quick trip back to 20 years ago… yeah, go grab Diablo III: Reaper of Souls – Ultimate Evil Edition, but do it soon. The Darkening of Tristram event only lasts until the end of January and you might not want to miss the oddball gifts you get when completing the run.

-GW

Happy New Year (Take 2)

(Thanks, TroniCPol!)

Hey, my mood lightened! Ha. Anyway, I was trying to think of an appropriate New Year’s thing to post when it hit me that I hadn’t played the late Kenji Eno’s very offbeat D2 in about four years. It works as a perfectly bleak yet eventually hopeful holiday horror game experience for the period between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Thanks to just being too busy to unearth one of my Dreamcasts, make sure the battery is working so that I could start playing about nine hours before midnight so the end credit sequence ends with the onscreen game clock counting down to the New Year and getting a cheery message for all that effort, I haven’t gone near this gem. But that’s going to change.

Anyway, backlog or not I’ll finally replay this classic at some point this year just to see if I can speed through it a bit faster. Much of the game’s length is due to extended stretches of cinematic sequences that can’t be skipped, so it’s a pay attention game almost all the way through, lousy US dubbing and all.

Ah well. Anyway, Happy New Year, people – 2017 is going to be innnnnnteresting.

-GW

Diablo Turns 20: Blizzard, What Are You Up To?


 

Twenty years is a long time for any form of interactive entertainment to be around and still have an active fan base. Blizzard seems to know its classic PC game Diablo has a rather dedicated and somewhat vocal legion of players that have stayed with the franchise through three games, numerous patches and a few expansion packs. Granted, the love for the first two games meant Diablo III was going to be heavily criticized for both its long development time and any huge changes to what longtime fans expected. Let’s just say the fans didn’t disappoint in letting themselves be heard.


 

But of course, Diablo III was a mess at and post launch, but tons of patches, the removal of that horrid Auction House and surprisingly, mostly superb console ports that actually improved upon the foundation laid made it a far better game for everyone save last-gen system (PS3/Xbox 360) owners who didn’t get the great 2.4.0 update. I’d already sunk a few hundred hours into the PS3 version and planned to transfer my save files over to the PS4 when I finally made the move to that console. Of course, that didn’t happen thanks to Phill Katz stealing my PS3 after I sent it to him for repair. NO, I haven’t forgotten you, asshole.


 

So, yeah. I’ve had to restart from scratch with Diablo III: Reaper of Souls – Ultimate Evil Edition on the PS4 and so far, I’m quite pleased with my progress. I’m working on a Demon Hunter build and blazing through Adventure Mode after completing the Campaign once just to build up a ton of Paragon points so I’ll have a huge pool to use when creating other characters later. The 2.4.0 content surprised me with a dark and grim new map that added a few new enemy variants, crashing waves, rain and… freakin’ gigantic sea snakes popping up if you ran too close to the edge of some spots on the map.


 

Anyway, this post has no point other than me reminiscing and wondering just what the hell Blizzard is up to. Yes, I know about the Necromancer class coming as well as the upcoming “remake” of the first game using the DIII engine. But I’m hotly curious as to what else is planned. Other games get re-releases, HD upgrades or flat out remakes, so it only makes sense that this one would at some point soon. Unless Blizzard is just messing with us fans. Those old cinematics sure cleaned up well, huh?

-GW

Blade Runner 2049: Wake Up… Time To Cry

(Read in Deckard’s voice):

I woke up late and with a headache. This teaser was waiting for me like a cat sitting on my chest with a freshly killed canary in its mouth as a present. Of course, that cat and the canary were from the dream I had last night, but that’s not important. Did you know you can’t accidentally step on a cat in a dream because it’ll always get out of the way? Of course, you can definitely step on an origami unicorn, which is kind of painful if you’re getting out of bed at 3am to go to the bathroom. Ow. Someone keeps leaving those damn things around the house in the strangest places. I found one in a sealed bottle of whisky last week. If it’s Gaff, he’s got some talent… and a weird sense of humor…

Yeah, that makes no sense because I never thought Blade Runner needed a proper sequel. We shall see, though. This teaser copies the languid pacing and gritty future noir tone of the original and yes, seeing an old Ford pop out of the shadows in a grin-worthy sight. That said, if he’s the sole link to the first film cast-wise, it may feel a bit awkward to younger viewers who never saw it or somehow don’t get what the connection is to Gosling and his funky coat. Oh, you can stop doing that Deckard voice now. It was only for that fake quote. I actually did wake up late, though. Off to find some coffee – back in a bit.

-GW

If You Want That NES Classic, Just Remember This One Handy Trick…


 

While these two absolutely hilarious spec ads by director Ryan Prows aren’t official Nintendo issue, I’d be more than happy to see them pop up on TV during Adult Swim or some other not-quite for the kiddies channel that the 18-35+ crowd checks out from time to time. Yeah, yeah, they’re kind of “fan-made” in their own way. But there’s a great enough difference in the means to an end between a spec ad and a game project that it’s easy to make the distinction between an IP being reworked into a free game and an example of a director putting out work that can get him more work and not necessarily at Nintendo.


 

So yeah, I heard through the grapevine that some retailers are restocking those NES Classic Minis one more time before Christmas. Feel free to take emergency measures as seen in these vids as a means to your own end of obtaining one, I say. Who knows? With luck (and a few onions or fresh mint depending on your own naughty or nice quotient), you just may walk away with your prize after all.

-GW

Arrow Video December: If You #TBT These, They’ll Come After You

My email is hiding stuff from me again, so this post is later than usual. As that title suggests, While today IS a Throwback Thursday, trying to do that with anything Arrow has this month will just get them mad at you and your wistful reminiscing. Just buy them and be scared or giddy or whatever you do best when you pick up a horror flick you fondly or fearfully recall.

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HELLRAISER: THE SCARLET BOX LIMITED EDITION TRILOGY (12/13, $124.95)- Pre-order/order at the MVD SHOP or on Amazon

These terrifying and original films boast brand new 2k restorations along with hours of archival content and newly produced extras including audio commentaries and interviews with Clive Barker, Doug Bradley and Sean Chapman in his first interview on the Hellraiser films in decades.

The 4-disc set will also include the newly edited version of Leviathan, the definitive documentary on Hellraiser and Hellbound: Hellraiser 2. A new documentary, Hellraiser: Evolutions, will also be included and will look at the evolution of the hit horror franchise and its enduring legacy.

These features will sit amongst a host of rarities and never-before-seen footage from the movies including the legendary ‘Surgeon’ scene from Hellbound: Hellraiser 2, the subject of fierce debate amongst fans for many years, now finally unearthed for its home video debut.

This limited edition Blu-ray comes with an exclusive illustrated 200-page hardback book featuring new writing from Clive Barker archivists Phil and Sarah Stokes and a 20-page booklet featuring never-before-seen original Hellraiser concept art. The limited edition packaging is adorned with incredible new artwork from Gilles Vranckx alongside a set of 5 exclusive art cards and a fold-out reversible poster.

Read on below the jump for a novella’s worth of features…

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A Little More Of The Last Guardian Is A Lot Of Awesome


 

Spoiler Alert: This is absolutely gorgeous. Oh, and yeah – you get too many hints on what to do early on. Ah well. December 6th is getting closer and I’m rethinking my non pre-order plans for a hot minute. Yeah, I may just go the digital route and not deal with a disc version. On the other hand, I like having something to hold onto, specifically in this case of The Last Guardian being Team ICO’s swan song. It’s one of the few games where I’m actually going in with expectations of a greatness and don’t intend to be disappointed unless everything collapses at whatever ending wraps this one up. We shall see, my friends… we shall see.

-GW

The Last Guardian: Almost Here, With A Tear

 

At the very least, The Last Guardian will be remembered as Team ICO’s swan song, long in the making and very likely well worth that long wait. Interestingly enough, there’s an official soundtrack LP (yes, on vinyl!) by Takeshi Furukawa being put out by the fine folks at I Am 8-Bit that looks really lovely.

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As I no longer have a record player here, I’ll just settle for a copy of the game I expect to be readily available on its launch date. Hype on the game seems to have quieted down considerably over the years, but I’m expecting a post-review surge of purchases followed by the usual suspects returning the game because they don’t “get” it. Ah well… we shall see soon enough, right?

-GW

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Busload of Horror VI: The Neverending Gory…

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I’d be lying if I said this series wasn’t fun to do, so I’m going to do something even more fun and continue delivering a busload of horror or horror related games on a weekly or bi-weekly basis based on my workload. This particular series will close for now on a few scary-ish notes starting with one of the best (and hardest) games I’ve played all year which just so happens to win the “Most Improved Via Patching” crown. Okay, I don’t have a crown for that. But you know what I’m talking about.

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SLAIN: Back from Hell: Brutally savaged upon its initial release by critics and gamers (many of the latter who never played the game, but merely hopped on the flaming hate wagon because that what the Internet does to people who need to feel as if they’re part of a “thing”), SLAIN seemed destined to die on the vine before it got a fair shake. Thankfully, developer Wolfbrew Games (Andrew Gilmour) picked himself up, shook off the ashes and like Dr. Frankenstein after a few fresh pots of coffee, a ton of classic metal music and a few too many monster movies, set to reviving his baby and making it a better experience overall. Did he succeed? Take a look for yourself:


 

Yep. It’s not only back, it’s brilliant, visually rich and chock full of so many tweaks that it’s definitely worth buying even if you have to pay someone with better reflexes to finish it for you. The game isn’t easy at all, but it’s hard to stop playing thanks to the visuals dropping in something fantastic to look at in every stage. The old school stuff (knockback deaths, enemies spawning at the wrong time, many deathtraps, cheap bosses) may tick off casual gamers or those who never “got Gud” at classic 8 and 16-bit games something fierce. But for those who like it rough, Slain says “Welcome home, now go die!” and you’ll keep coming back for more. Oh, and it’s on PS4 and Xbox One, so you have no excuse not to play this if you own either console.

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