Ryse: Son of Rome – Xbox One Review

I remember when this game was presented to us all at a Microsoft press conference as a Kinect only title for Xbox360. My, my how things changed, for the better I might add.

You play as a Roman solider Marius bent on avenging his family that were killed in the heat of conflict. I don’t want to give much away. I couldn’t help thinking that I am playing a bigger budget game version of Russell Crowe’s Gladiator, which is essentially almost the same story. Family gets killed while you’re on duty and you eventually fight in the Gladiator arena to prove someone can stand up to the empire. Don’t let me think that this game is a push over or a bad story, by no means. I actually really enjoyed this story and felt the acting over all was very good which made me root for Marius on his quest.

This game at a face value looks like a showcase game to prove the Xbox is a powerful machine as everything looks just so damned amazingly beautiful. Crytek are the ones behind this so you expect high production value in the graphical department and they sure as hell do not disappoint. This is the game for me that made me realise that – okay, were are now into next gen, The character models are all so very crisply detailed, the environments like damned near real thanks to some very high resolution textures. The facial animations are just so expressive that hacking into your enemies immerses you further as you watch the pain on their face. Very unnerving. Two portions of the game that really were wow moments as far as being blown away by the visuals were the part storming the beach off the roman boats. It really felt like a massive battle was being waged, the waves, the dirt being kicked up, the sails of the boats never looked to real in a game that whole chapter was probably my favourite. The other being the chapter making your way through the forests. I’ve never plaid a game where the trees and shrubs actually looked to lush and real. The lighting, shadows, beams of sunlight peaking through the branches, the rivers everything was just so damed gorgeous. I could go on about how amazing the game looks but you really have to see it to appreciate it.

Now I know being a pretty damned beautiful game doesn’t make it the best game ever made. This game is far from it. Although I really did have a great time making my way through to the end of the story, the combat really could have done with some variation. This might just be me coming right off of Batman Arkham Origins release and playing the hell out of that and just about to get into Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag, but the combat in Ryse is very samey to that of the Arkham series. So my first thoughts were that of disappointment that I was about to play the same mechanics but the Batman shell was being replace with a beautifully rendered Rome skin. Once I told myself to get over it and let’s approach this as if I’ve never played the Arkham series I started enjoying it more and realising more of its deeper functions in combat. You can gain special bonuses each time you kill your enemies with particular kill animations which play out in a faux quicktime fashion. On the d-pad you can change the option to gain extra health, XP and focus points after each time to complete a kill animation. Otherwise you can just slash them up until they fall, but then you would miss out of all the chopped of limbs, the stabbing through necks, the intricate killing blows which is the real satisfying parts of the combat mechanics. As fun as they are to watch every time, after the first 20 times this tends to get very tedious and monotonous as you realise you’re only 1 hour into a 7 hour campaign.

Considering there’s no much more to this game than you playing Marius hacking your way through hoards of enemies around every corner you can see the problem here. There are no extra weapons to change up the combat if you leave out the odd throwing spears you can pick up in some areas. They’ve really tried to make the combat as realistic as possible so there aren’t really any over the top acrobatics or physics defying stunts happening in combat which is fair enough. So it’s just you, your sword and shield. I do admit though, when you get your flow happening of parrying and countering with your shield you feel so unstoppable and combat becomes enjoyable. My only other problem is that I got very tired of killing the same 5 character models the whole game. In all of this games high production value they couldn’t have added more character models? I don’t know how many times I saw the same fat guy with handle bar beard and the shield, let alone 3 of him on the screen at once.
The sparse sections where you man a turret were fun but one of the cooler moments were when you and your Roman soldiers go into what I call the Turtle Shell formation where you command your crew to bring up your shields when having a volley of arrows fired at you as you advance. I. Loved. That.

Speaking of firing a volley of arrows, this game utilises voice commands via Kinect. Which I really enjoyed and it actually works! You will find yourself in the midst of combat and a prompt on screen will say “Fire Volley!” or “Catapult Fire!” and sure enough you’ll see your fellow solider fire a volley of arrows at your foes or you’ll see a flaming ball of fire land from the catapult you ordered. It is a real hoot and I want more of this in future games.

Now to some multiplayer points. This is a bit of fun. You can fight with a co-op partner in the Colosseum and battle your way through hoards of foes while the battlefield is constantly shifting like one giant PokeMon stadium. It’s pretty great to do. The combat from the main game is the same but you get to make your own Roman soldier and upgrade him as you go with different gear and stats. I can see this mode being played quite often as playing online with a friend makes it that much more fun.

At the end of the day I really enjoyed Ryse: Son of Rome. Granted its combat could have used more variety and more character models to battle would have helped break up the monotony. This game’s signature will come from its slow mo quicktime kill animation shots which were always a treat to view. Add to that it’s just one of the most beautiful games i’ve ever laid eyes upon, you’ve got yourself a mixed bag. It’s like this: I love spaghetti but it’s got shit on it. That’s how I feel about Ryse. It’s so beautiful but it’s gameplay elements needs work. That’s why I noted at the start of this review it’s like a graphical showcase for Xbox One foremost.

I’ll give Ryse: Son of Rome, 3 out of 5 Chunts.

Forza 5 – Xbox One Review

This title was one I had my eye on ever since they announced it as a launch title back at the infamous Xbox One reveal. Forza is series I only really got into when Forza 3 came out and it was really my first driving simulator I’ve ever bought and really enjoyed my time. Thus I subsequently bought Forza 4 and played it thoroughly so Forza 5 was a natural progression for me, clearly.

They have made some changes to the formula here with this instalment. You are no longer rewarded with a new car to choose from when completing a series. Now when you complete a series your credits and affinity increase as normal but you receive a bonus amount of credits. This means you’ll be playing the cars you buy a lot longer so you will need to be sure of each purchase as it does take quite an amount of time to work up enough credits to buy one of the higher tier cars in order to enter other series. I guess it kind of works as you become more attached to your car and you can still upgrade them if they’re capable in order to enter the higher series races and you have to think a bit more whether you just buy your dream cars out of pure bias or use your credits/tokens to buy a car you’re not a fan of but their stats suit what is required.

Speaking of purchases, this game has a controversial feature with micro transaction a la mobile games these days. You can buy in game tokens credits in order to either buy better cars or to by time base perks to increase the XP earned during said time. I’m not a fan of this and won’t be using this feature as I don’t believe micro transactions belong on console games and it cheapens the whole experience. Adding to this there are far less tracks in Forza 5 than there were in Forza 4 so things can tend to be a tad monotonous racing the same bunch of tracks sooner than you’re used to, and there’s 200 cards this time around out of the box which is less than previous again. You just know they’ll be adding cars down the road as DLC which I also feel is a cheap hit. The developers have mentioned that each car takes up to 6 months to complete for the game, so hopefully they have a number of modellers working around to clock to add more cars and tracks soon.

I know i’ve bee talking about the negatives, but trust be given, I just want to get it out of the way to hit on all the positives. This game still delivers as the premier driving simulator available. The driving mechanics are better than ever improving over what I thought Forza 4 perfected. Each different car i’ve tried thus far all feel distinctly different which is a real treat. Adding to this the game just looks absolutely beautiful. The cars are rendered masterfully, the tracks and backdrops are all stunning where at times I’ve crashed my car because I was too busy staring into the distance to draw in the view or looking at all the detail in the windscreen, the dashboard, the drivers arms or hands. This game just looks quality. Back to crashing, I had once instance where I slammed into another car and my side window was covered in cracks. As I continued driving I used my right stick to look around at the window and lo and behold I saw sunlight peaking through the cracks. It was one of those moments where the little details surprised me. Another time I actually took notice I was coming out of a tight bend and after correcting myself my driver took one hand off the wheel to stretch his fingers, this I felt a very nice touch as our driver isn’t just a crash dummy glued to the wheel.

The presentation overall is very classy. The menus are all clean and minimal as not to detract from what we’re really here for: all the pretty cars. The narration from the Top Gear lads is always a pleasurable experience and add to the authenticity that this is a car enthusiast simulator. The sexy female narrator is back between races too which I have a warm spot for. Did I mention how pretty all the cars and locations look? I seriously have had moments where I’ve thought to myself how real it seems in parts and how the cars look better than they would in real life. It truly is a great visual treat and running at a constant 60fps keeps everything looking very nice even further. The overall soundtrack is almost epic in sound and has a very orchestral arrangement which rounds off the presentation very well. Classy slick graphics with classy slick background music.

Another touted feature is the Drivatar system. This is basically using the power of Microsoft’s 300 dedicated servers of cloud technology for Xbox where the game will upload data about how you drive in the game so that while you’re not playing, like while you’re asleep or at work or you know just generally leaving the house, your Drivatar will keep racing earning you credits. I noticed quite often whilst playing even in career mode that a few of my Xbox friends seemed to have invaded my races but when I checked my friends list they were actually playing Killer Instinct or Dead Rising 3 so I was actually racing their Drivatars, it was a very cool moment. The Autovista mode has returned which is awesome as it’s great to walk around these cars, get in and look around at the interiors and learn more about each vehicle although so far I’ve only been able to it with cars I own whereas in Forza 4 there was a select amount available.

Online racing is still fun and I still get owned every time. I’m one of those guys who doesn’t race to win, I just race to drive my favourite cars: Nissan 370Z, Mercedes SLR, Mazda RX8, Chrysler 300c. So every time I go race other people online I will just use one of those, meanwhile I’m against people using super high tier cars who basically leave me racing by myself anyway, which is cool by me. I never had any trouble finding a race online and connection was always solid and no lag so that was nice.

All in all what can I say? If you don’t like driving simulators with a little arcade flair that you can enable then you probably won’t like this game no matter how pretty everything looks. I would strongly suggest giving it ago as this series is what got my attention after all these years and it looks like I will be an avid fan for the definite future. It so great to just chill out and race some expensive cars I will never afford to buy let alone will never be in the same room as ever in my life. I honestly believe this should be in everyones launch titles to pick up pile.

I give Forza Motorsport 5, 4 out of 5 Chunts.

Reviewed by Chunt.

Batman Arkham Origins Video Review + Unboxing Video

 

As we all know video games based of super heroes can be very hit and miss, more so of the latter. Then there is one series of games that redefined what a super hero game could be: the Batman Arkham series. Single handedly making all of us take notice and applaud the respective creative team from Rocksteady games. What they’ve done with the Batman franchise is create a game starting way back with Arkham Asylum that was so intense, moody, dark, creepy and eerily awesome and made you FEEL like Batman. They did it again in an even bigger way with Arkham City with a more open world type of approach whilst still retaining what made Arkham Asylum so enjoyable. Now here we have the follow up in a prequel called Arkham Origins.

 

In this third instalment we are 2 years into Batmans career as the caped crusader and he has yet to meet some of his most feared villains. Due to the emergence of The Bat, we become witness to the criminal, Black Mask, announce a $50mill bounty for anyone who can take care of The Dark Knight. Black Mask enlists eight assassins to do the job. Being a younger and inexperienced crime fighter, this tale shows us a more aggressive Batman who doesn’t seem to know what he’s in for, which is great. We’re so used to seeing our Batman being able to handle anything, like he knows what’s going to happen before anyone else, so this is a refreshing trip. Even though this is meant to be a less experienced Batman you still start out with the majority of skills you had from the previous game, and the upgrades you can get are more or less expansions on those weapons which I felt was a missed opportunity to try out different gadgets less refined Batman would use.

 

Combat is still just as solid and fluid as ever and the famous countering system is very responsive. Even the animation in the way Batman slides from foe to foe seems more polished. You’ll find the same types of enemies so you still use the same tactics as the other 2 games. Why fix what ain’t broke? Fighting a large group is always a blast and there seems to be more instances where I’ve found myself fighting more at one time than in the previous two games.

 

So far the boss fights haven’t been quite as involved or puzzle like as we’ve been accustomed to but they’re still a challenge. The first fight with Deadpool can be a little frustrating and more of a quicktime event fight, although they do vary and can become quite tough as you’ll find yourself taking on the likes of Killer Croc and Bane whilst being surrounded by other criminals at the same time.

 

When you’re not fighting the worst of Gotham you can retreat for a breather in the BatCave. It is always something to behold entering the famous lair of The Bat. It’s also great to see how they seemingly scaled it back showing how raw this early cave is compared to what it will become in Arkham Asylum. Alfred will chime in to give somewhat parental advice and there is one part where the two have a disagreement and later whilst returning to Gotham Alfred attempts to apologise over the communicator but Bruce stops him reassuringly. They’ve really made great effort here to add early depth to the characters. I won’t spoil anything but there are some moments when the clown prince is mentioned that gave me chills, the foreshadowing of whats to come between the famous battle between the Joker and Batman. Even further on they delve more into the Jokers origins as well. It is called Arkham Origins after all.

 

All in all with a new team handling this game, Warner Bros Games Montreal, after Rocksteady giving their stamp of approval, they’ve done a bang up job sticking with the prestige. This series represents my definitive version of Batman to this day, they really nailed it for me. I love the tone, the feel, how eery and frightening Gotham is. Who would live there? The villains are all threatening and by no means laughable. In saying that I can’t help but feel something is missing with Kevin Conroy and Mark Hammil not voicing the Bat and the Joker respectively in this outing, but who they got did amazingly that you get over that very quick.

 

I’ve enjoyed every outing in this Arkhamverse thus far and look forward to more instalments of what i consider to be the definitive Batman.

If you can’t tell, I strongly recommend you play this series if you haven’t already. I give it 4/5 BatChunts.

 

Also check out my video for the unboxing for one of the collectors editions of this game and please like, subscribe and leave a comment on what you think of this series and what your favourite version of Batman is. Happy Batmanning!

IN BRIGHTEST DAY! Green Lantern Premium Format Statue – Sideshow Collectables

Hey guys! Another ChuntTV update!
Received this in the post shipped from America last week and just finally uploading the video. Been a little busy lately. Man I am in love with this thing. Love me some Green Lantern. I can’t usually afford to get these kind of things, but I saved my pennies for months!
Hope you guys enjoy this video.

Please LIKE & SUBSCRIBE. It really helps me and the channel out. 🙂

Who is your favourite Super Hero and what statue would you love to get one day!

Superman: 75 years of heroic history in a 2-minute animated short

Here is an article taken straight from Entertainment Weekly.


Want to see Superman’s history flash by faster than a speeding bullet?

In honor of the hero’s 75th anniversary, Man of Steel director Zack Snyder and DC animated universe maestro Bruce Timm have crafted this two-minute animated short, which blasts through the highlights of the character’s many incarnations, from comics, to movies, video games, and even pop art.

“The idea was to start with Siegel and Shuster and end with Henry Cavill, stopping at all the high points and iconic moments in between,” Timm tells EW. Check out the entire film below…

SUPERMAN

 


The short, produced by Warner Bros. Animation, begins with an extreme close-up of that classic car-lifting cover from Action Comics #1, which Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster created in 1938, while the familiar build-up to John William’s triumphant theme from the 1978 movie thrums on the soundtrack. The music eventually merges with Hans Zimmer’s theme from this summer’s Man of Steel, with Zimmer scoring and orchestrating the combination himself, using an 80-piece orchestra.

How did this all come about?

“It was Zack Snyder’s idea,” says Timm, the designer, animator, writer, and producer whose credits includeBatman: The Animated Series and Justice League Unlimited. “We had approached him about maybe doing a short for the DC Nation program on Cartoon Network. He said, ‘I’ll think about it,’ and then he had this idea to do basically the entire history of Superman in, like, a minute. We said, ‘Okay … whoooo.’ We started working and quickly realized there was no way to do it, even in a minute.”

So the length of the short quickly doubled — although they would have needed even longer to do a complete history. So while there are many little details for fans to identify, there are also many other favorites that didn’t make the cut as Superman morphs through his past iterations.

“There was just too much stuff,” Timm says. “So we tried to put in little nods, even if only in the background.”

Keep an eye out for those in the margins.

“There have been so many different artists in the comics who had important moments in Superman’s history. One of the things we came up with was, you’d have a Curt Swan segment – Superman vs. Brainiac – and the background is full of comic book panels, a floating montage background of lots of different artists. So there’s John Byrne, Gil Kane, and Jim Steranko in there.”

Inevitably, someone is going to turn heat-vision on them over what’s missing, but Timm says that’s part of curating such a vast history.

“People are going to be arguing about it. ‘Why is that in there, but this isn’t?’” Timm acknowledges. “We had lots of different meetings about it. ‘What has to be in here? What would be nice to be in here but is not absolutely essential?’”

After that bit of Superman triage in the conference, the hardest hit were the live-action versions.

“I would have loved to have Kirk Alyn in there, the first live-action Superman from the serials, but he didn’t quite make the cut,” Timm says. “And there have been several different Superboy shows, but we were like, ‘Okay, those are Superboy, not Superman, so they don’t make it.’”

Christopher Reeve — in, of course. Brandon Routh and Dean Cain … out.

Apart from trying to figure out which actors to include, the animators had to figure out how to make the subtle differences in these various Supermen stand out within the animation.

“It got really tricky dealing with the comic book versions, because it’s hard enough for somebody who’s not a hardcore geek to know the difference between a Curt Swan Superman and a Wayne Boring Superman. That took a lot of trial and error and a lot of retakes with the animation,” Timm says.

Snyder’s original idea was to do the entire short without a single cut, with the point of view just constantly moving. “There are a few cuts in there, but for the most part we stuck to that. It’s pretty seamless,” Timm says. The first cut is actually a great one: Classic comic book Superman becomes the hero from the Fleischer Bros. animated films, the character’s first film appearance — and the place where he went from jumping high to actually flying.

We see him leap atop the Daily Planet building in a single bound … then fly down through the air, smashing through the flying robots in an homage to the 1941 Fleischer Bros. film The Mechanical Monsters.

From there it fades to black and white for a tip of the hat to George Reeves’ 1952-1958 TV series. At various points, we also get to see the 1978 Atari 2600 video game, the aging Superman from Alex Ross and Mark Waid’s 1996 series Kingdom Come, and Andy Warhol’s take on the Man of Steel — or at least a variation on it.

“We think we’re kind of safe, copyright wise, since his image was basically traced from a Superman panel,” Timm says with a laugh. “But that’s what we did – just traced the same panel in his style. Zack wanted to get the way Superman impacted the world and pop culture, even outside of comics.”

On the more obscure end …?

Jimmy Olsen’s unfortunate turn as Turtle Man. “Basically, it was a way to get Jimmy Olsen in there. We were having a hard time getting the supporting cast in,” Timm says. “But Turtle Man is a really iconic cover. We tried to cover all the bases, and wanted to show both the serious Superman and the wacky Superman.”

In addition to seeing it here, the short will be included on the Man of Steel Blu-ray, out Nov. 12.

Superman Returns to Crush Car

Here is an old flash toon i’ve dug out from the archives. For some reason every time I export it the file plays corrupt. No matter I guess. I got the idea from watching Superman Returns when Superman catches the falling Daily Planet globe and places it on some poor guys car. I wondered what the unfortunate person thought about that.