Originally I was going to do a review of the 3DS hardware but as I was writing it I realised how boring it was. I mean the page was just going to be blocks of text containing facts about the 3DS you probably already knew anyway. So a heads up. I am not listing off the 3DS’s features or going to scrutinise each little detail of the device. You can find plenty of articles like that around the place. Instead I am just going go to try and help any of those who are on the edge of buying one, perhaps pondering whether they go to their local video game retailer in the hope some remain and pick one up this weekend and help them to decide whether if they should get it or not. And then I will try and answer the next question people who have decided to get one but haven’t yet will be asking which is of course when they should pick one up. Quick disclaimer, I will be using a lot of reference to Australian prices, so international readers don’t be shocked when you see some prices that seem a bit odd and feel free to still read the article as a lot of it will be covering info I think that will apply to almost all regions.
First off, let me start off by saying, like with nearly all pieces of gaming hardware, there is no straight answer to the question “should I buy one”. It is always something that must be taken case by case, that said, a lot of people will be in similar boats when it comes to there current position so I will try and look it at from a variety of common perspectives to help you decide. The first two points of view I am going to deal with are the two extremes. The people like me who love Nintendo and were always going to get one and probably already have one, I don’t need to sell you guys on this though if you are definitely getting one, but not sure when to get one, stick around and I might be able to answer. Then there are the haters that just hate Nintendo, or video games, or portable video games in general, you guys were never going to buy one so there is no need for me to delve into detail as to why you shouldn’t get one.
Ok so what if you are a casual gamer, you do play games from time to time but you don’t really have a huge love for them. You think the 3DS looks cool and you think it might be fun, but don’t know if you want to pay the price for the unit. Back 7 years ago I probably would had a much easier time recommending a handheld platform but not as much today. With the dawn of Smartphones we now have new devices that deliver smaller and cheaper games and don’t require you to carry around an extra device. Some of you might be wondering if you need a 3DS if you have an iPhone or Android device. Well I ask you to now look at how you do your handheld gaming right now. Do you pretty much only play handheld games on your phone, when on the train or in a waiting room? Does your DS and/or PSP (if you even have them) just sit there collecting dust? Then honestly I don’t think the 3DS will change that. Ultimatley you probably aren’t going to go out of your way to carry around the 3DS as an extra device when you have your phone for games. I mean you might be thinking you would use the 3D camera or the music player but these things aren’t fleshed out enough for them to really replace a proper camera or MP3 device. So I personally believe you will probably end up just playing with it for a few days and then having it sit there.
However if you do own another handheld and it does get some use or if you could truly see yourself actually playing it regularly (AKA you aren’t just trying to justify buying a new shiny device) and tend to carry a bag which would make carrying another device around not that much of a task then you might want to consider picking one up. I think this would especially be the case if you are the kind of person that owns a Wii or DS and really enjoys the Nintendo franchises (Mario, Zelda, Pokemon etc.) because you can’t get those anywhere else. If most of your gaming time is taken up by games in these franchises then I certainly think a 3DS is a great investment, as even if they are the only games you will play, over it’s lifetime (which if the DS is anything to go by could be 7 or so years) there will be a number of entries in these franchises as well as a variety of games that will appeal to your tastes. We are also going to see the Nintendo E-Shop launch in May and while past Nintendo online stores have been average, they seem to be very serious about this one. This means you will be able to purchase app like games as well as older games for Gameboy, Game Gear and other past handheld systems from your childhood for reasonable prices, in case spending $50 + on larger games all the time doesn’t sound appealing. Oh, and I personally would say this is a great buy for kids and can’t think of much reason for you not to get one for them (other than maybe the pricetag).
Now as for the more serious gamers out there, I honestly think that for most of you I would recommend the purchase. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone not too keen on handhelds to begin with, but I think that’s a given. I also wouldn’t recommend it to the kind of gamer that spends most of their time playing FPS online or even RTS online unless you are also open to playing other types of games, simply because I don’t see those two genres taking off on the system (though we do have some TPS’s announced) and that, despite the online working well I don’t think they will have the same kind of community you are used to seeing in those two genres. Other than that, just looking at the already announced titles with entries from Mario, Zelda, Metal Gear, Resident Evil and so on, most of which is coming this year, I definitley think this is a system that most hardcore gamers would be pleased with. I mean even if you were disappointed with the DS’s library (though I question how hard you tried to find good games as there are TONS on the DS) I think you will be happier with the 3DS as it seems to already be showing signs of having a more diverse library of games designed for the more serious gamer.
Oh and some of you might be thinking “I can’t see 3D” or “I don’t like 3D, should I still get the system” I would definitely say the 3DS has a lot to offer even in 2D and the real draw card for the system is the games. So don’t be dissuaded by the fact that you dislike 3D from purchasing the system.
So now you hopefully know whether you want one or not, let’s move onto when you should get one (if you did decide to get one that is). Now I will ask you to do one thing, go take a look at the games scheduled to come out, it’s ok I can wait… back? ok now ask yourself, how long are you willing to wait to play these games. If you answered that you could wait a year or two to play them then I suggest waiting about 2 years. Why you ask? well Nintendo will inevitably do a redesign and while I don’t think it will occur as quickly as the DS to DS Lite changeover occured I think it will happen in about 2 or so years given Nintendo’s statements on how they made this current design the best they could and not to expect a redesign for a while. Now like most pieces of technology if you can wait for the next model you will be rewarded. A redesign will probably have larger screens, better battery life and maybe even better cameras. So yeah, if you can hold out for two years or so for the next model then do so.
However if you saw some games that you really want to play coming out in the next year or so… my answer would be get the system now. Some of you probably are a bit puzzled by this. You look at the current library of games and think that there is no need to get one now and to a degree you are correct. However I recommend getting one now not because of any game, but because of price. You will not see deals as good as the big retailers are offering at the moment again until the Holiday season and that is when the 3DS is going to be hard to find in stores. If you wait even a week or two, I would say be prepared to be paying an extra $50 as you will most likely be paying close to the SRP of the device $349 instead of the $288-$298 on offer at most retailers. Even if you just mess around with the suprisingly fun inbuilt software or hell, leave the system to collect dust until a game you want comes out,I think it will be worth the savings. And I personally don’t think any new colours will come out this year… it’s possible and there MIGHT be a limited edition Zelda one for the Zelda 25th anniversary but… I wouldn’t hold my breath for them. So unless you don’t have the funds to get one now, or would rather take a chance and hold out for a new colour, then I would get one while the excellent deals are still available.
Well… I hope that helped you make a decision as to whether to get one or not. If you have picked one up or are going to pick one up in the next few days, stay tuned as I shall be doing some reviews of some of the launch titles.
‘Here I am, one of the biggest Nintendo fans around, in the first batch of people to try out Nintendo’s new handheld at today’s event. I have one goal in mind, to try and play every game on offer. 20 of us are lead up a stair case. Once we reach the top a Nintendo representative yells out “You have 10 minutes, GO!” and we were off. 10 minutes, to try out what I would find out to be 6 different games and see a video reel’
So now you understand the conditions I was under during this event. First off I was excited, but most of all I was rushed to try and give it all a shot only missing out on trying the 3D camera. I had a limited amount of time to give it all a go, and I did manage to get some initial impressions on all of it but to be clear these are very much just FIRST impressions, as there wasn’t enough time to make fully formed stances on any of the titles, but you can bet during the coming weeks with more chances to try out this device hopefully in more relaxed and controlled environments I, as well as others at WW, will be able to play and analyse these games to a more significant extent and bring proper previews of these pieces of software and the hardware itself.
But enough of that, let’s get down to the fun stuff!
3DS – Hardware impressions
It works. That is all I need to say about the 3D screen. As soon as I feverishly grabbed one off of one of the lovely staff that were tethered to the device and set my eyes on it I immediately saw the 3D effect. First thing I did was try and break the illusion and to be honest, I found it only broke if you either moved it very rapidly or you bent or moved it to a position or angle, where honestly you wouldn’t want to be holding it while playing it. That said if you are viewing it from the side you certiantly see a blur so if someone is playing it in 3D you won’t be able to spectate. The depth slider worked great, feeling very sturdy and allowing to adjust to a perfect level of 3D to suit you. I personally had 3D on full for all of the games I played (after messing around with the slider to see how it worked that is) but I know others there did feel uncomfortable when it was to high, so it is definitely a case by case basis to how much 3D you want if any. Fortunately even in 2D the games look great with nice clear crisp visuals thanks to the higher resolution.
The Touch Screen hasn’t changed much, I mean it has a higher resolution, but in terms of how it feels to touch (*insert sexual joke here*) it didn’t seem any different to a DSi’s touch screen. The new sylus however is much nicer, made out of metal it feels nicer to hold and more durable and it can retract and extend so that younger players can opt to have a shorter stylus if that feels more comfortable to them.
The system itself feels very sturdy. While all the DS models were all strong, they all felt a little fragile to me (that said I never had one break even if dropped), this one however feels much sturdier, probably on par with the Gameboy line in terms of durability but that is just based on my holding it for 10 minutes, you’ll have to wait and see when someone undoubtedly does some crash testing on it to see how strong it truly is. The buttons all felt nice and are positioned well (yes including the D-Pad), feeling good to press with enough resistance that you know for sure whether you have or haven’t pressed it. The new addition, the slide pad also works a charm. Much more comfortable than the PSP’s analogue pad and it has more resistance to it allowing for more precise controls. Really it worked as good as a standard control stick you would find on a console controller.
So all in all, the unit is a nice piece of kit and from my time spent with it I have no real issues.
Now let’s move onto games.
First game I played was Nintendogs + Cats. The first thing I noticed (naturally) was the 3D visuals. It felt like I was looking through I tiny window into a room with a dog and cat playing around. The second thing I noticed was the graphical upgrade from the past game. The animals hat proper fur shading and had more realistic animations and models. As for gameplay… not much different to the past game from what I saw. I called my dog over by whistling (not real whistling, but using a button on the touch screen) and then you pet it’s silhouette on the bottom screen, which resulted in a hand petting it in the same manner on the top screen as now the action is now all up there, some may argue that it takes away from the connection you have with your pet… I personally think this change is trivial and worth it for the 3D visuals. I then messed around with the cat, but really petting a cat wasn’t all that different to petting a dog. I then decided to go searching through the items and found a mushroom which I threw towards the little critters. It was interesting to see the dog immediately go chasing after it while the cat was more slow and cautious. It felt like the dev team put time into making each animal feel like their real life counterparts. All in all it seems like a decent follow up the the last game not deviating all that much from the foundation set down by the original Nintendogs.
Next game I got to play was Kid Icarus Uprising. This is a game I really need more time to play as I had very little chance to get a good feel for it. I grabbed the unit and quickly tapped my way through the menu to find myself with Pit flying through the air apologising for keeping me waiting. The flight mode of this game is a lot like Sin & Punishment or Starfox. The 3D was useful this time in terms of gameplay as I was able to judge the distance of enemies and their attacks more accurately. As for controls, it took me a little while (by that I mean a minute but that was over half my game time) to get a grasp of them but once I had them down it seemed to work well. The slide pad was used to move Pit, the touchscreen to move the cross-hair and the L button to fire Pit’s beam. I am a bit curious how left hander’s would fair using their right hand to aim as I don’t think there is any way for one to use their left hand for the touchscreen and their right for moving Pit. Other than that the game seems very solid and something to look forward to in the month’s following the 3DS launch.
The third game I got to try is the one I wanted to try the most, you guessed it, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D. This is the title I spent the most time with. To me, this was the game that had the best 3D effect, it might not of has the best character models or graphics, but the 3D felt really deep and it like you were actually looking out at Link in Kokiri Village. The demo was limited to wandering around Kokiri Forst, Link had his Sword and shield already as well as his slingshot, a deku stick and deku nut. Controls worked as expected, the slide pad allows one to move smothly through the 3D plane, with B to attack with the sword and A to perform context sensitive actions (much like on the N64) and then X and Y had items mapped to them. I can’t recall if I tried the triggers or not, but I believe one of them (most likely L) was to switch to first person and the other was had the third item mapped to it. On the touch screen was a map of the area as well as allowing you to touch the item you wanted to use, making the game run a lot more fluid than opening up a menu to select an item not mapped on a button. So for the most part it felt and played like the Ocarina of Time you know and love. One new and interesting mechanic came into place with the Slingshot. I could aim normally using the slide pad to move the cross-hair, or I could move the unit around and Link would move with me. If I turned left Link would turn left, if I looked up, Link would also look up. This worked surprisingly well, but you have to make sure you are moving your body with the system and not just the system itself or you would break the 3D effect. That said I doubt you will find yourself using this as it is more of a novelty if anything. This remake definitely captures the feel of the N64 classic and is sure to be a title worth picking up when it launches.
The next game on the hit list was the AR games that will be included with every 3DS unit. On the table in front me sat a little card with a Question Mark block on it. I pointed the 3DS at the card and after a couple of seconds a weird little box creature popped up. The 3D effect almost made it look like the creature was actually standing on top of the table in front of me, unfortunately the 3DS’s low quality camera didn’t help to complete this illusion. I was then asked to shoot the front of the creature, requiring me to bend down and angle the unit so that the cross-hair in the middle of the screen was pointing as the front of the box then pressing R to shoot. This worked much like the slingshot aiming I mentioned in the Zelda impressions above. It controlled well, moving exactly as I did, but again you must make sure yo move with the unit not just move the unit itself or you will break the 3D effect. After that I was presented with a bunch of box men holding targets, some sort of clearing with targets in it and then finally a dragon exploded from the table and for each one I had to move my entire body around in order to aim and then fire. The game was simple, but fun and while you won’t be playing it on a train it is a great way to show off what the system is capable of and a very good pack in.
The last game I got to play for the day was Super Street Fighter IV 3D. Of all the games I played this was the one where the 3D effect was the least impressive, probably because I was playing in the traditional view mode so it is just a 2D fighter. Visually it looks very nice, looking a tad better in my opinion than it’s iPhone counterpart. Traditional SF controls transfered over very well. Having spent extensive time with the console version as soon as I picked this up I was performing Shoryuken’s, Hadouken’s and even pulling off Hyper moves with relative ease so those familiar with the series will have no issues in terms of controls with this version. Basically it is SSFIV on a handheld, there isn’t a whole lot more to about it.
Between all these game playing I also caught glimpses of Metal Gear Solid the Naked Sample and Resident Evil Revelations, both in real time trailer form. All I can say is both games looked stunning in 3D and showed off some amazing graphics, both seeming like some of the best looking games on the system.
So that pretty much sums off my first experience with this handheld. Look forward to more coverage of it as we lead up to the launch on March 31st!
The original Dead Space took gamers by surprise in 2008 with its unique blend of sci-fi and psychological horror. It helped to re-establish survival horror as a valid current-gen genre, what with the Resident Evil franchise gone the way of big explosions and Silent Hill lost somewhere in the hands of un-reliable American developers. In 2011, Visceral aim to bring survival horror to the forefront once again with the long anticipated sequel to their critically acclaimed 2008 offering. So is the addition of a voice to protagonist Issac Clarke enough to bring players back to try Dead Space 2, or is this a sequel that should be resigned to the deepest reaches of space?
The story of Dead Space 2 takes place roughly 3 years after the events of the first game. Issac Clarke, former mute, awakens in a massive space-station called the Sprawl only to find that terrible beasties are running amok and must be sliced, diced and stomped upon until they go away. Whilst character development is improved upon greatly in Dead Space 2, the story is ultimately lacking. The decision to give Issac a voice has ultimately payed off. His story is one of guilt, fear and questionable mental status that adds greatly to a story that is devoid of depth and often clarity. I would recommend reading the text logs that lie around as they add a lot of much needed background.
All that being said, the campaign of Dead Space 2 is by no means bad at all. The story from the original Dead Space wasn’t mind-blowing either, and in many ways Dead Space 2 is an improvement, especially when it comes to character development as stated previously. The palpable atmosphere from the first game has not changed one bit. The tight, quiet corridors of the Sprawl reflect the Ishimura perfectly without being too similar, and the inclusion of more ‘set-piece’ moments are a welcome addition. The real draw to Dead Space was always it’s atmosphere and tight gameplay, and this is improved upon vastly in Dead Space 2.
With the addition of new weapons, new enemies and more fluid melee attacks, the gameplay of Dead Space 2 can best be summed up in 3 words: brutal, frantic and tight. The lack of any form of cover system or an abundance of exploding goodies are what make Dead Space stand out from comparable titles in a good way (I’m talking to you Resident Evil 5). The kicker when it comes to Dead Space is that most of Issac’s arsenal are nothing more than futuristic mining tools with limited functionality. Dead Space 2 does indeed add some more conventional shooter-type weaponry (the Plasma Rifle being the most obvious), however I still found myself relying upon my trusty Plasma Cutter above anything else. The tagline for Dead Space’s combat has always been ‘Strategic Dismemberment’, and this is largely unchanged in Dead Space 2. Cutting off a Necromorph’s head will only enrage it, meaning that the best way to put-down the terrible beasties is to sever their legs and other pointy extremities. New enemy types, like a Necromorph that spits balls of vomit at Issac up the ante by bringing ranged attacks to the playing field. Not only are they hard to dodge, but they will also slow Issac down and induce pant-wetting as he is enveloped by swarms of pissed off aliens. In typical survival-horror fashion, the gameplay is intentionally restrictive. Weapons have slow fire and reload speed and movement is slow and jarring. In typical shooters, this would be massively off-putting, but it’s exactly what survival horror fanatics are after, and Dead Space 2 delivers in this area. Another addition to Dead Space 2 is the ability for Issac to zip around zero-gravity areas in his cute little jet booties that serve to make an impossibly badass character even more badass somehow. Aside from these things, the gameplay remains relatively unchanged. Players looking for revolutionary controls or an entirely new gameplay experience will be disappointed. Luckily, fans of the original or newcomers looking for a more measured and calculated shooter affair will not be disappointed.
From a production standpoint, Dead Space 2 excels. Visually, it is superior to Dead Space, featuring more detailed textures and better character animation. The lighting is some of the best in recent memory, with many dank deserted hallways lit only by the flash of a neon billboard or lone torch. The sound is as good as ever, with distant screams and other disembodied noises filling the hallways. This adds invaluably to the series’ now famous sense of atmosphere. There are few games that can portray a sense of isolation and desperation as well as Dead Space 2 does. Despite this, the design is at its best when Issac is floating through space outside of the Sprawl. The sound is minimal despite frantic action at many points and it truly delivers a sense of exposure, breathlessness and scale. The only real gripe I have with Dead Space 2 from a production standpoint is that often in extremly tight spaces the camera can be very unrelyable, as well as sticking far too close to Issac on many occasions. Despite this, production wise, Dead Space 2 is a breath of fresh air amidst what has been a relitavly visually lacking start to 2011.
Whilst Dead Space 2 doesn’t bring a whole lot new to the table, it delivers a vastly improved version of an already terrific title with just enough new tricks up its sleeve to remain interesting. Also, PS3 players are treated with a nice bonus, a full HD version of the Wii rail shooter: Dead Space Extraction with Move support. It’s a fun time waster with a surprisingly good story. Dead Space 2 offers a successful blend of old-school survival horror and tense tactical action wont dissapoint players looking to step back into the Engineer Suit and stomp some monster heads.
Who would’ve guessed a film about ballet would be so riveting. Black Swan is a thriller unlike any in recent memory. Taking the “Single White Female” identity-stealing formula and injecting it with a healthy dose of insanity, Darren Aronofsky’s latest directorial effort lives up to past highlights Requiem for a Dream and The Wrestler to a tee. Black Swan explores the penetrating effects of obsession – specifically obsession with perfection – along with its lust, desire and ultimate cost. With a stellar cast, excellent score and a plot sure to make your brain writhe in pain, this is no doubt going to become a defining movie for the year.
Black Swan follows the rapidly decaying sanity of Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman), a ballerina for a New York dance company whose life is all but consumed by her work. Pure, innocent and fragile, Nina becomes the director’s first choice to overtake long standing front-woman Beth (Winona Ryder) in the company’s opening show for the season, Swan Lake. A shoe-in for the role of the Swan Queen but lacking the necessary cunning and sensuality of its sister-role, the Black Swan, Nina finds competition in new recruit Lily (Mila Kunis). What follows is a twisted friendship and Nina’s descent into the darker, malevolent corners of her psyche, unleashing her inner Black Swan.
Aronofsky and screenwriters Mark Heyman and Andres Heinz do little to lead the audience through the story at hand. Instead the audience is given the unreliable perspective of Nina, complete with its contradictions and hallucinations. In some ways a staple of this sort of psychological thriller, the technique is set into overdrive as the audience is forced to question the reality of everything at hand. Fingers bleed one moment and heal the next, encounters are seen that never occurred and identities frequently chop and change. It is through this twisted perspective that we are able to see Nina’s descent in its best light, and it makes for one hell of a thrill ride.
Acting in Black Swan is top notch. Portman’s strongest point has always been her composure and it serves her extremely well in portraying the fragility and innocence of her character – which in turn make her darker moments all the more pleasantly jarring. She’s able to transform from perfection and rigidity to an unpredictable lunatic in a moment, and it’s through this that she makes the perfect lead. A further note on that word, perfection, is that Portman’s character gives off this relentless – if subconscious - desire for perfection. It’s rarely mentioned directly, save for a brief moment at the end of the film, but its power is felt throughout the entire movie. It’s this that makes a movie so steeped in ballet accessible and interesting the whole way through, and much of this is thanks to Portman.
Kunis’ breakthrough portrayal of down-to-earth, playful Lily – in some sense of irony – provides the first real threat for Nina. In a twisted contradiction, Kunis effortlessly gives off an air of affection and deception that drives the plot further down towards its thrilling final moments. Even Ryder pulls out all the stops, with one particular moment of self-mutilation being a disturbing high note.
With an “original” score by Clint Mansell, you’d be crazy not to have high expectations for music here. Mansell, as always, lives up to his rousing past efforts, distorting Tchaikovsky’s classic music into something deeper, darker and more intense. At moments, the score plays in reverse, while in others the music rises to a roar to emphasise the on screen action. It’s clever, twisted and works perfectly with the film. Once again, Mansell’s efforts make even the classical soundtrack accessible to almost anyone.
Black Swan is an odd film. Once it’s over, trying to create a sense of the madness is a tough, if not impossible task. It’s because of this insanity, from the questionable reality of much of the action to the themes drenched just within Nina’s final performance, that the film excels beyond being just another movie. It’s an entity, one that could be analysed, cut apart and dissected for hours, if not longer. In the end, though, Black Swan is the sort of film best left as it is – a masterpiece.
Oh, and then there’s a lesbian sex scene. You know. Mila Kunis. Natalie Portman. There’s that too.
I’m giving Black Swan a 9.5/10, if only because perfect scores are way too cliché.
The Last Exorcism directed by Daniel Stamm is the latest film to join the growing procession of seemingly low budget, hand-held camera horror films still riding on the coattails of The Blair Witch Project. Whilst The Last Exorcism lacks genuine scares, it makes up for this with a new take on the standard exorcism stories that film-goers have gotten used to ever since the release of The Exorcist in 1973. The film is let down somewhat by a hackneyed ending that ultimately leaves the viewer unsatisfied, but I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised by what The Last Exorcism had to offer.
The story follows Cotton Marcus, an evangelical reverend that has slowly become disenfranchised with the church and God himself (possibly because his parents decided to call him Cotton). Whilst ultimately loosing his religion he still fulfills as his duties as a reverend, as well as acting as a sort of ‘exorcist for hire’. Essentially, this means that Cotton performs hoax exorcisms for money in order to give solace to ‘overly-religious’ parents convinced that their children have afflictions of the soul rather than the body. The story is told through a Faux-documentary format as a camera crew follows Cotton as he tries to prove that exorcisms and exorcists are a sham. This leads Cotton to the farmstead of Louis Sweetzer, a father convinced that his sweet-as-sugar daughter Nell is possessed by a powerful demon.
From there, The Last Exorcism takes multiple twists and turns as Nell’s condition worsens and events grow to defy logic. It’s easy to see where the film is headed most of the time, but this adds to the suspense. It’s never quite clear if Nell is truly well on the occasions when her condition recedes, or if she is merely luring the gullible Cotton and his camera crew in. It’s very well done, and this is attributed to largely by the successful use of the ‘documentary’ style. The events feel more realistic as a result, and whilst The Last Exorcism never truly terrifies, it’s reliance upon old-school psychological horror is akin to that of Silence of the Lambs or Psycho (though never to such a successful degree). However the ending leaves a lot to be desired. The ominous nature and subtleties of the film up until the ending are entirely lost in an ending that is ultimately surprising, but does not avoid the feeling of being rushed. All nuance is put to the side and the resulting cliffhanger simply doesn’t work as well as films like Inception or even the more comparable Paranormal Activity.
For a film with a hand-held camera style, the attention to composition and cinematography is not lacking in The Last Exorcism and was one of the hilights for me. The lighting is perfect in a lot of respects, often with the only light emanating from the camera itself which assists in setting the tone and the often eerie framing of Nell herself that results in an extremely creepy aura about her even in her more subdued moments. The acting leaves a little to be desired. Patrick Fabian is a little bit too careful in his portrayal of Cotton, rarely stepping out of a barely concerned persona for the majority of the film. Ashley Bell shines as Nell, particularly when her possession comes into full-swing, however her delivery as Nell when seemingly unaffected is a little overdone.
One of the more frustrating things for me in The Last Exorcism (bearing in mind I’ve already touched on the ending) is that for such a clever film it all too often falls victim to typical ‘dumb’ horror cliches. For example; all of the characters persistently refuse to call the police throughout the whole film, even when Nell’s father becomes violent in his frustrations, as well as one or two failed ‘startle’ moments that are usually reserved for films on a lower intellectual scale (think the recent Prom Night remake).
That being said, The Last Exorcism is by no means a bad film. To me, it felt as though it was potentially a really clever concept trying to cater to an increasingly visual audience. By that I mean, modern horror films have largely gone the way of the Saw franchise and moronic slasher films featuring busty women and mentally deficient youths attempting to escape from a big man in a scary mask, and audiences are finding it harder and harder to take horror films seriously anymore. My recent outing to see Paranormal Activity 2 was tarnished to the point that the entire film was ruined by squealing 13-14 year olds, who automatically served to destroy any sense of suspense or denouement. This to me was evidence to my prior point, that horror films are losing, or may have already lost their classic charm that was so prevalent in the days of the original Nightmare on Elm Street or Friday the 13th.
But who’s to blame? The audience? The director? The writers? It’s all very complicated, but not the overall point of this review. The point is, that The Last Exorcism is a sort of half-fulfilled attempt at bringing some subtlety back to horror films. This is tainted by the completely unabashed ending, however the intention is notable and defiantly tangible in many respects. Whilst it lacks the genuine terror and suspense that made The Blair Witch Project so good, The Last Exorcism is defiantly worth the ticket price for a smart, often very subtle film that only occasionally falters. Fans of the more modern ‘slasher’, gore-heavy horror films will be disappointed, but I’m sure the DVD release of Jennifer’s Body will keep them entertained for a while.
And hey, at least it’s not in 3D.
I’m not really certain how to go about writing this review. Treyarch’s Call of Duty: Black Ops has so much content that it’s almost overwhelming to a degree. People play Call of Duty games for a number of different reasons. Some people enjoy the epic, globe-trotting campaigns that are considered to be among the best in modern FPS titles. Others enjoy Treyarch’s patented ’Zombie’ mode, with it’s frantic, co-op oriented gameplay. The majority seem to enjoy the vast multiplayer experience Call of Duty has to offer, and pour countless hours into improving their skills and upgrading their favorite weapons. I’m happy to tell you that Black Ops doesn’t disappoint in any of these areas.
I’ll do this review in sections, so that people can read the aspects that are relevant to them.
Black Ops’ campaign sees players entering the mind of Alex Mason, an American operative tasked with undertaking deniable operations alongside C.I.A and S.O.G operatives across the globe. The game begins with Mason strapped to a chair in a laboratory of sorts being interrogated about the meaning of a sequence of seemingly random numbers by his anonymous captors. Therein begins the epic journey into Mason’s past. Told predominantly through flashback’s Black Ops’ campaign takes players through several locations during the Cold War, including Vietnam, Russia, Hong Kong and even a mission based in the dying days of the Second World war in the Arctic Circle. The campaign maintains a frantic pace, with missions based in similar locations frequently broken up by side stories relating to C.I.A operative Jason Hudson and Victor Reznov, a returning character from the Russian campaign of Call of Duty: World at War. Tending to shy away from Modern Warfare 2′s campaign dotted with set-piece moments and somewhat unbelievable scenarios, Black Ops lends itself brilliantly to the shady world of deniable operations, using a blend of reality and fiction to weave a story that is, in my opinion, the most interesting of all of the Call of Duty games to this point.
It’s not all great though. The harder difficulties are relentless. Some players will greatly enjoy the challenge Veteran has to offer, but others will quickly become annoyed by the accuracy and relentlessness of the enemies. Also, the choice of Sam Worthington to play the game’s main character, Alex Mason baffles me. Why choose an Australian actor, one with a poor track record when it comes to accents, to play a character that inevitably becomes the bastion of the Cold War from an American perspective. His American accent was so bad at one point that I literally became excited because I thought that Mason was Australian, then remembering his introduction at the start as stating his origins in Alaska. Finally, there is one campaign mission based on the battle of Khe Sanh in the Vietnam war that numerous players have expressed concern with. The mission itself is fantastic, with dusty visuals and and a frantic tone that is both invigorating and believable. The battle with the battle of Khe Sanh lies in the vague mission objectives. A segment requiring the player to find and use a detonator to halt the onslaught of Vietcong storming the base is marred by two entirely different marker points hi-lighted in the HUD, and a now infamous sequence involving barrels of Napalm and how to utilise them baffled both myself and many other players around the world.
All that being said, the campaign of Call of Duty Black Ops is among the best in the series. The story is intricate, with more than a few twists that are genuinely surprising, the presentation is fantastic, with colourful visuals breaking up the series standard of brown-upon-brown and the mission variety and pacing will have players sitting down for hours at a time wondering what might be around the next corner. Well… at least it would if the campaign was longer than 6 hours…
Call of Duty: Black Ops’ zombie mode is a returning favorite from Treyarch’s previous Call of Duty title World at War. It maintains the same frantic action that is probably best enjoyed with a friend or two. Nazi Zombies return in what could be considered a mode that is a ‘sequel’ of sorts to the zombie mode in World at War. However, the zombies mode in Black Ops prominently features a new mode, tying in with the game’s Cold War feel. ‘Five’ sees players entering the shoes of John. F. Kennedy, Fidel Castro, Richard Nixon and Robert McNamara fighting off un-dead hoards in the Pentagon, with hilarious dialogue and the same frantic gameplay that players have grown to expect from the Zombies game mode.
There isn’t much else to say really. All the challenge of the original zombies mode from World at War returns, and new game modes are both fun and feature high levels of humor. I wont divulge specifically how, but in the main menu it is possible to get up from the chair Mason is restrained in, and walk around the lab. When doing this, players will stumble across an old computer. If you input the code ‘DOA’ into the computer, players will be rewarded with the Dead Ops Arcade mode, an old-school, top-down shooter that is heaps of fun to waste time on. I strongly recommend you try it out, as I really appreciate the effort Treyarch went to to include it in the title as a fun little extra.
It’s undenyable that the majority of people purchase a Call of Duty game for its multiplayer component. Droves of hardcore and casual gamers log on each day to test their skills against their friends in a variety of finely tuned game modes. Black Ops is no different to any other online based multiplayer experience from the Call of Duty franchise when it comes to core gameplay elements. It features a variety of new game modes and features that will only serve to drain more hours from the online community. Thankfully, when it comes to playing Black Ops’ multiplayer, these hours certainly don’t feel wasted.
Apart from series staples like Team Deathmatch and Capture the flag, Call of Duty: Black Ops brings a lot of unique gameplay modes to the table, the most prominent of being the ‘Wager Matches’. These game modes involve gambling the new COD points that players now earn by playing, which can be spent on new weapons and features. There are currently four game modes to choose from in terms of Wager Matches, and all are a blast to play. My personal favorite is ‘Gun Game’, wherein players must kill their opponents with 20 different tiers of weapons ranging from pistols to rocket launchers, with weapon tiers advancing after each kill. The top 3 players in each 6 player Wager Match win money, and there are varying levels of COD points that can be gambled. In all, the Wager Matches are an effective, hyper-competative new element to multiplayer that will have players rejoicing and rage-quitting in equal bursts. My favorite new element in Black Ops is less of a brand new feature and more of a vast improvement, and that is the level of weapon customisation available. Aside from the standard weapon camo and attachments that veteran COD fans will be familiar with, Black Ops introduces a number of new customisation options that range from being simply aesthetic to gameplay defining. On the aesthetic side of things, players can now feature their clan-tag and emblem on their gun, meaning that dedicated clan players can now rep their team like never before. Players can also now customise the reticle of their red-dot or reflex sight, meaning that colour and overall design can be changed. These range from things like smiley-faces and skulls that are designed simply for their fun factor, to pinpoint dots and hollow circles that can be adjusted to suit any player’s aiming style. In other words, the new customisable reticles are far more than just aesthetic changes, and allow players to completely tailor their favorite weapon to suit their play-style. For example, I use a reticle that looks a little like this ‘>.<’ as I like to know exactly where I’m going to hit my enemy.
Aside from new game modes and a new in-game economy, Black Ops realistically isn’t all that different form other online COD games. The weapons are far more balanced, accept for an extremely overpowered Claymore that is both harder to detect and explodes instantly, and the new maps are all fun in their own way, and discourage camping far more than previous maps in the COD series. A standout issue that is prevalent at the moment is the fact that a large degree of ‘spawn camping’ is able to take place, especially on some of the smaller maps. Hopefully this will be patched in the near future, but I will say that it is EXTREMELY frustrating to re-spawn, only to be killed before you can even get your bearings.
There isn’t much more to say really. COD fans know what their getting when it comes to Black Ops on a basic level in terms of a quality campaign and a deep and satisfying range of multiplayer options. The improvements made by Treyarch are certainly enough to warrant a switch from Modern Warfare 2, but some players may find themselves returning based on personal preference. The level of skill online may be daunting for new players, but for people new to the COD franchise, Black Ops is a great overall package with few debilitating flaws.
Now I know most of you are probably caught up playing Black Ops at the moment, but let me take you back to the past for a moment to another excellent FPS. Back to 1997 when a little game called Goldeneye 007 was released for the N64. Remember how much fun it was? Spending hours on end with a bunch of mates, all fighting over who gets to play as Oddjob and subsequently win the match? or shooting the guy in the bathroom as you sneak in through the air vent?
Well Goldeneye is back, but not quite as you remember it. Due to various legal issues with the game, significant changes had to be made. So does this new game harken back to the golden days of gaming? or is it a cheap cash in by Activision to earn some extra gold? (ok I will stop with the gold puns now).
First off let’s set things straight, Goldeneye Wii is neither a port, remake or sequel of Goldeneye 64 (and has nothing to do with EA’s crappy Goldeneye Rouge Agent). Rather it is a reimagining of the N64 smash hit. Due to the various legal issues regarding the original game and the fact that the gameplay has become dated, Eurocom had to make quite a number of changes, the major ones being control scheme, level designs and the fact this is the Daniel Craig take on Bond rather than the Pierce Brosnan version.
The game controls much like the Call of Duty games when using the Classic Controller (Pro or regular) or Gamecube controller, with your standard dual analouge control scheme and the Wii Remote and Nunchuck and Zapper options work similar to most other FPS on the system. Aside from the zappper (which I think makes any game more awkward than it needs to be) all work great, leaving it up to personal preference as to what you choose to use, though I will add, the Wii Remote and Nunchuck option does allow for you to peak around corners by twisting the nunchuck, which you can’t perform using any of the other control methods and subsequently became my personal favourite.
The campaign is fantastic. It is a solid 10-15 hours of gameplay (depending on skill level) of solid Bond action. You will cover a variety of different levels and some fantastic set piece moments right from the get go. You will find yourself sneaking around air vents, hacking into various machines and naturally taking on rooms full of baddies. It’s worth mentioning the gameplay feels very Bond, by this I mean you cannot simply go running into a room of 20 enemies guns-a-blazing, because even with regenerating health you will find this method almost always leads to death. You will want to take your time, sneak around corners and hide behind walls and take out enemies with silenced pistols before being noticed. If you do find yourself exposed you will want to take cover somewhere relatively safe and strategically take off enemies until the area is clear. If you find yourself only taking on a handful of enemies, you can however go in and perform some “Daniel Craig” style close combat mellee action, which is extremely satisfying I must say. It’s also worth mentioning gone are the gadgets of the old Bond. Now Bond only uses his smartphone to do all the tasks that these gadgets used to perform. A little less interesting, but not really a major issue
For those of you who were fans of the original don’t worry, a lot has changed, but iconic moments such as the aforementioned shooting the guy in the bathroom return, most slightly changed, though the general vibe and event are the same. While it isn’t the same game you played as a kid, that is a good thing. It allows you to feel a bit nostalgic, but without all the tedium of playing the same game you have probably played dozens of times in the past or put up with the dated gameplay (seriously, go play the original now, it is nowhere near as much fun as it used to be). It also has great replayability, with multiple difficulty modes, including “Classic” mode which does away with regenerating health and reverting to the old school style of health packs and armour and the harder difficulties have extra objectives to complete, to ensure that second or third playthroughs provide something new to enjoy and prevent it feeling to much like more of the same.
So the single player is great, but lets be honest, we all played Goldeneye 64 for multiplayer. Well first off let’s start with local multiplayer. There are 3 game types and 10 maps, but what makes it really enjoyable are the modifiers. Some are purely cosmetic such as the paintball mode, others such as Singularity make it so you can’t touch another player otherwise you both explode. This allows for variety in gameplay as well as adds the light hearted vibe to the game that the original had. As for characters you get to choose from more than 50 classic Bond characters such as Jaws and yes, Oddjob, though Eurocom tried to balance the game a tad more by increasing Oddjobs height so he is less of a hack… they still made sure he was a hack. They also gave him hats instead of grenades which I thought was epic. The one issue I have is with the maps, but it isn’t one that I can fault Eurocom on. You see the new maps are great but despite some of them being named after old maps, such as The Facility, no old maps return. It is a great shame, but since it was due to legal reasons, nothing could have been done to rectify this complaint. Personally as far as local multiplayer FPS goes, I would say it is one of the best on the market. The modifiers and characters just make it more fun when messing around with mates.
Online shares the same maps, however it has 9 game types and no modifiers. You also don’t play as Bond Characters, rather you just play as a generic soldier/spy. Unlike the local multiplayer you are also able to change your loadout at any point in the match. It’s also worth mentioning you can customize your own loadouts just like Call of Duty. Infact Online in general feels ALOT like the Call of Duty franchise. You gain experience as you kill people and unlock perks. Personally I wouldn’t of minded if it was just like the local multiplayer (getting to choose characters and the like) but I suppose they wanted the game to be more balanced online and decided to copy what is effectivley the most popular online FPS which at very least makes the game as enjoyable online as the Wii’s COD games. I had not one connection issues or any lag and always found a game very soon after logging on and best of all there was no need to use any ridiculous friend codes. For the Wii, I would say this is one of the best online experiences and it might be the best online FPS, but if you are a multi-console owner looking for the next online sensation, I suggest checking out Activision’s other recently released FPS on one of the other systems.
Presentation wise the game looks great for Wii, with character models and levels full of detail. The voice acting is excellent with Daniel Craig and Dame Judy Dench reprising their roles from the movies and naturally doing great work, but the supporting cast do a great job as well. The music suits the the locals they are played in and the Jazzy theme song for the game is quite well done. The music also does a great job at alerting you to the type of situation your in, switching to a more upbeat, fast paced tune when you the enemy has spotted you.
Overall Goldeneye is a great game. The singleplayer is amazing and both local and online multiplayer are solid, enjoyable experiences. If you are a Wii only owner looking for a new FPS, a fan of the origional or just anyone looking for an FPS with a great campaign, buy this game!
I am giving it a 8.7/10
People play games for a number of different reasons. Some players enjoy the immersion that titles like Fallout can produce, others love becoming completely engrossed in a complex and well developed story. However, Vanquish, the recently released third-person-shooter from ‘Platinum Games’ has neither of these things. So what is it about Shinji Mikami’s latest title that makes it stand out as one of the best releases of the year so far?
To put it simply, It’s a hell of a lot of fun.
As previously stated, Vanquish’s story is lacking to say the least. Essentially, the United States has come under attack from Russian forces lead by the enigmatic Victor Zaitsev, an ultra-nationalist responsible for a recent coup against the Russian government. After Zaitsev levels San Francisco with a massive laser cannon, he threatens to destroy New York City within 8 hours unless the American government surrenders unconditionally. Enter Sam Gideon, a researcher for DARPA (a defense and weapons development company) tasked with stopping the Russian forces from reducing New York City to rubble. It’s all pretty standard shooter fare, with just enough to keep you interested in how the remainder of the game will play out. A major problem with Vanquish’s story is that there is little to no character development. It is seemingly impossible for players to form a tangible emotional attachment to any of Vanquish’s one-dimensional characters, including protagonist Sam Gideon. This isn’t helped at all with the inclusion with an amusing, yet completely overblown obligatory ‘military leader character’ in Lt Colonel Robert Burns, whose gruff voice and massive biceps are more comedic than they are bad-ass. These all seem like pretty major flaws for a game as big as Vanquish to have. But trust me, once you get into the action, none of this will matter at all.
Vanquish’s gameplay reminds me of why I play games in the first place. It’s fun, it’s challenging, it feels familiar, yet offers a distinct twist on the third-person shooter genre. Sam is equipped with an ‘Augmented Reaction Suit (ARS)’, a mechanical exoskeleton that has a number of gameplay defining features. For one, the suit is equipped with jet boosters attached to the arms and legs, allowing players to zoom around the battlefield at breakneck speeds. This is useful when it comes to quickly closing the distance between Sam and one of his robotic opponents, as well as manoeuvring to and from cover points. Another distinct feature of the ARS is it’s ability to heighten Sam’s cognitive functions in moments of importance. It’s essentially the game’s own way of introducing a ‘slow-mo’ feature, but I appreciated the explanation nonetheless. It triggers automatically when Sam’s has taken too much damage, but it can be activated at any time when Sam performs a dodge, or is using the suit’s boosters. It comes at a price though, using the boosters or the suit’s ‘slow-mo’ abilities too often causes the ARS to overheat, leaving the player to rely on what are fairly standard third person shooter mechanics. Finally, the suit allows for extremely powerful melee attacks that can floor even the largest opponents, but at the cost of instantly overheating the suit. This limits the players willingness to utilise their most powerful attack, as it leaves them immediately vulnerable. It all works very well, with the main focus on being pushing the suit to its limits without overheating. It creates an atmosphere that is often heart-racing as the game is fairly challenging, even on the ‘normal’ difficulty setting.
Sam is also equipped with the BLADE weapon system. BLADE is a morphing gun that scans existing weapons in order to create a copy that Sam can switch to at any time. At any given time, the BLADE system can save data from 3 different weapons, which range from standard assault rifles to futuristic laser based weaponry. Scanning weapons already stored in the BLADE system eventually causes them to ‘upgrade’, normally meaning an increase in ammo or magazine capacity. It’s all fairly standard, with the BLADE system providing an interesting, yet somewhat redundant, stand-in for a standard weapon swapping mechanic. The weapons themselves are all fairly powerful, and you will find yourself swapping for new ones so often that the only two worth upgrading are the ‘Assault Rifle’ and ‘Heavy Machine Gun’.
At its core, Vanquish is a fairly standard third person shooter, however the difficulty coupled with the unique gameplay mechanics make it one of the most addictive gameplay experiences I’ve had in recent times. Each mission requires a lot of tactical planning. In other words, simply rushing in and attempting to ‘out-gun’ the opposing forces will get you killed 9 times out of 10. The allied soldiers traveling with Sam and Burns are fairly useless, but they do a decent job of keeping the hordes of robotic enemies from all focusing on the player at once. Many reviewers have criticised Vanquish for it’s short length, however I imagine that players will become so addicted to the gameplay that they will play through the campaign two or three times. Couple this with unlockable challenge maps, and Vanquish provides gamers with a formula that is simple and addictive. Also, you can smoke at any time and that makes it edgy and cool!!!!
Presentation-wise, Vanquish is an interesting package. It is very rare that a title looks better in-game than it does in cut-scenes, yet, for one reason or another, this is the case with Vanquish. Cut-scene animations can only be described as awkward, with weird camera angles and an over-emphasis on ‘cool-posing’. This isn’t the case in-game however. The animations are fluid and speed effects create a sense of velocity without becoming disorienting. Everything has a nice polish to it, that strangely doesn’t carry over to the cut-scenes. Vanquish is also a very stylish game, with all of Sam’s actions accentuated with the liberal use of slow motion at the command of the player. Put simply, Vanquish feels awesome when you want it to feel awesome. From a sound point-of-view, Vanquish excels. With thumping techno tunes blasting over the top of intense action sequences, it’s hard not to get ‘pumped up’ by all the thudding bass and high-tempo lead lines. The weapons all feel appropriately powerful, especially in ‘slow-motion’ sequences. The thud of the Assault Rifle blends with the aforementioned thumping bass-lines of the game’s music in a way that compliments the on-screen action perfectly. The voice actors do their best with relatively corny dialogue and stereotyped characters, but as mentioned earlier, it’s Vanquish’s gameplay that trumps character development and cheesy one-liners constantly.
For gamers looking to escape into a thickly-woven story in an intricate world full of interesting characters and scenarios, then I’d recommend you try out Fallout New Vegas (I haven’t played this yet, but I assume that it’s essentially Fallout 3 in the desert with gambling). However, if you simply want to sit down with an adrenaline pumping, ball-busting game that will have you on the edge of your seat throughout, then Vanquish is for you. To put it simply wagoners, Vanquish is a gamers game.
Every now and then a film comes along that tries to be different. It might be the narrative’s sequence – take Pulp Fiction or Irreversiblé. It might be in its explicitness or abstract themes, such as Antichrist or Donnie Darko. Every now and then one of these films comes along and makes you think in a different way.
Buried is one of these films.
The basic premise of Buried is simple enough. Paul Conroy, a truck driver contracted to help rebuild in Iraq, wakes up to find himself buried six feet underground in a wooden coffin. Armed with no more than a Zippo lighter and a cell phone – set to an Arabic language setting, no less – Paul finds himself in a struggle against time as each breath takes him literally one beat closer to the grave. Dealing with his captors, hostage experts, 911 operators and answering machine after answering machine, Paul quickly finds that the outside world isn’t particularly efficient at exhuming living people from below the ground.
Make no mistake – Buried will show you 90 minutes of Paul’s life and nothing more – set entirely within the coffin, the film is presented in real time as Paul inhales the last 90 minutes of oxygen inside the tomb. This is what truly sets Buried apart from its cohort – it dares to leave in every moment, be that as Paul waits on hold on his slowly dying cell phone; struggles to keep out the flow of rushing sand or just breathes quietly in the dark. It’s brave, and it works. It’s thanks to careful writing from Chris Sparling and the direction of Rodrigo Cortés that every single event seems not only intensely gripping but a matter of life or death. That may sound like a given, but trust me, the intensity of otherwise average events is mind-bending.
Let me just get this out in the open here and now; I’m not a huge fan of Ryan Reynolds’ past acting experiences. With the likes of The Amityville Horror remake and Just Friends, I’m not sure many would blame me. Regardless, Reynolds pulls off something special in Buried – thanks in part to solid writing and clever direction – and he definitely deserves some credit here both for likability and believability. The supporting cast – if you could call them that – are all as good as you would hope, particularly Dan Brenner voiced by Robert Paterson (I said Paterson, you squeamish Twilighters).
It’s the small moments that make Buried. Each agonizing second Paul is forced to wait on hold, each short sharp breath in the darkness, and every sound of the ringtone or vibration maintain your tight grip on the edge of your seat. There are certainly standout moments which deserve some attention, but the nature of the film makes every detail feel like a spoiler. There’s only two possible ways the film could end, and it certainly passed through my head that a satisfactory one would be difficult to achieve. That said, Buried ends on a short, simple note, and it ties up the prior 90 minutes in a neat little package that I’m still trying to fully digest.
In many ways Buried is more of an experience than a film, and one I can’t recommend enough. It’s not perfect, but not for reasons I can easily describe. The acting is top notch, the writing is believable, and the ever-present threat is excruciating. In reality, though, Buried’s overwhelming strength is also its weakness – 90 minutes inside a box; nothing more, nothing less. Buried will make you think about things – it certainly made me question the efficiency of our emergency services should I ever be buried in the middle of the Iraqi desert – but its premise just can’t offer the same sort of depth a film that forgoes real-time in-coffin action can. I need to stress something, though – this is not such a bad thing. The film industry needs people to dare to be different like this; it needs ideas that are so abstract they can’t be categorized along side the usual Hollywood ilk.
On that note, Buried earns an 8.5/10 from me. It’s not the best experience in the known universe, but boy is it one hell of a ride. It deserves a watch from everyone, at the very least to prove that sometimes originality trumps milking the cash cow. If you don’t, consider yourself personally raising your hand for Transformers 4.
I’m just letting you know that all of the authors on Wagon Whale have impending final exams coming up very soon, so don’t be surprised if new content is sparse in the coming month.
Personally, I’m going to try and find time to do a review of Call Of Duty: Black Ops when it comes out next month, and if I find some time I may do something else before then also.
I’ll let the others speak for themselves in the comments section.
Once we get exams out of the way, and recover from the parties that are likely to ensue, James and I are focusing on reformatting the site to make room for News, more film and music reviews, and general nonsense. If we can get the logistics right, we may be able to do video reviews or updates in the near future.
In this time, we will probably be looking for new authors to keep the general flow of content coming at a steady pace, so message me or James if you are interested. Keep in mind that we will probably need you to also submit a short passage of writing so we can gauge your style.
Anyway, to keep updated on when we actually find the time to post in the next month, add Wagon Whale on Facebook and Twitter. There are links to both of these pages in lower posts.
Thank’s for all the support.