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Wednesday, 29 February 2012

March 2012: Top 10 Most Anticipated Releases

A month so big, there's TEN releases you need to see, play and watch!
I really can't envisage any other month of 2012 packing in just as many great releases as March looks to do from tomorrow onwards- so much so, that my regular 'Top 5 Most Anticipated Releases' feature wouldn't suffice, as I need ten slots just to mention the biggest and best releases coming up! So without further ado, here's the list in full...
10. WRATH OF THE TITANS- Okay, so Clash of the Titans wasn't fantastic; I'm still looking forward to seeing rising star Sam Worthington kick some Greek mythology's ass when this clashes with cinemas everywhere. (March 30th)
9. STREET FIGHTER X TEKKEN- The first of two big crossover fighter games this year, here Capcom have taken their trademark cartoony Street Fighter franchise and added a load of fighters from Namco Bandai's Tekken series to make things very interesting! (March 9th)
8. BEING HUMAN- This epic fourth season of the killer fantasy drama begins to roll towards its devestating climax of all-out war this month. Be prepared, because not everyone will make it out alive...(March 4th, 11th, 18th, 25th)
7. DOCTOR WHO: SHADA- A lost Tom Baker Who story originally penned by Douglas Adams has now been resurrected by the magnificent Gareth Roberts in novel-form. I can't wait to see how Roberts deals with the sci-fi themes of the 70s in a modern style of writing. (March 15th)
6. GLEE- Glee is regularly a guilty pleasure of mine, what with its cheesy covers and stereotypical melodrama, but I can't deny that I'm eagerly anticipating the show's return to Sky1 tomorrow, seeing as there are some big twists on the way for the New Directions! (March 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd, 29th)
5. SKULDUGGERY PLEASANT: THE END OF THE WORLD- You have got to love World Book Day, especially when it brings you a neat short Pleasant novella to expand on the ending of Death Bringer and tease us for the full seventh book due out in September. (March 1st)
4. JOHN CARTER- As I've already said today, John Carter is looking like an epic science-fiction fantasy from Disney with a lot of potential for thrills and dangers galore! (March 9th)
3. THE HUNGER GAMES- For sure, this WILL be an epic science-fiction fantasy: Suzanne Collins' novel The Hunger Games is a fantastic piece of teenage fiction, one rife for the picking of a film franchise, so I can't wait to see it on the big screen to see how well Lionsgate have handled it. (March 23rd)
2. DARA O'BRIAN: CRAIC DEALER- Yep, one of a good few World Exclusives on your way from On-Screen next month is my definitive verdict on the hilarious Dara O'Brian's live tour. I am hugely looking forward to seeing this funny man in action, plus rating it here in full.
1. MASS EFFECT 3- Easily one of the biggest games of the year, and my Most Anticipated Game of 2012 to boot, those accolades aren't making the wait for the next eight days any easier, but they're propelling me and thousands of other gamers towards March 9th, where we'll finally discover just how our individual Shepherd's story will culminate. Expect tears and shocks galore! (March 9th)

February 2012: Best Release

The best comedy movie of the year?...
In a month so packed with small but vital releases as February, it's intriguing to whittle away the bad (Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance), the average (Syndicate, Chronicle) and the good (Kingdoms of Amalur; Star Wars 3D) to be left with one ultimate winner for Best Release. This time around, it has to be The Muppets- a comedic masterclass of self-gimmerckery, wonderfully cheesy stereotypes that aren't ashamed to be just that and a variety of laugh-a-minute musical numbers, all combining to make one of the best comedy films I've seen in a long, long time. The 'U' rating may seem a little offputting, but that many kids in showings I've heard about were seen to be bored whilst teens my age and adults were bellowing with laughter just goes to show how much this one will appeal to the older audience. The Muppets is still on at the cinema, so I seriously urge you to indulge yourself by going to have a great night out watching it if you haven't done so already!

Zone of the Enders HD Release Window Confirmed

We'll see if this Konami HD Collection gets its success this Autumn!
I was pleasantly surprised by the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection (8/10) earlier this month. As such, the idea of another trilogy of classics from Konami is hugely exciting to me, and thus the Zone Of The Enders HD Collection is looking like a great new opportunity to resurrect long-gone PlayStation greats on 360, Vita and PS3. We've now got a confirmed release window for this boxset of three fantastic third-person shooters: Zone Of The Enders HD Collection will retail for its three consoles this Autumn.

GAME Will Not Stock Mass Effect 3

Brits will have to look elsewhere for one of this year's biggest games.
Rumours that UK retailer GAME have been undergoing certain financial troubles have been abound recently, and now it seems they have come to fruition with the shop's announcement that they will not stock any games by Electronic Arts released in March, Mass Effect 3 included. This will undoubtedly be a huge blow to their sales, 15% of their shares having been sold already as a result of the move, and it places even more pressure on BioWare's hugely anticipated sci-fi shooter to sell elsewhere, in high-street stores like HMV and CEX and via online retailers Amazon and Play. It will also mean that bar SSX, every other game previously due for release in March from EA- FIFA Street and The Sims 3: Nightime the main others- will not ship through GAME. The retailer has promised a refund of any £5 pre-order deposits made recently via Reward Card points, but if I were you I'd use those points fast, because as much as it pains me to say it, GAME is heading downhill- and fast. Mass Effect 3 is due for release next Friday, March 9th.

Final Avengers Assemble Trailer Released

The AvengersGet ready for this year's ultimate superhero movie!
Yesterday, we brought you a brand new poster for the renamed superhero ensemble Marvel Avengers Assemble, and now we've got a full new trailer for the movie ahead of its release in just under two months' time! Believe me, this is one new footage-filled preview that you do not want to miss, featuring shots of vengeful rivalries among Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye as well as antagonist Loki and his army of strange extraterrestrial beings. It will be interesting to see how this big team-up ties up some of the loose ends of the franchise like War Machine's whereabouts and how Thor makes it back to Earth, but for now I'd suggest you forget the logistics and revel in a terrific new glimpse at what is by far one of this year's most anticipated films. Marvel Avengers Assemble will be here in the UK on April 26th.

Final John Carter Trailer Released

Will this new Disney fantasy be a hit?
It's been a good while now since Disney Pictures brought us a proper live-action fantasy film, so I for one cannot wait to see what they have in store for us with their release of John Carter next Friday. Looking slightly akin to James Cameron's award-winning Avatar, the flick follows a war hero left stranded on Mars with a race of tyrannical aliens hunting him constantly as he journeys on a quest to find a mysterious temple. Whether it'll be any good is up to whether the sci-fi performances feel too pantomime in the end, but myself and many other Disney fans are still hugely optimistic that this one can be a memorable new fantasy to kick off the early months of 2012! Take a look at the final trailer for the movie; John Carter arrives in cinemas on March 9th.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Oscars 2012 Award Winners Announced

The big list of winners in full...
I'll make my intro to this article short: I didn't agree with just about any of the Oscar awards. Hugo should NOT have won Visual Effects over Harry Potter and Planet of the Apes, nor in Art Direction, and The Artist should by no means have bested War Horse in the Best Picture category. Still, I was happy to see Man or Muppet and Rango take their rightful victories, and whatever your views, here's the full list of winners...
BEST DIRECTOR: Michel Hazanavicius- The Artist 
BEST ACTOR: Jean Dujardin- The Artist
BEST ACTRESS: Meryl Streep- The Iron Lady
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Christopher Plummer- Beginners
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Octavia Spencer- The Help
BEST ORIGINAL SONG: Man Or Muppet- The Muppets
BEST MAKEUP: The Iron Lady
BEST FILM EDITING: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

UK Gaming Charts: February 20th-26th

The PlayStation Vita makes a strong debut with three launch titles in the Top Ten!
It's been a while since we've had a proper console launch, but the PlayStation Vita handheld hardware is a great example of this, as shown by three of its launch line-up video games hitting the Top Ten UK charts for the week. Other than those, Syndicate debuts well too, and in a fortnight's time we'll see if Mass Effect fans come out in full force for ME3...
9. BATTLEFIELD 3 (7/10)
7. SYNDICATE (NEW, 6/10)
6. MARIO & SONIC 2012 (5/10)
4. FIFA 12 (8/10)
3. UFC UNDISPUTED 3 (8/10)

UK Film Charts: February 20th-26th

Is there no stopping the ghostly being haunting Daniel Radcliffe on the big screen?
Talk about unexpected...The Woman In Black has just had its third week on top of the UK Box Office charts, besting newcomers The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, One for the Money and Safe House and now renowned as the best-selling British horror for twenty years! We'll see if John Carter and/or The Hunger Games can shift it from its pedestal next month...
9. THE ARTIST (TF: 4/5)
6. THE VOW (TF: 3/5)
4. THE MUPPETS (5/5)
3. SAFE HOUSE (NEW, TF: 3/5)

New Marvel Avengers Assemble Poster Released

The AvengersAssemble for a new image AND a new British title for this year's biggest superhero movie!
Well, this sure is a surprise! Just weeks before its release here in the UK, Marvel Studios have renamed their superhero ensemble movie The Avengers. We're now going to see it be called Marvel Avengers Assemble here and here alone. My personal thoughts on the sudden alteration? I thought that the original title worked better as it directly paralleled the name of the comics, whereas this sounds like a major marketing promotion almost attracted at gaining a younger audience on top of the almighty mass of fans (myself included) who will be storming their way to cinemas on release day to watch it. The newly-released poster is pretty cool, showcasing the film's new logo and the titular team in action, and you can expect to see a full final trailer for Marvel Avengers Assemble here tomorrow ahead of its renewed April 26th release date.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Coming Up This Week: 27th February-4th March

A wave of big announcements and reveals as a new month dawns...
Blimey, are we heading into March already?!? This week is a little short on major new releases, that I really can't put any other way to you. However, what it's lacking in concrete actual products to show for itself, it's likely to make up for with a host of big announcements and debuts set to be unveiled in the next seven days...
MICROSOFT SPRING SHOWCASE- Yep, this Wednesday publisher and games developer Microsoft are playing their hand on the cards table, showcasing a host of exciting new video games set to release on the Xbox 360 later this year. From final details on Kinect Star Wars to the first trailer for Halo 4 and possibly even some brief teases of the next generation of consoles, expect big things to kick off this year in gaming in full force come Wednesday afternoon!
TWO AND A HALF MEN- Ashton Kutcher's version of Two and a Half Men returns for another bunch of episodes from the new ninth season, dealing with Walden's relationship and divorce, Alan's continuing financial struggles and Jake's general adolescent problems in the most hilarious ways possible! The first new episode of the run, What A Lovely Landing Strip, airs Monday evening.
WORLD BOOK DAY- Prepare for a wave of exciting new books, headed by Skulduggery Pleasant: The End of the World and each costing £1, to reach stores on Thursday as the world's biggest literary event returns to sweep our nation once again. Enjoy the annual festivities!
NEW AVENGERS TRAILER- What with The Avengers being less than two months away now, you'd think we'd have got a proper look by now at the movie. Due to the lack of that, Marvel Studios are unveiling a new full trailer for the movie on Wednesday, and we'll have it right here for you very soon!
GLEE- The hit musical comedy drama is back for another run, which sees a couple of exciting proposals take place, as well as a huge challenge as the Regionals competition nears closer. Tears will be shed, laughs will be had, and the biggest shock of them all may lie in a car crash that leaves someone from the New Directions on the side of a road- stay tuned...
THE OTHER STUFF- Plus, Being Human's back for another thrilling romp, Paranormal Activity 3, In Time, Contagion, Doctor Who: The Face of Evil and The Three Musketeers are all arriving on DVD, Torchwood: Army Of One is made available for download on Thursday, SSX is the week's big game and This Means War, Wanderlust and Project X all make their big-screen debuts!
ON THE BLOG- I'll bring you full coverage of the 2012 Oscar winners tomorrow, along with reviews of Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning; Skulduggery Pleasant: The End of the World; Glee: Yes/No; Doctor Who: Revisitations 3 and more, plus the first news on Halo 4 and the new trailer for The Avengers in days to come...
AND NEXT WEEK...Mass Effect 3 and John Carter finally materialise!

TechTroid: 5 Reasons Why A Who Game Can Never Work

Head over to TechTroid for a great new feature...
As per usual for these types of articles, this'll be fast and easy: the latest article I've written for TechTroid is based around my theory that a Doctor Who video game can never work. I've come to this conclusion for a number of reasons, not least the bland-as-hell trailer for the new Eternity Clock downloadable PS3/Vita/PC game, but you can read a lot more on the topic over at TechTroid right now if you follow the link...as always, please let me know your thoughts! http://techtroid.co.uk/5-reasons-why-a-doctor-who-game-cant-work-5699

Razzie Nominations Announced

A prestigious list, to be sure!
The nominations for the 2012 Golden Raspberry Film Awards have now been announced. In case you haven't heard, the 'Razzies' list is one that you do not want your film to be one, seeing as that means the general public of America and its critics have voted your piece of cinematic art as one of the worst produced movies of the past year. So, without further ado, let's see who has been dishonored with their presence on the list, as well as my personal choices for each award...
WORST PICTURE: Bucky Larson: Born To Be A Star; Jack And Jill; The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1; New Year's Eve; Transformers: Dark of the Moon- I'm struggling to see why Transformers is on here and not Green Lantern, but even Twilight can hold its own considering how atrocious the trailers for Jack and Jill looked!
WORST ACTOR: Russell Brand (Arthur); Nicholas Cage (Drive Angry; Season of the Witch; Trespass); Taylor Lautner (Abduction; Breaking Dawn: Part 1); Adam Sandler (Just Go With It; Jack & Jill); Nick Swarsdon (Bucky Larson)
WORST ACTRESS: Martin Lawrence (Big Momma 3); Adam Sandler (Jill); Sarah Palin (Sarah Palin: Undefeated); Sarah Jessica-Parker (I Don't Know How She Does It; New Year's Eve); Kristen Stewart (Breaking Dawn: Part 1)- I don't actually mind Sandler too much, and often compared to Martin Lawrence's Big Momma he's got nothing, but Jack and Jill appears simply woeful on both the male and female front so I can't help but give Sandler both Actor awards.
WORST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Bradon T Jackson (Big Momma 3); Katie Holmes (Jack & Jill); Nicole Kidman (Just Go With It); Rosie Huntington-Whiteley (Transformers: Dark of the Moon); David Spade (Jack and Jill)- Huntington-Whiteley's role other than being a pretty hot superhero model in Transformers 3 was rather non-existent, even compared to Megan Fox's visual tour de force in the first two films.
WORST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Ken Jeong (Big Momma 3; Transformers: Dark of the Moon; The Hangover: Part II; Zookeeper); James Franco (Your Highness); Patrick Dempsey (Transformers: Dark of the Moon); Al Pacino (Jack & Jill); Nick Swardson (Just Go With It; Jack & Jill)- Dempsey was a dumb antagonist for Transformers, but Ken Jeong really let me down on a few fronts in 2011, and was only redeemed recently somewhat by his cameo in The Muppets.
WORST SCREEN ENSEMBLE: Bucky Larson; Breaking Dawn: Part 1; Transformers: Dark of the Moon; New Year's Eve; Jack & Jill
WORST DIRECTOR: Michael Bay (Transformers); Bill Condon (Breaking Dawn Part 1); Gary Marshall (New Year's Eve); Dennis Dugan (Just Go With It; Jack & Jill); Tom Brady (Bucky Larson)- the latest Twilght was painful to stomach in terms of plot, but in terms of direction it was just plain dull!
WORST PREQUEL, REMAKE, RIP-OFF OR SEQUEL: Arthur; Bucky Larson; Transformers: Dark of the Moon; Breaking Dawn: Part 1; The Hangover: Part II; Jack & Jill
WORST SCREENPLAY: Transformers: Dark of the Moon; New Year's Eve; Jack & Jill; Bucky Larson; Breaking Dawn: Part 1

Video: Harry Potter And Pals Snub The Oscars

If you do just one thing for me today, make it watching this hilarious animated video...

New Kinect Star Wars Footage Unveiled

The Force will be with you in this new preview!
I'll shoot straight with you, dear readers- I know there aren't many people out there who are looking forward to playing Kinect Star Wars, or even considering purchasing it for that matter. That said, I for one cannot wait to see what LucasArts and Microsoft Studios have cooked up for us in their 360-exclusive motion controlled outing, which will include modes like Jedi Duel and Galactic Dance-Off (okay, so I'm still trying to get over that one too). A good handful of new videos have been compiled to make a preview of the game, with looks at the pod-racing, dancing and duelling all available to see, and all looking pretty promising. This ain't gonna be another Force Unleashed or Battlefront, but there's potential for a fun new utilisation of the Kinect peripheral that could easily lead the way for more confident sequels and fully-fledged storylines to develop for the 360 and beyond! Kinect Star Wars races into stores on April 3rd.

New American Reunion Trailer Released

Only two months until we see whether this Reunion can reinvigorate its franchise...
Given the immense critical panning of the second and third American Pie films and their subsequent direct-to-video sequels, a fourth big screen outing for the series came as a surprise when it was announced last year. Nevertheless, American Reunion is fast approaching its late Spring release in cinemas. Fans of the series will be pleased to see from the new trailer that it's looking to retain much of its predecessors' trademark goofy and sexy humour, and thus is sure to provide another two hours solid entertainment for those who are still interested. I'll be giving this one a miss, and what with big ensemble movies Movie 43 and The Avengers also landing at cinemas near you at the same time, I wouldn't be surprised if you did too...American Reunion will be with us on April 6th.

Guinness World Records 2012: Gamer's Edition Review (4/5)

Is this the definitive video gamer's reference piece?
As with any of the Gamer's Editions and indeed the general annual Guinness World Records books before it, GWR12: GE is indeed a paperback of acquired taste, not to be invested in if you hold only a mainstream interest for the video games industry. Sure, you could dip in and out of it, as is the traditional strength of this long-running book franchise, but this time around if you don't really care where iconic characters like Link, the Master Chief and Sackboy originated from, or just who managed to score the highest points in the online modes for each of their games, then this release is by no means for you. That's not neccesarily a bad thing, of course, and it does ensure that hardcore gamers will get the optimum amount of enjoyment out of it rather than the writers having to cater for the 'casual audience', but such a reduction in its target demographic must undoubtedly come with sacrifice, and I can't deny that even my interest in the Gamer's Edition series has waned five years on from the first instalment, a surprising development considering I still have no hesitation about picking up the big main GWR books each year. Considering 2011 was such a busy year, that the publishers could only allow the Records team to cover Modern Warfare 3's launch-day sales rather than the extent to which it managed to become one of the best-selling entertainment releases of all time is testament to the time and effort that should be given that felt a bit lacking this time around. However, what can't be doubted are the sublime production values of the piece- every page is adorned with lavish concept art, screenshots and beautifully presented facts and figures that will undoubtedly be a treat for the eyes in every sense of the phrase. I managed to pick up Guinness World Records 2012: Gamer's Edition for just a fiver in the sales, and while I'd wholeheartedly recommend it if you can scoop it up for that price, the asking point of a tenner for a scarcely-updated version of an already fledging series of annual releases is a bit much this time around. I hope that things can be a little more justified for that RRP come the 2013 version of the book.

Friday, 24 February 2012

First Syndicate Reviews Published

The first reviews are in for this new violent FPS!
So, have Starbreeze managed to beat the odds of fate with their new series reboot of the classic Syndicate via Electronic Arts? Not quite, if the first reviews from critics are to be believed. Apparently, while the ambition of the new violent first-person shooter is to be commended, it doesn't have much going for it that can't be found in the likes of COD, Battlefield or Mass Effect...
IGN (75%)- "Syndicate relies on bullets to get through every level. The story walks a familiar road. However, the co-operative campaign's tough-but-fun action makes up for the missteps."
EUROGAMER (70%)- "If Starbreeze had snubbed convention and made a strategic co-op shooter with a global reach, this could have been amazing. As it is, it's the sort of almost-there effort that will likely be forgotten by Christmas."
DESTRUCTOID (65%)- "It's a game you will never need to play, but you won't feel like you've wasted your life if you do. It's a videogame about guns that pretends to be deeper while striving to be nothing more."
CVG (6.7/10)- "Play it in co op, or don't play it at all. Awful bosses, poor story and unimaginative level design bury sexy guns and good looks!"

Stella Recommisioned For Second Series

Sky1's latest domestic drama finds a home for a second year!
Ruth Jones' new comedy series Stella has turned out to be quite the head-turner for Sky1, bringing in fans of Gavin and Stacey yet turning out to be a show with an altogether different kind of depth and charm about it that has the potential to run for a good few years. Hence, the channel have recommisioned the show for a second season of episodes. Due to shoot later this year, the new series will consist of ten more fourty-five minute instalments that will once again star Jones as Stella and see most of the main cast from the first run return to their popular roles. Could we even get a cameo or two from James Corden along the way? That may well be wishful thinking, but what with Corden now finished with his One Man, Two Guvnors role, perhaps that possibility isn't as out of the question as one might think...either way, Stella will air for two more episodes in the next fortnight, then return to our screens in Spring 2013 on Sky1.

New Men In Black III Poster Debuts

One And A Half (And Another Half) Men will be with us in a couple of months...
What with big blockbusters like The Hunger Games, The Avengers, Prometheus, The Dark Knight Rises, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Bourne Legacy, The Expendables 2, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey all set to be arriving on our cinemas in the next ten months, it's easy to forget about some of the great comedies on the way, one of which heralds from one of the best comedy sci-fi franchises of the past decade. Yep, Men In Black III is not too far away from materialising on the big screen, and I reckon there'll be a lot to love when Will Smith and Tommy-Lee Jones set their phasers to stun in two months' time. The new poster you can see to the left is a bit less painful on the eyes than those depicting the protagonists' faces completely with miniscule MIB3 logos, this time just placing in full colour Smith's Agent J, as well as Tommy-Lee Jones' 'original' incarnation of Agent K and the younger version of the character (who Jay must travel back through time to stop from meeting an early demise) set to be played by Josh Brolin. There's always the chance that comedy sequels can run dry, yet I'm sensing that if the team at Sony Pictures play their cards right they could have a real hit on their hands, especially as there really aren't many other blockbusters crowding its release window. Men In Black III warps into cinemas everywhere on May 25th.

Young Justice: Legacy Announced For 2013

Play as a young Justice League in a new kids' RPG next year!
Although it's perhaps not the faithful rendition of the DC Comics lore fans might perhaps have wanted, it's interesting to hear the confirmation from Cartoon Network and Warner Bros. that an RPG video game of their Young Justice cartoon series will be launching next year. Titled Young Justice: Legacy, the new title will pit twelve classic DC heroes against a dozen infamous villains, and feature various role-play elements to add some depth and replay value to the experience. Developer Little Orbit teased the project's storyline in the announcement press release: "Legacy contains a slew of cool features and a large playable cast of familiar heroes, but our core mission is to create a unique experience that fits seamlessly into the world of the show and offers a new way to interact with these popular characters." Some of us will admittedly be disappointed to recall that the series' main protagonists are new Justice League members such as Kid Speedy and Superboy, but nevertheless I can't help but think the target demographic of the show's child-friendly tone might be in for a real treat when Young Justice: Legacy ships on PS3, Wii, Xbox 360 and DS in Spring 2013.

Assassin's Creed: The Lost Archive Trailer Unveiled

A new DLC pack focusing on Subject 16 is out next Tuesday.
Few of us could say that Assassin's Creed: Revelations (9/10) was the series' finest hour- too many elements of the past were shamelessly recycled, and new mechanics like the Den system and bomb features were severly underused by the developers in a seeming attempt to stall for time while Ubisoft Montreal moved further with their ACIII project. Still, we're getting a new pack of downloadable content for Revelations next week in the form of The Lost Archive, a retrospective piece which gives background on the mysterious Subject 16, who appeared to sacrifice himself for Desmond at the conclusion of the game's main campaign. Could there be further revelations in store, where it's revealed that the game's prologue first-person missions will lead to 16 finding his way out of the Animus despite his apparent demise? I'm not sure, but sadly we can't expect any groundbreaking developments here for fear of the rest of the fanbase having to catch up in Assassin's Creed III when it ships this October. Nevertheless, fans may want to give The Lost Archive a try for more hints on the series' lore when it ships next Tuesday, February 28th.

New Amazing Spider-Man Trail Reveals Rhino

Will this be the true Spidey game that fans have been waiting for?
After the rather abysmal Edge of Time, all eyes are on developer Beenox to resurrect their regular Spider-Man video games franchise with their adaptation of the upcoming movie reboot The Amazing Spider-Man. The new trailer for the title suggests that they may well do just that, introducing a new version of Spidey's classic enemy Rhino for him to face in a storyline that takes place after the events in the films and incorporates the evil doings of Oscorp and their conspirators. We get to see some awesome web-slinging action, and although the streets of New York are looking a bit sparse right now, there's every glimmer of hope that we might get something on a par with the excellence of Spider-Man 2 come this Summer. The Amazing Spider-Man: The Game will ship on June 29th, a week before the release of the film worldwide.

The Hunger Games IMAX Poster Revealed

March's biggest movie gets a poster for its biggest screen...
There are only a few short weeks until The Hunger Games reaches UK cinemas, and I for one cannot wait to see what this blockbuster adaptation of Suzanne Collins' fabulous fantasy novel has in store next month. Evidently I'm not the only one, either- distributor Lionsgate have revealed that first-day ticket preorder sales have already overtaken the previous record holder The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010), a good sign for commercial proceedings if there ever was one. For those of you not in the know, Hunger Games tells the tale of Katniss Everdeen, a girl who finds herself forced to participate in a deadly competition held for entertainment in a dystopian world, and where only one of the sixteen teenagers who enter the arena can leave alive. It sounds like typical action-movie guff, but trust me when I say that Collins' novel is a brilliant, daring piece of work that will suit its big-screen format perfectly provided the adaptation has been done right (judging by the trailers, I'd say that's a strong yes!). Below you can see the final poster released for the movie, advertising its stay at IMAX cinemas across the UK from its launch date. The Hunger Games arrives on March 23rd.
'The Hunger Games' IMAX Poster

EXCLUSIVE MGNC: The Uncanny X-Men: Dark Phoenix Review (4/5)

Does the inspiration for the original movie trilogy stand up two decades on?
The Marvel Graphic Novels Collection is fast proving to be one of the most interesting partwork compilations in a long time, retreading various graphic novels and superhero storylines that I never even knew existed in the world of Excelsior. One such example of this classic and illustrious history Marvel holds is Uncanny X-Men: Dark Phoenix, the second edition of the set. In this 80s plot, we follow the titular mutant team as one of their own (Jean Grey, or the Phoenix) finds herself possessed by a scheming adversary who aims to unleash the darkness within her. Certainly, anyone who had the misfortune of catching X-Men: The Last Stand back in 2006 (and blimey, doesn't that date reference make you feel old?) will be able to see some of the roots of this storyline come to 'fruition' there as Professor Xavier and Scott Summers were killed off in the wake of the Dark Phoenix's awakening. Of course, the writers of the time wouldn't have ever gone on such a merciless killing spree, not least in the short span of time The Last Stand did, yet one or two of those twists still remain, and it's intriguing to see which developments the movie truly took heed of and which it created of its own accord. However, Dark Phoenix doesn't half take its time to get going, teasing dark revelations throughout its opening issues, and even when it does gain momentum, the majority of the unexpected surprises come via deus ex machinas- i.e. plot elements introduced out of nowhere rather than seeded in earlier- which made for a thoroughly irksome read at times. Despite that, though, you'll find far more to love about The Uncanny X-Men: Dark Phoenix- the wonderfully retro art style, the camp character portrayals, all guaranteed for your enjoyment- than you will to hate if you can pick up the retail graphic novel, and those of us lucky enough to have joined up to the collection can take advantage of the wonderful 'Story So Far', artist and writer presenations and the other bonus features included at the back of each of these finely crafted hardbacks.

Metal Gear Solid: HD Collection Review (8/10)

Does this HD repackaging warrant a purchase for fans or newcomers?
Konami certainly have a hard time on their hands convincing those of us who have never played an entry of the Metal Gear Solid franchise before to part with £30 of our hard-earned cash for three HD remakes of some of the series' most 'hardcore' titles. That said, having now played a significant portion of Sons of Liberty, Snake Eater and Peace Walker, I can confirm that if you're willing to put up with a few tired and generic control mishaps carried over from the previous generation of consoles, as well as cutscenes so infamous for their agonising lengths and complexity that perhaps no game can ever top them, then you'll find a quality package worth every penny of its RRP and infinitely more. Sons takes place primarily on an airborne base with new protagonist Raiden attempting to dismantle a corrupt organisation's efforts to provoke nuclear war. The limited setting of the second instalment in the series does get tiresome quite quickly, it has to be said, but to be fair the plot makes such good use of its surroundings that you'll be pretty surprised at how quickly the halfway point seems to come around despite it being around fourteen-fifteen hours in length. In fact, if anything the entire HD Collection represents astounding value in terms of the replayability and general first-play length of time you can and likely will invest in it if you give it the chance it deserves. Snake Eater, meanwhile, sees the father of the series' Solid Snake (called Naked Snake- yep, try to keep up!) on a mission in the jungles of a Soviet-held country during the Cold War, once again trying to prevent armageddon. There are various shifts in tonal and emotive style in each of the three products enclosed here, but it does have to be noted that there is a certain degree of repetitiveness found not only in the often overdone storylines, rather in the gameplay itself: bear in mind that the first two games were released on PS2 and Xbox, while Peace Walker debuted on PSP, and none of those consoles can now be said to be called 'cutting-edge technology', so you will have to put up with fixed camera angles, awkward AI and glitches along the way. Moving back to Peace Walker, though, fans of the saga who've played Guns of the Patriots (the recent PS3 sequel) will be able to start seeing the roots of that great next-gen shooter here, as we get a more brief mission-based sequence of events that was clearly in keeping with its portable format. Admittedly, the bite-sized chunks of storyline are to some degree even more convoluted than their PS2 forebears, yet my goodness, they're easier to keep up with than the other two. This collection really isn't for anyone but the hardcore gamer like myself to either relive nostalgia or learn for the first time why the Metal Gear Solid series lives on to this day. Sons of Liberty, Snake Eater and Peace Walker are great games, warts and all, but those warts are going to be mighty hard for anyone who was born and bred on Call of Duty to ignore.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Medal Of Honor: Warfighter Announced

We'll get the sequel to the 2010 FPS franchise reboot this October!
The Official Xbox Magazine in the United States has confirmed the next Medal Of Honor title is on its way to our consoles later this year. Dubbed Medal Of Honor: Warfighter, the sequel is likely to focus on the broader aspects of the Afghanistan war rather than getting controversial and focusing too much on the Tier-1 soldiers again. I wasn't hugely impressed with the MOH reboot two years back, but I can't wait to see what DICE and EA can do with the Frostbite 2 engine (ripped from Battlefield 3) in modern combat scenarios via the first screenshots and trailer, both of which are expected to surface in the next few days. Medal Of Honor: Warfighter will ship this October- near Assassin's Creed III I presume, probably a wise scheduling move to avoid Call Of Duty: Black Ops 2- for PlayStation 3, PC and Xbox 360. Prepare for a biggie, as it'll probably be one of the last modern first-person shooters of this console generation...

Avengers: Black Widow Strikes Announced

Catch the feisty Widow in an Avengers prelude soon after the movie...
Marvel Comics have announced The Avengers: Black Widow Strikes this week for release in the Summer. Set in-between 2010's Iron Man 2 and this year's superhero team-up The Avengers, the graphic novel will show what the character of Black Widow (played by Scarlett Johnasson in both flicks) has been up to since the events of the metallic hero's sequel, with action including espionage thrills as the Widow attempts to tie up the loose ends of the Justin Hammer case. Apparently, the comic is meant to define Johnasson's feisty heroine more than Iron Man 2 did, and while I'd say it might be a little late for that seeing as the film will already have been out for a fortnight here when the comic surfaces, it should still make for an exciting retrospective. The Avengers is out on April 27th, while Black Widow Strikes retails in May.

Chickens Commissioned For First Series

Will this new comedy from the stars of Inbetweeners fare better in a full series format than its average pilot?
I'll be the first to say that I'm surprised to hear that Chickens has been given the go-ahead for a full opening season of episodes- the pilot was a dull and lifeless affair at times, certainly not a piece of television that I would say needed to continue on with a brand new series. And yet, here we are- moved over from Channel 4 to Sky1, the programme will shoot six episodes of fun World War One comedy romps starring The Inbetweeners' Simon Bird and Joe Thomas. No doubt we'll get more than a few parodic takes on the events of the Great War and the hilarities and romances that brewed in the domestic areas of Britain left mostly unaffected by the conflict. Granted, that's hardly the most exciting premise for a show, but perhaps if the writers can strike more of the right notes in Series One than they did in the pilot, there's hope for this to become a fully-fledged comedy. Chickens begins airing in Summer 2013.

J.K Rowling To Release New Novel

The best-selling author of the Potter novels is bringing us a new adult tale next year...
A brand new novel from Harry Potter author J.K Rowling is on its way in 2013, Rowling and her American publisher Little, Brown have confirmed today. It's been six years now since one of the world's most prized children's authors released Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows back in 2007, and bar The Tales of Beedle The Bard later that year, fans of her famed wizarding series haven't had anymore paper fiction adventures for the Boy Wizard. Sadly, though, this new endeavour won't be related to Rowling's best-known franchise, but instead a standalone novel targeted at the adult readership. This is a brave move for Joanna Rowling considering that her general target demographic of fans and kids are so loyal to her hit series of magical novels, yet there's every bit of evidence based on her literary prowess that we'll be just as surprised as always to see what tricks Jo still has up her sleeves for the foreseeable future. The new untitled piece will retail in book stores in early 2013; expect more details on Rowling's latest work in a few months' time.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

The King's Speech To Debut At West End

Play version of the hit Brit flick coming to theatres in London.
I think to say that many of us film-goers in the UK were 'pleasantly surprised' to see The King's Speech turn out to be a brilliantly patriotic British movie this time last year is a severe understatement- the award-winning film even managed to rank at second place on my Best Films of 2011 list. Now, we can relive the majesty and wonder of the heartwarming true story on the stage with the new production adaptation crafted by David Seidler about to head over to the West End. The play follows roughly the same storyline as the film, only with new rising stars like Charles Edwards in the lead roles, and a slightly different take on some of its events to suit its more dramatic home. The King's Speech will debut at the West End on March 22nd, its venue the Wyndham Theatre's managers have confirmed, and tickets for the first performance are expected to sell fast- in other words, get in there fast if you're planning on heading to the premiere!

New Assassin's Creed; Mass Effect DLC Announced

Enter the Lost Archive, and discover what comes From Ashes!
Fans of the Assassin's Creed and Mass Effect franchises, take heed- brand new downloadable content for AC: Revelations and the upcoming Mass Effect 3 is on its way, so you don't have long until you get another taste of the series! First up, for Revelations there's the Lost Archive DLC pack, which will see Desmond tackle a new array of first-person missions during the events of the escape from his coma in the main storyline, with possible hints to this October's exciting new instalment Assassin's Creed III likely to feature too. Meanwhile, ME3 will be getting a new member for Shepherd's team, the last surviving Prothean, as well as a brand new mission to introduce the character, and this package will be dubbed From Ashes. A new mobile Assassin's Creed game is coming to us via the Japanese Gree network on iPhone and Android later this year too, so keep an eye out for that. These are two exciting additions to their respective franchises for sure, so you lot should be keeping your eye out for Lost Archive on February 28th and From Ashes (which will also be packed-in with the ME3 collector's edition) on launch day for Mass Effect 3, March 9th.

Spec Ops, Borderlands 2 Release Dates Announced

Find out when two of this year's hottest shooters hit Britain's stores...
Today's been great for confirmations of video game release dates, with both the projected release dates for first-person shooters Spec Ops: The Line and Borderlands 2 announced in the past twenty four hours. The Line is an intriguing twist on the modern FPS which involves destruction akin to Battlefield and an epic online multiplayer set to possibly rival even the Call of Duty franchise, while the new Borderlands takes the formula of the successful 2009 RPG and adds new guns, locales, characters and story arcs for fantasy-diehards to divulge in. 2K Games are saying that Spec Ops: The Line will be with us on June 29th (nearby Darksiders II's release), while Gearbox Software have confirmed Borderlands 2 will retail on September 21st (just a couple of weeks after Far Cry 3)

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

UK Film Charts: February 13th-19th

The Woman In Black is still dominating- a bad sign of Potter fever?
Right now, there's quite a bad vibe surrounding The Woman In Black thanks to hundreds of fans of Daniel Radcliffe's work in Harry Potter coming away unexpectedly terrified at the daring new genre piece the previous Potter actor has endeavoured to make. Does the movie staying at the top of the charts represent this mistake of tone and audience, such is that many have said it should have been rated a 15? Certainly, from what I've seen of it (I'm not a horror fan, so don't expect a full review), Woman In Black looks like a great homage to classic horror flicks, but I can't help but think that we have to draw the line with film ratings somewhere...elsewhere, the rubbish Nic Cage superhero sequel Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance debuts at three, shifting Star Wars into fourth while The Muppets is still the week's strong runner-up. I'll also start providing Total Film's ratings here if I haven't reviewed a film myself and/or don't plan to, ensuring that you can get a good idea as to the quality of the other flicks, so look for 'TF:' before the score to see if it's a Total Film score, otherwise it's mine.
10. WAR HORSE (5/5)
9. THE ARTIST (TF: 4/5)
7. CHRONICLE (2.5/5)
6. THE VOW (TF: 3/5)
2. THE MUPPETS (5/5)

New Mass Effect 3 Trailer Released

The story ends on March 9th- prepare with the epic 'Take Back Earth' cinematic preview...
For those of us gamers who have been with the Mass Effect franchise since its original instalment in 2007, it's incredible to think that there's just two weeks now until the final chapter in its main trilogy will release in game retailers. All the same, the bittersweet feeling of this series reaching its temporary end is lessened by the epic new trailer that has been released on the web today. Titled 'Take Back Earth', the video merges the 2010 VGAs footage of a lone soldier fighting the Reapers in a ravaged London and merges it with heartbreaking footage of a girl's death at the hands of our invaders and Shepherd and his army's mass retaliation against the Geth and Reaper forces. It's thrilling stuff, and just makes the wait until the UK release date of Friday, March 9th that much harder.

Monday, 20 February 2012

TechTroid: Ubisoft 'Thrilled' By Inaccurate Release Schedule

Check out TechTroid for an update on Ubisoft's possible releases for 2012/2013...
As I've mentioned before, on occassion I'll be directing you over to the great British technology site TechTroid, a website which I'm now officially a writer for. In this instance, I'd encourage you to have a look at my latest news article on the site, where I take a look at the 'leak' of an alleged Ubisoft release schedule that has been proved inaccurate, but may have some bearing on what's to come for the developer...Here's the link, please let me know your thoughts, I value your comments deeply: http://techtroid.co.uk/ubisoft-thrilled-by-inaccurate-release-schedule-5641

UK Gaming Charts: February 13th-19th

A game you may not even have heard of reaches the top of the charts...
February has most certainly been a month for unprecedented success so far, with Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning and now UFC: Undisputed 3 reaching the top of the charts despite minor marketing campaigns. Still, it's good to see up-and-coming developers getting a chance to shine, even if that chance can fade fast (Reckoning is already down to twelfth place after just a week!). We'll see whether the PlayStation Vita's launch line-up or Syndicate have any major impact on the listings next Monday...
10. JUST DANCE 3 (5/10)
8. THE DARKNESS 2 (5/10)
5. BATTLEFIELD 3 (7/10)
2. FIFA 12 (8/10)
1. UFC UNDISPUTED 3 (8/10)

Kick-Ass 2 To Shoot This Summer

Get ready for another kick-ass superhero comedy next year!
A sequel to 2010's hit superhero comedy Kick-Ass will begin filming this Summer, graphic novel creator Mark Miller has confirmed. The original movie was a great, innovative flick with lots of great turns by rising stars that in the two years that have followed have quickly risen up the ranks (see Chloe Moretz, who has now been in Let Me In and Hugo for starters!), so I for one welcome the idea of seeing some of these now-established celebrities back on-screen together for another hilarious romp. Miller has confirmed that Matthew Vaughn won't be back to direct due to commitments on other projects like the sequel to X-Men: First Class, so a new writer and director for the film, as well as an official release date, are expected to be announced too. Kick-Ass 2 will probably be here in late 2013.

First Amazing Spider-Man Clip Released

How's the reboot looking?
Although initial reactions to the teaser trailer were mixed, first impressions of the first full trail for The Amazing Spider-Man seem to have been a lot more positive amongst the fanbase, and with good reason really. A new clip of the series reboot has been released on the web, showcasing Andrew Garfield as an awkward incarnation of Peter Parker trying to get past the 'intimidating doorman' he mentioned in last week's preview. It's hard to tell whether the whole movie will take a humorous stance as the clip does, but if so it'll be an interesting way of dealing with some of the darker history of the comic-books the flick looks to be delving into. The Amazing Spider-Man's UK release date is July 4th; check out the first clip below...

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Coming Up This Week: February 20th-26th

Find out which movies won Oscars, which artists won Brits and whether the PlayStation Vita is worth getting this week!
This week's a pretty busy one for the film and music industries, what with two of their biggest award ceremonies taking place, but things are otherwise more calm...
SWITCH ON THE TELLY- Most of the brilliant dramas for this quarter have left our screens now, but we do at least have a brand new episode of Being Human to look forward to and the return of House for an ambitious new case (the beginning of the end...) on Sky1.
AT THE MOVIES- This area of entertainment is rather lacking this week, unless thriller Safe House or kids' movie Red Dog are up your street, so why not catch the great The Muppets instead while it's still out?
GAME ON- Two exciting science-fiction shooters retail this week: Binary Domain, an RPG-style epic crafted by SEGA, and Syndicate, an exciting reboot featuring some innovative co-op features. Plus, the PlayStation Vita finally ships, so see what you think of the new handheld!
ON THE SHELVES- Hugh Jackman's Real Steel, David Tennant's Fright Night and Tom Hardy's Warrior all reach DVD and Blu-Ray retailers this week.
CRANK UP THE TUNES- Simple Minds and Band of Skulls make their returns to the charts with albums X5 and Sweet Sour in the next seven days, but will they make a big impact?
THE BRITS AND THE OSCARS- Who will come out top in these two prestigious award ceremonies? These are without a doubt some of their respective industries' biggest highlights of the annual schedule, so I can't wait to see the showmakers pull out all the stops for two fantastic nights of entertainment- the Oscars broadcast a week today, and the Brits are on Tuesday, so stay tuned for all of the big announcements!
ON THE BLOG- Those Metal Gear Solid HD and Kingdoms of Amalur reviews I promised you are definitely on their way this week, plus full coverage of the Brits and the Oscars and much, much more to come!

Filling The Doctor Who Void- News Roundup (13th-19th February)

A quiet seven days before filming commences.
Well, this could hardly be said to be the busiest week for Doctor Who news of 2012 so far, but at least with the huge shoot on Series Seven commencing tomorrow, things should pick up from here...
  • GOOD TIMES: What with the knowledge that Who's seventh season since its return in 2005 (and the thirty-third since 1963!) will commence shooting tomorrow, one might wonder just how long the new series will take to film. Well, Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith has given us a brief outlook on that, confirming that filming on the 2012/2013 run will finish in December. Wow. Filming on the average season takes in between seven and eight months, so throw in an extra two months and the fact that this time things will be going non-stop rather than small breaks being taken intermittently, and you can guarantee that the fourteen confirmed episodes (Series 7 Part 1 due to air this Autumn, a Christmas Special and then Series 7 Part 2 in the Spring) will be just the tip of the iceberg. Expect a few specials leading up to and including the fiftieth anniversary episode once the main season is done, and even then expect more surprises along the way- the Moff won't let Who fade in 2013 like it has somewhat this year, you can count on that!
  • AMY'S EXIT CHOICE: Clearly not content with fans being excited enough for the film start date, Karen Gillan has been teasing her character Amy Pond's departure from Who this week, calling it the "best ever" way for a companion to go and she'd "like it to be quite final and for people just to remember it fondly." Sounds to me like Amy won't die then, but what would make her never want to see the Doctor popping round in his TARDIS again? Meanwhile, Karen has also been confirmed as part of the line-up for next month's official convention.
  • DOCTOR QUE?: Rumour has it one location Series Seven will shoot is abroad in Spain. Actor Rob Cavozos' resume says he's about to play a character named Walter in a story of the new series set and filmed in Spain. Expect confirmation from DWM on this next month if it's true...
  • CRACK THE CODE: Finally, John and Caroline Barrowman have confirmed the name of their upcoming Torchwood novel whilst promoting their new fantasy book Hollow Earth. It's called Exodus Code, and is set to be released this September.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance Review (1/5)

Brilliant. Exciting. Eventful. Think of the complete opposite to each of those words, and you've barely scraped the surface of the insult to the film industry that is this woeful sequel.
...I'm speechless. Any of my colleagues who read this blog will attest that there are very few occassions on which I can be left lost for words, but I have actually reached a state of disbelief that Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance is so incredibly dire that I am simply unable to put to you just why it is the very last movie you should ever waste your money on this year. As such, in much the same vein as Lemonie Snicket (well, not really), I'm going to pitch to you a series of unfortunate questions that are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of why this is one of the worst films I have ever seen. No, seriously...
  • Why, when we've spent a whole movie (Ghost Rider, 2007, 3/5, much better) building up the intriguig origins story of this dark flame-headed antihero, do we need to revert to a rebooted version of the tale with just about everything changed except lead Nicholas Cage as the Rider and Johnny Blaze? Worse still, why does this origins story get condensed into a series of atrociously-drawn motion comics that last the best part of five minutes and pitch the Devil as an insanely stereotypical gangster who was always going to be the antagonist? Cage's introductions to the film are patronising to say the very least- whose idea was it to make the film accessible to newcomers, when the grand majority of the audience coming to see it are merely the fledging remants of those like me who actually quite enjoyed the original? One thing I can say for sure is that even that group of us is going to be significantly reduced after seeing Spirit of Vengeance. If this was on Sky Movies (heck, if I were renting it on DVD too), I would most likely have switched over.
  • If we're going with the whole idea of this being a reboot (and we are, because to say any of the charm or mystery present in the first film remains here is to insult its predecessor hugely), then why on earth is Nicholas Cage back as Blaze? Surely it would have made much more sense to recast the Ghost Rider so that there was no possible continuity to had between the two films, rather than confusing 'fans'- that term's in the loosest sense- by losing all of the cast bar Cage from the original, the Devil and Roxanne included? That question is something that seems to have plagued the writers of Vengeance throughout, as they don't seem to be able to decide whether they can truly leave behind their first creation, and that makes it a horrible mish-mash of concepts.
  • What happened to the special effects budget? Seriously, the first film's Rider actually looked pretty impressive, ripping out the souls of the guilty at the end of its various setpieces, whereas here there's no such effect, and as such all we get a few henchmen set on fire by his flame breath (yep, he has flame breath now) or his whip. That's dull viewing to say the absolute least, and that the film tries to balance itself between awkward scenes of Cage's Blaze trying to be a father figure, trying to withhold the Rider (I actually laughed out loud at how badly overexaggerated his portrayal was in a scene where he went off-the-wires) and three or so basic setpieces involving his evil alter-ego. In fact, why did the writers even dub this as a Ghost Rider film? Can they really justify only including the comic character as nothing more than a plot device to advance the slow-as-hell (pun fully intended) storyline along towards its lacklustre ending?
  • What the heck was the point of promoting the film as being in 3D? The trailers for John Carter and The Amazing Spider-Man that aired before the movie had more 3D shots in them (and were a lot more interesting, to boot!), making the inclusion of the format and the additional cost that comes with it feel absolutely pointless. Could we not have had the bit when the Rider basically urinates fire in some form of depth for a laugh? It would have been a heck of a lot funnier than any of the lines the writers deemed to be 'jokes' in this, each of which were met with absolute silence in my cinema screen ("Did we beat them?" "Yeah...you could say...hell yeah!" Ha.). How did the team even think that those kind of 'gags' would even be funny?
Before my English crumbles into a complete state beyond comprehension to the human ear, I'll round off. In short, at no point in your life should you even consider watching Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance- it does a huge disservice to its decent predecessor, and wholeheartedly makes that film which had some promise seem like the bloomin Dark Knight in comparison. I've never seen a flick so completely devoid of any chance of empathy or indeed enjoyment, and can't quite believe Marvel Knights let this go to the big screen. I would have lost my dignity the moment I made the decision to show it in cinemas (a fair amount of it has already gone from simply going to see it). If a movie can top this as the Worst Flick of 2012, then something is seriously wrong with the industry.

New Max Payne 3 Trailer Released

Will Max make it out of his third adventure alive?
Rockstar's new thriller-shooter Max Payne 3 seems to be getting lost a little in the anticipation that's mounting for their next open-world shooter, Grand Theft Auto V, allegedly due for release this November. Nevertheless, once people realise whose developing the latest Payne title, they'll start to take notice, and so they should- the slow motion gun battles and the insanely good graphics are stunning to see realised on this generation of consoles, making this appear to be an essential purchase in the Summer. A new trailer for the game has been released, and you can see it below; Max Payne 3 retails on 360 and PS3 on May 18th.

Angry Birds Space Announced

Prepare to fling the birds into action again in outer space!
Rovio Entertainment have announced the release of a new Angry Birds game next month. Called Angry Birds Space, the latest entry in the popular iOS and Android series will feature different physics puzzles due to its renewed setting and a new set of birds with new powers to use to beat down the pigs. We haven't got any screenshots of the game yet, but I'll keep you posted on that front. Angry Birds Space retails on the App Store from March 22nd.

Call Of Duty Vita Coming This Autumn

Not too long until COD goes properly portable...
We're still waiting for confirmation from Activision that Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 is on its way to consoles this year admist a host of retailer and resume leaks across the web, but we have at least now got confirmation as to when the first incarnation of the COD franchise will arrive on the PlayStation Vita. The new version of the award-winning series was announced at E3 2011 in Sony's headliner conference to ship at some point after the handheld's launch, and what with next week seeing the launch take place, Sony are clearly kicking into gear by revealing when their big promised titles are hitting stores. "Call of Duty on Vita is going to be an absolute game-changer for the platformer, and that's in the Autumn," says marketing manager Guy Longsworth. So, if it's Autumn we're looking at, does that mean Black Ops 2 will ship on Vita? Or perhaps we'll get a new exclusive altogether? Or a variation on Black Ops 2 as has been done with the DS versions of past COD titles? We'll have to wait and see...

BAFTA 2012 Video Game Awards Nominations Announced

Who will scoop up the all-important Best Game of 2011 Award?
The GAME British Academy Video Games Awards (or GAME BAFTAs, as they're traditionally known) is an event which is starting to rise up the ranks as a prestigious awards ceremony for the video games industry, recognising some of the best titles and developers of the past year and their various achievements. Best of all, the ceremony is hosted by none other than Dara O'Briain, a hilarious comedian with oh-so-many great jokes to make about this booming entertainment format. The full list of the nominations for this year's set of awards is as follows, with my opinions on which game should win each included too...
Assassin's Creed: Revelations
Batman: Arkham City- Much as I loved some of COD, Creed, Deus Ex and Portal 2's action setpieces, Arkham City was a masterclass in action gaming, thrilling and engaging every moment of its extensive campaign and huge list of side missions.
Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Portal 2
Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception
Batman: Arkham City
L.A. Noire
LittleBigPlanet 2
Rayman Origins- No game close to the wonderous, lush animated graphics the new Rayman provided us with. Ubisoft Framework had their work cut out, but the wonderful animations and visual styles on each and every level just show what can be done still on this generation of hardware.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception
Batman: Arkham City- Another triumph for the Dark Knight: go to Crime Alley, kneel by the silhouettes of your parents' corpses, and just listen to the haunting, melancholic tune that wipes out all of the sounds of the city for your pleasure. Quite simply, it's one of the best pieces of music you'll ever hear in a video game. Special mention to Portal 2, though, with its great hilarious climactic song!
Battlefield 3
Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
Dead Space 2
The Nightjar
Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception
Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet
L.A. Noire- Despite its all-too-lengthy campaign, Team Bondi's first game was an exercise in filmic storytelling and a great homage to the detective shows of old.
Batman: Arkham City
L.A. Noire
Little Big Planet 2
Portal 2
Super Mario 3D Land
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim- I'll forgive Skyrim its bugs in this category, because the overall design of the huge game world was incredible, an astounding masterpiece pushing the 360 and PS3 to their absolute limits.
Dance Central 2
Kinect Sports 2
LEGO Pirates of the Carribbean- LEGO and Jack Sparrow? No brainer. What a brilliantly fun game!
LEGO Star Wars 3
Little Big Planet 2
Mario Kart 7
Child of Eden- It costed way too much at first to warrant a purchase, yet in the end it turned out to be one of Kinect's best games. A bit of an underappreciated gem, then.
From Dust
L.A. Noire
LittleBigPlanet 2
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
Dead Space
Magnetic Billiards: Blueprint
Super Mario 3D Land- Mario 3D Land is by far the best showcase for the Nintendo 3DS yet. It isn't that original, but not many of the portable Marios are, and that really shouldn't matter.
The Nightjar
Assassin's Creed: Revelations
Battlefield 3
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
Gears of War 3- Try playing Gears' hugely refined multiplayer and tell me that it isn't the only true candidate for this award. I was bowled over by how much playing this with mates and online felt like I was in the middle of a blockbuster movie!
Dark Souls
Little Big Planet 2
Aaron Stanton (Phelps, LA Noire)
Mark Hamill (Joker, Arkham City)
Nolan North (Nathan, Uncharted 3)
Stephen Fry (Narrator, LBP2)
Stephen Merchant (Wheatley, Portal 2)- This was a close contest for me between Stephen and Mark, but Portal 2 had me in absolute stitches thanks to Merchant for my whole first playthrough, and NO VIDEO GAME has ever had me laughing all the way through before, so this had to go to him.
Togo Igawa (General, Total War 2)
Dance Central 2
Dirt 3
Kinect Sports 2- The first Kinect Sports was a great utilisation of Kinect at its launch, so the sequel feels predictably in its stride now, and despite a few underwhelming game modes, it remains the most innovative sports title out right now.
F1 2011
Your Shape 2012
Batman: Arkham City

Deus Ex: Human Revolution
L.A. Noire
Portal 2- Once again, I'll go with the game that had a masterfully-crafted plotline, woven wonderfully by jokes and script gags aplenty, yet also greatly designed in the sense that you never felt as if what you were doing wasn't going to pack in a surprise or a laugh soon enough. This, my friends, is how you do a puzzle platformer story mode!
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception
Batman: Arkham City- But ultimately, the Game of the Year award has to come back to Batman: Arkham City, which to me stands as the perfect (yep, you read right) licensed video game. Never before had I felt so much like the Dark Knight, so free to do as I pleased in an open world, and so totally engrossed by the world I inhabited. If you haven't played this yet, whether you're a fan of Batman or not, it's an essential purchase.
Battlefield 3
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
L.A. Noire
Portal 2
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception
The GAME BAFTAs will be announced on Friday, March 16th.

Scary Movie 5 Delayed To 2013

The hilarious scares will have to wait until next January.
I won't deny that the appeal of the various Wayans Brothers parody movies (Meet the Spartans; Vampires Suck etc.) is akin to Marmite in that you'll either love just how bad each one is, or you'll wonder why you are sitting in the cinema having shelled out nearly a tenner to watch one of them. Indeed, critical reception to each entry in this seemingly endless flood of shameless mickey-takes has been negative to say the least, with the majority of them ranking amongst the worst-scored films ever on Metacritic in terms of average ratings. Nevertheless, I've always had a place in my heart for them, so I'm looking forward to see how atrocious things get when Scary Movie 5, the latest in the long-running horror-spoof franchise, arrives in cinemas. Sadly, it has been revealed that the sequel has been delayed to next year- apparently the original April 2012 release date snuck up on the production team, to the point that they have yet to even start filming the movie, so obviously there was no question that it would not make it to screen in two months time. There's no concrete details yet as to just which horror flicks no. 5 will parody, but what with all the ruckus about the likes of Paranormal Activity, Final Destination, Child's Play and The Woman In Black recently, don't be surprised if those best-selling romps get spoofed in some funny or disgusting way! Scary Movie 5 will reach us on January 11th, 2013.

Transformers 4 To Be A Reboot?

Could the story of the Autobots be starting over?
What with Paramount's announcement this week that there will be a fourth Transformers movie out in the near future, speculation amongst fans and stars has already been rife as to what form Michael Bay's latest explosion-fest will take. One of the main theories posed has been that the new flick will be a 'reboot' of sorts, perhaps not necessarily in the same vein as The Amazing Spider-Man (where we seem to be heading back to a twisted and shifted origins story), but instead where very few of the main cast of the previous three movies appear here. Speaking to E! Online, Josh Duhamel- Colonel William Lennox in the original trlogy- made a couple of interesting claims regarding the upcoming sequel: "I don't think anybody's doing it [i.e. from the cast he knew]. I know Shia LeBeouf's not doing it. I don't think Tyrese Gibson or Rosie Huntington-Whiteley or anybody else is doing it." If we are to take this as gospel, then it bodes as intriguing thinking for T4 in that it might see the surviving Autobots from Dark of the Moon looking to a new human friend for help, perhaps even in a war against a new Decepticon force or another enemy from the Hasbro toy universe such as the sinister Predacons (who have appeared multiple times in the various incarnations of the TV show). Remember that nothing's confirmed just yet, and we'll probably have to wait for the word of Bay himself later this year for the actual revelation of what's to come, but this certainly could turn out to be a lot better than I had expected if the director is prepared to commit himself to completely new cast members and storylines! Transformers 4 will release on June 29th, 2014 worldwide.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

New Amazing Spider-Man Game Trailer Released

Does this trailer manage to do whatever a spider can?
As we near ever closer to the Summer release of the Amazing Spider-Man film reboot, we should bear in mind that we're also getting a video game epilogue to the movie alongside it as well. Taking place shortly after the events of the new superhero origins story, the title sees Spider-Man battling old enemies such as Rhino in new guises and an evil robot army rampaging on New York that's been masterminded by none other than Oscorp Industries. Developer Beenox are already teasing a cool 'Web Rush' mechanic that allows players to utilise their Spider Sense and perform impressive film-esque manavoueres and moves, and while this mechanic doesn't seem to be shown off in the latest released trailer (below), we do get a look at Rhino's new costume and some of the free-roaming gameplay around the world of New York. Can it live up to the lofty heights many fans remember of Spider-Man 2? Having gone back to that game, I realised even that was rather flawed, so Beenox have some work to do to impress us enough to love Spidey's video game entries once again. The Amazing Spider-Man: The Game will presumably retail close to the movie's July 7th release date.