Get an Xbox One S, Minecraft, Star Wars Battlefront II, DOOM, Fallout 4, AND Forza 7 for £210 on Black Friday *dies*
If you want to sample almost every of the main genres of gaming, hoo boy are you in for a treat. Now that we’re being drowned in Black Friday gaming deals, Currys is currently offering a bundle that not only provides you with the ramped up Xbox One S but also throws in a RPG with enough story for the most discerning of authors, the most shooty of FPSs, a sandbox game brimming with potential, a racing game, and a FPS RPG with killer online multiplayer. The only catch is you’ll have to order online and then go pick it up in store. But for a deal this great, we’re sure you can make an exception.
If Minecraft isn’t your cup of tea (Creepers aren’t for everyone, we guess), you can also buy the an identical bundle that just replaces Minecraft with Forza Horizon 3 and the Hot Wheels pack for £210 from Currys. Then you can race to your heart’s content and relive that magical childhood nostalgia that comes from making tiny plastic cars zoom along metres of bright orange plastic. If neither of these are quite what you’re looking for, head over to our best Black Friday Xbox One deals to see what else is on offer.
‘Coco’ Mints $12M+ Wednesday & Fights ‘Justice League’ For No. 1 At Thanksgiving Box Office With $68M
UPDATE, midday Friday: Disney/Pixar’s Coco is looking at an opening day of $12.5 million (including last night’s $2.3M) as of this point per industry estimates, which is $2.6M less than what Moana chalked up a year ago. Right now, because it’s so early, both Coco and Warner Bros’ Justice League are in a battle for No. 1 overall at the domestic box office with an estimated $47M three-day and $68M five-day each. As we move along this week, it should settle down and separate the two.
Coco will beat Justice League today with the latter Zack Snyder movie making an estimated $10.5M, down 1% versus yesterday. If its projections hold, the DC superhero team-up will touch just under $180M. While we’ve been complaining about the film’s lackluster performance in regards to the DC franchise, exhibitors could care less about that: They’re rolling in concession cash, and the marketplace in the past three weeks has been a boom versus last summer’s doldrums.
Lionsgate’s Wonder is looking at $6M today, up 7% from Tuesday, with a current three-day outlook of $26.5M and five-day of $37.5M, heading toward $74.6M. The Stephen Chbosky-directed film will easily be Lionsgate’s best of 2017, topping John Wick: Chapter Two‘s $92M. On a three-day basis, Wonder is expected to ease 4% right now. Wow.
Disney/Marvel’s Thor: Ragnarok is looking at a $4M Wednesday, a three-day of $17.8M and five-day of $25M — still money out of Justice League‘s pocket. Running cume by Sunday looks to be $278.2M.
Other holders are as follows:
Murder on the Orient Express (Fox) $2.6M Wed, 3-day $13.5M and 5-day $19M, running cume by Sunday of $74.6M.
Daddy’s Home 2 (Par) $2.5M Wed, 3-day $13.5M and 5-day of $18M, running come by Sunday of $72M.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (FSL), 590 runs. $800,000 Wed, 3-day of $4.5M, 5-day of $6.2M. Total by Sunday of $7.96M.
Roman J. Israel, Esq (Sony), 1,648 runs. Looks like $800K today (including $175K from Tuesday night) for 3-day of $4.1M and 5-day of $5.7M. Total by Sunday of $5.8M.
Lady Bird (A24), 741 runs. $600K Wed, 3-day $3.4M and 5-day of $4.6M, Total by Sunday of $9.9M.
PREVIOUSLY, 8:26 AM: Disney/Pixar’s Coco began its Thanksgiving march on the box office last night with $2.3 million, with an eye on making $60M or more over the next five days.
Coco opens at a sensitive time for Disney. Just yesterday, Pixar boss John Lasseter said he was taking a six-month sabbatical amid allegations of inappropriate behavior. Still, that Hollywood insider scandal isn’t expected to rock Coco‘s prospects in the rest of the U.S. and Canada.
Coco‘s preview is just $300,ooo shy of Moana‘s $2.6M Tuesday preview a year ago. That pic racked up $15.5M on its first day. Coco is also far ahead of The Good Dinosaur, considered a bomb for Pixar with $1.3M previews ($9.76M Wednesday). Coco is also ahead of Disney’s uber hit Frozen, which made $1.2M on its first Tuesday ($15.1M Wednesday) during Thanksgiving week.
Coco in its Dia de los muertos story doesn’t have the Disney princess factor Moana possessed, which pushed down on Coco‘s projections prior to opening. But the film has a 95% certified fresh Rotten Tomatoes score, which could push its tickets sales higher; it’s just one point below Moana‘s RT rating. Moana grossed $56.6M in its first three days and $82M over five, making it the second-best Thanksgiving stretch debut after Frozen‘s $93.6M. Coco carries a reported production cost in the Pixar range which is typically between $175M-$200M before P&A, however, those in the animation world believe it’s much higher north of $225M.
The night before Thanksgiving is a notable one at the B.O. and Black Friday is even bigger. Today there are 74% kids off from K-12 and another 59% of colleges. That number moves up to 100% over the next two days.
Warner Bros/DC’s Justice League led all films in regular release with a big Tuesday of $10.6M, up 41% over Monday, for a running cume of $111.9M. The Zack Snyder-directed movie is expected to take in a gross similar to Coco‘s with $60M over the next five days. While critics have strangled Justice League with a 41% Rotten Tomatoes score, audiences are enjoying it with final PostTrak showing a 4-out-of-5-star response with males at 62% enjoying the movie with an 80% overall positive, and females at 38% giving it an 85% grade. Warners is hoping that more of those older female Wonder Woman fans come out, just like they did for her June solo outing: Females over 25 are giving Justice League its best grades at 90%, but they’re still in the minority among the pic’s headcount repping only 18% of the audience. Leading the charge are males under 35 (32%, 78% positive), males over 25 (30%, 81% positive), and women under 25 (20% at 81% positive). Justice League overall has a 65% definite recommend.
Lionsgate’s Wonder chalked up an estimated $5.6M yesterday, up 43% over Monday, for a five-day total of $37.1M. Many expect the Julia Roberts-Owen Wilson movie to be north of $64M by Sunday in its running domestic total.
Sony’s Roman J. Israel, Esq. expands from four to 1,648 today. Bleecker Street has the period piece The Man Who Invented Christmas in 500 houses, while Focus Features will open its Gary Oldman-as-Winston Churchill biopic Darkest Hour in four New York and Los Angeles theaters. Ditto on that count for Sony Pictures Classics’ Spirit Award-nom leading pic Call Me By Your Name.
Batman has some cool vehicles in Justice League and while the Batmobile and the Flying Fox get some much-deserved screen time in the film, the Dark Knight could have had an awesome motorcycle, too.
Justice League production designer Patrick Tatopoulos shared a few sketches on his personal Instagram earlier today of a concept he had for a Batbike. You can check out the post below.
The idea of Batman having an elaborate and unique-looking bike isn’t new. In 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises, Batman had an epic if not unusual motorcycle that the rider practically had to lay on in order to and operated on two, very wide tires. It also had some pretty cool tricks, but it lacked an overall “Batman” look to it.
Tatopoulos’s design remedies that by giving the motorcycle a distinctive and angular feel with lots of references to the shape of bat wings. The top sketch even has a seat that looks strikingly like the bat symbol or a batarang, and while the sketches don’t show wheels, the whole vehicle appears to have smaller profile which would give it dexterity for whatever chase Batman is on. It looks like there’s plenty of places for neat tools and weapons to be tucked away. It also looks like it would fit in nicely on the Flying Fox which itself is a unique vehicle. Tatopoulos recently shared concept art for the plane with the LA Times, revealing that some simple changes to the aircraft’s design had given it a look closer to that of Batman’s Batmobile, specifically by moving the placement of the cockpit.
“That little movement made it special,” Tatopoulos said. “It started to make it more like the Batmobile.”
However, it doesn’t appear that this Batbike is going to be parked next the Batmobile or part of the DC Extended Universe Bat fleet anytime soon. Tatopoulos’s caption on the photo made it sound like this sleek take on Batman’s bike will remain something from the designer’s dreams.
“Another quick doodle on the side of my dreams,” Tatopoulos wrote.
Fans can check out the designer’s other Batman vehicle designs, including the unique Flying Fox, in Justice League in theaters now.
Lego Live NYC is bringing a massive, immersive three-day event to Manhattan in 2018, giving families and anyone Lego-obsessed a chance to really get their brick on.
The event will be held from Feb. 16 to 18 at the Basketball City facility on Pier 36 in lower Manhattan. It will be an “immersive experience” with Lego-themed zones, including Star Wars, Ninjago and Minecraft, to name a few, says Mark Guest, spokesman for Bricklive, a promotional network of Lego-focused events. In each of the areas inside the 65,000-square-foot facility, visitors will “experience hands-on building and get involved in the total creative experience, including live demonstrations,” he adds.
They will be presented by “Master Builders,” who come from all walks of life, including “wood carvers, furniture makers, engineers, you name it,” says Amanda Madore, senior manager for Brand Relations of the Lego Group.
Although anyone could potentially achieve Master Builder status, to do so one must first be able to accomplish tasks such as building a trophy out of Lego pieces in 10 minutes and a sphere in only one, among other tasks. “Lego Master Builder status can be achieved by anyone who can demonstrate the determination and skill to explore the Lego system and what can be achieved with this limitless building system,” says Madore.
Other highlights will include a community building area, appearances by yet-to-be-announced costumed characters, an area where guests can create robots in a “Coding Corner” and an assortment of special souvenirs and Lego sets available for purchase.
While revealing a new partnership with SD card maker SanDisk, Nintendo has also revealed that, moving forward, some Nintendo Switch games will require a MicroSD card in order to experience the full content of certain upcoming games.
In an announcement, Nintendo noted that “a microSD card will be needed for certain Nintendo Switch games that contain an especially large amount of content and require additional storage for players to enjoy the full experience.” At least one upcoming release, NBA 2K18, will be such a game requiring a MicroSD card in the system, as evidenced by the game’s updated box art.
Nintendo is making sure not to blindside players who purchase games that need extra storage, though. A representative for Nintendo of America confirmed that box art, like that for NBA above, will have notices of this memory card requirement on the front and back of packaging. And for those downloading on the eShop, there will be the standard information noting how large the game is is.
Nintendo also clarified that games requiring the additional space of a memory card will still allow those without a microSD card to play portions of those games.
“If you purchase a physical version of a game that requires an additional microSD memory card, you will be able to play a portion of the game right out of the box (for example, specific levels or modes),” a representative for Nintendo of America told IGN.
“To enjoy the full game, downloading additional data is required. Depending on the storage requirements for each game, it may be necessary to purchase a microSD card to expand storage space. When purchasing a digital version of the game, it may also be necessary to purchase a microSD card depending on the game’s storage requirements and the storage available on the consumer’s Nintendo Switch console.”
Nintendo’s partnership with SanDisk means the introduction of branded microSDXC in 64 GB and 128 GB sizes, with packaging featuring Nintendo characters and a Switch logo branding on the card itself. The Switch supports MicroSDXC cards up to 2 TB.
“Some Nintendo Switch games will require consumers to purchase an additional microSD memory card to play them. Our expanded storage solution offers flexibility for those who need it to play these games. People can choose exactly how much additional storage space they want to buy, depending on the number and type of games they play, and the amount of content they plan to download,” Nintendo said about the process.
As discovered around launch, Nintendo Switch systems will not let users use MicroSD cards connected to one console on another system.
In anticipation of the fall season, Nintendo has offered a peek at the indie games coming to the Switch in the coming months. 17 games were highlighted during the latest Nindies Showcase, while a new No More Heroes was announced, the final Shovel Knight campaign was revealed, and Nintendo confirmed the entirety of Kentucky Route Zero would be coming to Switch.
For more Nintendo coverage, stay tuned to IGN’s PAX West 2017 hub for every preview from the convention.
IGN’s editorial team has already picked the 100 games that defined the last generation of home consoles. You can check out that list in its entirety right here:
But as always with these lists, there’s plenty of debate and different opinions. So we thought we’d let you, the IGN reader, have your say. Over the last couple of weeks, over 65,000 votes have been cast and below are the 100 games as picked by you.
100. Max Payne 3
99. Saints Row: The Third
98. Dragon’s Dogma
97. Forza Motorsport 4
96. Crysis II
95. Batman: Arkham Origins
94. Left 4 Dead
92. Final Fantasy XIII
91. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
90. Halo: ODST
89. Donkey Kong Country Returns
88. South Park: The Stick of Truth
87. Burnout Paradise
86. Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
85. Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune
83. Diablo III
82. Fable II
81. Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch
80. Just Cause 2
79. Infamous 2
78. Dead Space 2
77. Left 4 Dead 2
76. BioShock 2
75. L.A. Noire
73. Call of Duty: World at War
72. Assassin’s Creed: Revelations
71. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
70. The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
69. FIFA 14
68. Mirror’s Edge
67. Gears of War 2
65. Xenoblade Chronicles
64. Half-Life 2: Episode Two
63. Assassin’s Creed III
62. Sonic Generations
60. Gears of War 3
59. Mario Kart Wii
58. Kirby’s Epic Yarn
57. Call of Duty: Black Ops II
55. Demon’s Souls
54. Alan Wake
53. Gears of War
51. Assassin’s Creed
50. Tomb Raider
49. Dark Souls II
48. Call of Duty: Black Ops
44. Heavy Rain
43. Deus Ex: Human Revolution
42. Dead Space
41. Battlefield: Bad Company 2
40. Battlefield 4
39. Super Mario Galaxy 2
38. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
37. Halo 4
36. Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood
35. God of War III
34. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
33. The Walking Dead: Season 1
32. Halo: Reach
31. Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception
30. Grand Theft Auto IV
29. The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
28. Dragon Age: Origins
27. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
26. Super Mario Galaxy
25. Super Smash Bros. Brawl
24. Mass Effect 3
23. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
22. Battlefield 3
21. Mass Effect
20. Batman: Arkham Asylum
19. Portal 2
18. Fallout: New Vegas
17. Borderlands 2
16. Far Cry 3
15. Dark Souls
14. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
13. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
12. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
11. Halo 3
The Top 10 picked by you
10: Batman: Arkham City
9: Bioshock Infinite
8: Mass Effect 2
7: Assassin’s Creed II
5: Red Dead Redemption
4: Fallout 3
3: Grand Theft Auto V
2: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
1: The Last of Us
‘Minecraft’ gets tough
Microsoft has 2 million licensed users across 115 countries playing the education version of “Minecraft.” But it turns out that students in kindergarten through 12th grade are just too good at playing computer games. So it had to develop a tougher version of its one-hour “Minecraft” tutorial that helps students learn to code. The company released “Hero’s Journey” this week, ahead of the December Hour of Code event, which will encourage students across the world to complete a free coding tutorial. The education edition of “Minecraft” lets students create avatars and learn to solve problems one step at a time, said Microsoft’s Deirdre Quarnstrom. “Something we’ve heard from students in the past is ‘This is just too easy,’” she said.
As part of its Minecon Earth event taking place this Saturday November 18, Mojang has announced that it will be holding a special event to allow fans to vote for Minecraft’s next mob.
There are four options to choose from, but only one will actually make it into the game (at least for now).
The options available are in the gallery below, with descriptions below of each beneath:
Mob A, The Monster of the Ocean Depths – an ocean monster which will attempt to drown you with its “tongue-like tentacle”.
Mob B, The Monster of the Night Skies – a flying, “manta-ray-like” monster which targets players who haven’t slept.
Mob C, The Great Hunger – a “cute-looking” mob that sinks into the ground and waits for things to fill into its “huge mouth”.
Mob D, The Hovering Inferno – a master Blaze that appears in the Nether with a powerful shockwave attack.
While all of these sound delightful, it will be up to fans which one is added to the game; details on how votes will be cast have not yet been revealed, other than an instruction to tune in to the Minecon Earth livestream, which begins Saturday November 18 at 5pm GMT/ 12pm EST / 9am PST / Sunday November 19, 4am AEDT, with a pre-show starting twenty minutes before. You can watch the show here.
Now that you’ve finally scrounged up enough moolah to buy a PlayStation 4, you might want to know what else you can do with it besides playing games and movies. Amazingly, this eighth generation video game console is filled with all kinds of new age secrets that you can enjoy. You might want to put your current game on pause as we show you all kinds of tricks, tips, and yes, even lifehacks, that you probably didn’t know you could do with your PlayStation 4.
Charging your DualShock 4 with a phone charger
You’d be surprised at how many people didn’t know this: you can charge your DualShock 4 controller with most micro USB cables. This includes micro USB phone chargers that are used on most Android phones. This means you’re not limited to that way-too-short charging cord that originally came with your console. You know what else is awesome? You can charge your phone through your PlayStation 4’s USB ports. Most phones, whether Android or iPhone, should be able to charge by plugging the phone into one of the USB ports on the console. Some phones may charge faster than others this way, but it’s still pretty convenient. Nothing beats charging your controller and Android phone with the same cord.
Syncing your PlayStation 4 to your TV
Many smart televisions have the ability to sync up with your PlayStation 4, including (obviously) Sony’s BRAVIA big screens. All you’ve got to do from your main menu is go to Settings, System, and check the box for Enable HDMI Device Link. Your PlayStation 4 is then ready to accept commands from your TV, as long as it’s compatible. You can use your TV remote to scroll through the PS4 main menu and for apps like YouTube and Hulu. If you turn off your TV, the system should go into Standby mode. Likewise, if you turn on your console, it should turn on your television along with it. Of course, the effectiveness of the HDMI Device Link might vary depending on what’s connected to your PS4.
PlayStation App: using your phone as a remote/keyboard
Tired of using the on-screen keyboard whenever you have to type in your passwords, or messages to friends? Downloading the PlayStation App and syncing it to your PS4 allows you to navigate the menus from your phone and do all kinds of nifty tricks with your console. Best of all, you can input text from your phone, which is a lot speedier than typing with the DualShock 4. If you don’t want to use the controller or your phone for input, you can also use a computer keyboard and mouse. Just make sure the USB device is plug-and-play compatible (or, like, just not really old). For a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, you have to go to Settings, Devices, and Bluetooth Devices to sync the system up to the device (you might have to consult the device’s manual for more info). Sure as heck beats typing things in manually with a controller.
Voice Commands through your headset mic
For those jealous of the Xbox One’s voice command capabilities with the Kinect, the PlayStation 4 has a solid alternative. If you have your mic plugged into your controller, have a microphone-enabled headset synced, or have a PlayStation Camera connected to your PlayStation 4, you should be able to operate your console via voice commands. All you have to do is say the word “PlayStation” aloud and start barking out orders. It’s like having your very own video game butler! Except he sucks at doing laundry.
Downloading free PS Plus games for Vita and PS3 as well
Yes, we all know that the PlayStation Plus’ monthly pair of free PS4 games is great. PlayStation Plus is even more awesome if you have a PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita to download the monthly games available for those as well. Even if you don’t have a Vita or PS3, you should make it a habit of getting their monthly free games through the PlayStation Store’s official website. For the most part, you’re not able to download them through your PS4’s access to the PlayStation Store and have to do this through a web browser.
As long as you’re subscribed to a PS Plus account, you should have access to all of the games you previously have gotten for free, including the PS3 and PS Vita titles. You should make it a monthly habit of getting those PS3 and PS Vita games for free in case you decide to get one of those consoles, so you have a slew of games to download and play for free right off the bat.
You can download pre-ordered digital games prior to release
While it’s nice to look at an entire collection of video games on your shelf, it’s quite convenient to download games from the PlayStation Store and enjoy them without ever having to set foot outside. Downloading games online reduces the amount of clutter at your place, but it also comes with another big bonus. Most digital games you pre-order from the PlayStation Store are able to auto-download early so that they’ll be ready to play once it hits midnight on the game’s launch date. Even if you go to a store doing a midnight release, you still have to take the time to make it back home and likely update the game upon first putting the disc in your system. Digital pre-orders can save you up to an hour or two of precious game time when it comes to the midnight release!
Share Play: playing together with a friend
Multiplayer gaming used to mean sitting next to a friend on the couch, playing on the same console. Online gaming changed all that…but the PS4’s Share Play brings it back. Let’s say you want to play against a buddy in Street Fighter V. You don’t both have to own a copy of the game in order to play. You can use the Share Play feature to let them play on your console as Player Two, and then hit Versus Mode together. Likewise, you can use Share Play just to hand over control of the game to your online friend, as if you handed them your controller in the same room. This is perfect for letting a friend get through a particularly difficult part of the game you might have trouble clearing.
Save controller battery life by dimming the DualShock 4 Light Bar
It’s true: the Light Bar on the PlayStation 4 is too bright and eats up your batteries faster than you’d like. Well, there’s a solution! Once you have your controller and console both turned on, just hold the PlayStation button down. You’ll want to select Adjust Devices on the popup menu and select the option to alter the brightness of your DualShock 4 Light Bar. Since the light doesn’t really do much, just turn the light intensity to Dim. We’re not sure how much battery life you’ll save exactly, but it will certainly make a difference in how long you can play before having to recharge.
Watching videos and movies on your PS4
The PlayStation 4’s Media Player app allows you to open various videos, music, and picture file types. While you can connect via a home media server (we suggest Googling how to connect to that), the easiest way to do this is through a simple USB drive (whether a flash or an external hard drive). Looking at pictures on your TV screen is as boring as it sounds, but being able to play videos on there is a mighty nice feature. You can watch your home movies or whatever videos you downloaded, just as long as they’re the right file type (not that we condone movie piracy or anything like that, but yeah you totally can…we’re not going to judge you).
Swap your PS4 hard drive for a larger one with more space
If you’re taking our advice about going digital for your video game library and downloading all of your purchases, you might want to consider swapping out your system’s internal hard drive for one with a higher capacity. This is so you can plug in a hard drive with much more space on it and you don’t have to worry about clearing memory all the time. Sony has posted some pretty elaborate directions on how to do this, and we don’t recommend doing this unless you’re tech savvy to some degree. Nevertheless, it’s nice getting a few extra terabytes in drive space. It can be a little bit pricey though, so be sure to do your research before you buy.
Add narrations/voice-overs to your gameplay
Being able to record your gameplay and post it up to social media is always fun, and a great way to brag to your friends about your skills. You know what’s even better? Adding your own commentary as you play. When you hit the Share Button to bring up the sharing screen, just hit Options and enable your mic (you can choose between your headset, microphone jack, or PlayStation Camera) for your video captures. It’s nice to add in your commentary live as you play, so you have more authentic reactions and things don’t feel as staged. But you’re also able to add in your commentary after the footage was already recorded. Just remember, you’re going to have to sit through your gameplay again in order to add your reactions and comments. Don’t forget you can have the PlayStation Camera film your face while you play as well.
Signing in via PlayStation Camera
If you’ve got a PlayStation Camera, you’ll be able to sign into your PSN account for your console just by facing the cam while turning on your PS4. While you might not want the world to see your gorgeous mug, it’s still a nice, high-tech feature that makes life just a tad bit simpler. Just remember, you need the camera to be able to see you, so keep a light on. You should keep a light on while playing in a dark room anyway, since it’s bad for your eyes, especially during marathon gameplay sessions. That’s two tips in one paragraph! You’re welcome.
Playing Spotify and MP3s while you game
Getting tired of hearing the same music while getting cursed out by preteens playing Call of Duty? Drown out those prepubescent insults with some better music. The PlayStation 4’s Media Player is able to play MP3 files for your music needs. Likewise, you’re also able to download Spotify and stream music from there. The music can actually continue playing while you have your game open. You’ll need to mute the in-game music of whatever you’re title playing, which you can usually do from the game’s options menu. After that, you can start fragging fools while playing whatever songs you’d like.
From sci-fi originals to kid-friendly fare, hard-hitting dramas to superlative horror, this year has already delivered a bumper crop of excellent flicks for film lovers. We’re still just a few pages into the calendar, but let’s take a quick look back at the best movies of 2017 (so far).
The LEGO Batman Movie
Trying to follow up The LEGO Movie was a tough proposition, and spinning off Will Arnett’s Batman could easily have backfired. The results could’ve faltered under the pressure of making this version of the character likable or interesting enough to carry a film, or buckled under the weight of all those DC Comics in-jokes and gags. Happily, The LEGO Batman Movie turned out to be one of the best family-friendly movies in ages, while packing in enough smart comic stuff to keep Batman geeks coming back for repeat viewings. Fun, wacky, and a rollicking adventure in the wild world of LEGO, the movie’s been showered with praise from critics who are calling it one of the best animated offerings of the year—and one of the best Batman movies ever.
John Wick Chapter 2
More than 15 years after The Matrix saga began, Keanu Reeves has reinvented himself as an action hero for a whole new generation. This sequel to his surprise 2014 action hit John Wick is a bone-crushing, R-rated thrill ride that finds Reeves’ namesake hitman pulled out of retirement to take on a shady international conspiracy. It might sound complicated, but it’s mostly just a setup for Reeves to kick a bunch of bad-guy butt. Critics say the film feels like a throwback to the simpler days of action movies, focusing on practical effects instead of distracting CGI. It’s also one of the most stylish films of the year, regardless of genre.
Director Peter Berg’s dramatic retelling of the real-life 2013 Boston Marathon bombing stars Mark Wahlberg—making his third fact-based thriller with Berg—as a police sergeant thrust into the middle of the chaos and the ensuing investigation. Critics have praised Patriots Day (which also opened in limited release late in 2016) for managing to tell a compelling story without straying into exploitive tropes, and while some reviews question whether it’s too soon to bring this particular story to the cineplex, there’s no denying it finds Berg and Wahlberg in their wheelhouse.
Pretty much no one saw it coming, but M. Night Shyamalan’s surprise hit Split is among the best films of the year. The taut thriller follows a group of young women abducted by a man (James McAvoy) with multiple personalities—whose struggle for dominance threaten to upend his plans…or make things even worse for his captives. Critics have hailed it as an unexpected return to form for Shyamalan, and a big part of the film’s buzz comes from its surprise twist (spoiler alert!) connection to his acclaimed Unbreakable. And it isn’t just the shocking final act that makes Split so much fun—McAvoy ties it all together with a tour de force performance.
This true story tale follows Ray Kroc (Michael Keaton) and the twisty real-life saga of how the McDonald’s fast-food chain was born. For those who’ve never stopped to consider the Big Mac’s origin story, it’s a surprisingly timely tale that delves into the dark side of the American Dream. Critics have praised Keaton for his multifaceted performance, and while some have noted that the movie might have dug a little deeper into its questions of capitalism, it all goes down about as easy as one of those Golden Arches meals.
Point to a February horror movie on your average release calendar, and you’re probably singling out a pretty lame film—but there’s always an exception, and this year, Get Out is it. Helmed by debuting feature director Jordan Peele (of Key & Peele fame), this horror/comedy hybrid follows the increasingly frightening misadventures of a young man (Daniel Kaluuya) venturing into the suburbs to meet his girlfriend’s (Allison Williams) parents. They have no idea he’s black, which feeds into the film’s creeping tension…but of course, that’s only the start. Thrilling as it is thought-provoking, this is one 2017 movie no film buff will want to miss.
Comics fans have loved Wolverine for decades, partly because the character has a dark, violent streak a mile wide—and although Hugh Jackman has played the X-Man just about perfectly, none of those outings have truly captured the grueling angst and berserker rage that help make his saga so poignant. That all changes with Logan, a loose adaptation of the Old Man Logan comics arc that finds our hero in a grim wasteland largely devoid of mutants, called upon to defend a mysterious girl (Dafne Keen) targeted by a passel of bloodthirsty villains. A brooding Western road trip with claws, Logan’s been hailed by critics as a fitting farewell for Jackman—and perhaps the best entry in the X-Men franchise to date.
Kong: Skull Island
It’s been a long time coming, but Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures knocked it out of the park with the new-look version of King Kong in Skull Island. The story follows a team of explorers and soldiers as they head off to a mysterious island that turns out to be the home of giant monsters. Critics have been raving about the film, which stars an A-list cast led by Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman, Brie Larson, and John C. Reilly, praising the aesthetics of the 1970s setting and saying it strikes the perfect balance of big stakes, dumb fun, and wildly enjoyable action. It also looks to set the stage for an eventual crossover with Godzilla that’ll set up the studio’s MonsterVerse. Skull Island is only the beginning.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Guardians of the Galaxy sent the MCU soaring into the Marvel Comics cosmos in 2014—and racked up some suitably sky-high box office grosses along the way, along with a slew of positive reviews. It was obviously only a matter of time before the gang returned for another outer space adventure, and while the reviews haven’t been quite as kind for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, it’s still a solid follow-up—and a wildly entertaining ride in its own right. The original cast is back in action for a storyline that sees Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) faced for the first time with his absentee dad…who just turns out to be the godlike Celestial known as Ego, the Living Planet (Kurt Russell). As he did with the first installment, writer-director James Gunn has fashioned a perfect delivery mechanism for blockbuster thrills balanced against belly laughs and genuine emotion. Bring on Vol. 3 already.
Beauty and the Beast
Disney’s winning streak with live-action spins on their beloved animated classics continues with Beauty and the Beast. Everyone loves the tale as old as time, but everyone’s also already seen it—posing a challenge for director Bill Condon’s update, which uses a lot of the same music and is even, in some spots, essentially a shot-for-shot remake of its predecessor. How did this Beauty overcome its beast of a stumbling block? Partly by rounding up an incredible cast, with a live-action contingent led by Emma Watson and a crew of stellar voice actors that included Emma Thompson, Ian McKellen, and Ewan McGregor. And then there are the resplendent visuals, which add a layer of painterly detail to a timeless love story that captured filmgoers all over again—and shattered box office records along the way.
Fate of the Furious
The Fast and Furious franchise lost a major star when Paul Walker passed away during the filming of Furious 7. And while Walker’s death added a poignant note to that film’s final act, it also left a major question mark hovering over the future of the series—one partially addressed by Fate of the Furious, which sends the saga hurtling into the post-Walker era. Continuing the series’ pivot away from street-racing action and toward heist capers fueled by thrilling (and ever more marvelously absurd) set pieces, Fate amps up the blockbuster destruction—as well as the soapy melodrama tying the ensemble cast together—with a story that sees the gang scrambling to understand a bizarre betrayal by leader Dom (Vin Diesel). Rumor has it the franchise could be nearing the finish line, but don’t worry: it looks like there’s a spinoff in the works, built around Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham’s characters.
After 75-odd years of whooping bad guy butt in the comics pages (and one supporting appearance in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice), Wonder Woman finally got her shot at solo blockbuster glory with 2017’s Wonder Woman—just in time to either make or break the emerging DC Extended Universe. No pressure, right? Happily, Wonder Woman did everything it needed to and then some, serving as an effective origin story as well as a superhero adventure that stood on its own as a standalone experience while continuing to lay the groundwork for the DCEU’s big team-up Justice League picture later this year. The reviews have been almost universally positive, and audiences have turned out in droves. Could we have a real battle for superhero supremacy at the box office between Marvel and DC?
Directed by Nacho Vigalondo (Timecrimes), Colossal is one of the strangest giant monster movies ever made, and boy, is that really saying something. In this off-the-walls sci-fi flick, Anne Hathaway plays an alcoholic named Gloria who finally goes on one bender too many. Her boyfriend (Dan Stevens) kicks her out of their apartment, and she winds up back in her hometown, reconnecting with her bar-owning childhood friend (Jason Sudeikis).
So far so normal, but things get weird when Gloria drunkenly stumbles across a playground early one morning. The moment she steps into the tiny park, a gigantic creature materializes in Seoul, South Korea—a creature that mimics Gloria’s every move. Initially enamored with her new power, Gloria soon realizes her inebriated antics are going to get people killed, so she resolves to get her act together…and that’s when Colossal takes a hard left turn into unexpected territory, sending Gloria towards a final showdown with all the kaiju-sized demons in her life.
We don’t want to say much more about the plot—you’ll thank us later—but seriously, the film is worth watching for Anne Hathaway alone. Gloria is one of her finest performances, a role that allows her to run a range of emotions from insecure self-loathing to confident rage, with a bit of everything in between. Plus, the plot is so insane there’s no way you can sit this one out. Original, emotional, and surprisingly poignant, Colossal is the kind of movie that will leave you whispering to yourself, “Oh my God…zilla.”
Ridley Scott’s Prometheus was a pretty divisive movie when it hit theaters in 2012, and while the follow-up, Alien: Covenant, has its own detractors, we can say this about Scott’s third installment in the xenomorph franchise: it plays up the franchise’s horror element, there’s a ton of gore, and we get two Michael Fassbenders for the price of one. Seriously, what more does a sci-fi fan need?
Set in 2104, just a few years before the original Alien, this sequel-prequel follows the crew of the Covenant, a spaceship carrying 2,000 sleeping passengers, all waiting to wake up in a new world. Unfortunately, an accident along the way kills the captain, and when the new commander (Billy Crudup) picks up a strange transmission coming from a mysterious planet, he decides to change course.
Obviously, this guy has never seen a horror movie before, and despite the protestations of our Ripley-like protagonist (Katherine Waterston), the captain lands the ship—and soon, the crew finds themselves besieged by angry aliens. Admittedly, it’s nice to see the xenomorph back in action, but pretty much everyone agrees that this is Michael Fassbender’s movie. The actor is playing two androids here—one subservient, one Luciferian—and he steals the screen every time he gets into a debate with himself. Couple Fassbender’s presence with the facehuggers and the chestbursters, and it’s easy to see why critics are saying Alien: Covenant is the third-best film of the franchise.
From the brilliantly bizarre mind that brought us The Host and Snowpiercer comes a South Korean fable featuring a bubbly Tilda Swinton, a mustachioed Jake Gyllenhaal, and a giant CGI pig. This is the wild world of Okja, a film that starts off feeling like a G-rated kid’s adventure and ends up inside an R-rated slaughterhouse. It’s funny, shocking, and darkly cynical—exactly what you’d expect from director Bong Joon-ho.
Released through Netflix, Okja tells the story of a young girl named Mija (An Seo-hyun) who’s friends with a hippo-like “super pig” named, well, Okja. Together, the duo run, play, and love life together until the porker is captured and taken to New York City. Unbeknownst to Mija, her best friend actually belongs to the all-powerful Mirando Corporation, a business run by evil twins (both played by Swinton). Okja is their genetically modified creation, and they plan on turning the poor pig into the tastiest, most eco-friendly pork chops on the planet.
Of course, when Mija finds out what’s really going on, she sets out to rescue her buddy with the help of some bumbling animal rights activists (led by Paul Dano). Written by journalist Jon Ronson, Okja also features names like Giancarlo Esposito, Lily Collins, and as we’ve already mentioned, a wildly over-the-top Jake Gyllenhaal. And in true Bong Joon-ho fashion, the film has quite a lot to say about the dark side of capitalism. Plus, it’s such a powerful film that by the time it’s over, even Ron Swanson would reconsider ordering a steak.
With its eclectic soundtrack and insanely impressive stunts, Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver is one of the most exciting films of 2017. This souped-up action flick stars Ansel Elgort as a young crook named Baby, a kid who works as a getaway driver for a smarmy crime boss named Doc (Kevin Spacey). Suffering from tinnitus, Baby drowns out the constant droning with an incredible collection of iPods, and while he’s grooving to the tunes, Baby weaves in and out of traffic, dodging cars and avoiding cops by doing 180s in alleyways.
But Baby’s life gets a little more complicated when he falls head over heels for a beautiful waitress named Debora (Lily James). He wants to go straight, but Doc wants him for another job, one that involves working with a who’s who of psycho killers (played by Eiza Gonzalez, Jon Hamm, and a wonderfully deranged Jamie Foxx). Needless to say, the robbery doesn’t go as planned, and Baby is forced to take a stand to save everything he loves.
Thanks to the movie’s emphasis on music, the action scenes are choreographed to the tunes on Baby’s iPod, with Edgar Wright using songs like “Tequila,” “Bellbottoms,” and “Hocus Pocus” to great effect. Crazier still, almost every stunt you see is real. With its dance-like action and its super cool characters, Wright’s sixth feature film is like a mashup between Singin’ in the Rain and Walter Hill’s The Driver, which means it’s got a little something special for everyone.
War for the Planet of the Apes
The conclusion to one of the best trilogies ever made, War for the Planet of the Apes expertly blends the book of Exodus with Apocalypse Now, resulting in a brutal Old Testament-POW story. In the fiery aftermath of the previous film, Caesar (Andy Serkis) has led his followers into the mountains, hoping to escape the wrath of man. But Caesar knows his apes can’t hide in the hills for long, so this primate Moses plans on leading his people to a new promised land, where they can avoid any future conflicts.
Unfortunately, humans aren’t quite as humane as apes. Led by a mad colonel (Woody Harrelson) on a mission, a group of soldiers attack Caesar’s colony, killing several of his loved ones. With his trusted allies by his side, Caesar sets out to get revenge, but instead, he finds himself on a quest to free his troop from a fortress-like prison. This sets up a Bridge on the River Kwai-style showdown between Caesar and the Colonel, escalating in an escape attempt and brutal battle that might end with the world becoming a planet of…well…you know.
Directed by Matt Reeves, War for the Planet of the Apes is the perfect ending to an amazing trilogy, one that features yet another show-stopping performance from Andy Serkis. The English actor has created a character of Shakespearean proportions, and some believe he should get an Oscar nod for his motion capture performance. Really, the only bad thing about War for the Planet of the Apes is saying goodbye to Caesar.
If you were to visit Rotten Tomatoes, you’d probably notice that, critically speaking, Spider-Man: Homecoming is tied with The Avengers. Both films share a whopping 92 percent approval rating—an impressive feat, but it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. After all, Homecoming is one of the most charming and entertaining films to ever swing its way into the MCU.
Starring Tom Holland as Peter Parker, Spider-Man: Homecoming follows the wannabe Avenger as he tries to fight crime and navigate high school at the same time. Even with the help of his good friend Ned (Jacob Batalon), he’s still having a hard time impressing the girl of his dreams (Liz Allan). Of course, things get even more complicated when an honest-to-goodness supervillain shows up. Known as the Vulture (Michael Keaton), this winged baddie is the ultimate thief, and if Peter can bring him to justice, it could be his ultimate ticket into the Avengers.
Directed by Jon Watts, Homecoming even won over Marvel haters thanks to its John Hughes-high school vibe. And all that upbeat energy was largely thanks to Tom Holland, who’s kind of the perfect Peter Parker. Playing across from Zendaya, Marisa Tomei, and Robert Downey Jr., Holland more than proved he deserves to be a member of the world’s mightiest heroes, and we can’t wait to see him catching bad guys like flies in 2018.
Without a doubt, Dunkirk is one of Christopher Nolan’s greatest achievements, right up there with Inception and The Dark Knight. In fact, you could make an argument that Dunkirk is his greatest film—some have—which is a testament to the nail-biting power of this World War II thriller.
Shot mostly with 65mm film on IMAX cameras, Dunkirk tells the story of a real-life retreat in 1940. Roughly 400,000 Allied troops were trapped on a French beach, completely surrounded by the Nazis, and the only thing keeping our heroes from home was the English Channel. Unfortunately, the beach was too shallow to accommodate military-sized vessels, so English civilians sprang into action, sailing to Dunkirk in their yachts and fishing boats.
It was an incredible historical moment, and Nolan does a masterful job of capturing the suspense. In true Nolan fashion, the story is divided into three interwoven narratives, all of which have their own unusual run times. Story number one takes place on the beach and lasts a week. Story two takes a day and follows a civilian (Mark Rylance) as he sails for Dunkirk. Finally, story three takes place over the course of an hour and follows the RAF pilots (led by Tom Hardy) as they defend the men trapped on the beach below.
Despite the time differences, the stories are all connected and even shed new light on the same events. And like a master, Nolan uses these three interlocking tales to put audiences in the middle of the battlefield. We feel like we’re actually there, trapped on the beach, desperately waiting for a boat to show up and take us home.
What would happen if you combined Imperator Furiosa with John Wick? You’d probably get Lorraine Broughton, British superspy and badass hero of Atomic Blonde. Directed by David Leitch—who not coincidentally co-directed John Wick—this neon thriller takes place in the final days of the Cold War. The Berlin Wall is about to go down, but that doesn’t mean the cloak-and-dagger business is all done.
To the contrary, Broughton (Charlize Theron) is sent to Germany to retrieve a stolen list that contains the names of undercover spies. The list has fallen into the hands of the Soviets, and Broughton will have to bash a few skulls in her quest to discover the document. Along the way, she butts heads with an out-of-control James McAvoy and makes love to a sexy Sofia Boutella, all while “Cat People,” “Father Figure,” and “99 Luftballons” play in the background.
But really, the plot isn’t important. In fact, as the film goes on, it just gets more and more complicated. What is important is the crazy fight choreography: Broughton beats up dudes using everything from ropes to cooking pots, all while wearing the most stylish clothes imaginable. More impressive still, that’s really Theron throwing those haymakers. The actress did her own stunts for the film, adding a touch of realism to the brutal battle scenes.
In short, don’t expect something with the intellect of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Instead, prepare to watch Charlize Theron bash somebody in the face with a baton, which is the reason movies were invented in the first place.
Andy Muschietti’s It isn’t the first adaptation of Stephen King’s weighty novel. In 1990, Tim Curry made horror history by playing Pennywise the Dancing Clown, the Derry demon with a fondness for floating. But Curry’s version played on the TV network ABC, and now that Bill Skarsgård is wearing the makeup, are a lot darker and bloodier.
The first of a two-part tale, It tells the story of “The Losers’ Club,” a group of outcast kids who are beaten by bullies and plagued by horrible home lives. But when they’re together, these kids are pretty powerful—and they need as much strength as possible when they find themselves facing a flesh-eating clown. Led by Bill (Jaeden Lieberher), a boy who lost his little brother to Pennywise’s evil appetites, the Losers eventually head into the sewers to end the evil that’s been plaguing their town for years.
While you’ve got to give Tim Curry credit, Skarsgård takes the nightmare fuel to a whole new level. Of course, you can have the world’s most evil monster, but if you don’t have sympathetic heroes, then audiences just won’t care. Fortunately, the Losers are likable characters played by solid actors, and according to the critics, they truly have a bond with one another. Under all the gore and grime, behind the monstrous apparitions and evil sinks, there’s an actual heart beating in this movie…one that a creepy clown wants to tear out and eat.
There are normal bosses, there are difficult bosses, and then there are impossible bosses. We mean that literally. Every once in a while, a video game throws an enemy at you that you simply can’t beat—at least, not without modding the game or cheating. Your actions don’t matter. No matter what you do, you’re going to lose.
But why? Sometimes, a character needs to stick around to progress the plot. At others, developers want to drive home just how powerful a certain character is—or how powerful the player’s character isn’t. Occasionally, an unbeatable boss fight occurs early in the game just to make that character’s ultimate demise feel so much sweeter. And, every once in a while, an invincible foe pops up just to mess with players’ heads (yeah, Dark Souls, we’re looking at you). When you go up against these particular big bads, don’t waste your potions, your ammo, or your time. Just give in. Surrender is the only option.
Bowser — Paper Mario
Mario beats Bowser. For over 30 years now, that’s just how it goes. But Paper Mario doesn’t play by the regular Mario rules—to start with, it’s a turn-based RPG, not a platforming title—and that includes its treatment of Mario’s biggest, baddest nemesis.
When Paper Mario begins, Mario and Luigi trek to Princess Peach’s castle for a party, but it doesn’t seem like the Toadstool monarch has much interest in socializing. After briefly mingling with Peach’s guests, Mario heads upstairs to talk with the princess herself. Things go well—Peach can’t wait to “relax” with Mario, once they’re squirreled away where nobody can interrupt them—but before Mario gets too lucky, the ground starts shaking and the entire castle floats into the sky.
It’s Bowser, of course, and when the King Koopa shows up to gloat, Mario gets ready to take him down. It should be easy. After all, he’s done it before. But in the past, Bowser didn’t have the Star Rod, which grants its owner’s every wish. Bowser uses the wand, making himself invincible, and there’s nothing that Mario or the player can do about it. Mario gets thrashed in the following battle, and spends the rest of the game collecting the power-ups he’ll need to survive the inevitable rematch.
Calo Nord — Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Like other BioWare RPGs, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is all about choices. Will you embrace the light side of the Force, or turn to the dark? Negotiate with the Tusken Raiders on Tatooine, or murder them all? And, most importantly, will your amnesiac Sith lord fall for Bastila Shan, Juhani, or Carth Onasi?
But even in a flexible game like Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, you can’t do everything you want. There’s a story, and you have to play by its rules. As a result, no matter how much you might want to kill Calo Nord on Taris, you can’t. The bounty hunter still has a role to play. Oh, sure, you can try. After watching Nord dispatch a few members of the Black Vulkars in Javyar’s Cantina, you’re more than welcome to challenge him to a fight. Just don’t expect to win. Not only does Nord have a weapon that’ll end you in one hit, but he’s totally invulnerable. Allegedly, even cheating won’t get Nord out of the way (at first, anyway—after Taris’ destruction, you’ll meet Nord again, and at that point he’s totally fair game).
Kain — Final Fantasy IV
Impossible boss fights are a common trope in Japanese role-playing games, especially the early entries in the Final Fantasy franchise. More than almost any other game series, Final Fantasy titles tend to use their gameplay systems as storytelling tools—Garnet can’t cast spells when she loses her voice in Final Fantasy IX, for example—and Final Fantasy IV (originally known in the USA as Final Fantasy II) is the weirdest and most creative in this regard. An old man, Tellah, loses stat points as he levels up, to show that he’s getting older. When the main hero, Cecil, undergoes a spiritual transformation, his statistics reset and he starts back at level one.
And, of course, Final Fantasy IV uses impossible boss fights to show you exactly how powerful your opponents are. Kain isn’t a memorable character because of his spiky armor and sharp spear. He’s a memorable character because he starts as a member of your party, goes missing, and kicks your butt as soon as he shows up again.
Final Fantasy IV doesn’t just show you the fight, however. You play it, at least for a few seconds. While Cecil has time launch a couple of attacks, Kain does heavy damage, and the skirmish is over almost as soon as it begins. It’s a smart and quick way to send players a powerful message: Kain is much stronger than he was the last time you saw him. Don’t take him lightly.
Seath the Scaleless — Dark Souls
In addition to its moody atmosphere, clever level construction, and impeccable world design, the Dark Souls is most famous for being brutally hard. Still, even by Dark Souls standards, Seath the Scaleless is unusually sadistic. See, whenever Dark Souls players die, they lose souls (the game’s currency) and some of their humanity (a stat boost). If they want to recover the items they lost, players need to fight their way back to their corpses without dying again. Often, that’s easier said than done.
And yet, to defeat Seath the Scaleless, you have to die first. There’s no way around it. When you confront Seath the first time, the dragon is invincible. Even the best Dark Souls player won’t be able to beat him. Once he kills you—and he will—you’ll respawn in a prison cell. From there, you’ll be able to battle your way to the Crystal Cave, where you’ll be able to put Seath down for good. Hopefully, you won’t die along the way—otherwise, all those goodies you lost when Seath killed you the first time will be lost for good. Not cool, Dark Souls. Not cool at all.
Vile — Mega Man X
Mega Man’s pal Zero may not have the blue bomber’s name recognition, but the dude definitely knows how to make an entrance. Mega Man X opens with a tutorial level that acquaints players with Mega Man’s futuristic new home and his brand new abilities. After mastering dashing, wall-jumping, and blasting, players enter their very first boss fight…and lose immediately.
As it turns out, Mega Man isn’t much of a match for Vile, one of the rogue robots known as the Mavericks. It’s not even close. All Vile does is hop up and down and shoot slow-moving energy balls, and he still manages to bash at Mega Man until the plucky young robot is down to a single bar of life. That’s when Vile stops to gloat. Wrong choice. An energy charge flies in from offscreen and disables Vile, the electric guitars start to play, and Zero rushes to the rescue, hair flowing in the wind. Vile takes off—beaten, but not broken—leaving little doubt who the hero is. It might be Mega Man’s game, but Zero is the real star.
Zeus — God of War II
So, you’ve killed Ares. Big whoop. Offing the god of war and taking his place (which is how the first God of War ends) is one thing. Killing the god of war’s dad—who also happens to be the king of Olympus—is quite another. When God of War II kicks off, neither Kratos nor the player prove up to the task.
Of course, before the fight, Zeus stacked the deck in his favor. He took the form of an eagle, stole some of Kratos’ power, and used it to bring a giant statue, the Colossus of Rhodes, to life. As Kratos fights the statue, Zeus gives him a weapon—but in order to use the Blade of Olympus, Kratos needs to give up the rest of his divine power. He does and defeats the Colossus accordingly. That’s when Zeus reveals that he’s been behind the whole thing, and arrogantly orders Kratos to pledge allegiance to the king of the gods.
Kratos doesn’t, so Zeus picks up his sword and, after an extremely short boss fight, takes the former Spartan down—but not out. Kratos escapes from the underworld (for a second time) and teams up with the banished titans to get revenge on the god king—who is also, Kratos learns, his father. Awkward.
Gunther — Deus Ex
The whole point of the cyberpunk action-RPG Deus Ex is that, if you can try it, you can probably do it. While developing the game, veteran designer Warren Spector created a set of rules to guide Deus Ex’s development team, which included nuggets like “no forced failure” and “players do; NPCs watch.”
For the most part, Ion Storm met (and, often, exceeded) those goals. The game’s Battery Park segment, however, comes up short. After the protagonist JC Denton turns on the United Nations Anti-Terrorist Coalition, he and his brother become public enemies number two and one, respectively. UNATCO goons, led by the cybernetic assassin Gunther Hermann.
So far, so good. But JC’s showdown against Gunther in Battery Park only has one outcome: JC surrenders, and Gunther remains alive. While JC can wipe out Gunther’s UNATCO soldiers, the big man himself is invincible. Fight too long, and he’ll just kill you. Escape isn’t an option, either. While clever fans discovered a way to jump over the barricades designed to keep players fighting, there’s no way to progress the story without giving in to Gunther’s demands. Deus Ex might be a game based on player choice, but in this scenario, there’s only one ending—and for JC, it isn’t a good one.
Ridley — Super Metroid
Classic Metroid nemesis Ridley is a mother-lovin’ dragon who leads a band of space pirates. By its very definition, that thing should put up one hell of a fight—and when Super Metroid opens, Ridley doesn’t disappoint. Shortly after dropping the last living Metroid off at the Ceres Space Colony, bounty hunter Samus Aran receives a distress call from the same facility. When she returns in Super Metroid’s opening moments, she finds Ridley lurking in the laboratory, the Metroid sample clutched in his talons.
You can fight Ridley, but you can’t beat him—after all, if Ridley doesn’t escape with the Metroid, there’d be no game. The best you can do is pummel him with bullets until he drops the container holding the baby lifeform (the other alternative is to just let him hit Samus until she runs out of energy). Either way, the result is the same. Ridley scoops up the Metroid he fumbled and starts the station’s self-destruct sequence, forcing Samus to drop everything and make a mad dash to the exit. Still, Ridley doesn’t get away scot-free—as he flees, Samus follows him, and the adventure properly begins once she touches down on Zebes and starts hunting her prey.
Fortune — Metal Gear Solid 2
You don’t beat Fortune. You merely survive her. See, it’s impossible to shoot Fortune. Every bullet misses. It seems like a superpower, but in reality, she’s too lucky. Really, really lucky.
That’s good for her, but isn’t great for Raiden, who faces off against Fortune early in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. While Fortune may be effectively impervious to bullets, she can still shoot with the best of ’em, and after a brief bout of mistaken identity she decides that Raiden is better off dead. Raiden, naturally, disagrees—and since he serves as the player’s character, you’re on his side by default.
On paper, Fortune should be easy. Her life bar is ridiculously short. During the battle, she practically begs Raiden to kill her. In true Metal Gear Solid fashion, it’s all a joke. The only way to make it past Fortune and continue Metal Gear Solid 2’s twisty plotline is to use the environment to your advantage, letting Fortune’s shots go wide until help arrives.
Pyramid Head — Silent Hill 2
The best horror villains can’t be killed no matter how hard the protagonist tries. That’s what makes them so scary. It doesn’t matter what you do to stop Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers, or Freddy Krueger. Everything you try is a temporary solution. Sooner or later, they’re going to find out.
Add Pyramid Head, the ostensible antagonist of Silent Hill 2, to the list. As James Sunderland quickly learns, the Pyramid Head can take a licking and keeps on coming back for more. Oh, sure, he can be hurt—he takes a bullet just like anything else—and, in fact, you’ll need to wound Pyramid Head more than once if you’re going to work your way towards Silent Hill 2’s conclusion.
But while you harm him, you won’t kill him. Despite James’ best efforts, Pyramid Head returns to plague him again, and again, and again. When James finally escapes, in fact, it’s not because he’s managed to put his stalking foe down. It’s because James finally manages to forgive himself, ending the Pyramid Heads’ purgatorial function. And so, the beasties happily impale themselves on their own spears, letting James proceed—but never letting him forget that, without that suicide, they would’ve won, and there’s nothing James could’ve done about it.
You know the Infinity Gauntlet? That big glove in the Marvel Cinematic Universe specifically designed to hold all six infinity stones and turn the wearer into basically a God? Well, eagle eyed Marvel fans have been confused by something about it for a while now and Thor: Ragnarok finally clears all that up.
We first saw the Infinity Gauntlet in the background of Odin’s Trophy Room in the first Thor film when The Destroyer was popping off against the Frost Giants. Notice this one is a right handed gauntlet. Why is this important? Well, the next time we see the gauntlet in the MCU was in the Avengers: Age of Ultron mid credits scene.
In that scene we saw chirpy purple fella Thanos reach into a vault and put on the Infinity Gauntlet. Thanos is going to be a big deal in the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War films because he’s really into Infinity Stones. So, in this scene we see that Thanos already has an Infinity Gauntlet BUT how can that be when we saw the Infinity Gauntlet in Odin’s Trophy Room?
Marvel’s Kevin Feige had previously said that were two Infinity Gauntlets in the MCU but didn’t say why.
Fast forward to Thor: Ragnarok and we see Hela strutting around Odin’s Trophy Room and revealing that a lot of the trophies are actually fake – especially the Infinity Gauntlet which she knocks over. This probably explains why it has replica Infinity Stones inside of it and why it’s a right handed glove when we see Thanos picking up a left handed glove.
Way back when they were making the first Thor, Marvel probably couldn’t have known that this little easter egg would end up being a bit of an annoying plot hole but now that’s all been cleared up so you can stop writing to Kevin Feige about it.
Nintendo is about to release its latest console, the Switch$299.99 at Amazon. It’s unlike anything we’ve seen before—a hybrid portable and home machine that can be docked to a TV to play on the big screen or clipped into controllers to enjoy on the go. The initial software lineup is quirky, the hardware design is unique, and there’s a solid amount of hype for release day.
Here’s the rub, though: when Nintendo innovates, things don’t always go well. While we’re always supportive of companies trying to break out of the mold and do it differently, people don’t really love the big N for pushing the envelope. They love the familiar characters and adventures they grew up with.
So what’s driven Nintendo to be so relentlessly experimental? It’s hard to say. The surprise success of the Wii might be one reason, as well as a corporate philosophy that has long prioritized low cost and low-powered hardware over the latest and greatest. Sometimes that pays off, but sometimes it doesn’t. Here are 10 times Nintendo stepped outside of the box and paid the price.
4N64 Transfer Pack
5GameBoy Advance e-Reader
7GameCube – Game Boy Advance Link Cable
8GameCube Broadband Adapter
9Wii Vitality Sensor
Games are the same way. Some games just start off strong. They paint the perfect picture of the adventure ahead, while luring you in with the right kind of visual and narrative hooks. They set their grand stories up in unique and fascinating ways that, often times, outshine the rest of the game. These are 5 of the best prologues in games.
5. Wild ARMs 3
The Wild ARMs series has a bit of a pattern for its prologues. The beginning of each game is spent being introduced to the party of characters individually and watching the turn of events that unite them as a group for the first time. It’s fairly formulaic, but an easy to follow and reliable way to tell a good story. Wild ARMs 3 did this the best.
The four main characters – Clive, Gallows, Jet, and Virginia – all come from different corners of the dusty, decaying world of Filgaia. They all end up on a train for different reasons. Virginia and Gallows are simple passengers, Clive is hired to protect its mysterious cargo, and Jet looks to rob it. Another group of bandits stick the train up, and once they learn that its cargo isn’t simply money and valuables, the four band together to retrieve it and eventually save the world.
4. Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
The demo for Metal Gear Solid 2 is one of the most memorable demos of all time. There was a great deal of replayability and it was a chock full of stealth action goodness. It also served as a half hour prologue to the Big Shell Incident and the only time you play Solid Snake in the title – a twist no one knew about until the game finally hit shelves.
When infiltrating a giant oil tanker in the Hudson River to check for signs of general nefarity, you get exactly what you were looking for: A giant, aquatic Metal Gear seemingly funded by the USMC. While exploring the tanker, you realize that it is also under attack by Russians, lead in part by Ocelot, who turns on his other conspirators promptly. He steals the Metal Gear himself and leaves the ship to sink in the river. Big Shell is built 2 years later to clean up the mess and cover for even bigger evil master plans.
3. Vagrant Story
This RPG was one of the last made by the old Squaresoft (before becoming Square Enix) and is often overlooked because of how late in the Playstation’s lifecycle it released. To miss this game is to deprive yourself of one of the best RPGs of the era. It had a highly Shakespearean script and a fast, film-inspired cinematography that is an early victory in the quest for making games more like movies.
Its prologue is short and completely skippable, but it’s not wise to ignore it. Important story details, like why protagonist Ashley Riot is on his mission in the first place, are revealed in it. After the Duke’s mansion is attacked, the VKP are one of the many agencies called to the scene to stop the madness. The Duke’s son is kidnapped by Sydney Losstarot, cult leader and terrorist, and your job is to chase him down and get the child back. Not so easy, since the villain leaves a giant wyvern behind to keep you busy.
2. The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
Geralt’s adventures have brought put him into pretty tight spots before, but the beginning of the Witcher 2 might have been the closest he’s come of outright death by political agendas and being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
You begin the game imprisoned, being interrogated by Vernon Roache about their king’s last moments, ones he had in Geralt’s company. As told in a set of flashbacks, the story of King Foltest’s death and the moments leading up to it are told with with a great deal of murder mystery TV show flair. An uncommon trope to call on for a fantasy game, but one that makes this opening stand out above many others.
1. Lufia & the Fortress of Doom
Lufia often gets overlooked, it being a JRPG not called Final Fantasy, but it’s a fate that isn’t quite fair for the series. Lufia had many qualities that have inspired many RPG’s since, like its sometimes devilishly difficult puzzles and blending platforming and action RPG elements to its tradition turn based gameplay elements. Though, the most stand out moment of the original Lufia is the first 20 minutes.
You take the role of Maxim, hero of heroes and his friends, as they storm the floating castle of a group of super evil demon lords called the Sinstrals. After exploring the dark fortification, you come across the even group and challenge them in combat. You manage to slay them after a series of arduous battles, but two of your party, including the leader Maxim, don’t make it out of the castle before it crumbles and falls back to Earth. You eventually take the role of a descendant of Maxim for the rest of the game, retracing his footsteps in order to stop history from repeating itself.
Being able to play the game’s most significant historical moment is a great way to get players invested in the task of stopping it from happening again. Maxim and his friends was such a compelling way to open the game, that their story became the focus of the sequel.
What other video game prologues were memorable? Leave them in the comments, or tweet @CurseGamepedia with your picks.
Not one, but two new patches are now available to download for Minecraft on PlayStation 4 and 3. Minecraft update 1.62 and 1.61 were released to fix issues, and add support for the “Minecon Earth 2017 Skin Pack.” For more, check out the full patch notes.
Check out the full Minecraft update 1.62 and 1.61 patch notes below:
Minecraft update 1.62 patch notes
- Addressed an issue that prevented invited friends from joining.
Minecraft update 1.61 patch notes
- Added support for the Minecon Earth 2017 Skin Pack.
- Minor bug fixes and improvements.
The last major Minecraft update was update 1.57, which added a ton of custom game types. You can view all of them below:
- Added the “Custom” game type to the Battle Mini Game with a huge variety of new settings, including:
- Enable choosing the number of lives per round that each player gets.
- Now you can choose the number of rounds to play before the winner is selected.
- Enable forcing map size.
- A variety of different options to manage how players heal, and how quickly they get hungry.
- Added the No Armor item set to Custom Battle games, an item set designed to keep the combat fast-paced and exciting.
- Added the High Power item set to Custom Battle games, allowing you to play Battle with some of the most powerful items in Minecraft!
- Decayed item set to Custom Battle games; every item breaks after a few uses, so you’ll need to keep moving.
- Added the Food Central item set to Custom Battle games. Food is only found in the centre chests, and equipment only in the outer chests.
- Added the “Custom” game type to Tumble Mini Game with a huge variety of new settings, including:
- Enable choosing the number of lives per round that each player gets.
- Enable choosing the number of layers and controlling the size of the layers.
- Fireworks as a usable weapon in Custom Tumble games is now added to the game.
- Splash Potions of Levitation as a usable weapon in Custom Tumble games is now added to the game.
- Added Spectator Participation to Custom Tumble games
Minecraft update 1.62 is available now on PlayStation 4 and 3.
Or, how I learned to stop worrying and love the cube.
I’ve recently become addicted to Minecraft, like seemingly every small child I know. I’m surprised it didn’t happen sooner; I’ve played similar games – like Terraria and so on – and I always enjoyed playing with LEGO as a kid, but I just never managed to get hooked by Minecraft.
Maybe it was the terrifying number of crafting recipes that (until recently) you either had to memorise or Google; maybe it was my frustration at the less-than-ideal (to put it lightly) behaviour of the game’s creator; or maybe it was my lack of friends who wanted to hang out in a server with me. Whatever it was, I successfully avoided a Minecraft addition… until now.
Recently in Melbourne I visited ACMI, where one room boasts an impressive collection of films and videogames – and artefacts related to their creation. The room was overflowing with school children when I wandered through, and many of them were drawn to Minecraft. In fact, while I was watching, a group of students were busily modifying texture packs, of all things.
I understand now why so many children have been captured by this world: it seems to have something for everyone. It allows people to understand as much or as little of the system as they like, and still enjoy themselves within the space. Children who want to modify textures or create their own mods are welcomed, but those who want to explore, or fight, or create, or mine to bedrock are welcomed too.
This is epitomised by the group I play Minecraft with, each of whom have different approaches to play. Some enjoy action shooters, and find joy in playing Minecraft in survival mode, struggling through nights of killing (or avoiding) the various hostile creatures that roam the world. Others enjoy building new structures, so spend their time in creative mode, floating around and constructing impressive homes and monuments.
And just as Minecraft offers my friendship group an array of options, it offers them to me as well. It’s a space for me to go on (slightly scary) adventures with my friends, laughing with one another via voicechat, just as it’s a place for me to lose myself in methodical tasks while I’m the only one online. It’s a place to perfect my mining style, burrowing underground while watching television shows on my second monitor. It’s a complex fidget toy, giving me something to do with my hands and head that isn’t particularly strenuous. It’s a jigsaw puzzle, where the image I’m putting together is of my own creation.
Minecraft has become a sort of self-care for me. I often struggle to incorporate social interactions into my hectic schedule, but Minecraft has given me a way to spend time with people I care about inbetween commitments. Similarly, methodical and repetitive tasks are a coping mechanism for keeping my anxiety in check, and Minecraft offers a more interesting alternative to sitting with a bunch of grapes and pulling them, one-by-one, from their stems.
It’s also surprisingly accessible. It’s the little things: depending on the day, I might want challenging adventures or relaxing exploration, and the mode I choose can account for that. And as somebody who struggles with auditory processing, being able to adjust every part of the music and sound effects using separate sliders makes it so much easier to hear what I want or need to, without it being lost in a cacophony of other sounds. Minecraft may be an obsession for a lot of kids, but I can’t see why – it’s clever.
I understand Minecraft, and the people who play it, better now. The children playing this game have found a respite from their anxious minds, an adventure through which to socialise with their friends, and a platform for exercising their curiosity and practising all sorts of skills, and I’m honestly sad it took me this long to join the party.
For those that still haven’t picked up the game yet, Rocket League will see another retail release next month, with a Collector’s Edition that’s being distributed by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. This is a pretty big deal, and with what’s just been announced in the package, fans may find some tremendous value in picking it up.
In a new blog post, the developers at Psyonix confirmed some special bonus goodies for the Collector’s Edition of the game when it releases on December 7th, and they’ll be worthwhile ones for DC Comics fans. That’s because the package features exclusive wheels based on the Flash. As you can see in the screenshots above and below, the wheels look distinctively like Flash logos. In addition, there will also be special Player Banners available, including ones featuring the DC Comics logo, as well as the Flash. (And you can name your vehicle “B. Allen” if you feel up to it.)
The Collector’s Edition of the game will also come with plenty of great downloadable content on the disc as well, including DLC like Supersonic Fury, Revenge of the Battle-Cars and Chaos Run, as well as premium DLC battle-cars like the Aftershock, Marauder, Esper and Masamune. You’ll also find a cool limited Art Print created by Psyonix concept artist Jay Zhang.
Now for those that don’t wish to invest in a physical copy of the game – you probably already own it – there’s no need to fret. Psyonix has made it clear that owners will be able to purchase The Flash and DC Comics content in 2018, with a “future opportunity.” A date wasn’t given yet, but it shouldn’t be too far off. So, yes, you’ll get you crack at these goods as well, as they won’t be limited to this retail release.
The retail version of the game is set to sell for $29.99, which isn’t too bad at all considering what’s all included. It’s just for Xbox One and PlayStation 4, though – the Nintendo Switch version, which launches this Tuesday, will already have its fair share of exclusive content, including the Mario, Luigi and Metroid cars. There’s a possibility it could get the Flash goodies down the line, though. We’ll see what Psyonix has planned.
Rocket League is available now for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC, and releases this Tuesday for Nintendo Switch.
Nintendo blew our collective minds earlier this summer when it finally announced the return of the Metroid Prime franchise, with a fourth installment currently being developed for release on the Nintendo Switch. Today, though, we learned who the development team behind the game just might be.
According to this Reddit report, the team behind the forthcoming Prime revival could be none other than Bandai Namco Games. The team appears to be working alongside long-time Metroid series producer Kensuke Tanabe with putting the game together. What’s more, we could be seeing first footage of the project sooner rather than later.
“Metroid Prime 4 should have something revealed with some in-game footage early next year from what I’ve heard,” the source noted. “I’m hearing that Direct in January particularly. Bandai Namco is developing the game for Nintendo.” That said, they did note they didn’t know specifically which studio at Bandai Namco was working on the game.
Now, take it with a grain of salt. Bandai Namco hasn’t said anything officially about the game (nor Nintendo), and it seems like a quirky choice for such a storied franchise. However, we’ve seen Bandai Namco work its magic on Nintendo franchise before. The developer worked on StarFox Assault on the GameCube several years ago, and also had a hand in development creating Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS – and Pac-Man’s in there as proof.
Some people have been wondering, “Well, why not Retro Studios?” A good question. But with the rumor that a new Donkey Kong game could be coming to Switch, they may be busy working on that.
If – and it’s a big if – this rumor does end up coming true, and we see first footage of Metroid early next year, Nintendo could be, ahem, Prime-ing it for a big 2018 release on the Switch. It’d make an ideal holiday seller, if it could be done in enough time. For now, though, we’ll just have to see what the company has planned, as it hasn’t announced too much of its line-up for next year yet, save for new Kirby, Yoshi and Pokemon games.
t’s always funny to hear about what might’ve been with cancelled comic book game projects, like the moody Batman: Gotham By Gaslight game or the first-person Avengers video game that never came to be. But now, the team at Unseen64 have stumbled across one of the biggest projects to date that never got to see a release – a Justice League game that would’ve coincided with a film of the same name.
The 3D beat-em-up, under the project name Justice League Arcade, was in development for some time over at Double Helix Games – which also produced games like Killer Instinct (the first season) for the Xbox One and Capcom’s reboot of Strider for various consoles. It had a great concept in mind, enabling players to take control of different characters within the League, including Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, as they took on adversaries using a number of special techniques. For instance, Batman utilizing his items alongside his fisticuffs, and Wonder Woman using her Lasso of Truth to fling an enemy around, while also using throw moves and attacks.
The game, which was set for release on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii, was meant to be released alongside a film titled Justice League Mortal, which was in the works back in 2008 under the direction of George Miller – yes, the same man that brought us the incredible Mad Max: Fury Road.
Several complications came up between the film and the game, however. While Double Helix had invested a great deal of time into its fighting engine – similar in nature to Shiny’s The Matrix: Path of Neo – Warner Bros. kept delaying the project while it was trying to find an ideal location to shoot Mortal. The film was already reportedly set to have a $300 million budget, the largest in film history at the time, and it was looking for some place to give it some tax breaks.
Alas, they couldn’t find a deal to get the job done, and as a result, the film was scuttled in 2009 – and the game followed soon thereafter, though Double Helix was pushing to give it a separate release, feeling that it could attract a strong DC Comics audience.
But don’t be too sad for its loss. Double Helix was able to recover a great deal of its assets for release in a new game, Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters, which came out two years later for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii – tied in with the Lantern movie of the same name. The game fared pretty well, whereas the film, well, you know.
And now we’re seeing Justice League rise again, with a new film directed by Zack Snyder, set for release this Friday. And we’re getting good in-game content with it as well, as Injustice 2 will see some premium skins based on characters from the film.
Still, sigh. We can’t help but think how awesome a George Miller Justice League film would’ve been, as well as how Double Helix’s game would’ve ended up in its original form. You can see the gameplay in action in the video above, and dare to dream.
Justice League releases this Friday.
Gal Gadot reportedly plays hardball, won’t sign on for ‘Wonder Woman’ again if Brett Ratner is still on board: NY Post
The much anticipated sequel to “Wonder Woman” may not star Gal Gadot, if filmmaker Brett Ratner remains on staff, according to a report from the New York Post.
The publication’s Page Six, citing an unnamed source close to Gadot, said the actress will not continue with the franchise so long as Ratner can profit. Ratner’s production company RatPac-Dune Entertainment helped to produce “Wonder Woman,” as part of a co-financial deal with Warner Bros.
Separately, The Los Angeles Times reported that the Burbank-based studio will not renew this deal with Ratner beyond 2018.
The film maker has been accused of sexual misconduct by at least six women, including actresses Olivia Munn and Ellen Page.
“Wonder Woman” has been a critical and box office success, garnering more than $821 million worldwide. A delay or recasting could imperil the momentum the movie created earlier this year, which sets the stage for “Justice League’s” debut on Friday.
“She’s tough and stands by her principles,” the source told Page Six. “She also knows the best way to hit people like Brett Ratner is in the wallet. She also knows that Warner Bros. has to side with her on this issue as it develops. They can’t have a movie rooted in women’s empowerment being part-financed by a man accused of sexual misconduct against women.”
Representatives for Warner Brothers did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.