One hell of a week, huh? I mean, aside from the ongoing and hilariously/depressingly busted American election news, there was plenty of video game stuff going on, too. PlayStation VR is out and I’m working on building a meaty collection of thoughts on that. In short, it’s a cheap, functional, and occasionally buggy alternative to the more refined experience that HTC Vive or Oculus Rift provides, but I do have a lot more to say about it than that.
Then there’s Gears of War 4, which was pretty good but really had a lot of room to become great, and Shadow Warrior 2, which I’ve had to put on the back burner for PlayStation VR. But from what I have played, my feelings pretty much mimic what Kirk Hamilton has to say about it over at Kotaku. Next week you’ll see Battlefield 1 and the continuing trend to release a game early for people willing to pay a premium, a purposefully hateful tactic by publishers to put consumers against their own convictions.
And speaking of the American election, some of you can still register to vote. For others, you’ve missed your chance. Please, please, please don’t miss this opportunity. Some electors are actually legally bound to vote by constituency, so your actions are a genuine and literal representation in the final results. (And while I really do think you should vote not matter what, I urge you to not support a dark triad pile of rageful sexism, racism, and incessant fighting against human rights.)
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story — Story Trailer #2
FFUHHHHHHHHHHH. Even though this came out only yesterday, this one was hard to miss. The Internet basically exploded over it, and for good fucking reason. Look at Mads Mikkelsen be a badass, and Felicity Jones also be a badass, and Diego Luna additionally be a badass. Oh, and low-key we see Darth Vader and so god damn much glorious footage of Mon Mothma.
But this is also one hell of a trailer, even removed from Star Wars context. The entire theme of it is spelled out in the single line “make ten men feel like a hundred,” and the rest of the trailer is built to support it. It has a dire gravity to it, but it is also infused with irrepressible optimism, partially because of what we see but also with the pop cultural knowledge of how A New Hope goes. It hits theatres on December 16, 2016.
Iron Fist — NYCC Teaser Trailer
Okay, straight up, there’s problems with Iron Fist‘s casting in just broad terms of reinforcing the diminishing of Asians from leading roles, and in this case, perhaps tempts writers to put the character into a white savior trope. But I do also think Finn Jones as Danny Rand is a great fit, and we should reserve critical assessment for after we watch the series. The execution is just as important as this controversial foundation.
I also genuinely love how this has its own take on action, just as the past Netflix/Marvel shows have done. Daredevil was overwhelming grit and realism, Jessica Jones was low fantasy dynamism, and Luke Cage was 70s-style stoicism. And now Iron Fist definitely has hints of Hong Kong kung fu action films, which is fantastic but also surprising given showrunner Scott Buck’s career. Anyways, it releases on Netflix on March 17, 2017.
John Wick: Chapter 2 — Teaser Trailer
While this looks like more of the same, that’s a damn good thing. For one, the first John Wick simply wasn’t enough, so who’s to fault them for just wanting to make more. But it’s also what we, the fans, also asked for. We simply said why did it end, and Keanu Reeves said it doesn’t have to. And here we are.
Look at that. He even got another puppy dog in tow and another totally dope car. Oh, and a shit ton of sick kills and hyperactive, nearly psychedelic cinematography focusing on clarity of action and visually enticing/assaulting colors. I’m also excited to get more insight about this fascinating world of assassins and assassin rules. It hits theatres on February 10, 2017.
Black Mirror — Season 3 Trailer
If you haven’t watched Black Mirror before, then you are wrong. Not about anything in particular; it’s just that your existence is wrong. The reduction of its quality as a modern Twilight Zone is a bit unfortunate, but it is also incredibly accurate. Its insight into the current climate of social faults and cracks is not only poignant and pointed but also prescient.
The series’ ability to look beyond dark criticism and go into grim logical rabbit holes is incredible. The second season certainly lost a bit of its edge and impact, but it was still far and away more innovative than a lot of things out there. And just as interesting is the fact that the premiere episode will be written by creator Charlie Brooker alongside Michael Schur and Rashida Jones, both of Parks and Recreation fame. Oh, and the second one will be directed by 10 Cloverfield Lane‘s Dan Trachtenberg! The season releases on Netflix on October 21, 2016.
Shadow Warrior 2 — Who Wants Some Wang Trailer
Speaking of Shadow Warrior 2, here’s the launch trailer for the game, which actually came out yesterday on PC (and will hit the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One sometime early next year). It’s certainly a slick trailer, but it’s also very odd because its gimmick is freezing time and watching an arrow follow its trajectory through a bunch of blood and bodies. Why is it odd, you may ask?
Well, it’s because in practice, this game is fast. Like, stupidly fast. If I had to put a figure on it, I’d place it somewhere in the neighborhood of an unhinged Quake. Yet it still somehow manages to be exceptionally deft and comprehensible, though I wish the same could be said about the humor, which is inexplicably more hit-or-miss than the 2013 original. Still, I recommend you give it some of your time.
Project Genom — Trailer
It definitely doesn’t get any more sci-fi than a naked person waking up in some sort of stasis chamber and stumbling to the floor of a dark, crimson lab and discovering strange bits of cybernetics on their person. In fact, this whole game looks to be some incredibly sci-fi-ass sci-fi, relying on artificial/scientific/naturalistic modifications and enhancements to be born from the mythos as much as the game’s progression systems.
This trailer also does a terrific job of showcasing all the sick stuff you can engage in, like having a firefight on the moon, drifting through zero gravity, fucking hoverboarding, dogfighting, zipping between floating mountains with a jetpack, and, I dunno, kicking weird little space worms? None of it looks exceptionally representative of the MMORPG game loop(s), but it definitely gets your attention. You can get it now on Early Access for 20% off.
Spryke — Kickstarter Campaign
That’s one good-looking game right there. Who knew a “deep sea cyberfish out of water” could look so welcoming? But I guess when your inspirations include Rayman and Finding Dory, you can expect some brightly cartoonish visuals that are meant to draw you in.
It also just sounds great. That song is pretty damn catchy, and we get some cool insight into the composition later in the pitch video. Oh yeah, it’s a pitch video for a recently opened Kickstarter. It’s got a decent proposal (including neat custom Xbox One Elite controllers) and a solid start. Check it out for yourself and think it over, if you want.
GoNNER — Launch Trailer
“GoNNER is also a story about friendship between Ikk, Death, and a space whale named Sally.” Um, GoNNNER, you officially have my god damn attention. Whatever you’re trying to sell me, if part of the proposition is a space whale, you better fucking believe I’m way more inclined to partake.
It also looks damn good, both in the sense that the art is tremendous and eye-catching and it just looks fun. The idea of a procedurally generated platformer probably would have rarely ever interested me prior to Spelunky, but now I’m excited by the idea of someone trying to outdo that future classic in some new way. You can get it now for PC, OS X, and Linux.
Stellar Overload — Early Access Trailer
While I’ve yet to put my hands on this game, I guess the most succinct qualitative arithmetic you can believe is something along the lines of No Man’s Sky + Minecraft. Oh, what the hell, throw in a bit of Skyrim, too. Look at all those big blocky worlds you can explore!
And, I guess, eventually beat up the Lego devil at some point? I’m not exactly sure, but it sure looks interesting. I’d love to build a spaceship out of blocks, fly it to another planet, and then beat up a/the devil. It’s incredibly ambitious, too. If you look at the technical page of the game, the devs apparently want to at some point smash together two planets for a total of seven billion voxels of chaos. It’s out now for Early Access now, either way.
Kim — Teaser Trailer
How often do you get a game based on a non-The Jungle Book Rudyard Kipling property? And then how often do you get a game set in India? I can tell you it’s so close to never it might as well be never. That’s where Kim steps in, solving both dearths in one fell swoop.
It’s definitely gorgeous, but I am very curious as to how they’re turning the plight of a street orphan into an RPG. It seems easy enough to superficially translate it into some sort of survival genre game, but I’m really hoping it goes further and deeper with this masterpiece than that. I mean, this story really fucking goes places, so the ability to transform mechanics to match the expanding scope and complexity of the narrative would seem most challenging. But it’s out on Early Access now regardless.