Jack Gardner

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  1. This is it. Sonic the Hedgehog will be coming to theaters courtesy of Paramount Studios next year. According to The Hollywood Reporter, SEGA's blue blur will spin attack his way onto the silver screen on November 15, 2019. It's a bit nebulous as to what form the film will take, though some outlets are reporting that it will be a mixture of CGI and live-action, suggesting that the film might be drawing on the Sonic Adventure games for inspiration. A number of high-profile names, along with a few unknowns, are attached to the project. Neal H. Moritz will produce with Tim Miller, the director of Deadpool, serving as the film's executive producer. Sonic will be adapted to the big screen by first time director Jeff Fowler. Fowler made a name for himself by directing a 2005 Oscar-nominated short titled Gopher Broke. This film seems like it has the potential to be solidly good or fantastically bad, but either way, I'm suddenly a bit more excited for November 15, 2019. Perhaps Sonic might even beat Nintendo's upcoming Mario film into theaters?
  2. This is it. Sonic the Hedgehog will be coming to theaters courtesy of Paramount Studios next year. According to The Hollywood Reporter, SEGA's blue blur will spin attack his way onto the silver screen on November 15, 2019. It's a bit nebulous as to what form the film will take, though some outlets are reporting that it will be a mixture of CGI and live-action, suggesting that the film might be drawing on the Sonic Adventure games for inspiration. A number of high-profile names, along with a few unknowns, are attached to the project. Neal H. Moritz will produce with Tim Miller, the director of Deadpool, serving as the film's executive producer. Sonic will be adapted to the big screen by first time director Jeff Fowler. Fowler made a name for himself by directing a 2005 Oscar-nominated short titled Gopher Broke. This film seems like it has the potential to be solidly good or fantastically bad, but either way, I'm suddenly a bit more excited for November 15, 2019. Perhaps Sonic might even beat Nintendo's upcoming Mario film into theaters? View full article
  3. The co-founders and heads of Sledgehammer Games, the developer behind Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and Call of Duty: WWII as well as some key elements of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. Michael Condrey and Glen Schofield got their start at EA Redwood Shores and made a name for themselves by creating the legendary survival horror title Dead Space. The success of Dead Space spurred EA to spin Redwood Shores off into Visceral Games, a more independent subsidiary of EA's stable of studios (which has since been closed down by EA). While that change went down, Condrey and Schofield left and founded Sledgehammer Games, which became one of three studios working under Activision to churn out yearly Call of Duty releases. The news of their departure comes as a bit of a shock considering that Call of Duty: WWII was the best selling game of 2017. However, it doesn't appear that the duo has left on bad terms. In fact, it seems that they left to pursue bigger opportunities at Activision itself. In statements Activision provided to Kotaku, Schofield wrote, "Activision has offered me the opportunity to focus my energy on something I’m very passionate about, exploring new game ideas for the company. It’s something I just couldn’t pass up." Condrey expressed his gratitude to the men and women working at Sledgehammer Games and explained that he would also be making the leap to his former publisher, "I am looking forward to starting a new chapter of my career with Activision. I couldn’t be more excited for the future of Sledgehammer Games and look forward to seeing Aaron lead the studio to new heights." This move doesn't seem like it will affect the release of future Call of Duty titles. Condrey and Schofield have left Aaron Halon, the former senior development director at Sledgehammer, in charge of the studio. The 2018 Call of Duty title is being developed by Treyarch. View full article
  4. The co-founders and heads of Sledgehammer Games, the developer behind Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and Call of Duty: WWII as well as some key elements of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. Michael Condrey and Glen Schofield got their start at EA Redwood Shores and made a name for themselves by creating the legendary survival horror title Dead Space. The success of Dead Space spurred EA to spin Redwood Shores off into Visceral Games, a more independent subsidiary of EA's stable of studios (which has since been closed down by EA). While that change went down, Condrey and Schofield left and founded Sledgehammer Games, which became one of three studios working under Activision to churn out yearly Call of Duty releases. The news of their departure comes as a bit of a shock considering that Call of Duty: WWII was the best selling game of 2017. However, it doesn't appear that the duo has left on bad terms. In fact, it seems that they left to pursue bigger opportunities at Activision itself. In statements Activision provided to Kotaku, Schofield wrote, "Activision has offered me the opportunity to focus my energy on something I’m very passionate about, exploring new game ideas for the company. It’s something I just couldn’t pass up." Condrey expressed his gratitude to the men and women working at Sledgehammer Games and explained that he would also be making the leap to his former publisher, "I am looking forward to starting a new chapter of my career with Activision. I couldn’t be more excited for the future of Sledgehammer Games and look forward to seeing Aaron lead the studio to new heights." This move doesn't seem like it will affect the release of future Call of Duty titles. Condrey and Schofield have left Aaron Halon, the former senior development director at Sledgehammer, in charge of the studio. The 2018 Call of Duty title is being developed by Treyarch.
  5. People have been wondering for years when Blizzard would be revisiting Warcraft in its original RTS form. For years the studio has played coy or even outright denied that they were working on either a remaster or a new entry in the venerable strategy series. To this day, there are players around the world that play Warcraft III in both for fun and in official tournaments. Some of those pro players found themselves invited to a secret event in the United States that they were allowed to hint at, but not discuss directly. GoodGame.ru managed to catch the player known as Happy in Serbia along with fellow pro Hawk while they were seeking visas to travel to the US for that mysterious event. Happy released the following statement: A little about the "surprise". While I can not disclose the details, I was allowed to hint. At the end of this month there will be a certain event (offline) - what will be there is still a secret. Because all this event will take place in the US - I will need to make a visa. /.../ I can not reveal the big details yet. But I was told, soon announcement. While some might have hoped that Warcraft IV might be the reveal, a major patch released for Warcraft III last year combined with Blizzard's previous statements implying that balancing out the original release would be necessary before a remaster. With the recent remaster of the original StarCraft and a number of the biggest Warcraft III pros around the world travelling to a secret event, all signs seem to point toward the imminent announcement of a Warcraft III remaster. View full article
  6. People have been wondering for years when Blizzard would be revisiting Warcraft in its original RTS form. For years the studio has played coy or even outright denied that they were working on either a remaster or a new entry in the venerable strategy series. To this day, there are players around the world that play Warcraft III in both for fun and in official tournaments. Some of those pro players found themselves invited to a secret event in the United States that they were allowed to hint at, but not discuss directly. GoodGame.ru managed to catch the player known as Happy in Serbia along with fellow pro Hawk while they were seeking visas to travel to the US for that mysterious event. Happy released the following statement: A little about the "surprise". While I can not disclose the details, I was allowed to hint. At the end of this month there will be a certain event (offline) - what will be there is still a secret. Because all this event will take place in the US - I will need to make a visa. /.../ I can not reveal the big details yet. But I was told, soon announcement. While some might have hoped that Warcraft IV might be the reveal, a major patch released for Warcraft III last year combined with Blizzard's previous statements implying that balancing out the original release would be necessary before a remaster. With the recent remaster of the original StarCraft and a number of the biggest Warcraft III pros around the world travelling to a secret event, all signs seem to point toward the imminent announcement of a Warcraft III remaster.
  7. Fictional journalist Benjamin Giraud has set out on a journey to discover the truth behind Spartan-117. However, as Giraud says, "the truth isn't always that clean." This Halo 5: Guardians teaser site has been counting down to a reveal yesterday of a weekly audio log release that will be a dramatic exploration of the Master Chief character from the point of view of a war journalist who had a personal encounter with the iconic warrior. It seems like Giraud's account of events could call into question the various novelizations that have fleshed out the past of the popular Halo protagonist. "Who is the Master Chief?" he asks, "Where does he come from? And is he keeping us safe? Join me as I hunt the truth about the Master Chief." New audio segments will release each Sunday.
  8. While details are currently scarce, BioWare tweeted confirmation today that the new DLC for Dragon Age: Inquisition will be titled Jaws of Hakkon. More information will be available tomorrow when the trailer for Hakkon is released. Until then, Xbox Achievements managed to uncover four screenshots with accompanying achievements. These do contain some slight spoilers, so consider this your SPOILER WARNING. Firestarter - 15G Destroy all the Winter Shards and light all the fires in the Old Temple. Legend-Marked - 30G Impress the Avvar of Stone-Bear Hold and gain their friendship. Historian - 30G Uncover the secrets of a legendary figure. Winter's End - 90G Dispel a myth of ancient days. If you are interested in learning what Dragon Age: Inquisition is all about, check out our review.
  9. Though the sweeping real-time strategy title Etherium isn't hitting PC until March 25, the launch trailer slipped out a bit before then. Etherium centers on the conflict between the Vectides, Intar, and Consortium over the scarce resources of the galaxy. Each faction has access to unique abilities and technology that players will have to use to their advantage to defeat opposing forces. Tindalos Interactive has also included a dynamic weather system that will have various effects on units, requiring players to be able to adapt their tactics accordingly. Intrigued gamers can pre-order Etherium prior to its release on Wednesday for a 10% discount off of the $29.99 price tag along with immediate access to the multiplayer beta.
  10. Telltale has released a number of screenshots as well as a teaser trailer for Episode Three, titled The Sword in the Darkness. "I am the sword in the darkness. I am the watcher on the walls. I am the shield that guards the realms of men." - Excerpt from the Oath of the Night's Watch The Sword in the Darkness will release tomorrow for PC, Mac, and PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3. The Xbox One and Xbox 360 versions will release on March 25 with an iOS and Android release on March 26. You can check out the image gallery on Extra Life's Facebook page.
  11. During the announcement of Nintendo's entry into the mobile game market, Satoru Iwata, Nintendo's president, confirmed that the next Nintendo console is currently being developed. We don't know much about the new console, code named "NX." However, we do know that it will feature support for the new DeNA-driven member service that will replace Club Nintendo this fall. It is still uncertain whether the device will be a handheld gaming system to replace the New 3DS or a home console to replace the Wii U. Knowing Nintendo, it could be something else entirely. More details could be revealed at E3, but if not, then we'll certainly learn more as 2016 approaches.
  12. This morning, Nintendo and mobile gaming company DeNA announced a business and capital alliance to bring Nintendo IP to mobile devices. In this arrangement, both Nintendo and DeNA will develop and maintain game apps featuring characters pulled from Nintendo's formidable roster of recognizable properties. These apps will be playable on smart phones and tablets. Fans hoping to see Super Mario World (legitimately) ported to their mobile devices are in for some disappointment, though. All games developed as mobile apps will be completely original and created specifically for mobile. This also means that there will be no cross releases between 3DS and mobile, or vice versa. Interestingly, Nintendo seems to have left all of its IP on the table as being eligible for app development. Usually Nintendo is very guarded with its IP, so this open approach comes as a bit of a surprise. In addition to game development, DeNA will be helping Nintendo to develop an new online membership service. This new service will be accessible from mobile devices, PC, and Nintendo systems. Nintendo will be relying heavily on DeNA's expertise for this new online membership system. The service is set for launch this coming fall.
  13. GOG.com's weekly staff highlights offers five classic FPS games (and one modern FPS done in classic style) for up to 50%-80% off. The sale covers: Alien Versus Predator Classic 2000, SiN Gold, Duke Nukem 3D Atomic Edition, Unreal Tournament 2004 Editor's Choice Edition, SHOGO: Mobile Armor Division, and Rise of the Triad (2013). No game in that list costs more than $2.99. If you are looking to brush up on your retro FPS knowledge and experience, this is one of the cheapest (and legal-est) options. The sale will be going on for the next 68 hours. Happy shooting!
  14. Four-time major champion Rory McIlroy will represent the PGA Tour franchise going forward in both name and in box art. “I’m very proud and humbled to see my face and name on EA SPORTS Rory McIlroy PGA TOUR,” said McIlroy. “This is a great honor, and something I couldn’t even dream of growing up playing the sport. I really hope people enjoy the game and I’m very glad I can be a part of it.” Rory McIlroy PGA Tour will be the first EA Sports title to be built using the Frostbite engine, the same technology that powered Dragon Age: Inquisition. The updated tech will allow the devs to make the most detailed courses, both real and fictional, that have ever been seen in a golf game. Frostbite will also allow the devs to eliminate loading times between holes by rendering the entire course at once. No official release date has been revealed quite yet, but we know that PGA Tour will be landing sometime this June.
  15. NetherRealm's fighter was pushed back until summer for PS3 and 360 owners. Fortunately for everyone else, the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC versions of the long running fighting franchise are still on track for an April 14 release. While the development on next-gen systems has gone forward under NetherRealm, the 360 and PS3 versions are being independently adapted by High Voltage, a studio best known for The Conduit and porting Zone of Enders and Injustice: Gods Among Us to newer consoles. Mortal Kombat X's publisher, Warner Bros., released a statement saying that,"Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment today confirmed that the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of Mortal Kombat X being developed by High Voltage Software will release this summer." While this is undoubtedly a bummer for fighting game fans on older consoles, at least there is a small comfort knowing that Warner Bros. is letting High Voltage have more time to create a better experience. Hopefully the extra time will benefit the 360 and PS3 versions.
  16. Star Citizen's Client Could Be Over 100gb

    Star Citizen's director of game operations, Jeremy Masker, responding to questions on the game's official forums, stated that the expressed goal of a 30-40GB client was unrealistic and that fans should expect a client download around 100gb. On top of that, patching could prove to be a nightmare for players with slow internet connections. "Each patch has 100s of assets, each of these assets are at times 200mb, this leads to 2-6gb patches, and if we end up doing a file type re-factor and have to re-download 30-40% of the assets on the hard-drive, then the patch will be 14-20gb," said Masker. Not only are we looking at a potential client that could be over 100gb, but patches could range from 2gb-20gb in size. That is a daunting prospect for a lot of people, even those with relatively fast internet speeds. Will this have a chilling effect on Star Citizen's appeal? What do you think?
  17. Today EA announced that after a decade of silence the Burnout franchise would be returning with a remaster of Burnout Paradise. Fans of the Burnout series can expect the remaster to include online play with hundreds of things to do with friends. Go on the run from the cops, ride trick motorcycles, or even pilot tiny toy versions of cars! Up to eight players at a time are supported. The breadth of content, both online and off should satisfy even the most hardcore of Burnout fans. All of the DLC released for Burnout Paradise will be included in the new package. That means everyone who purchases a copy of Burnout Paradise Remastered will receive the following along with the base game: Big Surf Island Party Pack Burnout Bikes Boost Special Legendary Cars Cagney Update Toys Cops & Robbers Pack The remastering is being handled by Stellar Entertainment, a relatively new UK developer composed of some talented industry veterans. On top of a sweeping number of visual tweaks and improvements, the team has promised that their work will play in 1080p on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 and up to 4K at 60fps on the X and Pro version of each respective console. Burnout Paradise Remastered releases on March 16 for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. View full article
  18. Today EA announced that after a decade of silence the Burnout franchise would be returning with a remaster of Burnout Paradise. Fans of the Burnout series can expect the remaster to include online play with hundreds of things to do with friends. Go on the run from the cops, ride trick motorcycles, or even pilot tiny toy versions of cars! Up to eight players at a time are supported. The breadth of content, both online and off should satisfy even the most hardcore of Burnout fans. All of the DLC released for Burnout Paradise will be included in the new package. That means everyone who purchases a copy of Burnout Paradise Remastered will receive the following along with the base game: Big Surf Island Party Pack Burnout Bikes Boost Special Legendary Cars Cagney Update Toys Cops & Robbers Pack The remastering is being handled by Stellar Entertainment, a relatively new UK developer composed of some talented industry veterans. On top of a sweeping number of visual tweaks and improvements, the team has promised that their work will play in 1080p on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 and up to 4K at 60fps on the X and Pro version of each respective console. Burnout Paradise Remastered releases on March 16 for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
  19. Returning guest Kazuma Hashimoto joins the show for a discussion regarding Catherine, the 2011 PS3 cult classic that's soon to receive a remaster with additional content titled Catherine: Full Body. Made by the team behind the Persona series, does Catherine hold up and are there interesting lessons to glean from a deep dive? Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative. Outro music: Persona 4 Arena 'Little Arena' by DarkeSword (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR02580) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! If you want to have your opinion heard on air, share your opinion in the comments, follow the show on Twitter, and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod You can follow Kazuma on Twitter @JusticeKazzy_ - He's super nice! You can also find his work on Nova Crystallis and RPG Site. New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday View full article
  20. Returning guest Kazuma Hashimoto joins the show for a discussion regarding Catherine, the 2011 PS3 cult classic that's soon to receive a remaster with additional content titled Catherine: Full Body. Made by the team behind the Persona series, does Catherine hold up and are there interesting lessons to glean from a deep dive? Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative. Outro music: Persona 4 Arena 'Little Arena' by DarkeSword (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR02580) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! If you want to have your opinion heard on air, share your opinion in the comments, follow the show on Twitter, and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod You can follow Kazuma on Twitter @JusticeKazzy_ - He's super nice! You can also find his work on Nova Crystallis and RPG Site. New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday
  21. Feature: Review: Shadow of the Colossus (2018)

    The world is constructed in a way to get you to think about all of that stuff - What was this structure used for? Was this a city? What happened to the people who built all of this? There are long enough moments of quiet to let you just think about all of that stuff and come to your own conclusions and enough small pieces of explanations to understand the most basic elements of what's going on. I love this game so much <3
  22. Time moves slowly and inexorably forward. The world changes, and we grow old telling stories together. Those stories, the ones that stick with us, communicated something important to us. As a medium, game creators have spent decades learning how to put together ever more effective stories that can offer that thing of precious importance, that moment of beauty, clarity, success, failure. In a sea of stories, Shadow of the Colossus stands out as a fairy tale in the classic sense, and the remake by Bluepoint Games serves to enhance what was already a foundational piece of video game history. Shadow of the Colossus tells the tale of a young man named Wander who travels to the Forbidden Land, a landmass sealed off from the rest of the world. Using an enchanted sword, he strikes a deal with an enigmatic entity named Dormin who agrees to bring the woman he has brought with him back from the dead if he can complete an impossible task: Defeat 16 colossal incarnations of the towering stone statues that line the temple. Armed only with his magic sword, a bow with unlimited arrows, and his trusty horse Agro, Wander sets forth into a long-abandoned world of ruins and natural wonders to battle towering behemoths the size of skyscrapers. The simple, powerful set up allows the visuals, music, and gameplay tell the vast majority of the narrative. That open approach to storytelling led a lot of people, even the marketing team for Shadow of the Colossus, to interpret the adventure as one about true, undying love. Wander, after all, goes to incredible lengths for a woman with whom he has a close connection. However, playing through the remake, a version remade after over a decade, I realized that my perception of the game has shifted to seeing it more as a tale about loss and the inability to let go being an ultimately destructive force. That flexibility and changing interpretation feels interesting. It's a reminder of how much time has passed since I played Shadow of the Colossus in 2005. Back then, the question of whether video games were capable of being art was a hotly debated topic. The internet was on fire with hot takes about what it meant to be art and whether interactivity itself negated art. Now that the question has largely been settled, it feels liberating to be able to think, "okay, it's art, so what does that mean? What does all of this, as a piece of art, mean?" Everyone will have to struggle with loss at some point in their lives. It's not pleasant. It hurts. There's the impulse to yell and scream and gnash your teeth because you would do anything to have that person back in your life. And Shadow of the Colossus asks the seductive question: What if you could throw everything to the wind and bring that person back? What price would you pay? And at first, the answer seems obvious, heroic even. But as the game progresses and one by one the beautiful, deadly colossi, who were all minding their own business before Wander showed up, begin to take their toll. The feeling of triumph and accomplishment gives way to self-doubt. Is this the right thing? That question of meaning scratches at the fundamentals of what I believe make myths and fairy tales resonate across time. Because Shadow of the Colossus is art. To some it could be a tale of love, to others it could represent a cautionary tale about obsession, and playing the remake it brought to mind loss. Shadow of the Colossus manages to have the narrative flexibility to accommodate multiple interpretations, and that's a quality that can bestow a great deal of longevity to a piece of art. I'd argue that's at least partly why we are getting a remake of a game that's two-and-a-half generations of technology behind the current PlayStation console. It's a testament to the artistry of the original PlayStation 2 release of Shadow of the Colossus that the visuals largely hold up due to its adherence to a strong minimalist aesthetic that focuses on natural beauty. The entire production possesses a washed out quality that cleverly hides some of the deficient parts of the world as Wander and Agro make their way across the quiet plains and subdued forests. With the remake, none of the world needs to be hidden by visual tricks; flowing water glitters in the sunlight, grass sways with the wind, dust motes flit through the air. The effect of the increased focus on detail afforded by the technological leap and the original style is jaw-dropping. To put it bluntly, this remake of Shadow of the Colossus stands as one of the most beautiful games I have ever played. I found myself slowing to a walk to soak in the moments of natural beauty that made yet another outing in the Forbidden Land unforgettable. With the share function on the PlayStation 4, I constantly paused the action to fiddle with the newly added photo mode in pursuit of that perfect angle to show off Bluepoint's gorgeously rendered take on Team Ico's classic. It was a compulsion to ogle the work put into everything on screen and then share that with the world. If I had to nitpick the presentation, there were a few elements that felt a bit off. The biggest would be Wander's strange lack of facial animations. The update gave him somewhat of a baby face; not a huge problem, but slightly different from the original character model. His face seems to lack some degree of animation for reacting to events, something more noticeable with a built-in photo mode. Outside of cutscenes, Wander is content to stare passively into the distance, regardless of the circumstances. Wobbling on the ledge of a colossus-sized fall? Not even the faintest recognition of his own mortality. Lastly, and this might be one of the most nitpicky things of all, one of the subtle elements of the original release of Shadow of the Colossus was the slow shift that visualized Wander's fall from grace. As each colossi met its death, he became less human. Players saw that change happen bit by bit, witnessing horns sprout from his head and his skin turn pale and black veins appear on his body. The remake seems to only gradually make his skin paler until the very end when he suddenly has horns and horrific cracked skin. It would have been nice to have a subtler touch applied to his transformation to give it more of a build-up. All of that being said, the small issues present in the Shadow of the Colossus remake are an exceedingly small price to pay for an update that's otherwise a fan or newcomer's dream come true. An updated control scheme provides people frustrated with the PS2 controls a new way to play, while also retaining the retro layout available for those who have grown used to how the original played. Small additions to the game like a series of hidden coins that can be collected for a secret reward that have been scattered across the world to reward players who poke into every nook and cranny. Additional clarification has been added to some of the colossi themselves to show what can and cannot be climbed and grabbed. The same with some parts of the environment that now have grabbable surfaces to avoid frustrating falls. The gameplay remains as harrowing, exciting, and frustrating as ever. Players who found the camera a problem in the original will find similar issues here. Agro's AI enhanced controls will prove just as frustrating (or appropriate) as it was in 2005. Running up gigantic swords, struggling to maintain a grip on a gliding stone eagle high in the sky, or outsmarting walking artillery batteries all remain exhilarating, rendered more breath-taking by Bluepoint. Kow Otani's soaring track still sends chills up the spine, playing with the player's emotions, masterfully directing the the reaction players have at any given moment. As far as I could tell, the soundtrack remained unchanged, but I might have missed a few subtle alterations. The soundscape of Shadow of the Colossus remains one of the most cohesive pieces of the whole package, bringing all of the elements together with a neat bow. Conclusion: Shadow of the Colossus was already a phenomenal game that shaped an entire generation of people and helped solidify the acceptance of video games as an art form. The remake provides a face lift from the ground up that brings forth a whole new world of beauty that enhances a timeless story. If you missed out on the original on PS2 or the HD remaster on PS3, this is the definitive edition that you owe it to yourself to play. Shadow of the Colossus is available now for PlayStation 4. View full article
  23. Review: Shadow of the Colossus (2018)

    Time moves slowly and inexorably forward. The world changes, and we grow old telling stories together. Those stories, the ones that stick with us, communicated something important to us. As a medium, game creators have spent decades learning how to put together ever more effective stories that can offer that thing of precious importance, that moment of beauty, clarity, success, failure. In a sea of stories, Shadow of the Colossus stands out as a fairy tale in the classic sense, and the remake by Bluepoint Games serves to enhance what was already a foundational piece of video game history. Shadow of the Colossus tells the tale of a young man named Wander who travels to the Forbidden Land, a landmass sealed off from the rest of the world. Using an enchanted sword, he strikes a deal with an enigmatic entity named Dormin who agrees to bring the woman he has brought with him back from the dead if he can complete an impossible task: Defeat 16 colossal incarnations of the towering stone statues that line the temple. Armed only with his magic sword, a bow with unlimited arrows, and his trusty horse Agro, Wander sets forth into a long-abandoned world of ruins and natural wonders to battle towering behemoths the size of skyscrapers. The simple, powerful set up allows the visuals, music, and gameplay tell the vast majority of the narrative. That open approach to storytelling led a lot of people, even the marketing team for Shadow of the Colossus, to interpret the adventure as one about true, undying love. Wander, after all, goes to incredible lengths for a woman with whom he has a close connection. However, playing through the remake, a version remade after over a decade, I realized that my perception of the game has shifted to seeing it more as a tale about loss and the inability to let go being an ultimately destructive force. That flexibility and changing interpretation feels interesting. It's a reminder of how much time has passed since I played Shadow of the Colossus in 2005. Back then, the question of whether video games were capable of being art was a hotly debated topic. The internet was on fire with hot takes about what it meant to be art and whether interactivity itself negated art. Now that the question has largely been settled, it feels liberating to be able to think, "okay, it's art, so what does that mean? What does all of this, as a piece of art, mean?" Everyone will have to struggle with loss at some point in their lives. It's not pleasant. It hurts. There's the impulse to yell and scream and gnash your teeth because you would do anything to have that person back in your life. And Shadow of the Colossus asks the seductive question: What if you could throw everything to the wind and bring that person back? What price would you pay? And at first, the answer seems obvious, heroic even. But as the game progresses and one by one the beautiful, deadly colossi, who were all minding their own business before Wander showed up, begin to take their toll. The feeling of triumph and accomplishment gives way to self-doubt. Is this the right thing? That question of meaning scratches at the fundamentals of what I believe make myths and fairy tales resonate across time. Because Shadow of the Colossus is art. To some it could be a tale of love, to others it could represent a cautionary tale about obsession, and playing the remake it brought to mind loss. Shadow of the Colossus manages to have the narrative flexibility to accommodate multiple interpretations, and that's a quality that can bestow a great deal of longevity to a piece of art. I'd argue that's at least partly why we are getting a remake of a game that's two-and-a-half generations of technology behind the current PlayStation console. It's a testament to the artistry of the original PlayStation 2 release of Shadow of the Colossus that the visuals largely hold up due to its adherence to a strong minimalist aesthetic that focuses on natural beauty. The entire production possesses a washed out quality that cleverly hides some of the deficient parts of the world as Wander and Agro make their way across the quiet plains and subdued forests. With the remake, none of the world needs to be hidden by visual tricks; flowing water glitters in the sunlight, grass sways with the wind, dust motes flit through the air. The effect of the increased focus on detail afforded by the technological leap and the original style is jaw-dropping. To put it bluntly, this remake of Shadow of the Colossus stands as one of the most beautiful games I have ever played. I found myself slowing to a walk to soak in the moments of natural beauty that made yet another outing in the Forbidden Land unforgettable. With the share function on the PlayStation 4, I constantly paused the action to fiddle with the newly added photo mode in pursuit of that perfect angle to show off Bluepoint's gorgeously rendered take on Team Ico's classic. It was a compulsion to ogle the work put into everything on screen and then share that with the world. If I had to nitpick the presentation, there were a few elements that felt a bit off. The biggest would be Wander's strange lack of facial animations. The update gave him somewhat of a baby face; not a huge problem, but slightly different from the original character model. His face seems to lack some degree of animation for reacting to events, something more noticeable with a built-in photo mode. Outside of cutscenes, Wander is content to stare passively into the distance, regardless of the circumstances. Wobbling on the ledge of a colossus-sized fall? Not even the faintest recognition of his own mortality. Lastly, and this might be one of the most nitpicky things of all, one of the subtle elements of the original release of Shadow of the Colossus was the slow shift that visualized Wander's fall from grace. As each colossi met its death, he became less human. Players saw that change happen bit by bit, witnessing horns sprout from his head and his skin turn pale and black veins appear on his body. The remake seems to only gradually make his skin paler until the very end when he suddenly has horns and horrific cracked skin. It would have been nice to have a subtler touch applied to his transformation to give it more of a build-up. All of that being said, the small issues present in the Shadow of the Colossus remake are an exceedingly small price to pay for an update that's otherwise a fan or newcomer's dream come true. An updated control scheme provides people frustrated with the PS2 controls a new way to play, while also retaining the retro layout available for those who have grown used to how the original played. Small additions to the game like a series of hidden coins that can be collected for a secret reward that have been scattered across the world to reward players who poke into every nook and cranny. Additional clarification has been added to some of the colossi themselves to show what can and cannot be climbed and grabbed. The same with some parts of the environment that now have grabbable surfaces to avoid frustrating falls. The gameplay remains as harrowing, exciting, and frustrating as ever. Players who found the camera a problem in the original will find similar issues here. Agro's AI enhanced controls will prove just as frustrating (or appropriate) as it was in 2005. Running up gigantic swords, struggling to maintain a grip on a gliding stone eagle high in the sky, or outsmarting walking artillery batteries all remain exhilarating, rendered more breath-taking by Bluepoint. Kow Otani's soaring track still sends chills up the spine, playing with the player's emotions, masterfully directing the the reaction players have at any given moment. As far as I could tell, the soundtrack remained unchanged, but I might have missed a few subtle alterations. The soundscape of Shadow of the Colossus remains one of the most cohesive pieces of the whole package, bringing all of the elements together with a neat bow. Conclusion: Shadow of the Colossus was already a phenomenal game that shaped an entire generation of people and helped solidify the acceptance of video games as an art form. The remake provides a face lift from the ground up that brings forth a whole new world of beauty that enhances a timeless story. If you missed out on the original on PS2 or the HD remaster on PS3, this is the definitive edition that you owe it to yourself to play. Shadow of the Colossus is available now for PlayStation 4.
  24. Monster Prom is coming up, and it's time to convene your friends to decide which inhuman creatures will be your dates! On April 27, players will be thrust into the world of Monster Prom where twisted monsters attend high school and vie for social dominance. Players will have to choose a love interest to pursue with prom on the horizon. With the option of multiplayer, friends might have to compete against one another to woo the monster of their dreams. Each player chooses a monster persona and then one of six love interests. A world of scintillating, dangerous, and gorgeously drawn monsters (art by web comic artist Arthur Tien) awaits those brave enough to risk friendship in a battle for the digital love of their lives. The wacky dating sim has been written by Cory O'Brien (author of Zeus Grants Stupid Wishes and George Washington Is Cash Money), Maggie Herskowitz (actress and prolific writer of musicals, stage plays and films such as Loch Lomond, Fitzwilliam Loves Lizzie, and The Un-Eff-Able Sam Bistritzky), and creative director Julián Quijano. Players will be able to uncover secret endings and scenarios in the twisting, ridiculous adventure crafted by Beautiful Glitch. Monster Prom has come a long way from its humble Kickstarter origins when it managed to raise €32,000, over four times its initial goal. It will be really interesting to see how well it can deliver on its humorous premise. The developer touts its structure supporting hundreds of events with four outcomes for each event and all of those outcomes creating thousands of diverse scenarios. Make way for monsters when Monster Prom releases on April 27 for PC and Mac. View full article
  25. Monster Prom is coming up, and it's time to convene your friends to decide which inhuman creatures will be your dates! On April 27, players will be thrust into the world of Monster Prom where twisted monsters attend high school and vie for social dominance. Players will have to choose a love interest to pursue with prom on the horizon. With the option of multiplayer, friends might have to compete against one another to woo the monster of their dreams. Each player chooses a monster persona and then one of six love interests. A world of scintillating, dangerous, and gorgeously drawn monsters (art by web comic artist Arthur Tien) awaits those brave enough to risk friendship in a battle for the digital love of their lives. The wacky dating sim has been written by Cory O'Brien (author of Zeus Grants Stupid Wishes and George Washington Is Cash Money), Maggie Herskowitz (actress and prolific writer of musicals, stage plays and films such as Loch Lomond, Fitzwilliam Loves Lizzie, and The Un-Eff-Able Sam Bistritzky), and creative director Julián Quijano. Players will be able to uncover secret endings and scenarios in the twisting, ridiculous adventure crafted by Beautiful Glitch. Monster Prom has come a long way from its humble Kickstarter origins when it managed to raise €32,000, over four times its initial goal. It will be really interesting to see how well it can deliver on its humorous premise. The developer touts its structure supporting hundreds of events with four outcomes for each event and all of those outcomes creating thousands of diverse scenarios. Make way for monsters when Monster Prom releases on April 27 for PC and Mac.