Tuesday, 12 June 2018

10 Things at E3 That Caught My Attention (so far...)

Well E3 is upon us again, giving us a peek at what we have to look forward to in the gaming world. It's still going on, but here are ten things that have caught my attention so far. The bottom five are in no particular order, but the top 5 will be my top five and will count down to my favorite. Let's begin!

10. Battletoads

Yup, in 2019 we will get a new Battletoads game. There's obviously nothing to go on yet, but there it is. I have a feeling it might be a game we end up at least trying, especially since Rash is a guest character in Killer Instinct, a rather popular game in our house.

9. Death Stranding

I have watched pretty much everything for this game just to try and figure out what the frick it is. Even after this eight-plus minutes, I'm not really any closer to an answer. This is just weird, but really, really fascinating. I just want to see what it all turns out to be. I'm not a Playstation player, though, so I might just have to admire it from afar. If I didn't pick up a Playstation (again) for Kratos, I'm probably not going to for sci-fi Norman Reedus.

8. Star Wars- Jedi: Fallen Order

No video for this one, just an announcement from the devs that it's happening and due out holidays of next year. This game will take place between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, when the Empire was hunting down the remnants of the Jedi. Color me interested. I'm always down for new Star Wars, especially things that haven't really been explored yet.

7. Ghost of Tsushima

Okay, this looks gorgeous. I mean, it's absolutely stunning. That scenery... the fights.... so pretty. And historical. This game is set in 1274 during the Mongol invasion of Japan. Again, I don't have a Playstation, but I'm definitely admiring from afar. I mean, wow.

6. Spider-Man

This looks like an Arkham game with Spider-Man. What else do you say to something that awesome?

5. Starfield

The folks at Bethesda studios must be pretty busy right now. In addition to announcing a new Elder Scrolls game and a new Fallout game (which I'll talk about later), they also dropped a brand new IP in the form of Starfield. Space adventure and probable RPG? I'm so in. Can't wait for more information on this one.

4. Assassin's Creed: Odyssey

Ubisoft must really, really want me to start playing their games. I resisted the temptation of Assassin's Creed: Origins because it was set in the Ptolemaic time instead of the most ancient setting I'd wanted, but I don't know if I can do it again. They got me in my weakness: ancient Greece. Crested helmets, scarlet cloaks, and the Peloponessian War? Be still my heart! With two player characters to choose from and more RPG-like stylings, I may actually find myself buying this one. I'm assuming they've chucked out that Animus stuff, or are we still doing that? I don't know, but I want this.

3. Anthem

Okay, so this isn't the usual Bioware outing. I get that. But you know what, the story seems really intriguing. And when it comes down to it, that's what I want in a game. I don't mind playing a game with other people, as long as I don't have to play with other people. I don't care if they're there doing their own thing while I do mine. Because I want to know what this 'anthem' is now, and what that means. I will definitely play this one, if only to give Bioware money to keep making Dragon Age games. In all seriousness though, this trailer has me more interested than I was before.

2. Resident Evil 2 Remake

I'm not the big Resident Evil player in our house. That's my other half, and 2 is his favorite. But this trailer, damn. This trailer was so good, and properly friggin' scary too. A remake of 2 that plays like 4 with today's graphics? That, my friends, sounds like a beautiful thing.

1.Fallout 76

And here it is, the one announcement I was waiting for above all the others. After that glorious tease we got for Fallout 76, we finally got some real information. This is not your average Fallout game. I'm still leery on the idea of being online, on a server with other people (even if it's not supposed to be very many). But with the size of the map and the low server populations promised, I'm hoping that those of us who just want to be left to do quests and build settlements can do just that in peace. I have no interest in dealing with griefers or other unsavory online players. Other than that, I love this whole idea. I love the idea of coming out of the Vault, mere years after the bombs fall, and trying to rebuild. That sounds awesome! I'm still hopeful for this one, and I'm saving my pennies for it (oh wait, we don't have pennies anymore... darn) either way.

Well, that about wraps it up.  This was just what interested me, and there's a lot I didn't talk about, from Kingdom Hearts, Super Smash Bros., The Last of Us Part 2, Halo Infinite, Doom Eternal, and the list goes on. If anything else really spectacular pops up, I'll let everyone know.

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

News Around the Web

Hey everyone, we're back this time with a few juicy news stories from around the web. Let's jump right in!

Christopher Robin Trailer

Okay, we had to start with this because this is by far the cutest thing I've seen in a while. Like, here I am, in my thirties, big smile and misty-eyed over this. I have no word strong enough to fully convey how absolutely adorable this looks. I wanna see this. Not only is it adorable, but it is gorgeous visually. This looks like a sweet, lovely movie for families to go to. I really hope it's as good as the trailers.

Willow Sequel?

Ron Howard dropped this little tidbit while on the press tour for Solo: A Star Wars Story. It just seemed really out of left field for me. As in, why are we doing a Willow sequel? I figured if they were going to do something with this one, it'd be a reboot. I honestly don't know how to feel about this. This is one of those movies we watched a lot as kids and that I still really enjoy. I suppose the idea of doing a sequel focusing on Elora (now adult, I'm assuming?) could be really cool with a good story. I will never complain about kickass fantasy heroines there are a lot of questions. Would the original cast come back in some capacity a la the new Star Wars films? What exactly would the story be? I don't know, I'm conflicted.

More Annihilation?

Well, if there is, it won't be from Alex Garland. The director stated he has no interest in sequels and doesn't see this film becoming a trilogy the way the books were. To be honest, I'm totally fine with that. I loved Annihilation, but it ended just right for me. I don't think it needs anything more and I'd hate to see a sequel lessen the ambiguity of the ending. I'm with Mr. Garland. Not everything needs to be a franchise, which is a discussion we've had in our house before. (Fun fact, Jurassic Park was never supposed to be a franchise and The Lost World is the only sequel Michael Crichton ever wrote and is vastly different from the film).

New Spawn Arriving 

Several of these bits I found via trending on Twitter. This was one of them. Jamie Foxx will star in a new Spawn film, directed by first-time director (and creator of the character) Todd McFarlane. He said it will be 'dark and R-rated', which sounds about right for both character and creator. I'm not a huge Spawn fan and my other half's reaction was 'well, couldn't be any worse than the last one'. So we'll see how this pans out in the coming months.

Andrew Lincoln Leaving

Okay, so here's something else I'm not a big fan of. But this is pretty big news. Andrew Lincoln is reportedly leaving The Walking Dead during?/after? Season 9. So that will be quite the shakeup, as Rick Grimes is and has been the central character in both TV and comic versions since the beginning. There's a lot of speculation about Norman Reedus' Darryl coming to the forefront after Lincoln's exit, which knowing The Walking Dead, will likely be in some sort of gruesome manner. There's also Michonne who could step up but if that doesn't happen and I get to see more of Danai Gurira as Okoye instead, I'm okay with that. Personally I read the first two trades and have seen maybe one episode of the show, so I don't really have a horse in this race. 

Solo: A Numbers Story 

So, Solo opened this past weekend. And, the numbers weren't great. Which is ridiculous to say that making just over 100 million dollars domestically in three-four days is 'not great' but that's how these things go. I personally haven't seen it yet. We had a concert last week and then a stomach bug went through the house so it never happened. Will I see it? Of course. It's Star Wars. But it's kind of one of those things that sounds really good on paper but was something no one was really crying out for. I'm most interested to see Donald Glover's Lando Calrissian, to be honest. I never really felt we needed more backstory for Han than we already had. Now James Mangold's Boba Fett film? I can get behind that. As long as we can still get that X-23 spinoff at some point? Because I need that in my life, man. If you want a good, in-depth look at the weekend's box office, I highly recommend Charting with Dan. Link will take you today's video.    

Fallout Announcement?

So this is Bethesda Studios' Twitter page today:

There was apparently an all-day live-stream as well, featuring the 'Please Stand By' and a Vault-Boy. What does this mean? We don't know. Speculation has been wild as to what this could all mean.  New game? Port to the Nintendo Switch? Remaster of a previous title? I'm intrigued. I've loved Fallout as a story and an aesthetic for a long time but the turn-based combat of the old games always drove me crazy and I was very lukewarm on Fallout 3. It may be a controversial opinion but I loved the crap out of Fallout 4. I have put more hours into that game than I care to admit and I got invested in the story in a way I just couldn't with 3. Either way, I'm quite curious to see what all this buildup results in. If it's a new game, then I will anxiously await to see where they go with it and for all the sweet, sweet Bethesda glitches that will follow. In the meantime, me and my Sole Survivor should really stop building settlements and go find her kid. 

I Saw Slayer 

As a quick little final note, as I said above, we went to a concert last week. We saw Slayer on their farewell tour with support from Anthrax, Lamb of God, Testament, and Behemoth. My quick thoughts on each in order they were onstage:
1)This is my second time seeing Testament and they were just as awesome as the first time. I really wish they'd get more love, cause they deserve it. I also need to add more of their discography to our library. Good, old-school thrash and one of our main reasons for going.
2)I knew nothing of Behemoth before seeing them. Instrumentals were good and their stage was cool but the vocals killed it. I just like clean vocals, okay? I even said to the other half during the first song. which sounded really cool at first, 'this is Amon Amarth all over again'. Although, to be fair, I tried really hard to get into Amon Amarth.
3)Anthrax was our other main reason for going. We love us some Anthrax. I suggested my mum getting the other half their latest disc, For All Kings, for Christmas, and holy crap is that a fantastic album. Would love to see them again as a headliner, because like Testament, the only problem was that their set was too short. Still an excellent time.
4)Lamb of God is not really my cup of tea but they put on a really good show. I think I enjoyed them more live than anything I'd really heard listening to them otherwise. As we were in Winnipeg, singer Randy Blythe gave a shout-out to Chris Jericho, which was pretty cool.
5)When we discussed seeing the bands of the so-called 'Big Four' of thrash, I never thought Slayer would be one of the first. I figured we'd see Anthrax (which we technically did) and Megadeth first before Slayer or Metallica. But to see two in one night? How can you say no? They put on a damn good show as well. They also played the handful of songs of theirs that I know the, so I'm not complaining.
Overall, an awesome night. I had a big of that stomach bug that day, but didn't let it stop me!

Well, that's what I've got, folks. I spent last night (instead of writing this) watching some videos about foam-smithing for research and planning some more costume pieces so I'm hoping to have more updates on that soon. So, until next time!  

Monday, 21 May 2018

The Road to Comic-Con: The Building Begins

Hey everyone, I know it's been a while. It's been a long month, to say the least. But, in the interest of getting things back to normal and getting back in the groove, I've been working on Comic-Con costume stuff. Today we're going to go over the initial parts of building the pauldrons and upper arm pieces as well as what will hopefully become a Black Soulstone. So let's get to it!  I'm just going to go through the steps I took for the build. It's probably not the only way and might not even be the best way, but it's what I did.


Okay, so for reference, here is what we are looking at today:

1. So, to start off, the first thing I did was get lots of screenshots in game from as many angles as possible. Then we have an idea of what we need things to look like then we start to plan. I was initially going to draft a rough sketch of what they would look like so I could figure out what pieces I would need but I ended up not doing that and just starting on patterning. 

2. Patterns. Okay, I'm not the best pattern-maker. Mostly because I tend to eyeball them with only superficial measurements. I like to think I've improved since my first attempt and am getting better at it. Once I took measurements of how big the pauldron should be, I drew out half the pattern on a folded piece of paper. This way, when you cut it out, it's actually symmetrical. I did this for all base pieces I would need.

3. The next thing was to transfer it to the foam. I bought a big roll of EVA foam in the form of an anti-fatigue mat for this. I believe it's 1/4 inch thick. I got mine at Giant Tiger, but you can get them from lots of places. I just used a light colored pencil crayon to trace it out and that worked well.

4. Now we cut! A sharp blade is a must to keep the edges from getting ragged. I used my fancy-pants exacto knife. Also, cardboard underneath to protect both your floor and your blade. Otherwise, it's pretty self-explanatory.

5. Shaping! If you have such a thing as a heat gun you can use it for this. If you're like me and you don't, then your stove works just as well (either way I like to open the windows and turn on the fan when I do). Turn on the element and let it get hot then you just hold the foam over. You can feel once it gets hot enough because it starts to feel softer and more pliable. Bend it and work it as you hold it over the heat and once it's ready you can either put it into shape with your hands or an object. Once I'd gotten the shoulders into more or less the right shape I stuck them over the back of a kitchen chair to cool. If the shape isn't right, just heat them back up and try again. Foam is a rather awesome and forgiving medium in that respect. Either way, once it cools it will hold that shape.

6. Additions! I cut out the pieces that would be used to build up the pauldrons so that I could shape all this together. For this, I used some other leftover foam I had from last year's Wonder Woman build as I needed some pieces to be thicker than the base pieces and some to be thinner, so it worked out well. To make sure they would fit with the base pieces, I used the paper pattern I had already made and cut that instead of making new patterns.      

7. Seal! There are a lot of different options for sealing your foam. My sealer of choice is Mod Podge. I used the spray stuff last year but I've gone back to the liquid version. I just like it better. I also use a sponge brush instead a bristle brush. I find it goes on smoother that way. I did three coats on the outside and two on the underside. On my first set of armor (Storm Trooper) I think I did five coats but I didn't seem to need it here. Use your own discretion. As long as you don't have any bubbles and pits in the foam from it soaking it, you should be good.

8. Primer! This is as far as I've gotten. In fact, I primed these pieces earlier tonight. I used black Rustoleum paint and primer. That's my base. After this, hopefully tomorrow, I'll look at starting to paint. And we'll go over all the steps for paint, weathering, and finishing, don't worry!

Black Soulstone 

One prop that we wanted for our costumes, especially my daughter's Leah costume, was a Black Soulstone. It's a game item that becomes quite important and ties into her character and her eventual fate. So the idea we had was to get a crystal growing kit, which the kids like anyway, and essentially grow our own. The problem with this is that these kits come in fun colors, not black. A quick internet search gave us the idea to try and add dye to a regular white crystal. So we've attempted an experiment. We bought a glowing crystal kit from Toy Masters (an awesome local toy store) and a packet of black dye (food coloring won't work here). We mixed up the solution as instructed and added a little of the dye to it. Will it work? We don't know. But it'll be interesting to see how things progress and we'll keep you posted.

Well, there you have it! This post actually ended up being a lot longer than I anticipated so if you've made it here to the end, thank you! And, of course, as things continue I will be keeping you up-to-date on our progress. Until next time!

Oh, and my other half will also be doing his own Road to Comic-Con posts with his own costume! You can find him here: http://coffeewiththecynic.blogspot.ca/  He also does writeups for his custom painted dinosaur figures which are super cool, as well as other, mainly Jurassic Park-centered stuff. He's also on YouTube.

Monday, 30 April 2018

Avengers Infinity War Spoiler-Free Review

Well, folks, it’s finally arrived. One of the most anticipated movies of 2018. And we’re going to talk about it. Well, we’re going to try to. No spoilers. 

Well, let’s start by summing up how I felt after walking out of Avengers: Infinity War, the culmination of ten years of the Marvel Cinematic Universe:

If it’s all the same to you, I’ll have that drink now

I don’t even know where to begin with this one. Okay, the first thing I will say is this: go in knowing nothing. If you can avoid spoilers, do so. You really need to see this movie fresh without knowing what’s coming. At least the first time. I’m interested to see it again at some point to see what I pick up on the second time. If my feels can handle the second viewing, that is. 
I won’t lie to you, this is a rough movie to watch. Especially if you’ve been there since the beginning and you’ve gotten to know and love these characters. There are some definite moments of levity, but it’s a dark one. Even the opening Marvel logo was subdued, as were all the credits. There were several parts that hit you right in the heart and they hurt. This movie also doesn’t hold your hand. It assumes you’ve done your homework and you’re up to speed on who’s who and where the major locations are. So it’s good to at least have a working knowledge of the MCU before you see this one.

Since we’re not going to talk about the story in any way, let’s talk about the cast. Everyone brings their A-game here and even if it’s been a little while since we’ve seen that character, you can understand and get a sense of where they’re at. And, we finally get to see Josh Brolin’s Thanos in action. And he was amazing. Marvel gets a lot of flack for their villains being one-note or underused or whatever, but Thanos is not one of those. Good on Marvel for being 2/2 on villains in 2018. Between him and Killmonger, they’re really hitting their stride on badguys. And like Killmonger, Thanos was more than moustache-twirling-villain. He had a reason that you could understand, even if he was going about it in horrific ways. I actually compared him to a villain from another franchise in regards to motive (sort of) but I don’t want to say for fear of spoilers. But the payoff they’ve been building to really did pay off. 

And can I just say that teenage Groot is probably my favorite Groot

 Finally, I just want to talk real quick about the visuals. They are fantastic. There was one tiny moment where Thanos was walking up some stairs and like Snoke from The Last Jedi, it looked a little stiff and fake. But that was two seconds. The rest was gorgeous and you forget that you’re looking at computer-generated characters and locations. So kudos to all the folks that worked on the visuals, because the quality of that work shows.   

So, in conclusion, Avengers: Infinity War was a heck of a ride. Not always a fun ride, but I expected that going in. All I can say is, I can’t wait to see what they do next and it sucks we have to wait until next year to see how this plays out going forward. If you haven’t seen it (and the insane box office numbers suggest you probably already did), go now. Go see it.

Friday, 20 April 2018

Weekly News Roundup!

Hey everyone, we’re back with a roundup of the latest news around the web. Let’s dig in!


-The first trailer for the second installment of the Netflix Godzilla anime dropped! The next film, titled Godzilla: The City Mechanized for Final Battle, will continue the story of humanity and their allies trying to fight a super-massive, ancient Godzilla. I’d love to break the down the trailer for you, but it’s only in Japanese and since I don’t speak that language, I can’t tell you what’s going on. Some really neat visuals, though, and apparently there will be an appearance by some form of MechaGodzilla. We’ll have to hit when it comes to Netflix, hopefully later this year.

-This poster for the Halloween reboot. Simple, effective, gorgeous. No idea how the movie will be, but I will give props to a good poster. 

-Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom released its final trailer. I think this one’s gonna be pretty dark. They're giving the Indoraptor such an Alien-esque feel, and I don't know how I feel about that. Possibly less optimistic than my other half. On a related note, Mattel has begun rolling out the toys for the movie, and from what I’ve seen so far, they are nice. Quite the step up in variety and quality from the Hasbro line for the first film.

Its three feet long. And there may be one heading to our house even now.

-A final trailer for Deadpool 2 was also released. It’s really just a run of the mill superhero movie trailer, not much to talk about. Trailer HERE (language NSFW)

-Annihilation hits Blu-Ray May 29th! Mark your calendars! I know I’m going to.

-Finally saw Thor: Ragnarok. It’s really fun and really weird and I really dug it. I happen to like the other two Thor movies, so it’s not like I’m sitting here going ‘finally, a good Thor movie!’. Everyone fits nicely back into their roles, the brotherly banter is so spot on for how siblings act, Jeff Goldblum is Jeff Goldblum and we love him for it, and Hela was a great villain. I recommend it.


-Xbox One added some new backwards compatible titles to its library, including some more games from the original X Box. So guess what I’m playing though again, but on a new console? A list of all backwards compatible titles can be found HERE


 Well, that's what I've got for now. I'm hoping to have a new Road to Comic-Con soon, as I've gotten a whole bunch of materials and am itching to start working! See you all next time!