Suicide Squad (2016) Review!

Wonder Woman is having some great success at the box office and both fans and critics seem to love the movie. But let’s take a little trip into the past to Suicide Squad; a movie that looked really fun in the trailers but the end product just couldn’t deliver.

The idea behind Suicide Squad is nice but they just didn’t work it out properly. The Suicide Squad is mostly used to go on ‘black ops’ missions so when things go wrong there isn’t a connection with the US. In Suicide Squad they fight against Enchantress; a typical villain that could be perfectly combated with Batman, the Flash or any other member of the Justice League. It just doesn’t make sense why they would use the Suicide Squad for something like this. Besides that, Enchantress was another ‘meh’ villain; how many times are we going to see a baddie use something in the sky to destroy the world? It is getting pretty old.

Then there’s the problem of just having too many characters. It worked in The Avengers because they all (well for the most part) had solo movies which set up their character. In Suicide Squad we see a short introduction to the character and that’s where it ends for most of them. Some (like Harley Quinn and Deadshot) get a little more back-story but just not enough for you to actually care about any of them. They also put the Joker into this and I can’t figure out why; OK, he’s an essential part of Harley’s origin but they could have stopped at that. Now we get a bunch of scenes that are just unnecessary because they don’t really do anything to the plot. Jared Leto’s portrayal of the Joker was OK but it’s definitely not my favorite. Taking about acting; none of the performances really stand out. They are all OK but nothing special.

Conclusion:Combine all those things with lackluster action scenes and you have a movie that was destined to fail. It also didn’t help that they re shot a bunch of scenes to lighten to tone because it just doesn’t fit in the grand scheme of things. Suicide Squad could have been a decent film for the DCEU but it ended up being a failure.

Score: 5/10

 

Injustice 2 Review (PS4) !

Making a good sequel is a lot harder than it may seem; you need to add new things to please old fans (and potential new customers) but you can’t change too much because you then risk to lose part of your original fan base. I think that Injustice 2 finds the perfect balance between building on the good things of the original and adding new stuff.

I’ll briefly touch upon the story of Injustice 2 just to give you guys an idea what it’s all about but I don’t want to spoil any of it. Injustice 2 takes place after the events of the first one; Superman is in jail and the regime has been shut down. But when a new powerful enemy (Brianiac) appears and the former enemies need to team up to save the world. That’s the basic rundown of the story. It isn’t as great as the first one but it still has some awesome/unexpected moments that make it worthwhile. The dialogue, for the most part, is really solid and it emerges you into the story.

When you’re done with the story mode you can enter the Multiverse; a bunch of challenges based around the idea of having different earths. These Multiverse challenges give you motherboxes (more on that later) and are just a ton of fun to play. Some of the challenges are pretty original; fighting in super speed and low gravity for example really change the way the game plays. Certain Multiverse events can only be played with one character (the Wonder Woman one is the best example; you can only play as Wonder Woman but you’ll unlock some exclusive Wonder Woman gear) but most of them are playable with the character of your choosing! The Multiverse updates daily with new challenges which makes you coming back for more.

The combat has been fine tuned but if you’ve played the first game then you’ll know exactly what you’re going to get. There are 3 basic moves; a light, medium and heavy attack that you can combine to create combo’s. Then there are the ‘meter burn’ moves; moves specific to each character that do a considerable amount of damage and last but certainly not least are the supermoves; when your meter is full you can unleash a super move that does a ton of damage to your opponent. Some might think that this is too overpowered but I think that it is perfectly balanced because of the ‘clash’ system. When a clash happens you need to decide how much of your ‘meter burn’ you want to bet; if you win you’ll do damage/regenerate health, if you lose your opponent gets the advantage. It’s basically a gamble but one that can be used to your advantage. For instance you can let your opponent use all of their meter burn to get some of their health back but then you can proceed to do your supermove because you didn’t bet any of your meter burn. The system just works and it makes some of the battles really intense. The environmental interactions are still there but now, unlike the first game, most of them can be blocked which add to balance of the game. Lastly you can still punch opponents through the map which then puts you in a new part of the stage which is just a cool thing to do.

New characters will be added with DLC.

A fighting game needs a lot of characters and Injustice 2 has a pretty impressive character roster. Some of the names from the first one make a comeback but there are also a ton of new ones. My personal favorites (from the new additions) are Black Canary, Blue Beetle and Supergirl. They also added a ‘gear’ system which lets you customize each character to your liking. New gear not only changes the way your character looks but it also changes their stats; some items add health whilst others boost strength. Gear can be dropped after a match but mostly you’ll get it from opening motherboxes. You can buy these boxes with in game money that you earn from playing but you’ll also earn a lot of motherboxes by playing The Multiverse or just by completing challenges.

Conclusion: Injustice 2 took everything that made the first game good and made it even better! The graphics have improved immensely and the gameplay has been tweaked to help with the balance. The multiverse is a great concept and it gives the player a reason to comeback. Injustice 2 is the best fighting game I’ve played in a long time and I can’t recommend it enough!

Score: 9/10

Note: I didn’t talk about the online features because I don’t play fighting games online.

My FIFA 17 Weekend League Experiment!

The Weekend League is the hottest thing right now in FIFA 17 Ultimate Team (well besides ridiculous squad building challenges). Every weekend players play 40 games and try to win as many of them as possible to get the best rewards. Normally people use their absolute best teams (cough Premier League cough) to compete in the Weekend League but  I decided I wanted to do something else. So I built 4 squads and played 10 games with each squad to see how many wins I could get. The first 3 teams had the exact same bench: 4 bronzes and 3 substitutes; Inform Shaqiri, MVP David Villa and Morgan Schneiderlin. I picked these players because they are versatile; Shaqiri can play both wings and fill in the CAM spot, Villa is a great striker and CAM and Schneiderlin can play both CDM and CB. The last team that I used didn’t have this bench but it had something similar; 4 bronzes and then Shane Long, Andy King and Phil Jones as substitutes.

Team 1

FIFA 17 FUT Hub (In Menus)

This is arguably the best team that I’ve played with this weekend. The defense is solid, the attack combines skill and pace; this is a team that ‘normal’ people might use in the weekend league. I won 6 games with this team which isn’t bad but it’s definitely not as good as i expected it to be. I had a hard time scoring goals in some games which lead to losses. I finished with 6 wins with this team; not bad but definitely not great.

6/10

Team 2

FIFA 17 FUT Hub (In Menus)

This was a Dutch/Eredivisie/Premier League hybrid and again I struggled with scoring. I did notice that I had an easier time when I switched Memphis to the CAM spot, Kuyt to a CM spot and put Shaqiri on the LW position. I did find a player that I absolutely LOVE; Tony Vilhena. He’s a great all round midfielder. This team wasn’t as good as the first one but still I got the exact same amount of wins; 6.

6/10

Team 3

FIFA 17 FUT Hub (In Menus)

A full Belgian team! This team was super fun to play with but I didn’t get a lot of wins and that was because of my goalkeeper. Proto had games where he didn’t save a shot which makes it really hard to win. It’s not fun to know that you have to score 4-5 goals in order to win a game. I ended up with a measly 3 wins; a total failure.

3/10

Team 4

FIFA 17 FUT Hub (In Menus)

I built myself a Watford team. On paper the worst squad that I used but my word was it fun to play with. Okaka is a tank up front; he was my favorite striker in FIFA 16 (scored more than 120 goals with him) and he’s still very nice to play with on this game. I also switched the formation but that had more to do with the fact that Watford doesn’t have many great wingers. I only played 7 games but I won 5. My best result in the Weekend League.

5/7

So I ended with 20 wins in 37 games; that’s a win percentage of 54%. I didn’t play the last 3 games because I prefer the rewards of gold 3 over the ones you get when you finish in gold 2.

So does your team matter in the Weekend League? Yes, to an extent. If you have a glaring weakness (like Proto in team 3)you’re going to lose a lot of games because most people have amazing strikers in the weekend league and they’ll exploit your weakness. But for the most part it’s still more important how you play than the players you use. I won the most games with a Watford team because everything just clicked with that team. My advice; use as many players as you can and figure out which work for you and which don’t. And use that information to built a team for the Weekend League.

 

Batman: The Killing Joke (2016) Review !

The Killing Joke is one of the best graphic novels of all time . Turning it into an animated film is a hard task but DC has had some amazing animated features in the past. I had high hopes for it but did the film deliver?

The graphic novel is too short to fill a 70 minutes movie so they added a bunch of stuff to extend the run time. The first 30 minutes are all about the dynamic between Batgirl/Barbara Gordon and Batman. Some of these scenes are good and help establish the relationship between the two but some of them are just weird and unnecessary. After the 30 minute mark you basically get an animated version of the graphic novel.

batman-the-killing-joke-2016-movie-poster

So yeah the new stuff is a bit hit and miss but the adaptation of the graphic novel is pretty spot on. The animations are great, the voice acting is solid so it’s not a bad movie what so ever. But I can see why some people were disappointed; the first 30 minutes just aren’t up to the level of the graphic novel which is a shame.

Conclusion; Is the Killing Joke a great animated film? Well I wouldn’t call it great but it’s definitely good.  It’s a shame that the first part can’t live up to the greatness of the rest (well the greatness of the graphic novel). It’s not the best animated film that DC has ever made (that for me is still Assault on Arkham) but it’s definitely enjoyable.

Score: 7/10

Alekhine’s Gun Review !(PS4)

I remember when I first read an article about Alekhine’s Gun; I was very interested because it seemed to be a throwback to the old Hitman games. When the game was released it received a lot of bad reviews and that’s why I didn’t buy it at full price. I recently saw it for €20 on the Playstation store and I decided to give it a go and see if it deserved all those harsh reviews.

The story of Alekhine’s Gun is a typical Cold War era (some missions are set in World War 2 but those are flashbacks) spy thriller. You play the role of Semyon Strogov, a KGB agent working for the CIA. The plot features around a number of real events such as the assassination of Kennedy and the Bay of Pigs invasion.

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So the story isn’t too bad but what about the gameplay? Well that’s the point where things go horribly wrong. Alekhine’s Gun plays like a game from 2004: everything feels clunky and the controls are very weird (pressing up and right on the D-pad to select a weapon is just stupid). It gets especially bad when you’re shooting ; the game stutters all over the place (this stuttering also happens when you enter a new room/turn around quickly) and aiming is so slow and sloppy that you’ll avoid shooting entirely. The stealth element in this game is also very badly done. Like in more recent Hitman games you have a ‘vision mode’ which lets you see enemy movement but it’s not all that useful because the enemy AI isn’t great. Enemies will chase after you when you act suspicious (lockpicking, going into rooms that you aren’t allowed in, …) but they are easily evaded by just running. Yes, the best way to avoid any confrontation is to run. The enemies rarely bother to chase after you even when you enter a part of a building that you shouldn’t enter (see the video below). It’s this kind of stuff that ruins to experience for me. Why would I find a good disguise and sneak my way into a building when I can just run past the guards?

The graphics aren’t too special but they aren’t bad. You’ll visit a number of different locations and all of them feel and look different. It’s a shame that the character models didn’t receive the same variety; a lot of the guards look the same which ruins the experience a bit. Good old Strogov can use a variety of weapons ranging from a pistol to a garrote and poison. It’s nothing too special but it all has its use during each of the 11 missions. At the end of each mission you get a rating based on how well you’ve done and you get rewarded with points which you can spend on new weapons and upgrades (a silencer for your pistol for example). It’s nice that you can buy new things but besides the silencer I didn’t really bother buying/upgrading things because the standard equipment works just fine.

Conclusion: Alekhine’s Gun has some nice ideas but they are all ruined by the lackluster gameplay. I really wanted to enjoy this game but I couldn’t because it feels unfinished. If you want a good stealth game, buy Hitman. 

Score: 4.5/10

Escape Dead Island Review ! (PS3)

What would you do when you hear about a zombie outbreak? I would run as far away from the outbreak as possible. But apparently I’m boring because what you really do is go towards the outbreak to impress your dad. Well, according to Escape Dead Island that is.

In Escape Dead Island you follow Cliff Calo and his two friends, Linda and Devan. Together you try to find out what caused the zombie outbreak and you basically do this so that Cliff can impress his dad. His dad is the boss of some big broadcasting company and he thinks that his son is a loser. And to prove his dad wrong, Cliff risks the life of his friends to figure out what happened in Banoi. A son that would make any dad proud … Cliff isn’t only an idiot (the way he dresses and talks say enough) but he also suffers from hallucinations. Are they caused by heavy drug use/alcohol abuse or do they have anything to do with the main story? Who knows, I didn’t really care.

escape-dead-island-newscreenshot4

The graphics are probably the first thing that you’ll notice when you play this game. It has a shell shaded look which looks OK at first but after a while you start noticing a lot of ugly textures and pop ups (If you sprint you can sometimes see grass grow). I like that they tried to go a different direction from the more realistic look of Dead Island but this doesn’t look great. Narapela (the island where the threesome strand) is free to explore but I don’t know why you would to that. You’ll visit the same locations over and over again even without searching for the trillion of collectibles that this game has to offer. The collectibles range from postcards to taking pictures of things. Yes, really. I think that they wanted to go for the whole Dead Rising thing (where you can take pictures of zombies to earn experience) but it just doesn’t work in this game. In Dead Rising you would get experience, here you just get a trophy when you take 86 pictures. If the game was good then this would be a nice extra but now it’s just a waste of time.

Dead Island was a flawed game but the weapon building was really cool. Well, Escape Dead Island doesn’t have that. You get a selection of weapons which are divided into 3 categories: stealth, melee and ranged. But it doesn’t really matter because no matter what weapon you use the game plays horrible. Whenever you hit a zombie the game stutters a bit which is very annoying (when you execute a zombie the game goes into this weird slow motion mode which makes me sick). You’ve got two basic attacks: a normal one and a more powerful one that takes a bit longer to charge. No idea why anyone would use that more powerful attack though: just mash the buttons for the normal attack and you’ll be just fine. The stealth kills are stupid: zombies are sometimes so slow to react that you can stealth kill someone buy just running towards them. There’s not a lot of enemy variation either. You’ll mostly face normal zombies and from time to time you’ll face a special one and I really feel like they added these just to annoy you (especially the butcher zombies).

escape-dead-island-screenshot4

Conclusion: Escape Dead Island had some interesting ideas but they all fall flat. The graphics don’t look great, the game play is flawed and the story is just stupid. To make matters worse the game sometimes freezes when you enter a new part of a building or the jungle .I picked this game up for €8 and I even feel like I wasted my money. Don’t buy this. Just wait for Dead Island Definitive Edition.

Score: 4/10

 

Unfriended (2014) Review!

The rise of social media has been a good thing for a lot of people. You can now see what all your old school friends are doing (posting a million pictures of their newborn isn’t so much fun but that’s a whole another point), you can make friends with people who live in another country etc. But like with everything, social media also has a darker side. Cyber bullying has never been a bigger problem and Unfriended focuses on the effect that cyber bullying can have on a person.

When an embarrassing video of Laura Barns (Heather Sossaman) surfaces on the internet all hell breaks loose for her. People tell her to kill herself and in an act of desperation she does. Nobody feels guilty about it and a year passes without anything strange happening. But then a group of friends get contacted by someone (or something) that uses Laura her social media accounts to contact them. And whatever that thing is, it isn’t friendly.

Naamloos

The unique thing about Unfriended is the way that it is filmed: we see everything from one of the main characters her computer screen. We see her having a friendly Skype conversation with friends and we follow everything that happens through their webcams. The movie was shot in 1 long take which gives you the feeling that this is an actual conversation. The way that it is presented (the screen sometimes get a bit distorted, just like in Skype) really add to the authenticity.

All the actors do a solid job but it’s a shame that they are just a bunch of stereotypes. They also don’t really give out a lot of back story which make some of the secrets that the spirit reveals feel pretty ‘meh’. Same with the deaths; you know so little about the characters that it’s impossible to get attached to any of them. And this isn’t a slasher movie that just wants to rack up a body count; Unfriended really wants you to care.

2

Conclusion: Take away the unique point of view and Unfriended is your basic ‘supernatural’ revenge movie. It’s a shame that the characters didn’t have more back story because that would have made the film a lot better; now you don’t really care when someone dies because you don’t feel attached to any of them.

Score: 5.5/10