Category Archives: Review

Amy Movie Review: Sad glimpse at what could have been

“It’s all so boring without any drugs.” If any film in 2015 manages to come up with any line that’s sadder than that, I’ll be shocked and almost certainly reaching for some bleach to drink. Because hearing a friend describe Amy Winehouse’s reaction to winning a Grammy while struggling with (relative) sobriety is one of many gut-punches that make Amy a compelling documentary on the horror of celebrity.

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The Evil Within Review: Survival Horror Revival

This definitive, essential review of a 6 month old game was conducted on the PS4

If you were inclined to count the number of ‘homages’ The Evil Within pays to the past of Shinji Mikami, you might start to wonder if you accidently bought a HD remake of any of the Resident Evils. The guttural revs of a chainsaw, the looming mansion and, of course, disfigured monsters who routinely try to discover what your insides look like. For horror fans, it’s like stepping through the front door at Christmas and having childhood memories flood back. But this isn’t a mere greatest hits throwback, The Evil Within is an attempt to drag the survival horror genre into the future.

Hmm, don’t suppose you know a Mr. Pyramid Head, do you?

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Sniper Elite 3: Sneaking, shooting and exploding testicles.

Deep breath in. The unsuspecting guard ambles his way into you crosshair. Deep breath out. The sound of thunder roars throughout the night giving you the ideal, possibly only, opportunity. Squeeze the trigger. Time slows. A bullet crashes into the soldier’s pair of dangling, fleshy bullseyes. Testicle Shot. 30 XP. Welcome to the world of Ruptured Testicle Simulator… Sorry, Sniper Elite 3.

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Tomb Raider: The (Non) Definitive Review

I discuss major/massive/huge spoilers for Tomb Raider. And by discuss, I mean I will tell you what happens at the very end of the game.

Consider yourself forewarned and forearmed. Oh and I played it on PS3.

Tomb Raider is an iconic series in plenty of senses of the word. If by some miracle you’ve landed here and aren’t a gamer, there’s still a very healthy chance that you know who Lara Croft is. Then there’s the fact that Crofty’s original 3D adventure is considered required reading for gamers in the 90’s. Alas, my youth meant the majority of my experiences with Lara was a) Croft Manor, b) frozen butlers and c) getting really close to the end of Tomb Raider: Legend.

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Wolf Of Wall Street Review: Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Still Hate Bankers

Some events for the film are discussed in here. They might spoil the film for you. Look away if that sort of thing gets you lairy. 

Let’s not bury the lead here, The Wolf Of Wall Street is a great film. It’s frequently funny – hilariously so during the first two hours – has some classic Scorsese set-pieces and the acting across the film is uniformly brilliant, with DiCaprio flicking between manic intensity and smarm with ease. But as a piece of entertainment, Wolf feels more like a Rorschach test on your tolerance of greed.

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Catching up on: Prey

Throughout my blog, I’ll be sprinkling reviews on stuff I’ve only just caught up with and I’m desperate to write about. Enjoy!

Reviewed for Xbox 360, Multiplayer not touched because I have too many games to play

Recently, Kotaku has been informing the wider gaming community that Prey 2 is probably going to be developed by Arkane Studios. That’s good news for a few reasons, the most selfish of which being that it makes this retrospective review of Prey a whole lot more relevant. I was fortunate enough to get it for just under £3 in a recent Xbox sale and approached it pretty clean. I knew it had guns, aliens and some portals and that like a few 3D Realms games of the modern era – insert incredibly tired reference to Duke Nukem Forever here- it had a protracted development. Outside of that, all Prey was to me was an early 360 title that would probably be worth than the £2.79 I had to shell out for it.

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Evil Dead Remake Review

Short review for Nerve Magazine

Sam Raimi’s legendary horror series gets hit with the remake stick and the results are gratifyingly gory. Mia (Jane Levy) and her friends retreat to a cabin in the woods to help Mia kick her drug habit. Before you can ponder “how will this turn sour?”, the gang find a strange book wrapped in barbed wire and learn a swift lesson that you should never touch books wrapped in barbed wire.

Fede Alvarez’s film manages to shock through its extreme visuals – no body part is safe from the escalating violence that feels more like pitch black humour than grim torture porn. Fans of the original’s will be able to point out numerous call backs and references and the film does well mixing in the appropriate fan service. Not for the weak of stomach, but an enjoyable update to one of cinema’s best horror franchises.

Far Cry 3 Review

Short review for Nerve Magazine

Rip up our best of list from 2012, because Far Cry 3 comes diving into all the competition and doesn’t leave a single one standing. An open world shooter that boasts an exotic playground filled to the brim with murderously fun activities, Far Cry 3 is the shot in the arm that first person shooters desperately needed. You’re thrust into the shoes of privileged American Jason Brody who seemed to have forgot to make a mental note about going on vacation to murderous pirate islands. Things naturally go sour in minutes.

Admittedly, the narrative is a little on the bland side but it is filled with fascinating characters whose fates you’ll want to find out. Far Cry 3’s real achievement comes from the gameplay that lets you decide how you want to tackle your objectives. Do you want to watch the world burn by destroying everything in sight or quietly sneak through the pirate army? Add in some inspired upgrades that actually empower you slowly throughout plus some solid multiplayer options and you’ve got the best shooter of 2012.

Skyfall Review

Short review for Nerve Magazine

Happy Birthday James, 50 years is a big milestone and you couldn’t have asked for a better present than Skyfall. Judi Dench’s M is being blamed for a lost hard-drive containing details of every NATO agent embedded in terrorist, 007’s operation to get it back doesn’t go according to plan. It would be easy to assume you know what you’re getting with Skyfall, but this isn’t a typical a Bond film. Sam Mendes, who directed the beloved American Beauty, has used his time in the director’s chair to explore the psychological damage that Bond has endured over 23 films.

On top of the film’s more meditative side, it also delights in twisting every Bond convention it can think of and the actors respond to this thrilling experiment in kind. Craig is magnificent as ever, subtly evoking the scars on Bond’s psyche while dispensing quips with ease while Javier Bardem’s psychotic villain will be remembered for years to come. It’s Judi Dench who steals the film though as a pivotal figure to the story. Skyfall stands head and shoulders over the majority of this year’s blockbusters. James Bond will return and it can’t come soon enough.

Sleeping Dogs Review

Short review for Nerve Magazine

The sleeper – yeah, I’m a bad writer and love a pun – hit of the summer, Sleeping Dogs is the adrenaline drenched wake up call the sandbox genre has needed since GTA 4. Where games like Saints Row and Prototype introduced silliness and mutations to the tried and true open world formula, Sleeping Dogs has a far more intriguing twist and casts you as an undercover cop in Hong Kong whose motivations are as murky as the city you’re thrust into.

 

A perfectly pitched story ensures the action is thrilling but never strays into repetition, while the insane attention to detail makes Hong Kong the most fascinating virtual city to explore since this generation’s Liberty City.  To top it all off, the combat is fast and brutal in a way that will remind you of glorious 80’s era Kung-Fu movies. While there are still a few months left in 2012, this could be the best game of the year.

(Edit: Yeah, Far Cry 3 and X-Com were a fair bit better in the end)