The Last of Us

Left 4 Dead, Resident Evil and several other games have cemented zombies into a sub-genre for survival horror gaming just as Romero managed to pull off with cinema. Yet, something always felt like it was missing. Sure, us gamers had our Night of the Living Dead equivalents with games like Valve’s cult classic and hell, we’ve even had our version of campy Return of the Living Dead type of horror with last year’s Resident Evil 6 or House of the Dead: Overkill. But when would we get our character studies, our 28 Days Later that mixed brutality with extensive character development and equally interesting set pieces. Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead delivered the emotional goods but left fans wanting when it came to gameplay, and that’s where Naughty Dog comes in.

The Last of Us, released on June 14, is a game that I believe will be thought of as a turning point for gaming. Oh, and it’s fun.

You play as Joel, a survivor who isn’t uncomfortable with the idea of getting down and dirty to survive. Your task? Deliver 14 year old Ellie from the safety of the Boston quarantine zone to just outside city limits so that she can be picked up by local anti-military militia, the Fireflies. Of course it’s not that easy, and of course things don’t go exactly as planned.

The Last of Us

You face two immediate threats. First, the zombies, which are humans infected by a fictionalized strain of the real cordyceps fungus (though the real-life version can only infect ants) and come in multiple different flavors, each more terrifying and threatening than the last. Second, hunters that seek to kill in order to get the supplies that they need, and sometimes for fun.

From a gameplay perspective, the game is fun, brutal and bolstered by smart AI. A scenario that caught me off guard occurred during the game’s first act. After being encouraged to sneak past a gang of three hunters who linger in front of a department store, I decide to take them head on, first with sheer firepower. Two of the hunters wield pistols of their own, the third (unarmed) realizes he’s outmatched and runs behind cover. After his two friends perish in a hail of gunfire, he hears my pistol click empty. He bellows a feral shout, part predatory, part joy and attempts to beat me the ol’fashioned way. Little did he know about the pipe strapped to my back which after a couple of brutal (this point exclaimed by Ellie who shouts “Oh my god Joel!” after the climactic strike) hits destroys the man’s face. After the battle, I decide it’s time to continue on, and the moment I enter the department store I realize my mistake. Another goon begins to choke me out from behind, but Ellie quickly tosses a brick at his head. After I manage to strike him down with the wrath of my pipe, I realize that his six other friends might have something to say about it…

The game’s tight, and sleek controls help the combat system and the crafting system adds to the feel that Joel is a scavenger and the world is a scavenger’s playground at this point.

The sounds of the game cover a range of emotion, from fresh and relaxing, to the intense fervor that accompanies imminent attack. Composer Gustavo Santaolalla showcases the skills that guided him to two Academy Awards. Past the actual soundtrack, the voice-acting by Troy Baker (fresh of a magnificent performance as Booker DeWitt in spring’s Bioshock Infinite) and Ashley Johnson is original and always welcome, with the least amount of recycled lines possible.

The Last of Us

The Last of Us also comes with a multiplayer that seemed to be a tacked-on addition, but it adds legs to an already strong game. The two game modes Supply Raid (4 on 4 deathmatch with an emphasis on scavenging and crafting) and Survivor (4 on 4 deathmatch with no respawns) either lead to all-out 10 minute shootouts, sneaking/flanking escapades that leave chilling silent moments as you search for items or a crazy mixture of the two.

Ellie tells me she can’t swim, but the only way across the area in-front of me involves an impromptu lesson in aquatics. I eventually find something she’s able to cross on, and after she gets to the other side, and I climb up onto the ledge beside her, a small triangle hovers over Ellie’s head as she raises her hand up. I hi-five her and she comments on it, and I think that’s one of the things in the game, the small things that shows why Naughty Dog are one of the premier developers heading into the next console generation.

To end off this review, to call The Last of Us the game of the year would be insulting to it, as its quite better than any other game I’ve played this decade. Hell, its plot which is rich with development and emotions and raw intensity is better than quite a few films I’ve seen this decade either. The Last of Us reads more like a promise if anything, or even a manifesto. A promise for changes to come, and a future for gaming that can’t arrive soon enough.

Batman/Superman #1

With Man of Steel in theaters, DC Comics is expanding the line of titles with the original superhero. His newest title teams him with The Dark Knight, Batman. Are they sending a subtle message to producer Christopher Nolan and director Zack Snyder about where they should go with the Man of Steel sequel or who he should maybe team up with in the movie? Batman/Superman #1 brings the reader back to the two hero’s first meeting in the “New 52” universe. Did they start out as friends? Foes?

Batman/Superman #1
Official Description: When a young Clark Kent arrives Gotham City in search of answers regarding a series of murders in Metropolis, he runs smack into Bruce Wayne himself. From the moment they meet, these two untested heroes’ approaches to protecting others could not be more different. BATMAN/SUPERMAN #1 launches the reader on an incredible journey that stretches from Gotham to Metropolis and worlds beyond. Featuring a story by celebrated writer Greg Pak and stunning artwork by Jae Lee and Ben Oliver.

The issue hits stands from DC Comics on Wednesday June 26, 2013.

Check out these Batman/Superman related comics…

Release Date: June 21, 2013
Studio: Pixar/Disney
Director: Dan Scanlon (Tracy, Mater and the Ghostlight)
Voice Cast: Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, Helen Mirren, Sean Hayes, Dave Foley, Charlie Day, Alfred Molina, Tyler Labine, Nathan Fillion, and Aubrey Plaza.
Plot: Mike Wazowski and James P. Sullivan are an inseparable pair, but that wasn’t always the case. From the moment these two mismatched monsters met they couldn’t stand each other. “Monsters University” unlocks the door to how Mike and Sulley overcame their differences and became the best of friends.

Thoughts: Honestly, I’m not sure when I’ll be seeing Monsters University. I want to see it, but I’m afraid it will be a let down on the level of Cars 2. And I like Monsters Inc much more than I do Cars. In fact, Monsters Inc is a top five “all time” movie in my eyes. The movie has a perfect blend of comedy and action- with some of the most likeable characters in animated movie history.

Monsters University is a prequel. I’m not a fan of prequels for a number of reasons, the first being that all of the character development we saw in the original film is out the window. These are versions of the characters from (way) before we met them, which pretty much means they are different characters. The story focuses on them in college, which means that it is a very different type of story. Don’t get me wrong, I love the fact that they are expanding Monstropolis, but I think I would have preferred a spinoff/sequel with new characters (and returning characters in supporting roles) in the “new” city powered by children’s laughs, rather than a prequel.

How about you? Are you excited for Monsters University? Would you have preferred a sequel?

After ten issues and countless spinoffs, Age of Ultron issue 10 has finally hit stands. The book has promised to change the shape of the Marvel Universe with a big twist and lasting effects- I will not spoil things here, but go get the issue and see for yourself. Big changes? Yeah, I’d say so. Lasting effects? That is more of a wait and see. Can’t say for sure without seeing where they go with this. In the very least, the end of Age of Ultron could explain some of the holes created with the slow staggered launch of “Marvel Now!”.

Age of Ultron #10
Official Description: THE FINALE! The biggest secret in comics will be revealed to you! An ending so confidential… even the artists of this book don’t know what lies on the final pages…! A surprise so big that comic book legend Joe Quesada himself returns to the pages of Marvel Comics to draw a sequence that people will be talking about for years.

The issue hit stands this past Wednesday, June 19th, 2013 from Marvel Comics.

Check out these Ultron related comics and statues…

Posted on June 21st, 2013 by ThePit | Leave a Comment
Filed Under Entertainment

This post brought to you by Givit. All opinions are 100% mine.

There is a new way to edit videos on the go, and I'm thrilled to be chatting about Givit, a easy to use iPhone app that lets you make and share highlights from your videos with your friends.

Just to get some basic info out of the way, the app is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad (it requires iOS 6 or later). The app is completely free, so head over and Download Givit.

Okay, now that we got those basics through, lets talk about the app. I downloaded the app to my iPhone and took it for a test run. The interface is very clear and easy to jump right in. I followed my dog, a Basset Hound, for an hour and documented what he did in videos. Now, the whole hour would have been impossible to shoot on my iPhone, so I took a lot of very short videos. The first thing that struck me about Givit was that it had no limit on how many videos I could pull from to make the final edited video. The next coolest feature was the Live Highlighting. As you are recording, you can simply tap a button to highlight cruical moments to make it easier to go back to them. Other features included motion effects (like slow-motion and speeding up shots), titles (lots of different styles), music, and still photo intergration. This tool can be used greatly to string together photos and videos for big life events or even a normal day to share with family and friends on the go.

When you are done editing your video, it takes less than 30 seconds to share it across the web- YouTube, Twitter, Facebook… As if sharing the video wasn't enough, Givit also gives users 5gb of Cloud Storage. Interested in downloading the app? Leave a comment and let us know what kind of videos ou'd be editing with the app.!

Visit Sponsor's Site

Posted on June 17th, 2013 by Spark | Leave a Comment (2)
Filed Under Entertainment

Between DC Comic’s “The New 52” and Marvel “Now”, it is refreshing to see ongoing titles with more than a 100 issues; series that have a rich history and aren’t afraid of high numbers. I used to follow and collect Sara Pezinni’s adventures as Witchblade and I can’t remember why I stopped following the Image Comic (it could have had to do with the awful television adaption of the comic, or more likely, life got in the way).

Issue #167 kicks off a new arc with Part 1 of “Absolute Corruption” from writer Tim Seeley and artist Diego Bernard. It always used to be fun when Sara was forced to team up or faceoff against past Witchblade wielders. Here we go again…

Witchblade #167
Official Description: The bitter, former Witchblade bearer Katarina has transcended the Faerie realm, travelling to Chicago to intercept the fugitive murderer Toio Mulranny. And she’s going to get the Witchblade’s help to catch him, whether Sara Pezinni wants to or not.

The issue hits stands on Wednesday, June 19th, 2013 from Image Comics.

Check out these Witchblade related products…

Posted on June 17th, 2013 by ThePit | Leave a Comment
Filed Under Entertainment

It is that time again, get ready for another contest. This time, you have the chance to walk home with Bryan Singer’s adventure movie, Jack the Giant Slayer.

In the movie, giants are unleashed on the Earth for the first time in centuries and fight to reclaim the world as their own. A young man named Jack is forced to become a hero and to fight for his kingdom, friends and family, and the love of a brave princess. What chance does a teenager have against an army of giants?

Well, Jack might have a better chance at defeating them when you take control of the giant’s every move in the Jack the Giant Slayer app below! In addition to animated gifs that you control, there is a quiz that tests how brave you are (which could open a secret clip from the movie), and a Giant Soundboard which lets you play sound effects from the Giants which are featured in the movie (can you say, remix time?).

JACK THE GIANT SLAYER CONTEST

Now lets get to the contest and your chance to win the Jack the Giant Slayer Combo Pack (Blu-ray + DVD + Ultraviolet). The movie is based on the fairy tale “Jack and the Beanstalk”. Leave a comment telling us what other fairy tale you’d like to see made into an adventure movie and you will be entered into a random drawing to win the Blu-Ray! For a second entry into the contest, tweet about the contest with the hashtags #JackTheGiantSlayer and #MHD along with a link to myhollywooddream.com.

The contest is presented by Warner Brothers. The movie stars Nicholas Hoult, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Ian McShane, and Eleanor Tomlinson. If you don’t win the contest, you can buy Jack the Giant Slayer on Blu-Ray and DVD on June 18th!

Disclaimer (and other Details)
This contest is only open to US and Canada residents with a valid address. Prizes can not be sent to a PO Box. All comments must be made with a valid email address, so we are able to contact you if you win. Once contacted, you have 48 hours to reply with the requested details. The winner will be chosen randomly from all of the entries. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parents permission. Prizes provided by Warner Brothers. A winner will be chosen on June 23rd, 2013.

Page 32 of 243« First...1020...3031323334...405060...Last »