Outcast: 'A Darkness Surrounds Him' Review

Robert Kirkman's latest show gets off to a flawed start.

Confirmed: John Boyega to Star in 'Pacific Rim 2'

Boyega joins the sequel hot off the success of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Box Office: Ninja Turtles 2 Suffers in Anti-Sequel Summer

TMNT 2 is the latest sequel to bring in some disappointing numbers.

Review: Eye in the Sky

Gavin Hood's military drama is an impressive achievement.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Shadows of the Fallen: Super Knight #1 Review

Shadows of the Fallen: Super Knight #1 is the second offering from the newly created web-comic creators at Meddling Media. Now while I liked their first issue, I found it a bit overwhelming. There was so much being covered in such a short time that I wondered if I'd be able to keep up with this series going forward, or if I'd ever be able to truly immerse myself in this new universe? Well, if this issue is anything to go by then my fears are unfounded. Super Knight #1 is an enjoyable read and definitely worth checking out.

Where the last issue was clearly more of a catch-up issue than anything else (these comics are a continuation of two novels), this issue sees a story that was much easier to follow, as well as one that I am genuinely interested in seeing develop.
The story revolves around the titular "Super Knight" AKA Alex Piccirillo, who just so happens to be the brother of last issue's protagonist, Thrasher. But where Thrasher is currently locked up in jail with few positive prospects on the horizon, brother Alex is fighting crime on the streets on his behalf as Super Knight. This opening issue sees SK going up against villain, Crimson Thrasher, who is selling illegal guns that have been stolen straight off the assembly line.

The story isn't the most original you will find in the world of comics, but it certainly was a fun read. It was well paced and well written - although there were a few cheesy pieces of dialogue - and to top it off it looked great too. I said in my review of the first issue that there were places where the art looked odd. Nothing really major, but just a limb out of place every now and then that was hard to miss. This issue though I read start to finish without picking up on anything. Now I'm not saying the art is absolutely flawless, however I would say it's an improvement and still quite impressive for a small web-comic.

However, the story still isn't perfect. While I found the comic easy to follow, it would still be nice to get a deeper insight into some characters featured - mainly the villains. Why is Crimson Thrasher out to get Super Knight so much? Why is he a bad guy in the first place? What motivates him to be a villain as opposed to a hero like SK? These questions aren't necessary to enjoy the story, but it would be nice to have an extra insight into this character.
The same could be said for Crimson Thrasher's partner Jackal who looks like an interesting character, and deserves a proper introduction.

Monday, 26 November 2012

UK Top 10 Games: 26th November 2012

Agent 47, you have failed. Despite a big release this week in the form of Hitman: Absolution, Black Ops II has remained at the top spot for the second week running. This leaves Hitman settling for the No. 2 spot which is still a respectable achievement.

The only other new entry in the Top 10 this week is Lego Lord of the Rings which enters the chart at No. 6. The game will no doubt see a rise in sales mid-December though, when the first film in the upcoming The Hobbit series is released.
While there were only 2 new entries in the Top 10 this week, many others entered the chart outside the Top 10 - more specifically, near the bottom of the chart. Indeed, it was an underwhelming debut for three of this week's new games. The first of which was Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two which entered the chart at No. 34. Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse was right behind it at No. 35 and finally, a surprisingly low debut for Sony-Exclusive Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale which entered the chart at No. 38.

Both Epic Mickey 2 and Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse made it onto our list of predictions of 5 games that wouldn't sell this Christmas. To read the list in full click here!

Here's the Top 10 in full (all formats, all prices):

1. (1) Call of Duty: Black Ops II
2. (-) Hitman: Absolution
3. (3) FIFA 13
4. (4) Assassin's Creed III
5. (2) Halo 4
6. (-) Lego Lord of the Rings
7. (7) Just Dance 4
8. (5) Skylanders Giants
9. (6) Need for Speed: Most Wanted
10. (14) Dishonored

That's all for this week! Be sure to come back next week for more! You can Like us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter to keep updated!

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Shadows of the Fallen: Thrasher #1 Review

Comics are expensive, there's no denying it. It may well be the reason why the industry has had to pull such drastic moves in order to gain customers over the last couple of years - in these tough economical times most people don't have time for comics and the people who do can't afford them.

That's where web comics come in.
Tough times are headed in this new web-comic...
I haven't been a huge follower of web comics over the years, with the only one I've read being the great, but very brief chapters of The Escapist. But after being requested to read this new series from new, independent developer Meddling Media, I thought why not. You can't beat free comics after all.

Shadows of the Fallen: Thrasher #1 is the first comic from Meddling Media and the first part in what seems like a huge story that looks to be taking place in many different MM series'. Now I'll be honest, at first I didn't really know what to make of Thrasher #1. After my first read-through I still wasn't sure I had a good idea of who the key players were or what was happening. Then however, I read through a second time, and began to realise just how much potential this story has.

The story revolves around Tony Piccirillo who wrote a book that became hugely successful, but at the same time got him involved in some dangerous conspiracies. After he prevented his research into alien biotech being stolen by a shady government group he got on the radar of the CIA and began carrying out missions for them.

Now I won't go into any more detail on the plot - partly because that would go into spoiler territory, and partly because I'm still not sure how much I understand it myself. Don't get me wrong, after multiple re-reads I do have an idea of what's going on now, but there are still some blank spots for me. Some of the characters are mentioned but given no background, some presumably huge moments in the story are brushed over in a panel. This doesn't in anyway make the book bad, it just meant that for me, it took a while to get my head round it. 

Part of this is undoubtedly because this comic is a continuation of not one, but two novels from the founder of MM. The comic does try to recap the events of those books, but there's still no denying that you may understand these events more had you have read those. 

Overall though I feel I'm being too negative about this story. I did mean what I said above - there's a lot of potential here. With many heroes soon to be let out of the gates at MM, along with a seemingly apocalyptic threat on the horizon, I am genuinely looking forward to the next instalment in this series. I would prefer a little more clarity in some plot points, but right now that isn't enough to stop the story from bursting with potential greatness. 
Plus, you have to give the writer some credit for coming up with some original characters, and an original story in a world dominated by the same old superheroes.

Considering that many web-comics often have very low budgets, I think Thrasher's art does admirably. There are many really nice looking scenes, and textures and Thrasher does look pretty cool. However, there are some art issues in some places with a couple of panels showing limbs that look a little misplaced. That aside though, I do think the art does a good job at trying to recreate the blockbuster look often seen in modern Marvel and DC comics.

Monday, 19 November 2012

US Box Office Top 10: 19th November 2012

Twilight has returned and as expected has taken the No. 1 spot with a whopping $141 million raked in! Critical reaction is as mixed as it always has been on the final instalment but once again the franchise proves that it will take a lot more than bad reviews to stop this juggernaut. It knocks last week's No. 1 - Skyfall - down one place to No. 2. Click here to read our review of Skyfall!

The only other new entry this week is Steven Spielberg's presidential biopic, Lincoln, which debuts at No. 3 with over $20 million made.

Here's the Top 10 in full:

1. (-) The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 - $141 million
2. (1) Skyfall - $41.5 million
3. (-) Lincoln - $21 million
4. (2) Wreck-It Ralph - $18.3 million
5. (3) Flight - $8.62 million
6. (4) Argo - $4.07 million
7. (5) Taken 2 - $2.1 million
8. (8) Pitch Perfect - $1.26 million
9. (9) Here Comes the Boom - $1.2 million
10. (10) Hotel Transylvania - $900,000

That's all for this week, come back next week for more!

UK Top 10 Games: 19th November 2012

Call of Duty at No. 1? What a mad world we live in! The latest game in the insanely successful "COD" franchise - Black Ops II - storms in at No. 1 with the biggest game launch of the year and the 4th biggest of all time! The game knocks last week's top game - Halo 4 - down one place to No. 2.

But Black Ops II wasn't the only release this week. This week's other new entries start with The Sims 3: Seasons which debuts at No. 9.

Meanwhile Call of Duty's handheld counterpart, Black Ops II: Declassified on the Playstation Vita makes a surprisingly good debut at No. 16 - making it the second biggest Vita game of the year. Unfortunately for Vita owners the game has actually received very poor reviews, meaning it may not be the system seller that fans and Sony hoped it would be.

This week also saw the first of Sony's "Wonderbooks" for Playstation Move. The first one takes place in the wizarding world of Harry Potter and is titled Book of Spells. It enters the chart at No. 25.
Codemaster's F1 Race Stars is right below at No. 26. It was another game that received disappointing reviews, with many saying the superior kart racer was in fact, Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed. Sadly for that game the good word failed to spread as it makes a disappointing debut at No. 27.

Coincidentally, it was one of the games that featured on our "5 games that won't sell this Christmas" list. To view the full feature click here!

Here's the full Top 10 (All Formats, All Prices):

1. (-) Call of Duty: Black Ops II
2. (1) Halo 4
3. (3) FIFA 13
4. (2) Assassin's Creed III
5. (6) Skylanders Giants
6. (4) Need for Speed: Most Wanted
7. (9) Just Dance 4
8. (8) Borderlands 2
9. (-) The Sims 3: Seasons
10. (5) Football Manager 2013

Come back next week for more Top 10 news!

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Shrek: The Musical Review

Shrek is one of the most successful animated franchises to come out of the last decade, and so of course the logical next step was to turn it into a musical, right? The result is a fun show that manages to be more enjoyable than the last two movies, but still not something that you have to rush out and see. 

One thing that is disappointing about Shrek: The Musical is that essentially its a retelling of the first movie. Now there are some things that give it originality such as the songs themselves which were all written for the show, and some completely original scenes which give an extra insight into the main characters, particularly Lord Farquaad and Shrek himself. But this doesn't change the fact that - assuming you've seen the first Shrek film (which you probably have if your thinking of going to the musical) - you know exactly how everything's going to have gone when the curtain drops.

But let's not be too negative. As I said before there are things that give this show originality, most obvious of which is the fact that it's a musical! The songs vary from OK to great but they're all easy to listen to, with some catchier than others and most filled with funny moments as well. And it's worth saying that, like the early films, there are jokes in this musical for both adults and children which was a relief. The writers knew that adults would be coming to the show with their children and so catered for them too which was a smart move. But then again, moving back to my first point there are some chunks of script that are quite literally lifted straight out of the first movie, which I wasn't expecting to see.

But overall, this doesn't stop the show from being entertaining. The cast were enthusiastic and full of singing talent, and I suppose if your going to recycle a plot it may as well be from one of the most-loved animated films of the last few years! It just seemed like a missed opportunity to tell a truly original tale in the Shrek universe.

Now, I didn't want to talk about the cast too much in this review as in a stage show roles can often switch or be filled in by other talent, but I feel I should say something as the lead cast of Shrek: The Musical really did give great performances. As I said before, the cast were all very enthusiastic putting all their effort into giving the best performances possible. All four of the main cast (Shrek, Fiona, Donkey, Farquaad) sang well and had a great chemistry with each other on stage. I felt that some of the supporting roles didn't hold up quite as well, with both Pinocchio and the Gingerbread Man not singing so much as squeaking their words out -- I know this is a trait for their characters but it still affected how good or even understandable their performances could be.

One member of the cast who really should be applauded though is a certain loveable dragon, portrayed with a magnificent puppet on stage that is handled brilliantly. Yes, you can see the men/women in black skin tight suits pulling the dragon around, but somehow the puppet was still very believable. It really is one of the big triumphs Shrek: The Musical has in bringing the magic of the movies to the stage.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Skyfall Review

Skyfall is the 23rd Bond film, and the third starring Daniel Craig in the lead role. Now where many felt that last film in the series, Quantum of Solace, was a misstep - I'm pleased to say that this movie is a real return to form, and a must-see this Winter!

I'm not going to lie to you - this was my first Bond film. Over the years I've managed to stay away from the series. I've heard good things, but just never had the chance to see one start to finish. At first I was worried this would be a problem, but thankfully I was mistaken. If your a newcomer to this series as I was, then don't be put off -- there is absolutely nothing stopping you from having a blast with Skyfall. You get acquainted to the characters very quickly, leaving nothing stopping you immersing yourself in the epic story -- and it really is epic.

MI6 and its agents are being targeted by a group led by Raoul Silva (played by Javier Bardem). The identities of said agents are being spilled out onto the Internet, which is leading to their assassinations. This was the last thing that a suffering M (Judi Dench) - who was already being pressured into retirement by new guy, Gareth Mallory (Ralph Fiennes) - needed. What doesn't help the grim situation that MI6 face is that at the beginning of the movie, Bond is "killed." This isn't a spoiler, as it tells you that in the trailer, but it does leave 007 feeling a little rusty upon return.

The plot is very, very well done. It gives us a deep insight into Bond's character - even giving us a glimpse into his humble beginnings as an orphan living in Scotland - while also piling on some awesome action sequences that will leave both long-term fans and newcomers on the edge of their seat. This is a spoiler-free review, but I have to mention the ending and the final action sequence which really was breathtaking and beautifully done.

I did have some worries at the beginning of the film, as it does take its time before giving you a proper idea of what's going on. This can end up really hindering a movie if the audience is given no idea until the end. Thankfully, though Skyfall did end up feeding the audience just enough information to keep you excited, while at the same time not revealing too much leaving my fears unfounded.

The story really is fantastic, and so it seems appropriate that the cast would be filled with such fantastic actors as well. Daniel Craig makes his return as the more rugged Bond fans have come to know over the last few years and doesn't disappoint. Craig has the talent to not only provide some great acting in the more close-up moments of a scene, while also holding his own in the action sequences proving that after 6 years he still has more than enough energy to play Britain's most dangerous spy.

Ralph Fiennes also makes a great debut to the franchise as the aforementioned Gareth Mallory. Alongside other newcomer Eve, who really is the Bond girl that people should be interested in this time round - and one I'm sure we'll be seeing a lot more of.
Finally, Ben Whishaw came in to fill the role of series favourite, Q. Unfortunately, I have nothing to compare to having not seen the previous Q, but I don't think long-term fans have anything to worry about. Whishaw gives a strong performance, setting up Q as a likeable character and one I'd definitely want to see back for the next movie. The way Craig and Whishaw play off each other (mainly regarding Q's age) offers up some funny moments as well, which is appreciated when things are looking so bleak for Bond and MI6.

But in my opinion it was Judi Dench and Javier Bardem that really stole the show.
Dench gives a powerful performance in a film that focuses around as much time on her as it does the titular character. This being the first Bond film I've seen, I wasn't expecting to be able to invest so much in a character so quickly, but Dench's M is just impossible not to love played with a charm that deserves applauding. This is shown particularly in her scenes with Bond himself. The two have a mother-son chemistry on-screen which just comes across so genuine and believable.

Meanwhile, Bardem gives a borderline disturbing performance. Playing a character who has obviously lost his mind and yet at some moments almost has a point, a valid reason for his actions. I won't say any more at risk of giving too much away, but he is one of the best, most interesting antagonists I've seen in a film for a very long time.


What did you think of Skyfall? Comment below! What did you think of our new review layout? Let us know and any comments we'll try to take on board!

UK Top 10 Games: 13th November 2012

Much to everyone's surprise, that little game known as Halo 4 managed to storm in at No. 1 this week! It knocks last week's number one - the equally big Assassin's Creed III - down one place to No. 2.

Elsewhere in the Top 10, Borderlands 2 sees a large increase in sales shooting 11 places from No. 19 to No. 8. Meanwhile, it seems as if some bad word of mouth may be spreading as Medal of Honor: Warfighter - previously one of the most-hyped shooters of the year - drops another 4 places this week to No. 10. The game was released to mixed/negative reviews just a few weeks ago.

It seems that few publishers dared to release their games on the same week as Microsoft's giant franchise, meaning there's only one other new entry in this week's chart, which just so happens to be from one of rival company Sony's biggest franchises. LittleBigPlanet Karting received mixed reviews upon release, and it's these reviews along with a general lack of hype that may have caused its underwhelming debut at No. 24.

Here's the Top 10 in full:

1. (-) Halo 4
2. (1) Assassin's Creed III
3. (2) FIFA 13
4. (5) Need For Speed: Most Wanted
5. (4) Football Manager 2013
6. (8) Skylanders Giants
7. (3) WWE' 13
8. (19) Borderlands 2
9. (9) Just Dance 4
10. (6) Medal of Honor: Warfighter

Come back next week for more Top 10 news! You can like us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter using the buttons to the right of the page to keep updated. For now though, here's a trailer for this week's new No. 1 - Halo 4:

Thursday, 1 November 2012

5 Games that won't sell this Christmas

This time last year, I wrote a feature predicting what games I thought would get lost in the Christmas crowds. There are games released at this time of year which have success guaranteed: Call of Duty, Halo, Assassin's Creed. But then there are the lesser known games that are either good, but lose out on sales due to not being an established brand, or just plain fail to drum up much pre-release anticipation.

Sonic is just one of the heavy hitters on this year's list!
This year I found it a lot harder to make a list, and so I've chosen only 5 games that I think are destined to fail (as opposed to last year's 13). 
Without further delay, let's jump into this year's picks!

Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two

The original Epic Mickey was a much hyped Wii-Exclusive that came out in 2010. Pre-release people were excited about this new take on the famous mouse, with some interesting gameplay mechanics and impressive graphics 'for a Wii game.' This anticipation resulted in disappointment for many fans as, while Epic Mickey wasn't a bad game, it ended up getting mixed reviews.
The game also ended up selling less than expected so the fact that a sequel was announced was surprising for me. But here we are just weeks from release.

So why won't it sell? It has a number at the end of the title, surely that means it will be a success, right? Well, in this case, I think no. At the end of the day it is a sequel, but not to a significantly popular game. Plus, I still don't really know who it's trying to appeal to: Kids? Adults? Both? Kids like Mickey Mouse, sure. But I'm not sure if they're a fan of him in this setting. Plus, the kids game of choice right now seems to be (to my surprise) Skylanders.
So that leaves Adults, but I don't know many who have this at the top of their hyped games list. With a lot of quality titles coming out this year I think this one is really going to struggle to compete in the crowd. The only factor to keep this game from failure is the fact that unlike the original it is multi-platform.

UK Chart Prediction: A peak in the mid-20s, before the game leaves the Top 40 completely.
Sales Predictions: Around 500K max.

Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse

This is a weird one. The game based on the popular Fox-animation was announced early this year, before completely fading away. Then BAM! A release date of November 23rd was announced. But strangely, we still have seen hardly any gameplay from this game bar a couple of screenshots. That's never a good sign.
So if it isn't enough that this game seems to be heading to critical disaster, there's also the bigger problem that does anyone really want a Family Guy videogame?

No Trailer for this one...
This game will release and just exist. I'm sure it will shift a few copies if just because it has the Family Guy name on it, but it won't be a big seller for sure.

UK Chart Prediction: A peak in the early-30s, if that.
Sales Predictions: Around 250K

Marvel Avengers: Battle For Earth

Marvel's The Avengers came out this year to huge commercial success ($1.5 billion to be precise) and some great reviews as well. TEN ourselves gave the movie a perfect 10, being everything comic fans had hoped for while also being  a lot of fun by those who haven't followed these characters before.
Now I'm sure had a tie-in game been released at the same time as the movie it would have done fairly well sales-wise at least. But not only is this game being released at a time when the awesomeness of the film may have worn off for some, but also it is being released for Kinect and Wii U only. WTF?

The game is a fighting game (loosely) based on the Secret Invasion storyline that happened in comics a few years ago. A game where superhero's beat each other up - sounds pretty cool, right? Well, the fact that the game is being released on Kinect should be a warning sign straight away. The sensor's list of releases features very few actually good games, as it has been proven time and time again that it just isn't accurate enough to truly make players a part of the game. Now it's hard to say how the Wii U version will fair as that hardware is still very new, but I don't have high hopes.

But the really sad thing is that even if this game gets great reviews, the truth is that nearly no one is still using their Kinect, and the people buying a Wii U at launch aren't going to reach for this game first.

UK Chart Prediction: Perhaps an appearance in the late 30s before dropping out for good.
Sales Predictions: Around 200K

Sonic and All-Stars Racing Transformed

Now while Sonic is still a force to be reckoned with to be sure, many of the so-called "All-Stars" in this game have been out of use for years and so, while remaining fan-favourites, very few of the current generation are going to know who they are. That may not be a huge problem if you just want a good racing game and don't care about characters. But then why not just play Mario Kart?

Comparisons to Nintendo's hugely popular racing series are unavoidable, but also mean that this game is going to have to be really good in order to justify existing - and while it might be kind of fun, I'm not sure if it's going to manage it. This game will come out and it will probably sell a few copies. After all, 2010s Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing did OK. But ultimately, I think when this game hits shelves, a huge "Meh." will be heard across the land, as people walk by the game and think, "Maybe I'll get it pre-owned one day."

UK Chart Prediction: Will probably peak at about 18/19
Sales Predictions: 600K max.


Let me make this really clear. I am not saying that the Wii U will be a complete failure. I am not saying that it will never sell. However, what I am predicting is that the launch isn't going to go very well.

The Wii U wasn't unveiled well. People left E3 2011 not knowing exactly whether it was a new controller for the Wii or a new console. Of course, since then all those issues have been cleared up, right? Well yes, for gamers and people who follow new console releases. But ask a member of the general public, perhaps a "casual" gamer who picked up a Wii to get fit, what a Wii U is and they might struggle to tell you. Nintendo has left it very late to enforce their advertising on those who don't know what a Wii U is, and the people who do know what it is are very much split down the middle.

Many fans are left doubting Nintendo for the first time in a while. Some fans think the console is doomed already. Some are simply waiting out to see how the first few months on sale go.
That being said, some fans had their pre-order booked a long time ago.

But generally, I think I can fairly say that many people are cautious about placing their hard-earned cash down for a Wii U, with a launch line-up failing to impress many with games that were available on other consoles months ago, and other new games that haven't quite got the blood pumping of those still sitting on the fence.

As I said before, I'm not saying the Wii U will fail. Although I have a bad feeling that the launch isn't going to be pretty.

So that's my list for 2012. Be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to be kept up to date on more of our features, as well as the latest news, and reviews. Thanks for reading!