Category Reviews

jla gods and monsters

Justice League: Gods and Monsters- Not your parents Trinity

DC Comics has long had a multiverse for their heroes to play in, and in some of these “alternate realities” writers were able to play with characters outside of main title continuity. Thus we were able to get such Elseworlds stories like Gotham by Gaslight, where Batman visits Victorian London during the time of Jack the Ripper, or Superman: Red Son, where the Man of Steel was raised by Russian farmers in the Soviet Union instead of the Kents in Kansas. These stories turned tropes on their heads and gave us an alternate look at iconic characters in a way they might have been had their origins been a bit different. Now the DC Animated universe gives us one of these Elseworld stories in the form of Justice League: Gods and Monsters.

Working from a story by Bruce Timm (Batman: The Animated Se...

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Journey the PS4 experience- Still magical three years later

When thatgamecompany released Journey onto the PS3 in 2012, critics and gamers alike took to the simple yet enchanting trek across the sands to a light in a distant mountain. It topped many Game of the Year lists that year, despite it being an indie title and not an extravagant, action packed AAA game. For many the two hour experience (and be assured, it is more of an experience than a game) transcended those found in other games, running players through a gamut of emotions, from curiosity to wonder to fear to sadness and then to joy. It was profound in itself when you took the journey alone, but it gained even more should you happen upon a companion...

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ethan carter

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter- A mystery that’s both rewarding and frustrating

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is one of those rare games that separates itself from the pack in offering players no hand holding. While many will say this is a good thing, there is such a thing as going a bit too far. It would be one thing if the game had you uncover clues to point you in the right direction. That would at least give you some idea as to where to go or what to do next. But developer The Astronauts offers no such coddling. It’s completely up to the player to explore and find his way, even though that means by the end the player may have to backtrack to find something he missed. You need to find everything for the game to trigger the ending, which, while decent, isn’t so fantastic that it feels rewarding for making you backtrack...

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it follows

It Follows- Smart, original horror with genuine scares

The 1980s were filled with horror movies that mixed sex and violence. Promiscuity all but guaranteed a gruesome demise whether it be in a cabin on the shores of Crystal Lake or in a house on Elm Street. Jason Vorhees, Freddy Krueger, and Michael Myers could all be seen as an allegory for sexually transmitted diseases, and they weren’t the only films in which sex led to unpleasant results. David Cronenberg used sex as well in his films such as They Came from Within and The Brood. Now director David Robert Mitchell (The Myth of the American Sleepover) uses sex in his own horror vision, though in a more upfront way, as sex passes on a curse involving a supernatural presence that relentlessly follows its victim...

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Ant-Man: Great things come in small packages

The newest addition to the Marvel cinematic universe might have seemed like an odd choice, especially to those who haven’t read the comics. But rest assured, it would be a mistake to write off Ant-Man as just a minor hero in Marvel’s stable. He may not have the name recognition of Captain America or the wealth of Tony Stark, but by the end of his debut film he proves that he’s worthy of a spot amongst the rest of The Avengers on the big screen. Ant-Man is by turns funny, thrilling, and shows a lot of heart, and is brought to life by some very spectacular visual effects. The movie serves as a great origin story, as well as a standalone feature. There are obvious ties to the larger Marvel universe, but if this is your first Marvel movie you won’t be lost at all...

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Batgirl: A Matter of Family- Fun in spots DLC that comes up short overall

The first major story DLC pack for Batman: Arkham Knight has arrived and frankly, leaves a lot to be desired. Batgirl: A Matter of Family features Barbara Gordon in full Bat costume as the DLC takes place prior to her getting shot by Joker and before the events of Arkham Asylum. Barbara’s father, Commissioner Jim Gordon, has been kidnapped by Joker and taken to the abandoned Seagate Amusement Park. She enlists the aid of Tim Drake in the guise of Robin, and off the pair go to rescue Barbara’s dad and a few other cops that have also been captured. And that’s basically all the story you’ll get in this all too brief DLC. While far longer than the Harley Quinn story, it’s still all over in 1-2 hours, depending on the level of your skill...

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Inside Out- A unique and entertaining handling of emotions

Emotions can be a tricky business in a movie. Buttons can be cheaply and shamelessly pushed, as in many a film by Michael Bay, or they can get overly melodramatic and maudlin. But every once in a while movies get them right, and they feel genuine. Add in the emotions of a child on the verge of being a teen and things become trickier still. But leave it to the folks at Pixar to get things (mostly) right in a movie that presents emotions in a unique yet entertaining way. Inside Out may not top their best (Toy Story 3, The Incredibles), but it’s far from their worst (Cars and its sequel). It makes for an enjoyable experience for young and old alike, with plenty of visual gags to please young ones and plenty of well written lines to elicit laughs from older audience members...

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Batman: Arkham Knight- A rousing, though flawed, end to Rocksteady’s Batman saga

NOTE: The following review is based on my experiences with the game on the PS4. Xbox One players should have a similar experience, sans the Scarecrow Nightmare missions found in the AR Challenges section of the main menu. As of this date, it’s been widely documented about the issues plaguing the PC port, with many being unable to play the game at all. Others have been successful by turning off certain elements to help the game run. WB has currently suspended sales of the PC port until they can fix the issues.

Rocksteady made their mark on comic book games with 2009’s Batman: Arkham Asylum. Using a solid story, some great voice casting, a wide selection from Batman’s rogue’s gallery, and terrific gameplay utilizing free-form combat they set the bar high for all superhero games to reach...

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LEGO Jurassic World- Dinosaurs in all their blocky glory

It seems LEGO games appear on a regular basis, coinciding with blockbuster movies and just giving gamers their chance to collect studs and play with virtual blocks. So it’s no surprise that with Jurassic World stomping into theaters and all over box office records that we get a LEGO game tie in. And we get a full Jurassic experience, as the game contains all four movies- Jurassic Park, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Jurassic Park III, and of course the titular movie. Each game is composed of five levels and hits all the highlights of the films, faithfully recreating famous scenes and reciting famous lines. One note here: Because the game does recreate the movies so well, I’d recommend skipping the Jurassic World portion until after you’ve seen the film to avoid spoilers...

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Jurassic World- Welcome again to the wonder and the terror

Twenty three years ago we believed that dinosaurs walked the Earth again after being extinct for millions of years. Steven Spielberg, no stranger to the summer blockbuster (he’s credited with starting that trend in 1975 with Jaws) thrilled audiences, young and old alike, by taking them to Jurassic Park (1992). The first shot of a brachiosaurus looming over the trees invoked a sense of wonder, and the sound of velociraptors tearing apart a steer sent chills up the spine. And then the T-Rex broke free, giving that notice on vehicle side-view mirrors “Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear” a whole new meaning. The two sequels – The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997) and Jurassic Park III (2001)- never quite captured the magic, though they were entertaining in their own right...

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