What We Know: Jump Force

If you love anime and fighting games, then look forward to next week when Jump Force comes in with its diverse superpowered roster of characters to be the perfect dream come true to hardcore fans of the genre.

What is it?

Jump Force is a celebration of anime and Weekly Shonen Jump, a manga magazine that is shy of 51 years old. To honor the magazine and beloved genre, players will have a chance to play a variety of characters from new and old manga series with a fighting game twist.

The opportunity will arrive for people to pit their favorite characters against one another. If you had an argument about who will win in a fight, now you can show to your friend who is the most powerful.

Release date and platforms

Jump Force will launch on Feb. 15 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

Gameplay

Imagine Dragon Ball Fighter Z fusing together with Marvel vs. Capcom to make for an epic crossover battle. Three fighters on each side of the arena to fight it out to see who can make it on top.

Similar to later titles from Netherrealm Studios like the latest Mortal Kombat and Injustice 2, the stages will have interactable objects and transitions to vary up the map and gameplay.

The arenas will take set in real places like the famous Times Square in New York City and freezing cold mountains of the Alps. Like Dragon Ball Fighter Z, the action around these iconic locations will be set in 3D, so instead of a Mortal Combat style, players will have the ability to roam around for a rounded experience that gives more variety and strategy to combat.

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Image via Bandai Namco Entertainment

Roster

One Piece: Monkey D. Luffy, Sanji, Blackbeard, Roronoa Zoro, Sabo, and Boa Hancock.

My Hero Academia: Izuku Midoriya.

Naruto: Naruto Uzumaki and Sasuke Uchiha.

Yu Yu HakushoYusuke Urameshi and Younger Toguro.

Hunter x HunterGon Freecss, Killua Zoldyck, Kurapika, and Hisoka Morow.

Bleach Ichigo Kurosaki, Rukia Kuchiki, Sosuke Aizen, and Renji Abarai.

Saint SeiyaPegasus Seiya and Dragon Shiryu.

Yu-Gi-OhYugi Moto (With the Duel Monsters Dark Magician, Dark Magician Girl and Slifer the Sky Dragon).

Dragon BallGoku, Vegeta, Frieza, Piccolo, Cell, and Trunks.

Fist of the North StarKenshiro.

City HunterRyo Saeba.

Rurouni KenshinHimura Kenshin and Shishio Makoto.

Black CloverAsta.

Original creations for the game: Galena, Glover, Kane, and Navigator.

After a short time between its announcement last year at E3, it has raced to its launch date around the corner. Be sure to pre-order the game below:

Pre-order and support the blog: Jump Force – PlayStation 4

Pre-order and support the blog: Jump Force – Xbox One

Header image via Bandai Namco Entertainment

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What We Know: Metro: Exodus

The third installment in the Metro series comes this month, so before you go buy the game, here is everything you need to know.

Story

Artyom’s next adventure takes place after the last entry, Metro: Last Light. The protagonist and his fellow survivors will travel East out of Moscow to find somewhere safer and to better their lives.

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Partial Open World

The series has always been linear with enough open areas to gather supplies and collectibles, but nothing too open, just what you expect from an FPS narrative-driven game.

The levels will open up enough for more exploration to find side quests while still telling the main story. A balance between the Metro level design that fans know while stretching the maps into something larger for a fresh experience to enhance the storytelling and gameplay.

The map will include plenty of diversity in its scenery. Claustrophobic tunnels stay as a series staple along with beautiful landscapes, and dilapidated cities will change up not only the surrounding aesthetic but make players think twice about their strategies when going into a new area.

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New Threats

Not a surprise, but new enemies will get introduced ranging from humans, animals, and the series iconic mutated monsters.

The new enemy factions include the Hanza faction, the Bandits, and the Fanatics. The Hanza will act as a primary threat now that the Fascists and Communists have taken each other out of the picture. The other two seem like typical bandit type groups who take and kill whoever they spot for resources. Knowing the series, a bigger story always is around the corner, especially for these advanced gangs.

Weapon System

While many of the features remain in the shadows as a surprise once players get their hands on Exodus, we do know a few things about the weapons.

Customization gets pushed to a significant aspect of the game. To survive Artyom needs to use his resources, so modifying weapons with other parts or types of ammunition will benefit when facing certain types of enemies.

Distribution

Controversy circles the game as it nears release due to a decision from Deep Silver and Koch Media to have the PC version exclusive to Epic Games’ store, taking away from Steam.

4A Games have made a statement that this decision was entirely on Deep Silver and Koch Media.

Distribution will continue as normal for PlayStation and Xbox users. Players on PC will have to buy through Epic, but anyone who pre-ordered through Steam keeps their order.

Release 

Metro: Exodus launches Feb. 15 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. You can catch my review right on my site, so keep an eye out for that.

Pre-order below and support the blog with any purchase via these links:

Pre-order and support the blog: Metro Exodus – PS4 [Digital Code]

Pre-order and support the blog: Metro Exodus – Xbox One [Digital Code]

Any purchases using the links above support the blog, even if it is not the game being linked.

All image via 4A Games/Deep Silver

Anthem Demo Impressions: A Hit or Miss?

Bioware announced Anthem, and I immediately turned sour with my thoughts on their new project, mostly because of its relation to games like Destiny and The Division. Seeing gameplay I thought the Iron Man-like flying looked awesome and the graphics looked stunning, but still was not sold on the idea. After playing the open demo this past weekend, I can say that Anthem is a worthy purchase, but I still have my doubts despite these positive feelings.

The demo took me three missions with some talking to NPCs around the hub world, Fort Tarsis. The Fort offers a market, a storage area, and places to talk to NPCs for expeditions, the term the game uses for missions/quests. A bland area that requires a painfully slow walk to speak with a few people then get into the Javelin, the exosuit used in the core gameplay, to start off on some adventures, the real meat of Anthem.

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To give Bioware credit, Fort Tarsis as the center hub will be different in the full release. I hope they take consideration in its purpose and usefulness to players by letting other plays be apart of this experience and give some activities in the area. Also, please allow sprinting here.

A glimpse into the story was shown within these three quests, but the story felt confusing by being thrown into this world with no context. An intriguing narrative about retrieving an artifact that distorts reality. Some dialog was chosen, but those choices were pointless. Hopefully the characters, decisions, and narrative can reach the heights that these developers have achieved in the past and not another Andromeda.

Before starting a mission, a screen pops up to allow choosing an expedition, getting friends in your squad, and setting up your suit for combat. The UI needs some maintenance but is easy enough to navigate. The invite system for friends needs some attention due to some struggle my friends and I had trying to get everyone, but it was a brief struggle.

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The Javelin class everyone starts off with is the Ranger, the balanced exosuit that lends itself as the introduction to how the game works. At level 12 you get to choose one additional suit, I decided on the heavy class titled Colossus. The unlocking system might change in full release, but obtaining one every few levels seems to work well since leveling up feels fair as of now.

Customizing the loadout and Javelin has plenty of depth to explore. Javelins can be altered with their plating, style, and colors. Some of which can be bought, crafted, or found in missions, same goes for weapons and equipment. Before getting into the action, this is one of the best elements that Anthem has to offer, I hope the extension of the customization does not feel too limited on release.

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Once in a mission, a lot has to be taken in from combat to traversing the world. Initially, I hated the flying due to how clunky it felt, but after a while, I fell in love. The mechanic takes time to get used to and does need some improvement, especially when using a mouse, but a skill that can be mastered to fully enjoy it. Combat feels balanced with excellent gunplay, powerful equipment, and the right amount of challenge without feeling overwhelming.

Enemies found in the world range from alien creatures to robots. Every enemy felt unique in their looks and strategies. I hope this diversity is seen throughout my journey with Bioware’s sci-fi adventure because I am floored by the little I have seen already.

While playing this sci-fi RPG alone is an option, playing with two to three other friends makes the adventure that much better. Everyone using different Javelins and using teamwork to defeat giant enemies with smaller minions makes for epic battles that give satisfying rewards by the end.

Strongholds, Anthem‘s version of a raid, hold as a challenging, yet rewarding option outside of main story quests. Meant for end game content, the one featured here gave me a positive impression that makes me excited to go through each stronghold with my friends.

Expeditions have enough variety for a story that will not get old. From puzzles, only one was shown within the three missions, to boss battles, I found something to scratch every itch I felt for my time in this breathtaking world. Once completed, your squad earns medals for experience points and obtain any equipment or weapons found in combat that can be used or scrapped for resources to utilized for crafting.

Crafting is an in-depth, but simple system. Use resources to make different rarity levels of items from Common, Uncommon, Rare, Epic, and Masterwork. Each level requires more assets to create but delivers a better weapon or piece of equipment. Consumables can also be made to enhance specific attributes during a mission. An easy to use mechanic that dramatically benefits those times where finding things does not work out as well as creating.

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The economy will work on coins to buy new gear or players can use shards, the money that can be purchased as a microtransaction. Whether purchasing items with or without microtransactions will be unfair cannot be determined from the demo. In this time with the game, everything was marked 25 coins to buy. Thankfully any microtransactions sold will only contain a cosmetic item.

While many people complained about technical issues during the closed demo and some of those seeping into this weekend, I had little to no problems. Besides one crash and a few times, my frames dropped significantly, an overall smooth ride.

Bioware’s latest creation has a lot of promise and plenty of surprises up its sleeve. However, my worries still remain due to other titles similar to Anthem. Hopefully, the gameplay stays balanced enough for a challenge that does not punish players. If the loot system can continue its worthiness along with a compelling story, then this could be one of the best games of the year or one of the most disappointing. As of now, I am sold on one of the most beautiful and fun games I have played cooperatively with my friends.

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Anthem launches Feb. 22 and you can pre-order it below:

Pre-order and support the blog: Anthem – Standard – PC

Pre-order and support the blog: Anthem – PlayStation 4

Pre-order and support the blog: Anthem – Xbox One

Any purchases through Amazon by clicking on these links supports the blog.

Interview: Tim Graham from Rozu

#1: Competition is rough in the music industry, what is your band doing to grow and continue to reach for success?

In such a competitive industry we are really taking a different approach with the idea that content is king because honestly, it is. We have not stopped writing for a year now and continually creating more content and releasing bits and pieces here and there to grow our fanbase and avoiding wearing ourselves out too soon. We have 3 songs released now, have another EP still to be released and are currently finishing the writing sessions for an album.

#2: If someone goes to one of your concerts, what do you think they should know going in?

Really as anyone should at a show go in with an open mind and let yourself feel the music. Going into our show I think anyone should know that we leave it all out there and write music that is incredibly honest to us and we put that emotion into our show.

#3: What is your dream tour or festival?

Right now, our dream tour would be going out with our bros in Noble, Oceans Ate Alaska, and Outline in Color. That tour would honestly be the best times all around.

#4: If you could collaborate with any musician, who would you choose?

I would love to collaborate with the dudes in Underoath, their songwriting is just incredible and are living legends of this genre.

#5: Out of every concert you have been to, who are the best live bands?

Tool is always incredible to see live. In the scene, Architects and Plot in You are incredible live every time.

#6: Who are some of your biggest influences?

We draw a lot of influence from Underoath, Like Moths To Flames, Saosin, and Chiodos.

#7: When did you first start playing music and how did that come together to lead you to where you are today?

We all started playing at a young age individually. We just all have this fire inside of us and this drive knowing this is what we want to do. It is not an option anymore this is just what we need to do.

#8: What are your plans for the rest of the year for the band?

Well, we are going to continue writing with hopefully releasing this album by the end of the year and we are planning some tours right now for summer and fall. We are staying as busy as we possibly can.

Find more information on Rozu on their social media accounts and website:

Facebook, website, Twitter, and Instagram

Trailer Impression: Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile

Zac Efron turning from Disney star to adult comedies like Baywatch and Neighbors to transform into one of the most infamous serial killers in history, Ted Bundy. I had high hopes for the film to see the actor do something different after becoming redundant in his comedic roles, but after the trailer for the upcoming biopic on the killer, I feel confused about the tone, worried for failure, and disappointed in what has been delivered.

Unlike most stories centered around someone truly evil, the perspective lands on Bundy’s longtime girlfriend, Elizabeth Kloepfer (Lily Collins) and sees most of the screentime will be set on her point of view. Much of the horrendous rapes and murders will get acknowledged, but sit in the back seat. The claim from Efron and director Joe Berlinger (Paradise Lost) is that the objective is a character study on Bundy and his relationship with Kloepfer, but not a single drop of that came off in this first worldwide look at the film.

To take it from the top, fun rock music blasts through the first click on YouTube to see Bundy meet Kloepfer at a bar to give the introduction of how they first connect and where they go in their relationship. Makes sense to have an amusing start to the teaser, but the rock n’ roll tunes continue as Bundy’s seemingly innocent life takes a grim turn, making for a bizarre, unfitting tone.

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Efron’s Bundy and Collins’ Kloepher celebrating her daughter’s second birthday. Easily the most disturbing birthday party image of the decade.

A series of events unfold as the police start to suspect Bundy of kidnapping women. His number one mission is to not only show his innocence but to prove to his lover and her daughter Molly (Morgan Pyle) that he is the man they have known and loved. With the drama, I could not taste any of the serious, tension, or disturbing flavors, mostly due to the music and the editing.

Bundy goes through courtrooms, the media taking photos of him, and people questioning whether or not he committed such heinous acts of violence. A real sense of curiosity and horror translates through quite well. The emotions the people felt when watching at their TVs or reading their newspapers about this crime delivers an authentic impression of what Americans had to go through with this knowledge.

Biopics must always have a solid focus, or they fall apart, so flipping the genre on its head by pushing away from murder and more towards a loving relationship between two people should get some respect. The problem comes from humanizing Bundy, which seems the case. If the premise works then, we will get a brilliant, groundbreaking look at the monstrous killer and new feelings towards Efron as an actor.

A question is posed in the film, can someone like Bundy, a psychopath, fall in love due to him never killing Kloepher? Plenty of great ideas are flowing from Berlinger and writer Michael Werwie, but I am having my doubts if they will translate their goals to the audience, who might feel disgusted and shocked, and not in the way that the filmmakers would want.

Hopefully, the comedic vibes only show in the right moments during the first act to build up characters and relationships rather than popping up when everyone starts to see the monster under the mask. If the execution of the tone and objective gets done ethically to not overly humanize Bundy and show the trauma that Kloepher had to endure by discovering the true identity of the love of her life then maybe we can get something truly incredible.

After tearing into Berlinger’s biopic, I should say that the casting looks great and the approach holds a lot of promise. Efron can show the world he is more than Disney songs and crude humor. Lily Collins (Les Miserables), Angela Sarafyan (Westworld) Jim Parsons (Big Bang Theory), and John Malkovich (In the Line of Fire) will help lift the film up with their performances. A robust and well-experienced cast with plenty of people stepping into something brand new should deliver a unique experience.

Fingers crossed for lousy marketing and editing rather than what was just shown to the world.

Watch the trailer and comment what you think of the film. Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile has no release date for theaters as of yet and just premiered at the Sundance Festival.

All images via Voltage Pictures

5 Biggest Snubs From the 2019 Oscar Nominations

The Academy Awards can never satisfy anyone due to the abundance of films that come out every year; however, sometimes their issues cannot be ignored like some major snubs that happen each year. Now that the nominees have been announced, the gaping holes shine the light on plenty of issues, but five of which infuriate me the most.

#5: Annihilation gets nothing?

Many have forgotten this beautiful film, but the sci-fi adaption delivered a brilliant artsy narrative along with the best visuals from the year. The film could easily grab at most eight nominations. The Academy should have put Alex Garland’s trippy flick under the following categories: adapted screenplay, makeup and hairstyling, visual effects, sound mixing, sound editing, costume design, production design, and cinematography. While many missed out on one of 2018’s best films, the ones who saw and fell in love with Annihilation will agree its right to take home an Oscar.

#4: Avengers: Infinity War deserves more nominations

Many may disagree, but Infinity War deserves more nods than Black Panther. The cultural significance of Black Panther makes it an essential film for all of Hollywood and the superhero genre. Comparing quality, Infinity War holds up far better and achieved the impossible by standing as one of the biggest blockbusters in history, not in budget and earnings, but in its stature in storytelling and directing.

Black Panther could move the comic book adaptions into the Academy more often, but I worry for the future recognition excellent movies in the genre will receive. Hopefully, King T’Challa can break through to the prestigious award ceremony to let in his fellow Avengers for the coming years.

At the very least, the epic battle against Thanos should have earned more nominations from the other visual oriented categories.

#3: Eighth Grade got nothing?

Offensive is the only word to describe Bo Burnham’s directorial debut snub. The resonating story made this small teenage journey one of the most important films of the year. Despite praise upon its release, the Oscars are for the cool kids, and not the awkward teenager.

Both Elsie Fisher and Josh Hamilton could squeeze into best actor and actress categories or replace someone for their position these significant slots.

Bo Burnham himself could get a place for his directing and original screenplay, however, he sits out just like his cast and crew.

Shame on the Academy Awards.

#2: Toni Collette ignored for her performance in Hereditary

I don’t know which of these last three slots on my list make me angrier, but Toni Collette not getting a nomination for her performance in 2018’s best horror film drives me insane. She delves into such emotion ranging from rage, feeling resented, depressed, desperate, and so much more to bring her character to life.

While most of my list is wanting a film or person to get a simple nod by the Academy, this is the one I demand to win due to her incredibly moving performance that took my breath away.

#1: Bradley Cooper does not get best director for A Star Is Born

How does one of Hollywood’s best actors get in so many categories, but not the best director? The Academy loves directorial debuts, but somehow Cooper could win all of the biggest awards despite one for one of his most momentous achievements in his career. Criminal might go too far, but describes how robbed he has been from such a respectable selection.

What are the biggest snubs from this year’s Oscar nominations to you? Comment what you think below.

Image via A24 and Warner Bros. Pictures

 

Edgar Wright’s Next Project is a Psychological Horror Flick, Plus Updates on Baby Driver 2 and Sparks Documentary

Edgar Wright’s career has centered around comedy with the zombie rom-com Shaun of the Dead and his spoof on the British police force with Hot Fuzz, after taking a turn to the crime-thriller genre with Baby Driver, the director told Empire his eyes are set on a new direction into the world of psychological horror featuring a female lead in London.

“I realized I had never made a film about central London – specifically Soho, somewhere I’ve spent a huge amount of time in the last 25 years,” Wright told Empire. “With Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead you make movies about places you’ve lived in. This movie is about the London I’ve existed in.”

The film will shoot this summer and will be co-written by Krysty Wilson-Cairns (Penny Dreadful).

Besides this horror project, Wright remains working on a documentary based on the rock band Sparks and has his first draft of the sequel to his 2016 film Baby Driver. He told Empire that it will “takes the story further” and introduce plenty of new characters.

You can read everything he has to say on Empire’s new issue.

Image via commons.wikimedia/Punktoad