Marvel’s Avengers – A-Day Prologue Gameplay Reveal Impressions

Back at E3 this year, Square Enix showed a behind closed doors gameplay video of its upcoming Avengers game. The reception was poor from journalists, and from leaked footage, it did look bad. Maybe it was the cell phone camera that made it look like this is a licensed game from the early 2000s, until I saw the official gameplay reveal – it is that bad.

After a cutscene of the Avengers celebrating A-Day, duty calls as multiple attacks across San Fransisco burst out of nowhere. A little bit of awkward banter between Thor and Iron Man, the first peek at the overall feel is given as the God of Thunder smashes mysterious thugs. His movement looks sluggish, and the hits seem to not have weight to provide a satisfying punch, especially when throwing Mjolnir, his mighty hammer. It looks arcadey rather than a modern action experience.

Continuing the weird writing, his quips and catchphrases during combat are cringy. While the whole cast is excellent with Travis Willingham (Camp Camp and Tell Tale’s Batman) as Thor, Laura Bailey (Gears of War 4 and Insomniac’s Spider-Man) as Black Widow, Troy Baker (Bioshock: Infinite and The Last of Us) as Hulk, Nolan North (Uncharted and Pretty Little Liars) as Iron Man, and Jeff Schine (Mafia III and The Walking Dead: A New Frontier), they all have some flat line delivery along with no chemistry. North and Baker had wonderful chemistry in Uncharted 4, so maybe there was a directing issue, or this comes down to poor writing.

It appears each hero has three main moves to pummel enemies. The animations are enjoyable, but I have little hope the power will be there when playing.

Iron Man eventually comes in to help his friend. Unlike the movies where the heroes fighting side by side creates for exciting fights, this lacks that. He flies above Thor shooting people idly.

If things looked like you would play this in an arcade than pay $60, then it completely ramps up the quarter hungry type of game as Iron Man get his time to shine on screen. Switching to the billionaire superhero, he flies across the wreckage of exploded vehicles to shoot down flying enemies. The destruction of the landscape looks spectacular, which loses its mesmerizing effect as Tony blasts generic thugs out of the sky.

Hulk’s combat section does not repair any damage. He does what he is best at, smashing. The impact is not there, making him, along with everyone else, a lot less powerful than he should. The green Avenger jumps over gaps in the Golden Gate Bridge by wall jumping from one collapsed piece of debris or vehicle to another. It is overly linear and adds no depth to the gameplay.

Captain America continues the generic fighting as he kicks, punches, and uses his iconic shield to defeat incoming enemies. This beat-em-up section looks like every other scenario. While each character does have unique abilities, I don’t have confidence that will make enough of a difference for the quality.

Black Widow chases Taskmaster, the only supervillain shown off so far. Out of every character design, he is one of the best. A brief platforming section along with a QTE (quick time event) heavy battle with the antagonist screams the early to mid-2000s in the worst possible way. She does get in a real battle with two more stages of this battle, which shows off weak gunplay and slightly faster movement from the agent.

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It ends on a cutscene of Captain’s death and a few cutscenes from the trailer shown before this Gamescom reveal. All of the cutscenes are impressively crafted. The epic scope makes this story worthy for the Avengers, but everything else falls flat to make me not even care for its potential.

The second AAA title from Marvel Games looks terribly disappointing. Outside of pretty graphics, it offers no appeal to me at all. After the success of Spider-Man, I thought things looked positive for the other studios developing for the publisher. Turns out I was wrong as this comes off as a dated and generic action game that would have come out a decade ago as a cheap tie-in to one of the movies.

What do you think of the gameplay for Marvel’s Avengers?

Marvel’s Avengers comes out May 15, 2020, for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and Google Stadia.

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Images via Marvel Games/Square Enix

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Trailer Impressions: Knives Out

The next film from director Rian Johnson (Looper, Star Wars: The Last Jedi) showed off the trailer for his murder mystery that will rival Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood with its all-star cast. This whodunit flick looks fun with the right balance of thrills, and I am ready to buy my tickets as soon as I can.

Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer), a mystery novelist, falls to a suspicious death. As his family members gather for his funeral, detectives, Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) and Troy Archer (LaKeith Stanford) come in to investigate, with his eyes on one of the family members as the prime suspect, it is all about to find out which person committed the murder.

Starting off with the detectives giving a rundown on what just happened. Along with glimpses at each of the suspects from Alex Robinson (Chris Evans), Linda Robinson (Jamie Lee Curtis), Jack Bressler (Michael Shannon), and many more characters who can’t all be identified, but the cast continues its strength with Toni Collette (Hereditary), Ana de Armes (Blade Runner 2049), and Katherine Langford (13 Reasons Why).

Benoit tells the family they must stay until the investigation concludes, which sparks up some of the despicable personalities to aim for the detective. Collette’s snappy attitude is more than enough of a hint on how this family acts. This is often the case in many murder mysteries, but with the right writing, it can be just as enjoyable.

Someone injecting another with poison is one of the many times murder is shown, so I expect plenty of others to start dropping throughout the story. After Craig mentions how these people “love twisting the knife into one another,” someone pulls out a knife from a fancy rack of blades that makes me want one for myself.

The ultimate selling point comes from America’s ass, Captain America himself, Chris Evans as he tells everyone in the room to “eat shit.” It is glorious as he repeatedly insults each of his relatives. The clean superhero really is gone with this new role.

A montage of Craig investigating the house along with more murderous attempts on people’s lives continue. With one glimpse of a car chase, it appears this will grow outside of the main property that was owned by the deceased father.

The two-minute trailer shows a lot of potential chemistry which will undoubtedly make this a joy to watch as long as the pacing gets nailed. Johnson is aiming to take these actors and actresses out of the bubble that people tend to view them in for roles that may seem unconventional, especially Craig and Evans. Bond and Captain America will play off more comedic elements than what they have been able to do in the past ten years.

Knives Out could be a blast, while I still want to know what twist on the genre does Johnson has up his sleeve. It looks thrilling while having plenty of laughs to deliver. Nov. 27 feels like it is miles away.

What do you think of the trailer? Are you excited or going to pass? Also, for those of you who are interested, who is the murderer? Post your thoughts in the comments.

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Image via Lionsgate

Trailer Impressions: IT: Chapter 2

Since I walked out of the theater during my first viewing of the 2017 remake of IT, I could not wait for a sequel. After a phenomenal cast announced to play as the grown-up Losers’ Club and months of waiting in anticipation, we got our first look into the next terrifying experience with everyone’s childhood nightmare, Pennywise (Bill Skarsgard).

The trailer starts off innocently as Beverly (Jessica Chastain) arrives at her childhood home. The old woman invites her in so she can relive some of the positive memories she had, but things are off with her, and the chills start coming down my spine. The woman’s odd behaviors escalate until Beverly realizes this is a trap and gets attacked. One thing everyone should remember, horror and old people are never a good mix, so stay away from the elderly or clowns.

That drawn-out sequence takes up two minutes of the three-minute teaser, now we get a minute montage of the horrors that await the unlikely heroes. The first clip gives a glimpse at the adults with a pan around that shows them as children. The film will have plenty of flashbacks, so the wonderfully talented kids from the first part will still have some screen time, thankfully.

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The Loser’s Club have reunited (image via Warner Bros. Pictures)

A meeting between the group happens where everyone comes together for beer and what seems like a planning phase to take out their childhood monster. The details of the room are hard to tell, but we do get a better look at how these kids look now that they have grown-up.

Bill (James McAvoy) has a moment where he is looking down a sewer and sees some hands holding out a boat. Everyone will continue to deal with their trauma in a variety of ways and with him being the central character, I expect plenty of references to the loss of his brother.

Another piece shows that possibly Bill and Bev’s relationship from the first film will get some development. He reassures her about getting through this adventure alive. What strikes me is the choice to show this in the teaser. The other hint at their relationship comes from a kiss that happens towards the end of the trailer. With all that is happening, hopefully, this dynamic can weave itself into the story without taking away from anything since romance can feel forced in many narratives.

The sewer that ended the first battle against Pennywise gets a brief look. Bill, Richie (Bill Hader), and Mike (Isaiah Mustafa) walk down the tunnel. I wonder if the three are investigating something or getting ready to combat the shapeshifting creature.

A lot of confrontations with Pennywise are shown. Richie sees the clown flying by a string of many balloons, someone who could be Bev struggles to survive in a massive amount of water, and an unknown little girl meeting the monster up front. Each scene gets flashed quickly, and all I can feel is this will be far more intense than the previous adventure.

A lot happens in these few minutes, but that is enough to sell me on the upcoming sequel of Stephen King’s classic epic that has frightened people for decades. I have high expectations due to the high quality of the first chapter. If all goes well, this could be my favorite horror film of the year, which says a lot because 2019 has been huge for all things spooky.

IT: Chapter 2 releases Sept. 6

Watch the trailer below and let me know what you think:

Images via Warner Bros. Pictures

Trailer Impressions: Star Wars: Rise of the Skywalker

The time has come for the current saga for Star Wars to end. A controversial, but satisfying (to me) journey. Finally, the first look at the ninth installment has arrived. I have my worries, but my excitement drowns that out for the most part.

The first scene shown is an epic start to the teaser. Rey (Daisy Ridley) runs through a desert to jump over a ship to attack with her lightsaber. A deliberate focus on the pilot’s hands, which makes me think if this is someone significant, possibly Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). Before her stunt, the words, “Every generation has a legend,” appears. Sounds like Rey will be cemented as the new Luke (Mark Hamill). Whether she cuts this vehicle in half or rips the guy out, I cannot wait to see this play out.

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Image via Lucasfilm

As teasers tend to go, we get a variety of different shots showcasing plenty of action, new environments, and plenty of characters. One highlight comes from Kylo slamming someone down with his devilish lightsaber. Plus it appears his helmet is getting revamped with a brief glimpse into someone making some modifications.

Of the many quick shots that fade in and out, what caught me was seeing Billy Dee Williams reprise his role as Lando. He laughs while flying a ship, I only can imagine him shooting someone down as he enjoys his time.

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Image via Lucasfilm

Beautiful shots of explosions and classic characters like C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) merely escaping death followed up by a shot of the late Carrie Fischer holding our new protagonist, Rey. That got me choked up right away, and by this small glimpse, it appears to be one of the scenes she got to shoot before her passing.

The final shot is narrated by Luke Skywalker himself while Rey, Poe (Oscar Isaac), Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo), BB-8, C-3PO, and Finn (John Boyega) staring at what appears to be remains of the death star along with a laugh from Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) who has returned from the grave, apparently. This twist has me intrigued and my theorist mind going like crazy.

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Image via Lucasfilm

While everything I saw was spectacular, one issue remains. The title, Rise of the Skywalker, sounds like Rey will be a Skywalker since they are all dead. That would take away from Last Jedi and its twist that her parents are nobodies. I know a lot of people hate that film, but I loved most of its choices and the overall product. My faith in Abrams still stands strong, but it is okay to have some worries. Nonetheless, I cannot wait to get another Star Wars.

Watch the trailer below and be sure to comment on what you think of the trailer.

Header image via Lucasfilm

Trailer Impressions: Borderlands 3 (Update 4/3/2019)

UPDATE: Borderlands 3 has just been announced to have a release date for Sept. 13 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. The PC release will be an Epic Games Store Exclusive for six months, ending in April 2020.

After waiting seven years for a third title to the Borderlands series, Gearbox released a trailer to officially announce the next gun frenzy adventure. Full of old and new characters and plenty of action, not much is shown except to tell fans that what they want is coming. The few bits shown reveals nothing but fanfare and disappointment.

As a hardcore fan of these looter shooters, I enjoyed seeing some of my favorite characters like Sir Hammerlock, Lilith, Claptrap, and many more. We see a large portion of central and side memorable personalities along with some mysterious new faces, some of whom could be the new playable classes (maybe they are the ones at 33 seconds in the trailer). New villains, who remain unnamed, appear to replace Handsome Jack as the antagonist look intriguing, I cannot wait to shoot them with an infinite pistol that can be thrown as an explosive at their faces.

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One of the new characters who could be playable is what appears to be a Siren. We see her shoot plenty of baddies along with developing six lightning arms to assist her. None of the others show any sign of their abilities, but we may just have to wait for that.

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New locations are shown from deserts similar to previous titles, colorful lit up cities, and swamps. Hopefully, Gearbox does not recycle or give off that feeling of recycled landscapes. The deserts have me worried due to all the time spent in the second title, but the cities and swamps do have my attention. Each game has a vast amount of variety and appears Borderlands 3 will follow its predecessors.

Unique enemies always drew me into this universe. Original monsters that breathe fire, scene kid looking villains, and giant mechs deliver plenty of variety to the foes that make combat even more fun.

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Vehicles always ran as a convenient option for travel in previous games, but it is getting revamped. Flying cars, trucks with mounted guns, and other options display more than we have seen from any of its predecessors. Hopefully, we can see more implemented than what has been done before.

Hundreds to maybe thousands of guns are shown throughout the announcement. One pistol is seen walking around while shooting, so it is safe to say that the wacky weapons that never get old will not have any issues. They claim there are over a “billion,” but we will see how much is exaggerated, but who cares, it is Borderlands?

Reveal trailers are never much, and I am not one to critique graphics often, but this looks too old to for 2019 (or later). The cell-shaded style is iconic and always looks beautiful. However, the actual graphics look out of date and the exact same from all of the previous titles. When having fun playing cooperative will keep me distracted, it will still be on the back of my mind on how this looks like its from 2012, not 2019.

More info is to come soon on April 3. Keep an eye out on here for that updated information.

I have my concerns, but I still cannot contain my excitement for another Borderlands. What do you think of the reveal trailer? What do you want to hear on April 3 about the new title? Comment what you think and let’s chat about the glorious announcement of Borderlands 3.

 

Trailer Impressions: Hellboy (Red Band Trailer)

I rarely watch the second trailer of a film I am sold on, but seeing Hellboy with all of its rated R glory, I could not resist. Full of CGI havoc of demons and death with quick quips from our demonic protagonist. A mix of worry and excitement flows through my blood as I am ready for this possibly terrible, entertaining over-the-top adult reboot.

A ritual began to end humanity from the Nazis, some of whom are wearing Swastika 3D glasses, which gives us a glimpse into the origins of Hellboy (David Harbour). Lady Hatton (Sophie Okonedo) tells the large handed hero about how he came to Earth. A nice touch of information that does not give away too much, just enough for newcomers who may not understand what they are about to get themselves into if they buy tickets.

Introductions of Professor Bruttenholm (Ian McShane) as the father of Hellboy, Alice Monaghan (Sasha Lane) as Hellboy’s friend who will help him on his journey, and Ben Daimio (Daniel Dae Kim) a man with powers of a jaguar as the final member in the military organization titled the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense in most of the cast is a part.

After a helicopter ride that looks like too early of footage to put out into the world, we get the introduction of the film’s villain, a sorceress named Nimue the Blood Queen (Milo Jovovich). The Resident Evil star should make for a worthy adversary. While Ian McShane and David Harbour sold me on the cast, but with the addition of Jovovich, I am ecstatic to see the talent bring these characters to life.

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A series of conflict while giving some additional story details of the relationship between Hellboy and Nimue. Consistently some scenes look somewhat inconsistent with its visual effects. Some CGI looks spectacular while some looks washed out. Despite some worrying aspects, seeing monsters kill and destroy massive cities and Hellboy blowing enemies to pieces with any method he can achieve makes for one entertaining montage.

Amid all the chaos, some of the powers from other characters are revealed in this trailer. Ben’s jaguar powers come to life while he and Hellboy fight off a giant animalistic entity (looks like it could be part boar, but hard to tell, maybe one of you readers know your animals better).

An epic montage happens again to show off plenty of monsters that will probably end up getting their bodies mangled by one of the heroes. Even with some poorly done CGI here and there, the ones done right look incredible. With the source material laying the groundwork, the creature designs look equally spectacular and terrifying.

Now the blood and guts come in as our hero slashes and guns down everything in his path. One giant monster gets his limbs cut off while another gets its head blown to pieces. One of the last glimpses into this fantasy flick shows Hellboy with a flaming sword and crown riding a dragon into a hell-like landscape to face thousands of demons. Issues may clutter this ride, but at least it will be a bloodbath to keep things rolling.

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Some ways the new look into Neil Marshall’s (The Descent) reboot seems more flawed than a grand entry that delivers a rated R experience to fans of the comic. None of the humor shown cracked a smile on my face, and a lot of the practical and special effects look poor for a blockbuster. My hopes might have gone down, but they are still high in the idea of an entertaining adventure that may not rate as the best film in a review. We will see when it comes.

Hellboy releases April 12

Images via Lionsgate and Millennium Films

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