Asterix & Obelix XXL: Romastered PS4 [REVIEW] | For Toutatis!

Oddly, this was the last of the Asterix XXL series to get the remaster treament, the first being XXL 2 in 2018, then we had the brand new XXL 3 in 2019, then the “romastered” version of the first game in 2020, the one we’re talking about today, to celebrate the release of a new Asterix & Obelix movie in theathers.

One of the live-action ones, but still, it’s new Asterix & Obelix material!

Originally developed for PS2, Gamecube and PC (with a GBA version that’s basically another game entirely) by defunct french studio Etranges Libellules and published by Atari Europe, this remaster was instead published by Microids (which pretty much took the place Infogrames had back then) and developed by the quite non-defunct (at the time of writing, anyway) french Osome Studios.

The plot sees the titular duo wander off of their little Gaul village to the ol’ boar hunt only to come back and find out Ceasar (yes, Julius Caius Ceasar from Caligula, exactly) has somehow managed to storm the village, capturing most people and sending them off to various distant ends of the Roman empire in order to have locked out sight and mind, hopefully for good.

But with the help of a fired roman spy, you find out that most of the imprisoned gauls most likely managed to get a piece of the map indicating their location, as Ceasar took the extra step – just in case – of ripping the map in pieces and scattering them in various locations.

Good enough as an excuse in terms of videogame logic to have Asterix & Obelix travel to various places like Egypt, Normandy, Greece and Helvetia, freeing their fellow gaul citizens and getting more pieces of the map along the way.

Continua a leggere “Asterix & Obelix XXL: Romastered PS4 [REVIEW] | For Toutatis!”

[EXPRESSO] Warriors Of Future (2022) | Robosuits vs Plant Alien Necrobugs

Dipping once again into Netflix exclusive selection of Hong Kong and mainland China by testing my luck on sci-fi action alien shoot em up Warriors Of Future.

Plot rolls the common “meteorite smashes into Earth” situation, and no, there’s nobody fashioning the meteorite pieces into arrows thousands of years later for cool superpowers, nope, this meteorite just had a lot of “grass alien invaders” in it launching a massive offensive.

The elite human forces (escorted by advanced war robots) are almost wiped out, minus a suicide squad with just a few hours left before mankind it’s completely eradicated…

There is a bit more to it, as the invasive plantlife ironically also happens to be beneficial to this dystopic cyberpunk world by converting the polluted air into breathable oxygen, so the evil government guy that dedicated his entire life into machines that do the same very thing isn’t too pleased and tries to sabotage the team, because he’s evil and that’s about it as “motivations”.

Not really a spoiler as he makes it clear he’s gonna do that, nor the heroes (say “hi” to the eyepatch guy) fare much better, like the plot they’re pretty much constructed with stock action sci-fi movie building blocks, heck, even the robosuits they don at some points feel like the result of a confusing laundry day with Iron Man, Isaac Clark from Dead Space and Oshii’s Kerberos Corps.

I do mention videogames because while the production values are indeed high, big screen high, the action scenes and the CG (especially for the feral plant monsters) feels very “videogamey”, a lot like high budget cutscenes, BUT even so i can’t deny Warriors Of Future it’s a very entertaining, quick moving, belly-filling serving of action sci-fi dish that delivers some decent fun.

And sequelbaits to the stars.

Pokemon Scarlet/Violet NSWITCH [REVIEW] | Out Of The Pokéoven

My first review of a new Pokemon mainline title here, yay!

Felt like i had to since i didn’t do so for Legends: Arceus or the Diamond/Pearl remake (as i previously explained), and we do need to talk about this one. Sternly, too.

I only wanna preface i won’t be considering the competitive aspect or balance there of as i honestly never cared too much for that even decades ago, less so today, meaning i can’t and won’t be giving a throughout evisceration of the meta, so to speak.

Fair warned be thee.

The first titles of Pokemon 9th generation, Scarlet/Violet take place in the Paldea region, heavily inspired by the Iberian peninsula, so if you felt the spanish and portoguese vibes from the trailers, you were correct. The story starts off with you reaching the school’s annual Treasure Hunt event in time to encounter your rival/friend (aka the pokemon rival equivalent of Son Goku from Dragon Ball), but interestingly (and as advertised) this lead to three story routes you can follow, which also include the regular old fashioned fights against Gym Leaders for badges leading to fight that region’s Elite Four equivalent and then the Champion.

The other ones involve a region-wide quest for mystics herbs protected by giant Pokemons, and the storyline that pits against an antagonistic team of trainers, in this case rebellious students that form a gang called Team Star, spread in various bases with a respective Leader ruling it.

Continua a leggere “Pokemon Scarlet/Violet NSWITCH [REVIEW] | Out Of The Pokéoven”

Review of Pokemon Scarlet/Violet delayed by a couple of days + the “Dino Dicember” priority rule

So yeah, it took me more time to get around and finish the game, so i need to finalize the review, revise it and shit, so it will be posted on the 23th, instead of… today.

I considered postponing it even further, like next year, but since the 12 Days Of Dino Dicember are a-coming again and i’m not skipping on them, i’m not going to.

Oh, also, because of that some planned reviews of movies that coincidentally release in the same period here (like The Fablemans) will come out in January after the “dino stuff”.

That’s it, that the post.

Bye!

[EXPRESSO] Avatar: The Way Of The Water (2022) | Catboys Galore

In a way, i was looking forward to see this in theathers, as in i wanted to get this thing done and dealt with as soon as possible, so i could move on to far more interesting releases.

And watching the movie confirmed exactly what i feared/expected: another constipated public dump by James Cameron (of James Cameron fame) about space “non-native americans” tribal catboys that have to defend their land from the evil humans that want their planet and resources.

Set 10 years after the event of the first movie, Way Of Water introduces Jake’s family and their struggle to escape from an old enemy (returning into a Navi’ body), by leaving the jungles of Pandora and seek refuge into one of the water-dwelling tribes of Navi’.

Still a lot of vapid neo-age tribalistic mumbo jumbo bullshit designed to look pretty but with an artstyle derived from a mid 2000s “alien landscape wallpaper” search, be technically impressive but devoid of any substance that couldn’t be found into a 90’s kid movie about climate change, the character are mostly paper thin, by design too.

We gotta make room for all the other excesses that could have been cut from the movie, but let’s never explain some incredible shit that might actually need it, all made worse by an incredibly bloated and unwarranted runtime (for this theatrical cut) that goes BEYOND the 3 hours mark.

Still, despite all these issues, i gotta admit some of the new stuff it’s pretty cool (like the new robots/mechs), the movie delivers on the spectacle, there’s a lot of action, Cameron still knows how to direct some really fuckin cool action-combat scenes, and there’s enough to make it entertaining on a basic level, even if it IS cinematic constipation.

Not looking forward to the third one.

Dead Island Riptide (Definitive Edition) PS4 [REVIEW] | #deadislandretrospective

Aka the “actual” Dead Island 2, as time would eventually tell.

Technically not, but actually yes, since it’s developed by Techland and in terms of story it’s a direct sequel, following up immediatly (after a brief recap) where we left off that unremarkable (to be kind) narrative, which means the group of survivors gets aid by an american Navy ship but it’s immediatly captured by one of the side villains from the previous game, Serpo (guess Betraldo didn’t have the same ring to it), intenting of using their immune blood to concoct a cure and a weaponized bio weapon, or something. Doesn’t matter much, as you shipwreck into a nearby island in the archipelago, where the zombie epidemic has also spread after the incident in Banoi, and learn that they plan to nuke the entire island in order to contain the zombie plague.

Yeah, the story it’s about as crappy and easy to completely not give a shit about, with the obvious twists seen coming miles and miles away, but i’d argue it’s actually, objectively worse since there is barely a plot in Riptide, like, at all, aside from the beginning and ending, where a side character in the first game becomes the main antagonist… barely, so you can say this game does recycle too much from the first, even in this regard.

Continua a leggere “Dead Island Riptide (Definitive Edition) PS4 [REVIEW] | #deadislandretrospective”

A review of Pokemon Scarlet/Violet is coming later this month, actually + EXPRESSO review of Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio

While i did make some first impressions/ramble on both Pokemon Arceus and the Diamond/Pearl remake, i figured this time i HAD to make a proper full lenght review of the first 9th gen Pokemon title, especially since it’s a mainline release. And since i did actually preordered the damn thing this time around, and i kinda wish i didn’t. Kinda.

Seriously, while the game has already been discussed and fairly criticized enough for the obvious reason (it runs and looks like ASS, let’s be brutally honest about it), and while the undeniable fact of Violet/Scarlet selling 10 millions in 3 days it’s kinda depressing and makes it clear once again how “boycotts in videogames” are useless for many reasons and most often feel moot since we’re talking about franchises that do incredible numbers by name recognizition alone… we do gotta talk about Violet Scarlet’s issues proper.

Especially since the fact of it being Pokemon means for many the plethora of issues are mostly handwaved or pre-forgiven, when we’re pretty much in a Cyberpunk 2077 situation, yet we didn’t and we’ll never see the same backlash, despite derserving it and the criticisms being pretty similar in origin and nature.

So i’ll do what i can to “balance the scales”, and talk in length about the many problems and strenghts of Scarlet/Violet, a game i’m currently enjoying despite everything, but one i’m also feeling quite disappointed, since it was clearly something that Game Freak should have been made able to cook in the “development oven” for at least 1 more year.

To misquote Strong Bad “this goose isn’t cooked”.

Seriously worried this will be become another costant issue plaguing Pokemon releases, because sure as shit Nintendo isn’t gonna make Game Freak take more time, but crack on with the “AAA pretty much biannual” style of releases.

On another tangent, while i did find some theathers that showed Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio almost a week before it’s Netflix release date… it was literally like 5 days, as much as i prefer watching movies in theathers i also can use to save me some cash, and i still have a Netflix subscription, so the EXPRESSO review for that it’s gonna be a little later than it could have been, but regardless, it’s coming soon.

[EXPRESSO] Knives Out: Glass Onion (2022) | Greece Getaway

Managed to catch this one in theathers during its premiere week, before it arrives on Netflix, as i planned to since i also saw the first movie in theathers.

This follow up arrives with some delay, as you could guess since the movie it’s set during full COVID-19 pandemic swing, not that it matters much outside of the intro part, which has world famous detective Benoit Blanc receiving the mysterious invitation (via a puzzle-operated special box delivered to him) to a secluded private island in Greece, where tech mogul is holding a private getaway with some of his old friends, inviting them to solve the mystery… of his own murder.

And before you go on a tangent, this was in the trailer and actually isn’t the big crux of the plot, at all, which indeed continues the type of comedy mistery affair that subverts or surprises the viewer by working with the classic elements of the murder mystery, the expectations it brings, while bringing in a new set of horrible people as potential suspects when the murders start happening, keeping the theme of “eating the rich and eat em hard” while delivering plenty of twists, reveals, laughs and damn satisfying bombast too, in some part.

There’s very little way to discuss the movie in any more detail without giving away or hinting at what actually happens in it, but i will say that this time Benoit Blanc it’s “proper” gay now.

Does it matter? Not really, as Bautista it’s playing a nerd streamer.

Now that i have distracted you, i can say that indeed Glass Onion it’s a pretty good follow up to the first movie, not a redo, but a new chapter/story, and i’m quite glad there will be more mysteries for Benoit Blanc to solve in the future.

[EXPRESSO] Diabolik 2: Ginko Attacks! (2022) | Color Cinecomic Photoplay

After the Diabolik revival movie of 2021 was surprisingly succesfull, we now have the sequel, Ginko Attacks, with inspector Ginko pressing its dogged hunt for master criminal Diabolik, managing to find its hidden lair, and eventually collaborating with a betrayed Eva Kant.

Though Diabolik himself was recast, here being played by Giacomo Gianniotti instead of Luca Marinelli from the 2019 movie.

As of why, Gianniotti does look almost identical to Diabolik as depicted in the original comics, but it’s a bad trade-off as Marinelli was by FAR a better actor, and a better Diabolik.

He doesn’t even feel like the same character either, but then again almost no character in Ginko Attacks has a semblance of personality, just existing as a barren narrative gear.

Cumbersome pacing (for a 2 hours and 20 minutes movie) doesn’t help, nor having Monica Bellucci in the cast.

Dialogues are pretty awful too, and tipify the whole problem with the movie, as it feels excessively faithful to the source material, making one wonder if they lifted the text verbatim from the comics, without ever considering how (or if) they would work in an actual film, or to actually update the literal decades old material for modern cinema standards.

So it’s no wonder the plot it’s also bad, utterly predictable from the get go regardless, with the twists/reveals actually making thing worse, because the entire narrative relies on almost every “character” being way too fuckin stupid to predict what the audience did hours ago.

Though it’s hard to get angry because it’s such an alienating, empty experience, with some style backed…by absolutely zero substance, and it’s very disappointing since the first movie was flawed, yes, but also WAY better.

So i’m not exactly looking forward to the third one already in the works.

Awful. Disappointingly awful.

Dead Island 2 got delayed (again) and what it means for the #deadislandretrospective

So yeah, i just found out that 4 days ago Dead Island 2 was yet again delayed, this time though NOT as much as it had already been, so instead of early February it’s now shooting for a late april release, as displayed in the above “delay communication post/image” (which are by now a specific brand of art in themselves), which at least acknowledges how ridiculous (yet fitting, i would add) is for a game that spent 8 years in development hell to be delayed so soon after reemerging as something else entirely.

Which in itself it’s fine by me, i can wait, we can wait at this point (and it’s also savvy given what’s releasing that month in terms of videogames), but i wish they announced this sooner, as now the original plan for the retrospective on the Dead Island series, with a review each month, it’s busted, so instead of releasing a review of Dead Island Riptide – Definitive Edition at the end of this month, it’s gonna skip November entirely and instead go for a December slot.

Same for the remaining two games (again, i’m not counting the defunct spin-offs Survivors and Epidemic, here is a reminder as of why), so those reviews will come out bi-monthly to coincide with the new release date of Dead Island 2.

Hoping i don’t have to do another of these post by then, who the hell knows.