*Minor spoilers ahead*
It’s easy to make assumptions about what kind of film Arrival is just by glimpsing one of its ominous black “shell” spaceships. Those assumptions would likely be wrong, though.
The Call of Duty franchise has acquired a substantially large and rabid fanbase after more than a decade of steady annual releases. It’s become the de facto first-person shooter not only due to its industry leading sales, but because so many other developers have tried emulating the series’ mechanics, motifs, and success — both critically and commercially — over the years. Call of Duty has been king for quite some time now, but, unfortunately, with success comes complacency. Each new entry has been met with increasing cynicism from enthusiasts and detractors alike because the franchise more adequately represents Activision’s business model as a whole these days, rather than Call of Duty’s rich historic legacy.
Everything Old Is New Again
Battlefield 1 probably feels like a tangential release for people only familiar with the franchise’s recent history. The previous two numbered Battlefield games have tried chasing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare so much — at least in terms of storylines and aesthetics — that it’s easy to forget that DICE was also the studio responsible for Battlefield: 1942 once upon a time. It’s left plenty of longstanding fans screaming, “Make Battlefield great again!” or some variation of those words over the past few years. They ‘member. Well, here it is, DICE’s answer to your pleas. COD fans, you’re welcome to come along too.
Aimed To Please
There are a lot of opinions out there regarding the Gears of War franchise, and — let’s just all be honest with ourselves — Gears of War 4 isn’t going to change anyone’s mind. If you weren’t a fan of the gruff sounding, smack talking, chest bumping squad from Epic’s original trilogy, do yourself a favor now and just move along. Live long and prosper and whatnot. You can almost see the adage “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” hung above each developer’s desk at the Coalition’s studio in Vancouver. But let’s also be clear here, that’s not an entirely bad thing either.
Welcome to Paradise
You’re driving down an Australian coastal highway at the magic hour in a Lamborghini Veneno. A few stars cling to the fading night sky in the west, while outside the passenger side window dawn threatens to break just above the ocean’s crest. “Reckoner” by Radiohead starts playing over your car speakers so you turn up the volume until the sounds and scenery completely wash you away. It’s a moment of ostentatious tranquility, and you’re unlikely to ever actually experience it unless you’re playing Forza Horizon 3.
For Better or Worse
Let’s all agree that our collective relationship with game developer Bungie has become unhealthy over the years. It all started off well enough with the Halo series. Bungie could do no wrong in the world of first-person shooters. Most were happy to see them everyday. They made us smile, they made us laugh, and, for many, they were our first (great console FPS or online multiplayer experience, that is). That’s why fans out there were excited when Bungie said they wanted to take our relationship to the next level with Destiny, a multiplatform MMO shooter that promised the world—actually not just “the world,” but “worlds,” plural. It was what we’d been dying to hear, so much so that some were even willing to overlook the red flags along the way. Two years later, and many have fled into other developer’s arms, while those still faithful to Bungie’s original promises continue to be taken advantage of.
More Time in the Oven
ReCore is an exciting prospect on paper. It’s a collaboration between storied video game producer Keiji Inafune, responsible for the Mega Man and Dead Rising franchises, and Armature Studio, the creators of the Metroid Prime series. With decades of game development experience shared between this East meets West coupling, it’s not surprising that ReCore’s fundamental gameplay is so strong. What is surprising, though, is just how unpolished the finished product is.
What is love?
It would be a mistake to call Yorgos Lanthimos’s The Lobster absurd. Sure, it’s an absurdist romantic comedy where, in some parallel dystopian universe, those who can’t find a suitable mate are sent to an ominous hotel to find one, within forty-five days, lest they be transformed into a lower life form. I guess that probably sounds strange to most people, but, maybe, wholly practical to others. Who am I to judge? Nevertheless, the premise alone will likely be enough to turn off more myopic audiences. I get that. However, for everyone else, rest assured that there’s far more to this, dare I say, masterpiece if you’re willing to simply go with it.
Fool Me Twice…
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was a bad movie, but never mind that. This is a review for Suicide Squad, which, turns out, is also a bad movie (how strange). Sorry to report, but as someone who respects numerous films for their sharply written scripts, visual artistry, and passionate performances, I’m actually willing to go as far as calling Suicide Squad an objectively bad movie. That certainly doesn’t mean that people can’t or won’t enjoy it, or that Warner Brothers latest DC Comics adaptation doesn’t have any redeemable qualities whatsoever. It absolutely does, but Suicide Squad is still a hot mess, even if it is better than its brooding, illogical, and unintentionally funny protagonist-led counterpart from earlier this year.