New Video Game Releases Week 30 (25 July – 31 July)

Hey there guys. Below you’ll find the new video game releases from 25 July to 31 July. Please note that this list is always subject to change and as such is not an absolute reference.

Title Platform Genre Release Date
Call of Duty: Black Ops – Annihilation   PS3 Action Jul 28, 2011  
Section 8: Prejudice – Frontier Colonies Map Pack   PC Action Jul 27, 2011  
Fear for Sale: Mystery of McInroy Manor   PC Puzzle Jul 27, 2011  
From Dust   X360 Puzzle Jul 27, 2011  
From Dust   PC Adventure Jul 27, 2011  
Pac-Man & Galaga Dimensions   3DS Action Jul 26, 2011  
Hunting Unlimited: Expedition 3 Pack   PC Sports Jul 26, 2011  
Deadliest Warrior: Legends   PS3 Action Jul 26, 2011  
Gabrielle’s Ghostly Groove   3DS Adventure Jul 26, 2011  
The Sims 3: Town Life Stuff   MAC Puzzle Jul 26, 2011  
Back to the Future: The Game – Episode V: OUTATIME   PS3 Action Jul 26, 2011  
The Sims 3: Town Life Stuff   PC Puzzle Jul 26, 2011  
Dragon Age II: Legacy   PS3 Role-Playing Jul 26, 2011  
Catherine   X360 Action Jul 26, 2011
Dragon Age II: Legacy   PC Role-Playing Jul 26, 2011  
Warhammer 40,000: Kill Team   PS3 Action Jul 26, 2011  
Catherine   PS3 Action Jul 26, 2011
Dragon Age II: Legacy   X360 Role-Playing Jul 26, 2011  
Section 8: Prejudice   PS3 Action Jul 26, 2011  

Which games are you getting this week?

/Gamecultist

Pop Culture Collectibles

Hey there guys. Sorry for the lack of posts lately, but I haven’t really been up to it, and as you might’ve noticed I’m running this website by myself again. Today however, I wanted to share something I’m into and it’s also related to movies, comics, anime and video games. So all-in-all, still pretty much on-topic.

Ever since I was a kid I had a thing for merchandise and memorabilia from various things, be it movies, games, comics, tv shows. I’m somewhat of a collector, I started many collections but gave up in the end because I didn’t care for it anymore. Something that has always stuck with me though, was ‘collecting’ replica’s and memorabilia from my favourite movie or video game.

I bought several Mario Karts figurines, some of those WoW collector’s figures, X-files actionfigures, Green Lantern action figures. Hell, I even bought the Killzone 3 Helghast Edition for the little action figure and the helghast helm replica. Furthermore, I recently ordered a Back To The Future DeLorean replica and a Harry Potter wand replica. /geek

Below are some photos of the stuff I have lying around here. I hope you enjoy this pretty short post, and please leave your comment in the comment section below.

/Gamecultist

New Video Game Releases Week 29 (18 July – 24 July)

Hey there guys. Below you’ll find the new video game releases from 18 July to 24 July. Please note that this list is always subject to change and as such is not an absolute reference.

Title Platform Genre Release Date
Left 4 Dead 2: Dead Air   X360 Action Jul 22, 2011  
Left 4 Dead 2: Dead Air   PC Action Jul 22, 2011  
Hidden Expedition Collection   MAC Puzzle Jul 21, 2011  
Bastion   X360 Role-Playing Jul 20, 2011  
Dead Block   PS3 Strategy Jul 20, 2011  
Runespell: Overture   PC Role-Playing Jul 20, 2011  
Captain America: Super Soldier   DS Action Jul 19, 2011  
The Smurfs: Dance Party   WII Puzzle Jul 19, 2011  
The Smurfs   DS Adventure Jul 19, 2011  
Captain America: Super Soldier
 
X360 Action Jul 19, 2011  
Just Dance Summer Party   WII Puzzle Jul 19, 2011  
Fallout: New Vegas – Old World Blues   PC Role-Playing Jul 19, 2011  
Fallout: New Vegas – Old World Blues   PS3 Role-Playing Jul 19, 2011  
Fast Draw Showdown   PS3 Action Jul 19, 2011  
Captain America: Super Soldier
 
PS3 Action Jul 19, 2011  
Captain America: Super Soldier
 
WII Action Jul 19, 2011  
Supreme Ruler: Cold War   PC Strategy Jul 19, 2011  
Call of Juarez: The Cartel
 
PS3 Action Jul 19, 2011  
Call of Juarez: The Cartel
 
X360 Action Jul 19, 2011  
Fallout: New Vegas – Old World Blues   X360 Role-Playing Jul 19, 2011

Which games are you getting this week?

/Gamecultist

Review – Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2

So I went to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 last night. For once, sitting in those sticky movie theatre seats didn’t bother me and just about everyone in the theatre was being eerily quiet. No sounds at all but the occasional sniff. Find out why below!Snape in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 Poster

After 10 years and 8 movies the Harry Potter saga is ending. Finally we get to see the climax, confrontation and conclusion that all of us fans have been waiting on. The seventh book is split up into 2 movies. The first one, which appeared in theatres last year, consisted mostly of a build up to a climax that never came. Part 2 is build entirely around this climax. I watched the movie in regular 2D, but I heard the 3D version isn’t very impressive as it wasn’t filmed for 3D.  So by all means go see it in 2D, it’ll give you the best experience still

At the start of this last part Harry, Hermoine and Ron are still looking for the remaining horcruxes, items in which parts of Voldemorts soul are stored so that he can live on even if his body is destroyed. The young hero destroyed a couple of horcruxes before and have only a few left to go. Next to that, they’re looking for the Deathly Hallows (magical items that combined, make one master of Death). Voldemort took the Elder Wand, Harry has the Invisibility Cloak and the Resurrection Stone (although he doesn’t know that for a while). And finally, there’s also a looming confrontation between Harry and Voldemort because the prophecy foretold that one has to kill the other.

Even though the last book was split up in 2 movies, this last part still needs to handle a large part of the plot. As a consequence the movie almost buckles under the weight of flashbacks and scenes that explain what’s been going on. On the other hand, these intervals make for good periods of ‘rest’ between the many action scenes. Where the first part was made up mostly out of building the story and developing characters, we now feel like we’re in the middle of Saving Private Ryan, and that’s totally fine! 

The grim-looking colours match the atmosphere and feel of the movie and the story as a whole. Only Hermoine’s clothes and the Weasley’s hair bring some colour to the movie. It’s certainly a pallet that matches the apocalyptic and desperate tone of the movie. This atmosphere is strengthened by the decor and mostly after the big attack on Hogwarts: wounded are being taken cared of in the Great Hall, dead are being covered up and there’s definitely an atmosphere of defeat hanging around.

Between all the violence and impressive looking action sequences, the small scenes that the supporting actors play in are the most entertaining. Professor McGonagall who gladly prepares the defense of Hogwarts, Molly Weasley kicking the shit out of Bellatrix Lestrange and Neville Longbottom who takes on the role of a hero. I do think however that Neville’s story and fight during the year at Hogwarts could’ve been portrayed better than just a slight reference to his wounds.  Compared to these, some of the scenes the main actors play are leaning very close to clichés but I didn’t find it bothersome at all. The epilogue is something that could’ve been better though, although it’s not abysmal at all.

The best part of the whole movie is Snape’s story and why he did what he did. It got quite emotional and it shows what a great actor Alan Rickman is, I could hear plenty of crying in the theatre. Alan Rickman is without a doubt the star of this movie

Conclusion, this is a fitting end to a movie franchise that many of us grew up with. While some scenes take certain liberties and change facts that are in the books it’s still a really good movie. The part before Hogwarts might seem a bit rushed, but you’ll quickly forget about that once the fight breaks loose.

My advice to you is watch part 1 and part 2 directly after each other. I re-watched part 1 just before I went to the cinema and I was fine, but some of the people I was with had a little trouble understanding what happened previously and it does break down the experience a bit. In any case, this was well worth my money and I find it quite sad that it’s now over.

I did notice a distinct lack of ‘NYEAAAAHHH’ from Voldemort though, seems they cut it all out after hearing the reviews on the trailer maybe?

Let me know what you thought of the movie in the comment section below! I eagerly await your views on this movie or the entire franchise.

/Gamecultist

Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows Trailer

A couple of days ago, the trailer for the new Sherlock Holmes was released. Sherlock Holmes: A game of shadows will again feature Robert Downey Jr as Sherlock Holmes and Jude Law as his colleague Dr. Watson. Guy Ritchie is again directing the sequel. Judging from the trailer the story will revolve around Holmes’ arch-nemesis Professor James Moriarty.

Sherlock Holmes has always been the smartest man in the room…until now. There is a new criminal mastermind at large–Professor Moriarty (Jared Harris)–and not only is he Holmes’ intellectual equal, but his capacity for evil, coupled with a complete lack of conscience, may actually give him an advantage over the renowned detective. When the Crown Prince of Austria is found dead, the evidence, as construed by Inspector Lestrade (Eddie Marsan), points to suicide. But Sherlock Holmes deduces that the prince has been the victim of murder–a murder that is only one piece of a larger and much more portentous puzzle, designed by one Professor Moriarty. Mixing business with pleasure, Holmes tracks the clues to an underground gentlemen’s club, where he and his brother, Mycroft Holmes (Stephen Fry) are toasting Dr. Watson on his last night of bachelorhood. It is there that Holmes encounters Sim (Noomi Rapace), a Gypsy fortune teller, who sees more than she is telling and whose unwitting involvement in the prince’s murder makes her the killer’s next target. Holmes barely manages to save her life and, in return, she reluctantly agrees to help him. The investigation becomes ever more dangerous as it leads Holmes, Watson and Sim across the continent, from England to France to Germany and finally to Switzerland. But the cunning Moriarty is always one step ahead as he spins a web of death and destruction–all part of a greater plan that, if he succeeds, will change the course of history.

The film is schedule for release on 28 December 2011. See below for the trailer.

/Gamecultist

Why Movies Based On Video Games Are So Bad

By now, it’s common knowledge that (most) movies that are based on video games are, to say it nicely, not so good. A few examples would be Tomb Raider, Max Payne, Doom or Prince of Persia. Ok, not all of those are terrible, but they weren’t very good either to us gamers. Even though people outside of the gaming community saw some merit in it. The image to the right displays a couple of the review scores that movies based on video games got. Suffice to say that none of those are actually anywhere near other films such as The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile or The Dark Knight.

But why exactly are they not as good as other movies that are based on books or real life? Well, for a couple of reasons actually.

50% is good for a movie based on video games ...

First of all, the producers are often so focused on making money that they forget to make the flick a real memorable one. Most of the budget that gets spent actually goes to advertisement rather than actual production of the movie.

Secondly, video games aren’t good material to make into a movie. Most genres of video games have certain characteristics that make it very hard to pour into a movie format. For example, platformers tend to not have enough plot within the games themselves, so the writers need to improvise. The average First-Person Shooter has a few minutes of narrative cinematics, but even the more cerebral examples of the genre will, by definition, feature hours of plot-free gunplay to rival the dumbest Summer Blockbuster. Fighting Games tend to have a similarly flimsy plot with Multiple Endings depending on the player’s character, and the writers have to mishmash these various plot threads into a coherent whole.

The only video game genres that pay much attention to plot — RPGs and Adventure Games — tend to have far too much plot to squeeze into a two-hour flick without leaving a ton out. Casey Hudson from BioWare recently mentioned that Hollywood was interested in making a movie out of their sci-fi epic Mass Effect. The only problem? Mass Effect is a 40-hour game. Open-ended RPGs allow us to explore worlds, to screw around, to do optional tasks that have nothing to do with the main storyline. It’s what makes those games so immersive and enjoyable. But replicating that immersiveness on-screen in any sort of short order is downright impossible. Could you tell Mass Effect’s story in two hours? Sure, but doing so strips the game of its strengths and leaves you, well, unsatisfied. Which is about par for the course for video game movies. Not to mention all the choices you get to make as Commander Shephard, would the Shepard in the movie be a good guy, a bad guy or somewhere in between?

Next to that, watching a movie based on a video game after actually playing the game is like watching someone else play. When it comes to pure action and excitement, video games are surpassing movies as the medium du jour. Why bother paying 10 dollars to see Jason Statham beat up dudes for a few minutes when you can spend ten times as long beating up the thugs yourself? You see, while a video game can do this and entertain for hours, non-stop action movies can get incredibly tedious (Shoot ‘Em Up) because you’re only watching someone else. Video game movies therefore typically end up either dull, action-devoid adaptations, or boring, action-packed fluff like Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. Either way, you’re better off playing the game.

Thirdly, and this is more or less a result of the fact that video games aren’t very good material to convert to a good movie. The protagonists of video games often have their very own typical behaviour style, clothing, accent and character development throughout a game, which is strengthened further by the player’s imagination, experiences and values. This in fact is extremely hard for any actor to portray. Clothing and accent can be done of course, but the movie will often lack the character development and the sense of recognition we gamers get when playing the game. The most prominent example I have of this would be Max Payne. The Max Payne in the game is a deeply cynical, sad but also highly determined man with a gloomy past following him around like a shadow. Mark Wahlberg tried his best to portray all this, but in the end he just came off as a weak derivative of our dearest of all our friends, Max Payne (see what I did there?!).

In my opinion, producers should really stick to CGI so they can keep the character (and voice actor) and do away with weak real life substitutes (ahem, Dragonball Evolution).

Now, before I come off as too demanding there really are some movies that are based on video games that I liked. For example, I really liked Hitman, Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within and the first Resident Evil. The movie industry isn’t going to give a video game based movie an oscar any time soon, but there might be some hope for us left … maybe Peter Jackson will finally get his Halo movie going (even though I doubt it), maybe we’ll see a World Of Warcraft movie (it better be CGI or really good special effects), a possible Assassin’s Creed movie and last but not least there might be an upcoming Uncharted movie.

Also, BioWare and Blizzard should totally go into the movie business.

Anyway, that’s all for now. Let me know what you think about video game based movies or tell me why you think this or that movie was good/bad.

/Gamecultist

Character Bio – Hal Jordan

In today’s character bio we’re discussing Hal Jordan, the main protagonist of the Green Lantern comics by DC Comics.

Hal Jordan was a test pilot, having followed in the footsteps of his father, Martin Jordan. He was given the power ring and battery (lantern) by a dying alien named Abin Sur, whose spaceship crashed on Earth. Abin Sur used his ring to seek out an individual who was “utterly honest and born without fear” to take his place as Green Lantern. Jordan became a founding member of the Justice League of America and as of the mid-2000’s is, along with John Stewart, one of the two active-duty Lanterns in Earth’s sector of space.

Following the rebirth of Superman and the destruction of Green Lantern’s hometown of Coast City in the early 1990s, Hal Jordan seemingly went insane and destroyed the Green Lantern Corps and the Central Power Battery. Now calling himself Parallax, Hal Jordan would devastate the DC Universe off and on for the next several years. However, after Earth’s sun was threatened by a Sun-Eater, Jordan sacrificed his life, expending the last of his vast power to reignite the dying star. Jordan subsequently returned from beyond the grave as the Spectre, the divine Spirit of God’s Vengeance, whom Jordan attempted to transform into a Spirit of Redemption, which ended in failure.

In Green Lantern: Rebirth, it is revealed that Jordan was under the influence of a creature known as Parallax when he turned renegade. Parallax was a creature of pure fear that had been imprisoned in the Central Power Battery by the Guardians of the Universe in the distant past. Imprisonment had rendered the creature dormant and it was eventually forgotten, becoming known merely as the “yellow impurity” in the power rings. Sinestro was able to wake Parallax and encourage it to seek out Hal Jordan as a host. Although Parallax had been trying to corrupt Jordan (via his ring) for some time, it was not until after the destruction of Coast City that it was able to succeed. It took advantage of Jordan’s weakened emotional state to lure him to Oa and cause him to attack anyone who stood in his way. After killing several Green Lanterns, Jordan finally entered the Central Power Battery and absorbed all the power, unwittingly freeing the Parallax entity and allowed it to graft onto his soul.

The Spectre bonded with Jordan in the hopes of freeing the former Green Lantern’s soul from Parallax’s taint, but was not strong enough to do so. In Green Lantern: Rebirth, Parallax began to assert control of the Parallax-Spectre-Jordan composite. Thanks to a supreme effort of will, Jordan was able to free himself from Parallax, rejoin his soul to his body and reclaim his power ring. The newly revived (and rejuvenated) Jordan awoke just in time to save Kyle Rayner and Green Arrow from Sinestro. After the Korugarian’s defeat, Jordan was able to successfully lead his fellow Green Lanterns in battle against Parallax and with help from Guardians Sayd and Ganthet, imprisoned it within the personal power batteries of Earth’s Lanterns, rendering the Green Lantern’s rings free of the yellow impurity, provided they had the power of will to do so. Hal Jordan is once again a member of both the Justice League and the Green Lantern Corps, and along with John Stewart is one of the two Corps members assigned to Sector 2814, personally defeating Sinestro in the Sinestro Corps War. Jordan is designated as Green Lantern 2814.1. 

Post-“Sinestro Corps War”, DC Comics revisited the origin of Hal Jordan as a precursor to “The Blackest Night” storyline

I hope you enjoyed this pretty short bio … but hey, can’t all be post of a several thousand words!

See you next time.

/Gamecultist