Sunday, 21 April 2019

March TV / Movie Video Round UP

Have you watched our February  TV / Movie review yet?

Let's not forget about the silver screen productions for March. Sam is with us again with some great recommendations worth spending an evening on, and one darn right terrible entry, which will be named & shamed....spoiler its Robin Hood! This month, we also have:

Widows / Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald / Free Solo

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Saturday, 20 April 2019

March Nintendo Switch Video Round UP

Have you watched our March Switch review yet?

Our marvellous March roundups continue with a list of the amazing games Nintendo had to offer this month! Tom will be looking at:

Chocobo's Mystery Dungeon / Lego Movie 2 Game / Yoshi's Crafted World  / Unravel Two

Which was your favourite game this March?

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Friday, 19 April 2019

March Xbox Video Round UP

Have you watched our March Xbox review yet?

Time for the 3rd instalment and our list of the amazing games Xbox had to offer in February! This month, Lewis will be looking at:

The Division 2 /  The Sinking City / Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Which was your favourite game this month?

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Friday, 12 April 2019

WIN a Switch + 2 Games This Easter!

Yes, you read right!

Want to win a Nintendo Switch with Yoshi's Crafted World & The Lego Movie 2 Game?

To celebrate Easter we are giving you a chance to win an amazing prize! Just leave a product review of anything on webuy.com between Saturday the 13th & Monday the 22nd of April. The winner will be picked at random from all published reviews and contacted to receive their prize within 28 days of the closing date. 



To leave a review, head to webuy.com and search for the product you want to review. You can leave your review by clicking the “write review” button which is either found just below the product title (if it has been reviewed by others) or at the bottom of the page (if you’ve been lucky enough to get there first!).


TERMS
Your review must be approved by the BazaarVoice* moderation team. Product reviews will not be approved if:
  • There is no review of the product itself
  • Contains links to other sites
  • Contains foul language, threats of violence or illegality

It is important that your review is about the product in question, not about the service or the status of the product (for that there are other channels). If, for example, you want to review a movie, say "American History X", you should discuss the film in question (eg "the movie is too slow", "the movie is too violent", "the movie has a great script, accompanied by a great direction and an excellent performance by Edward Norton, highly recommended ", etc.). If in the review you do not refer to the product in question but to the state in which it has arrived or the time it has taken to arrive, then that review will not be included for the draw.

Please note that all prizes will be issued as a CeX voucher in the currency of the domain the winning review was left in. And as always CeX's decision is final on all competition matters and whether a review is published. Good Luck!


* BazaarVoice are an online review company.



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Friday, 5 April 2019

Captain Marvel ★★★★☆


The latest Marvel superhero to get the silver screen treatment is the Captain (Brie Larson*) herself. She lands in 1995 with her memories in disarray, looking for answers to multiple questions while fighting an intergalactic terrorist threat on behalf of the Kree Starforce.

*Larson courted controversy in the build up to the release of Captain Marvel, calling for more diversity from film critics. It’s a fair cause, somewhat ruined by the phrase; “I don’t want to hear what a white man has to say..” It got people in their feelings and led to numerous 0-star reviews online before the movie came out.


As a white guy, her quote puts me in a somewhat awkward position. I enjoyed the film, ( I expect most others will too) and I don’t see any problem with her agenda. On the other hand, if I did think the film was a steaming turd, her provocative statement is a great defence against any criticism I could muster.

Samuel L Jackson reprises his role as Nick Fury, and it’s set so long ago that he still has hair, doesn’t know about the existence of aliens, and moves surprisingly well for a man who is going to be 71 in December. Fury provides support throughout, while Jude Law heads up the supporting cast as the Captain’s mentor Yon-Rogg. Annette Bening plays Kree leader Supreme Intelligence, taking the form of the person admired the most by the viewer. 

The majority of the film takes place on Earth, although lower stakes don’t necessarily make for a boring movie. As you might expect, the titular character takes up the majority of the focus, as she slowly begins to remember that she’s Carol Danvers, a former crack pilot in the Air Force. Amnesia isn’t the freshest narrative device and it leads down a familiar path. We know what Carol is capable of, so she’s the one playing catch up while fighting average mooks that even the weakest Avenger would handle easily. Shapeshifting enemies are another device we’ve all seen before, but it works well enough as the main character gets up to speed with her ridiculous power levels. It doesn’t help when you’re a god in comparison to everyone around you, but she has to be to have a chance against in the upcoming war with Thanos.

Aside from a few cringe moments, there’s enough Marvel magic to keep the average viewer interested throughout the latest origin story, and it’s always going to succeed because it’s a bridge between the two Infinity War films. Captain Marvel is vaguely reminiscent of the original Thor, with an OP hero struggling to understand her powers on an Alien world. Unlike Thor, she doesn’t bother with romance, which is actually pretty refreshing. The lack of a love interest means there are fewer filler scenes and more time for cracking jokes and moving the story along. Carol begins to remember her past life on Earth, and she realises her true potential by the time the film builds to a satisfying climax.


CGI continues to improve with each film, and the reported $150m budget was well spent recreating 1995 faithfully. From Blockbuster Video to outdated tech, it’s full of nostalgic hits for anyone old enough to remember the turn of the millennium. It might only be a stopgap before she goes on to meet Thanos with the rest of the surviving Avengers, but Captain Marvel’s origin story is worth watching.


★★★★☆
James Millin-Ashmore



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Thursday, 4 April 2019

March PlayStation Video Round UP


Have you watched our March PlayStation review yet?


March sure was a great month for gaming! Join Jake, as he takes a look at the latest and greatest last month had to offer for the PlayStation! In this month's video, we have:

Dead Or Alive 6 / Devil May Cry 5 / Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice / Assassin's Creed 3 Remastered / The Division 2

Which was your favourite game this March?

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The Walking Dead: The Final Season ★★★★☆


People need closure. I need closure. When Telltale announced they were shutting up shop, it didn’t look good for The Walking Dead: The Final Season. The plodding nature of their releases should have been an indicator of their precarious position, and it meant there was a chance that the last two chapters would never see the light of day. Despite maintaining radio silence for a while, it was picked up by series creator Robert Kirkman’s Skybound Entertainment. It’s a welcome relief to know that we’ll get a conclusion to a story that began back in 2012, especially one that eclipses a show that can be hit-and-miss at the best of times.


Players are placed back in the shoes of Clementine, who continues to protect AJ years after we last saw her in The Walking Dead: A New Frontier. Her problems manifest when she meets up with former students from the Ericson Academy for Troubled Youth, who she decides to stick with for the time being. If you’ve been here since season 1, you’ll have the chance to reminisce about Lee, Kenny, and everyone else, while old enemies and previous experiences should be helpful as you have to decide who to trust when the going gets tough. 

“Broken Toys” is the third chapter which has just been released, with a fourth slated to be ready in time for March 2019. It continues to offer the typical batch of life-or-death choices, with consequences that do leave you attempting to read the future. If you do X, what happens to X? Everyone remembers everything, and it’s a familiar gameplay loop, but it’s still satisfying to get to know the characters, with the understanding that their safety generally depends on the choices you make. 

Despite growing up to be a 16-year-old single (adopted) mother in a wasteland full of crazy killers, Clementine is still sane, if a little hardened due to her past losses. She’s a great main character, and the focus on her relationship with AJ makes the story even more compelling.  You’ll spend a significant amount of time teaching AJ the ropes, shaping his personality as well as your own. It’s a nice touch, and you’ll always have to weigh the responsibilities of being a parent against the good of the group as a whole. He’s a brave little dude, but he’s only 5. Do you really want to give him a weapon?


I’m a bit tired of the format, but it shouldn’t be missed if the news of Telltale’s demise got you worried in the slightest. The core gameplay is pretty much the same, while graphically it’s a polished version of New Frontier. The story is always the selling point in the TWD game series, and it’s still as strong as the first season. For a time it felt like there might not be an ending, and it’s always a danger when a game is served up in a piecemeal fashion. Thankfully, we get an end to Clementine and AJ’s story, even if it’s in a slightly roundabout way. 

★★★★☆
James Millin-Ashmore

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Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Doctor Who: S11 ★★☆☆☆


A foray into uncharted territories, the eleventh season of Doctor Who is the first with a woman in the hot seat. Jodie Whittaker's energetic display is the epitome of a marmite performance, as she bounds along with endless enthusiasm, clearly embracing the zanier side of the Doctor in a similar style to Matt Smith.


As the first (and last) of her kind, Whittaker is being judged not just in her capacity to entertain as the Time Lord, but also whether her gender is actually suitable for playing a regenerating benevolent alien with two hearts who happens to love England while carrying a screwdriver around for protection. Online critics are quick to mention ‘SJW’ complaints about the direction of the show, but it doesn’t really make a difference if the Doctor is female in the grand scheme of things. 

Changes are also afoot when it comes to the companions. The Doctor is joined by a trio for the first time since the reboot, with Bradley Walsh, Tosin Cole, and Mandip Gill playing Graham O'Brien, Ryan Sinclair, and Yasmin Khan. Much like the reinvention of Top Gear, responsibilities have been split as each takes up some of the slack, but there’s a feeling that the whole never makes up more than the sum of its parts. Yaz is the Doctor’s new best friend who works for the police, Ryan suffers from dyspraxia, and Graham is married to Ryan’s nan. Each are fine in their role, but it doesn’t help when the dialogue is often stilted. 

The show has received a lot of hate from a vocal section of the audience, due to the perceived ‘woke’ nature of companion selection and the choice of settings for a couple of episodes. There’s a fine balance between representation and tokenism, and while it may be educational for a younger audience, it’s also boring and vaguely preachy at times. On the other hand, it makes sense to teach children about racism and other problems, especially in a social climate that has seen a resurgence in backward thinking recently.


Other online complaints derive from the writing, and it’s true that poor storytelling leaves Whittaker little chance to truly make the role her own. While the latest regeneration is clearly a stark contrast to Peter Capaldi’s incarnation, a heavy drawl (Tim Shaw?) and a habit of pulling faces that telegraph her thoughts at every turn define her character. There isn’t really an overarching theme for the series as a whole, and while self-contained episodes include a sole Dalek, there’s isn’t a single Cyberman or any of the traditional enemies that you’d expect to see in Doctor Who. 

It’s not bad, but it’s different, and far from the teatime staple it used to be back in the heyday of David Tennant and Billie Piper. With that being said, there’s still hope for the latest Doctor, and tighter writing for next season will help to highlight good performances from the ensemble cast. 

★★☆☆☆
James Millin-Ashmore



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Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Crackdown 3 ★★☆☆☆


If repetition is the mother of learning, Crackdown 3 is a lesson in disappointment. The much-hyped Xbox One exclusive has finally been released after five years in various stages of development, but it’s not clear what they’ve been up to in all that time. 

It’s been several years since Crackdown 2 released on the Xbox 360, but the latest game feels like more of the same. The player is placed in the shoes of a super agent, (there’s a choice of characters but 99% will pick Terry Crews’ Commander Jaxon) tasked with travelling the sprawling city of New Providence while fighting various criminals and kingpins that have taken hold. You’re generally attacked by swarms of uninspired robots, with the game ramping up the difficulty by throwing increasing numbers at you as the story wears on. Sections of the map lack any cover, so you’re constantly being shot at from all sides, but it’s easy enough to shoot everything in sight thanks to auto-aim and an abundance of weaponry.


If it sounds fun, it can be. The drawback is that it’s also pretty repetitive, and it begins to offer diminishing returns fairly quickly. The snooze factor isn’t helped by a simple 10-hour campaign which generally involves navigating the city to kill someone or blow something up. That’s about it, with no real reason to keep going to the next map marker unless you have nothing else to play. Fully destroyable Wrecking Zone maps add extra longevity, while collectables abound in the main game, which can also be played in co-op. Collectables tie into the upgrade system, which also affects you physically in-game. You’ll literally get bigger and stronger, jumping higher and further as you gain more experience. You can unlock new characters by finding DNA strands littered around the map, while driving will eventually give you access to an Agency car. Weapons also improve as you level up, so you’ll always have a choice of how to kill everything you meet.

The shading gives it a nice feel graphically, but it’s far from a looker. It’s somewhat forgivable considering the scale of the sandbox and the way you navigate buildings by climbing and jumping, and it does allow for more enemies and explosions in the background. It’s also not the easiest to control, but it does get better as you level up.


Overall, it’s not bad, but it’s not the sequel most fans were hoping for after such a long wait. It hardly improves on a game that released light years ago in terms of development, and the core gameplay is still the same. You lock on to things and shoot them, and jump around a bit. The fanfare and hype that preceded the game make it more difficult to be forgiving of the many flaws and limitations, but there’s dumb fun to be had underneath it all. Crackdown 3 is fine if you’re looking for a mindless gaming session, but it feels like a missed opportunity. It looks like a reskinned Saints Row at times, but even that would be more interesting than what we ended up with here. The series deserves better than a low budget entry that uses comic book effects for cutscenes and disappoints regularly, but it’ll probably distract you during a rainy weekend.

★★☆☆☆
James Millin-Ashmore



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Monday, 1 April 2019

ToeJam & Earl: Back in the Groove ★★★☆☆


Another Kickstarter, another Unity project feeding off the nostalgia of days past. This time aiming for the hearts of the Mega Drive kids and it hits the Mega Drive vibes quite well. In an attempt to impress two girls,  ToeJam and Earl "borrow" someone's spaceship, to show the girls the universe... and Earth for some reason. Guess they wanted to see something volatile. Earl presses the black hole button and blows both the Earth and the spaceship to pieces. It's then down to the funky duo to find all the missing parts of the ship, that have been scattered across multiple isometric, floating levels. There are no intentions to fix the Earth, guess they figure it was already doomed, to begin with.


As you start a game you can choose if you'd like the levels to appear the same way each time or have them randomly generated. This adds a whole lot of replayability to the game as it's not really very long but that's also not a bad thing. Toejam and Earl is intended to be played multiple times and you unlock a new character after each playthrough. There are nine characters in total and it's playable with up to four people at once, online or locally. The game is fairly slow paced as you explore all the corners of each map, trying to find the elevator to the next one, and search for the missing spaceship parts. To help out along the way you find mystery presents. This mostly comes down to lots of experimenting with them, to find out what they are and what each one does. You have no idea until you open them. Although you can mostly get by without them and I found the majority of them set me back more than actually helped out. 

Just like in real life, humans are the enemy. Generally just playing the role of a nuisance and getting in Tj&E's way. Humans come in a variety of annoyances, from ice-cream men, Fbi agents, fanboys wanting pictures and people walking around absent-mindedly with their face glued to their phone screen. Thankfully they're all really easy to avoid as once you interact with anything, within the game world, they instantly forget you exist. Go push a button, knock on a house or jump in (and immediately back out of) water they'll leave you alone. As you'd expect from a funkified game, the soundtrack is mostly on point and sounds like bad 70’s porn at worst but does become repetitive quite fast.


As long as you go in not expecting anything more than a Mega Drive game, ToeJam & Earl is a nice short and enjoyable couple of hours. Just throw it on now and then, when a friend's over and you just want to chill and play some games... and you can't find your Tekken disc.
I have no idea who owns the rights, but new Comix Zone next, please.


★★★☆☆
Bry Wyatt


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