What the Big 3 have to do at E3...

Well I didn't mean not to post over the holiday weekend but I had some crazy back to back shifts and was just too exhausted to do much besides sleep (well and get in a little Xenoblade Chronicles, but mostly sleep). But back on track, E3 is a mere 5 days away, with lots of anticipation behind it, hoping to see updates to our favorite franchises, new original stuff and of course new technology. This year may be one of the most crucial for all 3 companies for varying reasons, so here's what I think they need to do in order to win the show this year:

Microsoft: Microsoft's press conferences usually aren't all that exciting, but last year's was pure torture, focusing on casual Kinect titles & integration aimed at a target audience that doesn't even know what the hell E3 is. Arguably the core game meant to bring in actual gamers, Star Wars Kinect, is a huge embarrassment. The show can't be all Kinect all the time, though some titles showing it's actually worth it for more than just Dance Central would be a good idea. This may be the last big year before Microsoft moves on to focusing on their next system, so showing the core audience that really bought into series like Halo & Gears of War a little actual love should be in order. And for god's sake find somebody who doesn't bore the hell out of us to do the presentation, Microsoft has been missing a decent spokesman since J. Allard left the company.

Sony: Sony may actually have the toughest battle here, amid flagging sales of the Vita and troubling rumors about the financial future of the company and what that means for the games division in general. Move has pretty much been a complete bust, unless they can drastically re-invent it, it should probably just be completely written off and ignored. I am also really not impressed by the announcement of a God of War prequel, so impress me, show me why I should care. But obviously what Sony arguably needs most is to reverse the Vita's fortunes. Much like Nintendo's slow start with the 3DS, the high price and lack of quality software have unsurprisingly led to it being pretty much bust. Sony really needs to show that this is not an expensive piece of gimmicky hardware, and showing quality games that really show off the power of the system while not forcing us to use the touch features are pretty much a necessity.

Nintendo: Simply put, Nintendo really has to explain the Wii U. Give a clear definition of what it can do and why we should be excited about it, and it's going to take more than the fact that we will finally have a Nintendo console that is finally going to be getting current gen ports, because that's what the majority of the lineup looks like at this point. A couple surprises for Wii owners would be nice, but frankly I think pretty much the entire show should be focused on impressing us with the Wii U. They've turned around the fortunes of the 3DS immensely, they can pretty much just show upcoming games for that on the show floor and ignore it in the big press conference. They probably won't, but seriously the presentation should probably be at least 90% about the Wii U because they really need to blow off the doors with it.

That's all for today, I should have another post up by Friday, in the meantime here's your TRAILER OF THE WEEK: Indie Game: The Movie


Is the console war coming to an end?

Well, it might be down to a one horse race at any rate. Now, Nintendo's losing lots of money, but they can also afford to lose lots of money for a very, very long time. Sony is facing huge financial issues across it's entire company, and now that the gaming division isn't making the money it used to, some are wondering if there will even be a PS4 or at the very least if the PS4 will be the last system from Sony because if their troubles continue, some tough cuts will have to be made.

But surely, Microsoft will be around in the gaming space for the foreseeable future, right? Well possibly not, and it has nothing to do with it's financial standing. Lawsuits over technology trying to get a game system banned are hardly new, Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft have all had to deal with them on numerous occasions. In most cases they are completely frivolous and even the legitimate ones are settled pretty quickly because frankly there's just too much money at stake.

However every now and again one gets through that could potentially be huge trouble for a company, which is what Microsoft is facing right now. A judge has ruled that Xbox 360s are essentially banned from being sold in the US due to several infringements on various technologies. This is not a completely done deal, several things, including the President and his advisers signing off on the ruling, have to happen, and it can still be appealed after that. But the real possibility exists of 360s no longer being able to sold after a certain point. How much this would affect the 360s successor is uknown, but I also think that Microsoft could not really afford to not have a presence on shelves for another year or two until that launched if it could launch under the present circumstances.

This of course leads to an interesting situation where not right now of course, but in a few years, Nintendo may be the only console maker around. That could be a very bad thing. No one company should have that kind of a monopoly. Competition is good for business in general. So I'm honestly hoping that if god forbid Microsoft has to drop out because of legal trouble and Sony has to drop out because of financial trouble somebody else will see an opportunity there to move into the space because it will be badly needed.

That's all for today, I should have another post up this weekend. Until then here's your FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: Double Edged


So you want to be a wizard?

Sony's Move peripheral hasn't had a whole lot of exciting software, but Sorcery, which was shown off in playable form a couple years ago when the move launched, looked pretty promising. For awhile though, there was nothing on it, leading us to believe it was little more than a tech demo, which would make sense with such a generic title. Well it finally comes out tomorrow, though admittedly without much press, so we'll see if it's something Sony just shoved out the door at the last minute. Frankly I'm surprised they didn't spend a wad of cash and combine this concept with the Harry Potter license, it could've been an easy hit that way and if it was actually a good game, it could be a showcase title for the peripheral, which it's sorely lacking at the moment.

Doctor Who seems like an obvious license for a great adventure game, but at least on this side of the pond we have very little in terms of digital Who adventures. So hopefully the Eternity Clock, will provide some worthy fun. Despite the box art, as far as I know, it's only going to be  available on PSN for download, so don't go into Gamestop looking for a copy. I do plan on at least trying out a demo if there's one, so I'll give my impressions in my next post if possible.

And finally Dragon's Dogma is also out tomorrow, and the reviews have been pretty solid, so if you are looking for a solid challenging open-world action rpg, this seems like a pretty safe bet. At the very least, it's probably one of the last major releases before the Summer, when traditionally there's not a whole lot of new stuff out.  I'm still working my way through Xenoblade Chronicles, and have several other lengthy rpgs to get through after that so if I pick this up, it won;t be for awhile.

That's all for today, I should hopefully get another post up be Wednesday. Until then, here's your TRAILER OF THE WEEK: 007: Skyfall


Community is dead. It just doesn't know it yet...

Community is getting a 4th season. This is great news as more episodes of currently the best sitcom on TV (so of course very few watch it) is certainly not a bad thing. But will it continue to be? With little to no warning, Dan Harmon, who created the show and is basically the voice of the show, responsible for it being so quirky and weird and brilliant, is out. Not by his choice, and the new showrunners aren't any of his people. In fact, it's even been quoted that these people were brought on to help broaden the appeal of the show.

This seems like a ludicrously stupid move. Community is like many struggling shows before it, it has a small but dedicated and fiercely loyal fanbase. Most of whom upon hearing this news, probably won't even give the show a chance now that the guy who made it what it is has been unceremoniously shoved aside. Remember the general reaction when Warner Bros. wanted to reboot Buffy without any involvement from Joss Whedon? Look at how most comic book fans are reacting to Before Watchmen, a prequel to Alan Moore's seminal graphic novel he not only has no part in, but specifically told DC he didn't want them to do it, and they just basically told him tough shit. This seems like they want to just throw the show under the bus, so why did they even renew it in the first place?

I'm not going to instantly declare this is the worst thing ever and absolutely refuse to watch, as there's not any particular reason to believe the show will be terrible. It still has the great cast, and while Harmon was the voice of the show, it still took a talented team of writers and directors to make it brilliant with him. But I also won't be surprised if we tune in this fall to see a show we don't even recognize anymore and has way more in common with mainstream crap like Two and a Half Men then brilliant quirky underdogs like Arrested Development.

That;s all for today, I will most likely get in another post tomorrow. Until then, here's your FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: Robot Legions


The road to hell is paved with massive loot...

A little something for everyone this week (except for Vita owners anyways). The biggest easily being the long-awaited Diablo III for PC, which is one of those few titles that PC owners can really lord over us console gamers. I would love to get in that massive lootfest, but on top on having to spend a bundle just to have something that can run it, the whole mess of having the "proper" graphics card and sound card and whatnot and maybe it make me sound simplistic but this is exactly why I'm a console gamer. Barring any massive bugs, you buy a game and it works without having to worry about your setup. So if Diablo III ever does come to consoles (which is heavily rumored) I'll be right there.

This week also sees the revival of another relic with Max Payne 3. Unlike Duke Nukem though, Max doesn't look like he hasn't aged a day. In fact he looks like he's had some pretty hard times. According to most of the reviews, that's for the best though, as they all seem to agree that Max manages to come into the modern generation with grit and style even if the bullet time mechanics are a tad dated. I'd probably pick it up if I didn't have so much on my plate at the moment.

One thing I could use is a new 3DS title, and Mario Tennis Open seems like an obvious option. While usually playing it safe, the Mario sports titles also usually deliver a reliably entertaining time. Most of the reviews so far say this title plays it a little too safe with virtually no frills and a lacking online component. If it was $20 I'd probably be ok with that. $40 is far too much though, I'll gladly just wait for something that offers a meatier experience for the same price (most likely Kingdom Hearts 3D).

Finally, if there was one license you'd think would be given proper serious treatment for a video, it'd be George R.R. Martin's epic saga Game of Thrones. Well unfortunately, this gets the usual license treatment, that being a hastily hobbled together quick cash grab. Most reviews say there is a good if really dark story in there, but it's buried in terrible mechanics. Hopefully with the TV just really getting into its prime, we'll get another game that is actually worthy of the license.

That's it for today, I should be back by Thursday with another post, until then, here's your TRAILER OF THE WEEK: Gangster Squad


The top ten villain choices for Avengers 2...

Avengers is awesome and was a ginormous success, so of course everybody's talking sequel possibilities. Now if you have seen the movie, there is a scene that hints at who the next foe probably is, but there's no reason they couldn't drag out that battle til at least the 3rd film, because frankly it's kind of hard to top that guy after. In addition, if Joss Whedon does come back (and with the gobs of money it's making I'm betting Marvel will give just about anything to get him back), he's already said his idea for the sequel would be to make it smaller and more personal, so upping the ante to some galactic scale might not be the way to go just yet. With that in mind here's 10 very plausible villains the Avengers could face next:

10. M.O.D.O.K.: A big subplot of the Avengers movie was Shield having ulterior motives and secret plans, which Nick Fury basically defended by saying the Earth is not prepared to take on galactic threats. M.O.D.O.K. is a villain that can spring very organically from that simple idea, after all, he was basically created to help understand the Cosmic Cube (aka the Tesseract) and turned on his creators. This would be a good fresh storyline because the Avengers don't really trust Nick Fury and one of their own creations going rogue could cause plenty of good tension between them.

9. Ares: Yeah, another Asgardian villain may be seen as doing the same thing over again, but Tom Hiddleston is so great as Loki it'd be a shame for him to be marginalized or done completely. Ares isn't a bad guy per se, but it'd be easy to have Loki manipulate his bloodlust and pride into fighting the Avengers. It could also open the door for members such as Hercules or Valkyrie to join the team, which I wouldn't be surprised to see expand somewhat.

8. The Leader: Arguably the biggest problem with someone fighting the Avengers is The Hulk. He's virtually unstoppable. So bring in one of his greatest foils, the Leader. It's the classic brains vs. brawn match-up, as The Leader usually is 3 steps ahead of everyone else. Plus, Hulk may not be getting his own movie, so one of his better villains could make a good opponent for the whole team.

7.  Mephisto: Yeah this pretty much writes itself. You want darker and more personal? Mephisto is your guy. Sure, he's probably nearly as powerful as Loki, but he'd focus a lot more on manipulating each Anengers personal demons. He could (and has) claim he's the actual devil come to unleash hell on earth, breaking down the Avengers mentally before they obviously rally and prove he's just another super villain to defeat.

6. Norman Osborn: Granted, the Green Goblin started out as a great Spider-Man villain, but his original incarnation wouldn't be much of a match for the combined might of the Avengers. However in later years. he's essentially become the closest thing Marvel has to Lex Luthor, a ruthless brilliant billionaire who believes he knows how to run the world and isn't afraid to do immoral stuff to get it accomplished. This could be a personal, smaller villain that could still pose a credible threat.

5. Doctor Doom: Few normal humans pose as much of a threat as Doom. He's one of the smartest villains in the Marvel universe, with resources and magic to match, which would make him and his army of Doom bots a more than worthy opponent of the Avengers. Sure he's mainly a Fantastic Four nemesis, but he's taken on virtually everybody in the Marvel universe, no reason he can't clash with the Avengers for their next film.

4. Red Skull: If Captain America is worthy not only to be an Avenger, but be the leader, then surely his primary nemesis is just as worthy to be a major opponent for the Avengers. Hydra is still a heavy presence in the Marvel film universe after all, and and having him still at the head of that terrorist organization would be a pretty natural fit. The cosmic cube is also a lifelong obsession of his, which would naturally lead to taking on the Avengers in order to get it back.

3. Apocalypse: Most of the guys on this list wouldn't be a physical match for the likes of Thor and Hulk, but Apocalypse absolutely would. And while he's primarily an X-men foe, his ultimate goal is usually the subjugation of all mankind, which makes him a natural enemy of the Avengers.

2. Kang the Conqueror: Kang is one the Avengers' more well known foes. Coming from the future with an array of dazzling technology, he's always a real threat. Add to that SHIELD's desperate search for technology that can defeat super beings and that could play into the whole conflict between the two organizations.

1. Ultron: You want smaller, darker and more personal while upping the ante on the threat the Avengers face? There is no better choice than Ultron. Why? Because he was created by the Avengers. More specifically, Ant-Man, which could be a great tie-in to the heavily rumored Ant-Man movie that may finally be getting some real traction since Avengers opened so huge. Again this is something that's so easy it writes itself. The Avengers create this machine, it goes bad, and so they are responsible for the destruction it causes, placing a huge amount of mistrust in the Avengers from S.H.I.E.L.D. and the public, even when they eventually stop him, their image may be irreparably damaged, which would be a great basis to start a third movie from.

Ok that's the list. Obviously if you've seen the movie and stayed through the credits, you know who the most likely next villain is, but again I think it'd be great if they held that off for just one more film and save a battle that big for a 3rd and possibly final Avengers film. If I can do another post this weekend I will, but most likely it'll be next week. Until then, here's your BIG BANG OF THE WEEK:


Best. Superhero. Movie. Ever.

Avengers is an impossible movie. Getting so many heroes together with so many disparate movies, giving them all sufficient screen time, and having people who fit the roles so well just doesn't seem like it could happen. But you know what? They managed to pull it off. Everybody has great moments and one-liners, the dialogue is incredibly snappy, though that shouldn't be a surprise with Joss Whedon at the helm. And it's all capped off with an incredible 40-minute finale that may be one of the finest every seen on film.

That being said, this is a very comic book movie. Unlike say Christopher Nolan's Batman films, which have comic book roots but take a real world context and deal with deep issues and characters that evolve and develop. Avengers isn't particularly deep and the characters don't really evolve or change, but it's smart enough and entertaining enough that unless you're a complete cynic you don't need it to be. I don't even know if they can possibly top this, but I can't wait to see them try because with it having the biggest opening weekend ever, a sequel is kind of a no duh. And of course this means after years of finding at best middling success, Joss Whedon can pretty much do whatever the hell he wants to do next, which is awesome for him and us Whedonites who have been fans of his quirky and brilliant but usually short-lived TV shows.

Of course, this might impossibly raise the bar now. We were pleasantly surprised that Iron Man, Thor and Captain America actually managed to be good, now audiences might expect the follow-ups to be absolutely fantastic and be massively disappointed if they aren't. We also may suffer from superhero overload, as everybody and their mom is trying to get some even mildly popular comic book property on the big screen in some desperate attempt to get in on this thing while it's hot. But as long as they keep making the smart choices they have, audiences should be able to separate the actual movies from the desperate cash grabs.

That's it for today, I should be back with another post tomorrow or Friday. Until then, here's your FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: Goin Up


Star Wars...

Starhawk is exactly the kind of game that really should get me back into playing online, in that it's different than virtually any other MP focused game available on consoles with it;s futuristic settings and RTS components, it offers a refreshing change of pace from your standard online experience. Unfortunately as I've got a boatload as of yet unfinished rpgs on my plate, I won't be getting into it any time soon.

Is this the Wii U launch list? Dear god I hope not. It's like 95% ports. Don't get me wrong, ports are important, you don't want someone to get your system and then be pissed because it doesn't get any of the multi-platform releases like what happened with the Wii, but having mostly titles people can buy on systems they probably already own isn't convince too many to pick up your new comparatively expensive console. Granted poor launches are pretty much a staple of the industry just because no one really knows how to get the most out of any system at launch, but there has to be a few killer apps or no one will bite. Pikmin should be a good showcase title, but that's just one, nothing else sounds that exciting. After last year's downright confusing unveiling, Nintendo really needs to blow the doors off at E3 this year, and this lineup doesn't sound like it will do the trick. But we'll just have to wait and see in about a month I guess.

That's all for today, I should be back tomorrow or Wednesday with a review of Avengers. Until then, here's your TRAILER OF THE WEEK: The Campaign


10 More shows Netflix should ressurect before Jericho....

Ugh. Jericho, really Netflix? It's arguably better than Terra Nova, but still not a very good show. I already listed 10 shows that would be prime for renewal and would be better than Jericho as well, and admittedly Warming Glow also did a list, but since there is very little crossover and so many more worthy I have yet another 10 shows Netflix should revive before even looking at Jericho (most canceled fairly recently):

10. Mr Sunshine: Ok, if I had to pick between this and Studio 60, both of which starred Matthew Perry, I would pick Studio 60, but I feel Sunshine had a lot of unrealized potential as it had a very good '30 Rock' vibe of complete wackiness to it along with a great supporting cast especially Allison Janney & James Lesure both of whom usually make anything pretty enjoyable.

9. Rules of Engagement: In the usual CBS logic, this perennial under-performer is far funnier than most of their shitty popular sitcoms, but it's constantly pulled from the air and held in reserve for when something fails spectacularly. It's not official, but heavily rumored it will officially be canned for good by CBS. It Netflix wants a solid broad comedy, this would be perfect, plus it keeps the stellar Patrick Warburton employed.

8. Breaking In: Fox canceled this hilarious quirky show. Then brought it back, made it awful and canceled it again. Seriously, fuck you Fox. I wouldn't bring it back in it's current form, but if you could get Michael Rosenbaum and Odette Annable back and drop Megan Mullaly, I would very much like to see this somewhere that might actually give it a shot.

7. Human Target: A really fun series starring the awesome Mark Valley, this should've been an easy hit but for some reason it couldn't really find its audience and given it's high-octane style its an easy pick up for a really solid action show, which is something TV in general has been lacking since 24 went off the air.

6.  Lone Star: Warming Glow also had this on their list, so good to know I'm not alone in thinking this show was criminally ignored. Arguably the most well-reviewed show of the last several years, yet cancelled after a mere two episodes. The premise is original, ambitious and daring as it asks us not only to follow but root for a protagonist who is basically not a very good person since he leads a double life that involves lie after lie to perfectly good people, namely his two wives who don't know about each other. Had a ton of potential and Netflix would be wise to let it show that.

5. Batman: The Brave & The Bold: Brave and the Bold breaks a lot of the current Batman rules. Batman isn't allowed to be goofy or have a sense of humor, yet this show reveled in having both those traits and managed to be wildly entertaining. Much like Justice League Unlimited, it also really gave a chance for lesser DC heroes like Blue Beetle to shine. And reviving this would be a way better option than allowing the new series, Beware the Batman to air, where a gun-toting Alfred assists Batman on his cases. Sigh....

4. Lie to Me: Yet another brilliant show on Fox (that's 4 on this list if you are keeping count and I'm not done yet) that got canceled way too soon. It's a really brilliant twist on your usual procedural show, focusing on the emotions, facial ticks and body language rather than pure evidence. Tim Roth was also amazing as the taciturn Cal Lightman who just really did not give a damn who he pissed off, but did give a damn about those close to him.

3. Fringe: Brilliantly weird sci-fi show that Fox wants to cancel? What a surprise. Granted unlike most on this list it is getting an official final season but I'm fairly sure there's a lot more stories to tell because it's hardly running out of steam even 4 seasons in. This would be a huge coup for Netflix if they could do it and gaining some loyal nerd fans in the process.

2. The Finder: Though not officially canceled, the low ratings and Friday night graveyard timeslot make it extremely likely this original and very entertaining spin-off of Bones will not make it to a second season. If that is the case, Netflix should swoop in and pick this series up. It actually has a lot in common in Lie to Me in that it takes a very unusual approach to solving crimes and the protagonist doesn't really give a damn, though Walter does it in a way more funny style.

1. Stargate: Stargate as a franchise is no longer on the air and that's a shame, because between SG-1 and Atlantis we had 15 seasons of great sci-fi (the less said about SGU the better). It'd probably be hard to get the cast of SG-1 back together and 10 seasons was certainly a long enough ride. Atlantis was great and got canceled prematurely (especially since there was supposed to be a series of movies) so it'd great to see that back, but Netflix could also start an original show set in the SG universe which could be awesome as well. This is something that has a huge fanbase and Netflix would be wise to take advantage of the fact that they would all love to see this franchise back on the air in some form.

Ok that's the list. Hopefully I'll have another post up tomorrow, until then, here's your FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: Cute Explosions


Now you can experience Dragons flying backwards online...

Long-rumored, now officially unveiled, the next Elder Scrolls game will be an MMO. Certainly the framework is pretty much already there, with the consistent world and it's often been described as the equivalent of a single-player MMO, so this certainly seems like a natural evolution. That being said, I'm not sure things will transition all that well, especially the combat. It's certainly more intense and quicker than most MMOs, but it's also really goddamn clumsy. And while the graphics of other MMOs may not be as detailed, that also means no huge clipping or glitching issues on a decently powerful machine. Bethesda is a company known for releasing promising yet bug-ridden games, it's going to be harder to get away with that in an MMO, so hopefully Bethesda will test it as thoroughly as humanly possibly before actually releasing it into the public.

Let the season of geek movies begin! Tomorrow, arguably the biggest (and possibly the best judging by the whopping 92% it's got on rotten tomatoes right now), The Avengers, directed by uber-nerd icon Joss Whedon, opens in theatres. Sadly I won't get to see it til next week due to my schedule but as soon as I get to see it I will post my review. This is clearly a huge test for Marvel and Whedon, but considering the movie has already grossed over $280 worldwide and hasn't even opened in the states yet, I'd say that test has been easily aced. It's a nice bit of validation for us long-suffering Whedon fans and Whedon himself, I'm sure. It's also a nice message to Fox that they are fucking idiots for killing two of his shows before they even got out of the gate really. It'll be nice to know he's got the pull of being an a-list Hollywood director the next time he wants to do something more along his usual brilliant quirkiness.

That's really all I have for today but I should have another post up tomorrow, until then, here's your TRAILER OF THE WEEK: Expendables II