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Coming Up – UK Game Releases (25th October 2013)

So “Coming Up” is back! We’ve had a couple of months off due to, well life, but now instead of trying to bring you one massive monthly update, we’re going to cut it down to some nice weekly chunks, and with all the new consoles coming out now in a matter of weeks now, we’re going to have ALOT to talk about! And hopefully give us the chance to discuss more in depth the big releases, so you can buy your next game with confidence.

So pull yourself away from GTAV , and let’s get started!!

October 25th

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Batman Arkham Origins (Xbox 360/PS3/PC/Wii U) starts off this weeks game releases with a bang, and easily this weeks biggest release. A prequel to the Batman: Arkham franchise, Origins has been brought to us by Warner Bros. Games Montreal, unlike its predecessors Arkham Asylum and Arkham City which were produced by Rocksteady Studios. This news perturbed many gamers, but Rocksteady were confident that passing on the torch was was the right move, and what do the reviews say?

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Batman Arkham Origins still has a great combat system, a great origins narrative, all in a great open world with enough references and ‘bat-moments’ to keep any Batman fan happy…. I’ve used the word “great” a lot I know, and for a reason… By all accounts this a solid, fun and good addition to the franchise, but it does apparently retread a lot of old ground, no surprises, no shiney new graphics all with a touch of slight déjà vu…. Like a good cover song, not better than the original, just a great addition.

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But all that been said, for fans of the franchise, this is a good addition and worthy of a purchase, especially if you are a lucky UK resident that has ordered the exclusive collectors edition from Amazon, which comes with in addition to the game, an 80 page art book, metal game case, the Deathstroke Challenge Pack, and a ‘1st appearance’ Batman skin, plus an 8 page dossier with information on the assassins hunting Batman…. But the real treat, a 12″ statue of Batman and The Joker…. Oooo we do love a good box set!!

Just Dance Kids 2014 (Xbox 360/Wii/Wii U) is next to join the party, with a kid friendly 30+ song list, including acts like One Direction…. It should go down well with all 12 and under girls! The WiiU also comes with the Dance Director Mode, in which the game pad player can surprise dance move suggestions on the other players in the middle of the songs. A bit less exciting is the Parents Corner function to put the parents in control, with fitness tracking, custom playlists and calories tracker…. Time to break out the hair brushes!

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Now let’s try to get our tongues round this mouthful…. Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 Full Burst (Xbox 360/PS3/PC). Now the none Full Burst landed earlier this year, so what’s different about this version? It’s basically an upgrade, with a new story mode chapter, new character, 100 new challenge missions and dlc costumes. With some stunning cel-shaded visuals to recreate the Naruto world, fans of the show will eat this up… Well if you haven’t already picked up Storm 3, because Full Burst doesn’t otherwise have much new to show…

Next a unusual new release for the rhythm game genre Rocksmith 2014 (Xbox 360/PS3/PC), an update on its predecessor, Rocksmith combines the Guitar Hero like interface with a full scale proper guitar, so no need to dust off those plastic relics no doubt in your attic. It’s note recognition technology allow you to do technical lessons, chord charts, song and guitarcade mini games, plus a new mission mode in which you decide how to progress, letting you perfect certain solos. There is even a session mode for you to explore and create with your new skills, all in all, this is an aide in guitar practice, but it has a ceiling in how much it can really teach you.

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Now, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Xbox 360/Wii/3DS) this made the child inside me excited when I heard about this, in fact it was a Lets Play from those lovely Achievement Hunter guys, but the thoughts I had then, were definitely wide spread. Glitches all over the place and an unruly camera made the action hard to follow, and I spent half my time squinting at the tv because I couldn’t tell which character was which, cause it was just so dark! Don’t get me wrong, they have clearly thought out and well executed the characters, each with unique moves and cheesy on liners; and with a combat system alike to the Batman Arkham series, this could have been brilliant… It’s just a shame the game play and production just isn’t up to scratch!

And so we will move on, next up is The Guided Fate Paradox (PS3)… Now I’ll be honest I still don’t think I quite get the narrative of this game! your a god, and you have to make wishes come true with the help of a machine, by battling monsters….? I think that’s it… Basically this game is a tactical JRPG dungeon crawler, which by all accounts it does well! But the preachy religious confusion vibe I get from this game, just isn’t for me.

And then last up for today is Wii Party U (Wii U), trying to score another point with the casual gamers and families, this game aims to do pretty much the same as it’s predecessor, a mini game collection for all the family to join in together. I all honesty, most of the games sound dull, unimaginative and just plain boring, with as much interaction as rolling virtual dice… If Nintendo were hoping this would turn around the WiiU’s fortunes, they have been woefully mislead.

October 29th

Now for all of us mobile gamers out there, Angry Birds Star Wars (Xbox 360/PS3/Wii/3DS/Wii U/Vita) came out last year on iOS and Android, but now it’s available on nearly every console you can think of as of Tuesday. (I really don’t think I need to explain Angry Birds)

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The only other release for the 29th though is a big one…. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (Xbox 360/PS3 ). Now this is more like it! An earlier release for the 360 and PS3 makes me very happy (Assassins Creed IV comes out on XboxOne and PS4 at launch next month), quite simply I love this franchise and I wasn’t willing to wait until we could afford a next gen console to play it! So off we will go to the Caribbean, pirates and assassins for more of what we know from this franchise, with more of the popular sailing aspect from the previous game, and hopefully a better character in Edward Kenway, I am quite looking forward to this one. Yes, obviously it’s not going to blow us all away with stuff we haven’t seen before, it’s a tried and tested franchise on a generation of consoles they have already pushed to the max, but for the fans, it’s more of what we want.

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The big question is, is it worth waiting for on the new consoles? The next gen’s will have more dynamic environments, and a whole more natural feel, which I’m sure will blow me away when I see it… But will I notice it when I’m neck deep in battle? Ubisoft have tried hard to ensure they didn’t end up with two different games, trying to put any new gen console discoveries into the current gen as well…. That I’m not sure that it will really matter which edition you go for, one will just be a little bit prettier….

October 31st

And then lastly for this week of game releases, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow Collection (Xbox 360/PS3) re-release comes out on Thursday ahead of Lords of Shadow 2 due out in Febuary. The collection includes Lords of Shadow, plus the Reverie and Resurrectiom DLC, and Mirror of Fate HD which was originally only on the 3DS, and of cause a demo for LoS2 to whet your appetite.

So thats it for this week, but while you wait for more from us, why not listen to this weeks 3 Legged Sofa podcast? Ta ta for now!

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New Eyes on Comics: Batman – The New 52 – Death of the Family

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The Death of the Family arch runs from issue #13 to issue #17 and you don’t need to have read the previous issues, which if you want to jump in here (Although reading issue #0 at the start (its original release spot) will help) you can do that.  Its got the old school villains in here, not just the Joker, but Riddler, the Penguin, Two-Face; and you don’t need to know their previous stories to understand what was going on… but as a first time reader, I still found myself asking James to fill in some holes for me…. i.e. The Red Hood a.k.a. Jason Todd; is never really named in issue #0, and I had been told in passing that he was dead…. So yeah little bit confused on how he was alive and well (Of cause all explained in another story), but then I suppose I didn’t need to know anymore than that he was part of the family for this arch, so fair enough, Snyder can’t be baby stepping us through everything and everyone all the time.

One thing that this arch got very right in my mind was the Joker… Terrifying, un-predictable, and his rotting face mask only just amplified all of it, flies and all…. brilliant! In fact I wish I could of seen Heath Ledger play this Joker, I think he would of terrified us all, and it would have been brilliant!

Really its just a shame this arch ended so weak, ramped up to such a possible seriously dark and twisted end… only for it all to be false and him, well, fall off a cliff…. I was left feeling a bit wanting. Yes it means the Joker can come back, even though all the characters are all so foolishly certain that he’s gone, and Bruce’s reason for not wanting to kill him, yeah I get it, but thats just pure fear… Hopefully though it will all be setting us up for something even better, and trust in Snyder’s “Everything has been done in this comic for a reason” comment….. The story is very good though, and definitely needs to be read despite a few niggles.

Its also worth mentioning that issue #12 and #18 do relate across the story arch’s, and I haven’t mentioned them yet, as we believe that they are little snippets leading up to another big story arch involving the character Harper Roe, who its rumoured could be the new Robin…. But we have yet to see how that one pans out.

Anyways thats it for now!

New Eyes on Comics: Batman – The New 52 – Court of Owls

Now there are probably a few things to point out before I start properly on this new section, and why I thought it would be a good thing to write about.

Now it’s not for your hardcore comic book readers (Although James is excited to hear my views on stuff! So maybe it is?! But then again he’s supposed to, been my boyfriend and all :p); now why you ask, simply because until this last year, I’ve never read a comic-comic in my life… Now don’t worry the concept is not alien to me! Its just beyond some old Beano/Dandy’s that I had at my dad’s house to pass the time…… I had access to no comics growing up…… the nearest store I think was a 3hr round trip away, and thus, no-one I knew even read them, we were one of the last places in the UK to even get internet (I believe my mum’s village only got broadband a couple of years ago…. seriously) so access was slim to nothing.  So as a kid, who was into art, I made my own 🙂 about the adventures of a fish called Blub, and my mum is still my only collector and fan (Que the awwww’s)…..

Now fast forward…. I now live with James, Head of Comics at our local comic book store that I can’t name; and our flat is FULL of comics, my books are actually relegated to a box under my desk and in the attic; and the guys talk weekly, passionately, about them all and I feel bad cause…. I have no idea what they are talking about…. James will tell me about his day, say some artist/writer names….. No idea…. “Awww can you believe what happened in //insert comic name here//??”…. No idea.

So this section has 2 purposes…

1). Help me know whats actually going on so I can join in!! Not to mention a whole new world of stuff for me to read…

2). Help other people like me…. We often get asked on the podcast, and James gets asked in the shop “I want to start reading //insert comic name/type here//, where should I start??” So I’m going to give my point of view as a new eyes on comics, give other people who don’t have a James to give them tips/watch them reading going “Ooo this next bit is so good!!” Shhhh!!; some guide posts I hope on where to start, on what they might like, what I thought was interesting….

So yes, lets get started! Its got to be the New Batman 52….

PS: Yes there may be some spoilers, but I will make a conscious effort to not spoil the whole thing for people who haven’t read it before!

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Now I think I definitely need to split this into 2 parts, Court of Owl’s and Death of the Family.

So the Court of Owls arch is issue #1 to #11, but with 2 extras slotted in…. Issue #0 and the Batman Annual #1 (Which although not essential to the story, does relate to the Court of Owls, and fits in just after issue #7)….. Issue #0 came out after issue #11, but is a prologue so fits nicely at the start and introduces us to the family… I personally never knew the family was so big, I’d heard of Nightwing, Red Robin and the others, but I wasn’t really sure on where they all fitted in, but reading this issue first really helped layout out who was who, and which “Batman Universe” I was in, so definitely start right here. Also things like his facial recognition telling us who’s who, even the obvious ones was really good and helpful to someone new like me; and inner monologue parts which really helped me learn a lot about this Gotham City and its history etc…. Don’t get me wrong I’ve seen the Batman films, but I obviously have holes in my knowledge… But at no point  did I feel like as a new reader I was missing something, which was great!

Now when we first meet Lincoln March, I did think to myself, him and Bruce Wayne look too much alike, I actually read back over the panels to clarify who said what…. When I discovered that it was on purpose, well, I thought now that was well done, how did I not guess the twist sooner!  And the maze scenes, were brilliant, you really felt like he was loosing it, getting confused and disorientated; and having to flip around the actual comic only added to this and was such a great, but simple idea. I also enjoyed the little teaser flashbacks of Pennyworth, and how its all kind linked in for the set up for another Court of Owls arch.

All I can say is this…. the Court of Owls are twisted, but brilliant!! And if you want to start reading Batman for the first time, do start here…

Next up Death of the Family ……..