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According to The Hollywood Reporter, Depp has signed on to star in the film. It will form part of Universal's ongoing series of interconnected movies centred around their classic monster properties. It is unknown at what stage of development the film is at, and a director is yet to be attached. THR reports that Men in Black writer Ed Solomon has been hired to pen the script.
The original film of The Invisible Man was released in 1933. It was based on the HG Wells novel and starred Claude Rains.
The Mummy will be the first of the series to hit cinemas, and it is expected in 2017. Alex Kurtzman, co-writer of JJ Abrams' two Star Trek movies, is directing--Kurtzman was hired by Universal in 2014 to develop the new franchise.
Other key monsters that are expected to be brought back include The Wolfman, Van Helsing, Dracula, and Frankenstein. As Variety noted last month, while Cruise isn't on board as a producer of The Mummy, he is expected to play a major role in the development of the series.
In Earth Wars, you can play as Optimus Prime and fight for the Autobots or side with Megatron and do battle with your comrades in the Decepticon faction. You will build a team (Bumblebee and Starscream are also confirmed characters) and do battle to claim enemy based to secure Energon stockpiles.
You'll also need to build a space bridge to allow for further reinforcements to come down from Cybertron, the fictional Transformers home planet.
"The Transformers franchise is like no other," Julian Farrior, CEO of publisher Backflip Studios said. "The story that has carried on through generations has drawn millions of fans who can’t wait for what’s next Working in conjunction with Hasbro, we’re bringing the Transformers franchise to life in one of the most popular game genres."
The lines of dialogue in Earth Wars were written by Transformers comic veteran Simon Furman, while the art style is said to be inspired by the Transformers Generations Prime Wars Trilogy series. Additionally, original voice actors Peter Cullen and Frank Welker are on board for Earth Wars to provide the voices of Optimus Prime and Megatron.
Earth Wars is due to launch this spring as a free game featuring in-app purchases. It will be released worldwide, with the exception of Japan and China.
The latest Transformers console game, Transformers: Devastation, was released in October 2015.
The beta kicks off tomorrow, February 11, at 11 AM PST / 2 PM EST. It ends on Sunday, February 14, at midnight PST, which comes out to 3 AM EST on Monday, February 15.
To take part in The Revolution's beta, players needed to have obtained a special token that was handed out by Deep Silver and Xbox through giveaways last year. The company also says "some" keys remain available; you can sign up at the game's website here to get one.
Although The Revolution is also coming to PlayStation 4 and PC, the beta is being held only on Xbox One. The full game launches across all three platforms on May 17.
The Revolution's beta lets players try out the game's new four-player online mode, Resistance. Deep Silver also cautions that, because the game is still in beta, frame rate, graphics, textures, and animations are all in an unfinished state.
The game takes place in 2029. Protagonist Ethan Brady leads a resistance movement against the army of a Korean invasion in the city of Philadelphia. Despite being attached to the first Homefront game, developer Dambuster Studios claims "everything is new" for the game, and that there is a reason why it was not titled Homefront 2.
Originally scheduled to launch in 2015, The Revolution was later delayed to 2016. The first Homefront game was published by THQ, but when the publisher went bankrupt, Crysis developer Crytek stepped in to buy the franchise for $544,000. Crytek later sold the game to Deep Silver, which put its new Dambuster Studios to work on The Revolution.
According to Deadline, the script is still being worked on, but Gray and writer Chris Morgan are planning to make the film's main villain a woman. The site's sources state that Mad Max: Fury Road star Theron is their first choice to play the character. Gray previously directed Theron in the 2003 remake of The Italian Job.
Last week it was confirmed that there would be at least three more films in the blockbuster action franchise, with parts 8 and 9 due in 2019 and 2021.
Star and producer Vin Diesel's plan for more movies was revealed last year, when he stated: "I promised the studio I would deliver one last trilogy to end the saga." The actor has also hinted that additional spinoff movies could be made, focusing on some of the individual characters from the action series.
Fast and Furious 8 will be released on April 14, 2017.
Overwatch's PC closed beta has returned with some new updates, including balance adjustments, a new progression system, and the ability to play in full A.I. matches. Alongside these updates is also an assortment of new Epic skins for the game's large roster of characters. With so many new skins to see, we've compiled them all here for your viewing pleasure. Click ahead to check out each one!
You can also check out all the new Legendary skins that have been added into the closed beta.
Overwatch's PC closed beta is back with a handful of new updates, including a new progression system, balance adjustments, and the ability to play in full A.I. matches. But there's also a plethora of new Legendary skins that have been added into the game. With so many new skins to see, we've compiled them all here for your viewing pleasure. Click ahead to check out each one!
You can also check out all the new Epic skins that have been added into the closed beta.
That's the kind of moribund humor Darkest Dungeon works with. Everything here is a little weird, and it'd be easy to pass it off as yet another game inspired by Lovecraftian horror, but Darkest Dungeon's gameplay makes it so much more.
Darkest Dungeon sits in the roguelike genre--a game type often associated with randomly arranged rooms, permanent death, and the fear of what mysterious challenges lie ahead. Darkest Dungeon breaks from that tradition in that it lets you stock an entire roster of heroes, only a handful of which will be at risk on any given mission. Your goal is as much about managing all the resources at your disposal as it is protecting a given warrior from death or disease.
Each week (in the game) you send your quartet of champions out to one of four main areas in order to gather coin, accouterments, and experience required to tackle the eponymous Darkest Dungeon. These areas all have different enemy types and challenges that require specific strategies. Some need big, heavy-hitting brutes, while others require poison to get the job done, and the trick is to balance your adventuring party's classes and tactics appropriately. That, however, is complicated by the fact that with each subsequent adventure, your soldiers inch closer to stress-induced heart attacks or debilitating diseases, to name a few possible downfalls.Darkest Dungeon never looks particularly inviting.
While the death of one of your party members seems bad enough, it gets worse. Darkest Dungeon's combat revolves around careful formations. Certain character classes are only useful in one or two of the four possible positions. Heavily armed warriors sit up front to protect the assortment of healers, occultists, and archers you can employ. As battles progress, however, your teams can be shuffled, and if anyone dies--on your side or your enemies'--you'll have to form new strategies on the fly to keep up an effective force. It's an excellent system that keeps players from ever settling in or feeling completely comfortable. It's a complex system that gives you room to figure out your own ideal methods, but also forces you to manage your estate and the sanity of your band of mercenaries.
Stress too, takes its toll on everyone, and there are numerous events that can trigger it, including darkness, the untimely death of a comrade, or an unknowable eldritch horror.
After each adventure your troupe will return to your burgeoning hamlet. There, you can recruit, equip, and ease your legions of dungeon divers. Equipped with medical facilities, an abbey, a tavern, guilds, a blacksmith, and a stagecoach which constantly supplies you with new recruits, the hamlet serves as your headquarters in the war with the demons and devils found in the wilds. Here, you can upgrade your mercenaries' weapons and train them in new abilities that can dramatically affect their usefulness in future expeditions. You also need to take great care to keep their minds intact as the game wears on.
Your team's humanity becomes a persistent and pernicious obstacle of its own. Looting corpses can net an unwary adventurer a case of rabies. Stress too, takes its toll on everyone, and there are numerous events that can trigger it, including darkness, the untimely death of a comrade, or an unknowable horror. Successive expeditions are as sure to kill your favorite mercenary as anything else. So you have to commit them to a night of drinking or meditation to keep their mind and body in fighting condition. Diseases too can afflict your warriors, and you have to treat them at the sanitarium or deal with a hefty stat penalty.Before each expedition, you'll pick out your party, supply them and prepare for a harrowingadventure.
But, these things take time. And while your cleric is relaxing in the brothel, she obviously can't journey to ancient ruins and fell skeletal armies. Keeping solid party composition by matching classes, skills, specialties, and respective levels of experience is vital, but it's complicated by the fact that everyone needs a break to heal mind and body. Brutal though that penance may seem, fool-hardy strategists quickly learn their lesson. Darkest Dungeon teaches its audience how to navigate unforgiving challenges, but the result is an immensely rewarding journey.
In building itself around the struggle of your hamlet and its people against the evil of the wilderness, Darkest Dungeon shifts its focus towards a set of tools for telling your own stories. It's about more than your favorite squad and their journey, but about the people who had their own share of successful runs before quietly falling in an abandoned tomb. There is no one hero here: instead you find a sea of stories crafted jointly by you and the game.
Every mistake, every death, is on you. You didn't prepare well enough, you pushed someone too hard, or you didn't train them. Every mercenary who dies on your watch was your responsibility.
Darkest Dungeon is held together by a brilliant web of causality. Small pieces, like whether a sword lands a critical hit, are random, but all the choices that led you to that point are not. In some ways Darkest Dungeon plays a lot like poker: countless parts are random on their own, but when guided by the skillful handle of a master, are anything but. This game is hard, but not unfairly so. Every mistake, every death, is on you. You didn't prepare well enough, you pushed someone too hard, or you didn't train them. Every mercenary who dies on your watch was your responsibility.
With all this darkness, all this death, all this despair, it might sound strange to say that Darkest Dungeon is also hopeful. Like other games in its genre, successes are hard-fought, and while they might be scarce, they assure you that while the odds against you are staggering, they aren't insurmountable. Where this game shines is in creating a world that is at once ominous and encouraging. At every step, the visual design and atmospheric soundtrack, as well as an apprehensive narrator, push you to victory against the evils that surround you.Even when a character's HP has hit 0, you're not necessarily out of the fight.
For every party wipe you encounter a moment of wondrous luck, and this becomes part of Darkest Dungeon's cycle. As you trek you learn and grow. You adapt new tactics as you discover the faults in older ones. Comparisons to Dark Souls these days are so common that they're almost cliché, but Darkest Dungeon is one that genuinely deserves the nod. Dark Souls' brilliance comes not from its extreme difficulty nor in its obtuse and horrific enemies. Similarly, Darkest Dungeon may be hard, but its gameplay isn't really about difficulty.
The struggle serves as a test of your strategies, your team and base management. If you're not up to snuff, then your parties will die, and you'll have to rebuild. You almost never find yourself starting over truly from square one, however. The upgrades to your town are permanent, as are some of the trinkets and gold you find. So even the total loss of your roster isn't the death knell for your hamlet. And that too, sets the game apart from other roguelikes, for instance, where each new game is a new attempt at a distant goal.
Darkest Dungeon plays the long game. It builds you up for a grand bout that will test everything you've learned, as well as your ability to plan several in-game weeks out. The pay-off for this constant offensive comes in short bursts--just enough to keep you going, just enough to keep you hopeful for the next excursion. It's an extraordinary cycle that bears a special teacher--rewarding your cleverness and punishing your foolishness. It transfixes and binds you to this grand journey, dotted with failures and successes. And because you endured, because you thought your way through it, the final victory against the unimaginable evil you face at the bottom of the Darkest Dungeon is personally valuable.
Deadpool has been taking comics and the Internet by storm. You can read our review of the movie and watch our video showing thirteen things you should know before seeing the movie.
Deadpool won't be alone in his solo movie debut. He's bringing some of his comic book friends and enemies with him. Here's a look at what inspired the live-action versions.
Deadpool is played by Ryan Reynolds. If you've seen any of the trailers, TV spots, or public service announcements, you know he was practically born to play the character.
Deadpool is the Merc with a Mouth. You can expect a lot of dialogue from Reynolds.
Deadpool is as unpredictable as they come. Costumes are often changed in the big screen adaptations, but they've managed to keep Deadpool's look. They've even made it so you can see some expression on his face while he's wearing a mask.
Wade Wilson was suffering from cancer when he agreed to undergo an experiment that would cure him and give him new abilities. He gained an incredible healing factor, but a side effect is he now has a scarred face due to the cancer cells unable to die.
Vanessa Carlysle is played by Morena Baccarin. Vanessa was Wade's girlfriend before he underwent the experiment to cure his cancer.
In the comics, Vanessa was a blue-skinned, shape-shifting mutant. She and Wade had a relationship before he became Deadpool except he broke it off before leaving.
There's been no indication that Vanessa in the movie is a mutant.
T.J. Miller takes on the role of Weasel, Wade Wilson's buddy.
In the comics, Weasel sort of became Deadpool's sidekick. Weasel was a brilliant kid whose future was sabotaged by Deadpool after he accidentally teleported back in time. Weasel made gadgets for Deadpool and helped broker different merc jobs. They eventually had a pretty big falling out.
Colossus is voiced by Stefan Kapicic with facial performance by Greg LaSalle. Colossus has previously been portrayed by Daniel Cudmore on the big screen in X-Men: Days of Future Past, X-Men 2, and X-Men: The Last Stand. There may not be any connection between the different versions after the events of Days of Future Past.
In the comics, Piotr Nikolaievitch Rasputin was recruited by Professor Xavier to become part of his new X-Men. Piotr grew up on his family farm in Russia and has had many adventures with the X-Men over the years.
Blind Al is played by Leslie Uggams in the movie.
Blind Al has a mysterious past. It was revealed she was a prisoner of Deadpool's. She was also a mother figure for him. She wasn't treated as a typical prisoner and Deadpool often left her alone in his house in San Francisco. He did make it clear there'd be severe consequences if she tried to escape. Blind Al often gave Deadpool advice and had a good influence on him. Because of this, when Deadpool decided to let her go free, she refused. Eventually he did teleport her to a park and left her there. She has shown up from time to time in the comics afterwards.
Negasonic Teenage Warhead
Negasonic Teenage Warhead is played by Brianna Hildebrand in the movie.
There is a pretty big difference between the movie and comic version of the character in terms of looks and powers. When Ellie Phimister first appeared, she was a student in Emma Frost telepathy class. It appeared she was killed immediately but she later turned up, apparently surviving due to a secondary mutation.
Aside from telepathy, Ellie also showed signs of precognition. In the movie, Negasonic Teenage Warhead can unleash localized tactile nuclear ignition. You can see her in action in this clip.
Angel Dust is played by Gina Carano in the movie.
There appears to be a difference again between the movie and comic versions. Angel Dust will fight against Deadpool. In the comics, Christine was a teenager who ran away from home when her powers developed. She assumed her parents would not accept the fact that she was a mutant. She joined up with some other mutants, the Morlocks, living underground in the sewers in Chicago. With her new friends, she had to steer clear of some crooked police officers and fight some mutant hunting Sentinel robots. Christine eventually made her way back home and was surprised to find her parents accepted who she was.
Angel Dust could increase her adrenaline and gain super strength. She could only use her powers for a short period of time before exhausting herself.
Ajax is played by Ed Skrein.
Ajax, or Francis, worked in the lab where Wade Wilson underwent the experiment that led to him becoming Deadpool. Francis was cruel and sadistic, taking care of any test subjects that got out of line. When Wade first became Deadpool in the lab, it seemed he killed Francis. Francis later returned as Ajax, in armor, and hunted Deadpool down to get revenge.
Stan Lee is the co-creator of Spider-Man, Iron Man, Hulk, X-Men, etc. He constantly makes cameo appearances in Marvel movies. He does have a cameo in Deadpool, but we won't spoil that here. Be sure to keep an eye out for him.
The Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm series has one of the largest character rosters in all of fighting games. Its fourth entry is no exception featuring over 100 playable fighters--each with their own unique movesets--to take into battle. Join us as we show you each and every character the game has to offer.
Each week, a massive number of comics are released. Determining which titles are worth checking out can be a daunting task, especially if you're trying to keep your spending under a certain limit. We've gone through the list to help you decide which books you need to read on Wednesday, February 10.
Written by Scott Snyder
Art by Yanick Paquette
The moment many have been waiting for is nearly here. Bruce Wayne has decided to reclaim his past as Batman. After his confrontation with Joker in Endgame, Bruce Wayne was basically reborn. His brain had been rewritten and he had absolutely no recollection of being Batman. His memories and training were completely gone. We’re not talking amnesia here. The memories won’t just conveniently return if he concentrates really hard. So how the heck can Bruce become Batman once again? You can check out the ComicVine exclusive preview to get an idea. It’s going to a wild ride for Bruce.
Written by Joe Kelly
Art by Ed McGuinness
Spider-Man and Deadpool have teamed up on more than one occasion. The first issue has reminded us just how great these characters can be together. Joe Kelly and Ed McGuinness have nurtured a great relationship between the two. It’s almost weird seeing Spider-Man as more of the straight man since he’s the one usually trying to crack all the jokes. This isn’t just a regular team up. There’s a lot at stake, and it’s up to these two to try to work together in order to save the day. If Deadpool and Spider-Man weren’t enough, we’re also going to get some Miles Morales Spider-Man joining in on the fun.
Written by Warren Ellis
Art by Jason Masters
This series has been such a blast. Warren Ellis has been doing a fantastic job capturing the true essence of the James Bond character. Jason Masters’ art has been perfect. This feels like the true James versus the versions we’ve been seeing on the big screen. Ellis and Masters have given us plenty of action, suspense, and intrigue. Whether you love or just like James Bond, you’ll want to check this series out.
Written by James Tynion IV
Art by Freddie Williams
The first time we heard about this crossover, it seemed odd and out of nowhere. You would imagine it’d be just a silly story with the two big properties. With James Tynion IV writing it and Freddie Williams II doing the art, it’s been an exciting and fun series. There’s a nice mix in combining the different vibes of the two franchises. Basically, if you’ve ever thought about Batman and the Ninja Turtles meeting, chances are you’ll get to see everything you would hope to see.
Written by Tom Taylor
Art by David Lopez
X-23 as Wolverine has really been coming along nicely. Tom Taylor is allowing Laura to grow as she’s taken on the responsibility of trying to save her clones created for evil purposes. The three different clones really grow on you as each has a different and distinct personality. There’s no telling where the story will take us next but Laura is going to team up with Wasp in order to try to save one of the clones. To make the story even better, we’ve had some amazing artwork by David Lopez and David Navarrot.
Written by Various
Art by Various
There’s been a lot of Deadpool lately. As you prepare to see the big screen movie this week, you can also celebrate his 25th anniversary. Marvel is unleashing a massively oversized issue with a bunch of creators taking a stab at Deadpool. If you’ve been enjoying his current exploits, you won’t want to miss out. Just be aware there is a higher price tag on the issue because of the page count.
Written by Al Ewing
Art by Kenneth Rocafort
After the events of Secret Wars, there's been a lot of new team books and Ultimates is easily the best out of the bunch. This team is taking on things greater than a random supervillain. Blue Marvel and his team are going outside of their own universe to fix time, which has been a mess since so many heroes and villains in the Marvel Universe travel through time, messing everything up. Kenneth Rocafort's art really adds a whole other level to the book, delivering some almost abstract page setups. This is a series you don't want to miss out on.
Written by Jeff Lemire
Art by Andrea Sorrentino
Old Man Logan is a bit of a weird book. It follows a Wolverine from another universe, who ended up in the main Marvel Universe. This Wolverine was tricked into killing all the heroes of his universe and spent a lot of time beating himself down for his mistakes. Now, he's figuring out where he belongs in this new Marvel universe, which doesn't have a living Wolverine at this time. The big reason to pick this up is because of Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino, with Marcelo Maiolo on colors. This creative team, who was behind the best run of Green Arrow ever, is the top team in comics. They are capable of some amazing things.
Written by Robert Venditti, Van Jensen
Art by Jesus Merino
While Flash is a great character, something that makes him appealing to many fans isn't his super-speed or good heart: it's his rogues. Flash and Zoom just had an all-out battle and now the Flash's Rogues have been put in charge of tracking Flash down. Writers Robert Venditti and Van Jensen haven't explored this team much on their run, so it'll be exciting to see what they do with them. Here's to hoping there's lots of Mirror Master.
Written by Tim Seeley
Art by Juan Ferreyra
New Suicide Squad has been a good book. It hasn't been amazing, but month after month, it delivered some fun stories. With issue #17, Tim Seeley is taking over as the writing and that shows a lot of promise. Considering that the Suicide Squad film is coming out in August, DC is probably going to put a bit more stock in this team and Seeley is a good start. If you're interested in the upcoming movie, this may be a good way to familiarize yourself with the characters.
Written by Sam Humphries
Art by Mike Del Mundo
The first issue of Weirdworld was pretty weird, as one would expect. While the Secret Wars mini-series of Weirdworld kept things pretty serious, Humphries new book takes the same concept, with a comic twist, and it really works. His approach makes this book feel like a stand-alone and not so much a continuation of the last series. Humphries and Del Mundo delivered a pretty stellar opening issue the looked brilliant. Marvel is delivering a lot of standout new series and this is one of them.
Written by Paul Dini, Ty Templeton
Art by Bruce Timm & Various
With Paul Dini and Bruce Timm attached here, fans of Batman: The Animated Series have a lot to look forward to. This is a great collation of Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy stories in the vein of their animated series counterparts. Let's make it clear, this is not new material. This collects several miniseries and one-shots featuring the two characters along with some stories by Ty Templeton and others. If you're a sucker for a nice hardcover collection and enjoy their portrayal in the animated series, you'll want to relive these stories if you've already read them. The other great thing is Batman isn't featured in every single story. There are plenty of other Batman Universe character that pop up and it's nice to see Harley and Ivy able to star in their own adventures. This goes to show that we don't always need Batman hanging around in order to enjoy stories told in his universe.
Written by Jeff Lemire
Art by Butch Guice
Valiant Comics is one of the most underrated companies. Time after time, they deliver some huge stories by great creators. Right now, one of their top books is Bloodshot Reborn, which can be described as Punisher turned up to 10, with a compelling story. Volume two collects issues #6-9 and has Bloodshot searching out people with nanites in their bodies, making them unstoppable killing machines. As all of this is happening, Bloodshot is on the verge of a psychotic breakdown. Writer Jeff Lemire has reinvented this character and given him some depth. Check out the first volume as well, since this is an awesome series.
Written by Various
Art by Various
We recently discussed some of Deadpool's best comics, and now, quite a few of them are available in a collection coming out on February 10. Before you go out and see the movie, check out some of his first issues from the many series he's had at Marvel over the years. This collection starts with his first appearance in New Mutants #98 and goes all the way up to his newest first issue in 2015. There's lots of great talent in this book, and this will actually be a cool and quick way to see the character evolve throughout the years.
Here's all the firsts in this collection:
New Mutants (1983) #98, Deadpool: The Circle Chase #1, Deadpool (1994) #1, Deadpool (1997) #1, Cable & Deadpool #1, Deadpool (2008) #1, Deadpool: Merc with a Mouth #1, Deadpool Team-up #899, Deadpool Corps #1, Deadpool (2013) #1 and Deadpool (2015) #1
As with other story-driven, first-person adventure games like last year's Everybody's Gone to the Rapture and the seminal Gone Home, Firewatch isn't about gameplay, per se. There are no puzzles, no quick-time events, and no combat of any kind. Instead, it's about atmosphere, immersion, and exploration, both of an expansive Wyoming forest and a burgeoning friendship, one born of mutual isolation and built on idle radio chatter. Though its central mystery ends up feeling muddled and several major story beats are ultimately out your control, Firewatch's refreshing premise, endearing characters, and achingly beautiful world anchor a thoughtful, engrossing experience that succeeds in spite of its flaws.Some of the best conversations are just random banter, which feels justified considering the boredom and isolation of the job.
The story follows Henry, a middle-aged, first-time fire lookout working near Yellowstone National Park in the summer of 1989. Because firewatch volunteers work in remote areas, you spend the vast majority of the game wandering alone through Firewatch's dense, detailed forests. There's not much to discover beyond the supply caches marked on your map, though the purely analogue navigation tools (i.e. an in-game, handheld compass and paper map that do not provide glowing way points or a fast travel system) add an immersive albeit occasionally frustrating touch. Still, because the captivating wilderness is so inviting, even just commuting to and from objectives can feel rewarding. The painterly art style imbues everything from the rocky vistas to the peeling paint on your tower's steps with a welcoming warmth.
The world also does an excellent job concealing its edges, making you feel as though the forest extends for miles in every direction. New areas always feel distinct, and the ever-present sounds of leaves rustling, birds chirping, and brooks babbling, make every moment spent in Firewatch feel like all the best parts of a real life camping trip. Soothing as it might seem, there's also a sort of profound complexity to it. When you stand still and focus on the blowing wind, it's equal parts ominous and enticing. Is the sound desolate or gentle? Foreboding or relaxing? As you work your way further into the campaign, your perspective may change.
Beyond solo exploration, the game's real focus rests on Henry's relationship with his boss Delilah, which manifests as an extensive series of walkie-talkie conversations with branching dialogue options. Unlike more dramatic games like The Walking Dead or Mass Effect that constantly place their characters in precarious positions, Henry doesn't need to make any intense, life or death decisions. It's more like, "Tease Delilah for her terrible joke or let it slide" or "Reveal more about your rocky personal history or keep her at arm's length." As a result, the game becomes not quite a character study but a patient, reflective examination of how two people grow to trust and care for each other. It's a bold and admirable choice. When you build an entire game around a single relationship, the experience lives and dies by the strength of the characters involved.
Fortunately for Firewatch, both Henry and Delilah are deeply relatable and human. Both are brilliantly voiced--with emotional nuance layered into every line--but more importantly, their dialogue gives them depth. Delilah is a bit mischievous, despite being slightly older and technically in charge. She's sarcastic in a playful way, yet passionate about her job and protective of her lookouts. Henry, on the other hand, is a bit more stiff and serious, but he's also fully capable of playing along with a joke. And when he does, you can't help but root for him.
Even as I describe them now, I feel as though I'm introducing my friends. I'm actually invested in you liking them, somehow. Their humor and vulnerability make both characters not only memorable but sympathetic as well. The fact that I developed such a strong attachment--and the ease with which I could write at length about the dispositions of these characters--speaks volumes about the quality of the writing. To direct the tone of their conversations, to shape the dynamic between them, to participate in the growth and evolution of their relationship--it's a unique joy, one that's nearly enough to singlehandedly carry the entire experience.
The game becomes not quite a character study but a patient, reflective examination of how two people grow to trust and care for each other. It's a bold and admirable choice.
Unfortunately, the plot can't quite match the quality of the characters. Without spoiling too much, a central mystery gradually emerges as you play, and the stakes continue to rise until the story finally crescendoes towards the end. At first I got wrapped up in the characters' panic and paranoia and started to analyze all the little narrative threads that felt so much like clues. But once I learned the truth behind all the strange events, several story moments simply didn't add up or seemed a bit too convenient.
I also realized many of those narrative clues were nothing but smoke and mirrors, empty misdirection included solely to fool players (and, if you're feeling charitable, to flesh out the world). While dead ends and red herrings are common tropes in mysteries, the amount of focus the game devotes to certain storylines early on still left me feeling disappointed and almost cheated when they were casually cast aside later. Worse still, a few major plot points ignored my dialogue choices or didn't allow me any input at all because they came directly from Delilah. Even several of the items I'd collected while playing had absolutely no impact on...well, anything. Regardless of which decisions and dialogue options you select, it seems the plot is destined to unfold in a particular way.
This brings us to the story's culmination. If you squint your eyes and turn your head, you can just barely make sense of everything, but you have to make quite a few leaps of logic to get there. Yet, frustratingly, the characters react as if the truth makes perfect sense, which contradicts how authentic they feel otherwise. When you attempt to write a mystery, you need a grand revelation with a big story payoff to justify all the tension, but the explanation we get here comes off as muddled at best and forced at worst. The conclusion still manages to pack an emotional punch, but it's ultimately more confusing than it should have been.
Finally (and most disappointingly), Firewatch suffers from minor yet persistent technical issues on PS4: Every time the game autosaves or quietly loads a new section of the world, the framerate noticeably stutters. That means every few minutes, there's a second or two of chugging, which hinders the immersion in a game that thrives on atmosphere. I also experienced two crashes--one while playing, and one while in a loading screen between story chapters. The good news is, these problems seem far less prevalent on PC.
It's a shame Firewatch fails as a mystery because it succeeds in so many other ways. Its world is captivating, its design is clever, and its characters are among the most well-written in gaming. Though it might sound counterintuitive, the plot is in many ways secondary to the relationship you build between Henry and Delilah, and that portion of the game is truly inspired. I've already returned to Firewatch for a calming walk in the woods; I imagine I'll go back again soon to visit with Henry and Delilah.
Reminiscence is Unravel's defining quality. I'm not the type who goes weak at the sight of a floating plastic bag, but at the conclusion of this eight-hour adventure, I was moved by what it was communicating about my past. Its message is an uncomplicated, naked truth, powerful in its simplicity.
Deliberately throughout, Unravel tries to kick loose memories submerged at the ocean bed of your mind--those you treasure, those that still hurt, those that are both--and asks you to let go of them again. Not easy, no, but helpful. It does this by looking through its own backstory, at pictures of its past, through scenes and moments that you’ll likely relate to.The hub world is dotted with framed pictures that transport players to the time and place when they were taken.
Hence the seaside level. The lazy afternoon in the back garden level. The cold and drizzly trip through the woods level. An identical Xerox of your life this is not, nor does it need to be. Unravel is more like an aroma you remember but can't quite put a time or place to. The memories it conjures are inexact yet poignant.
Otherwise it's a fairly standard puzzle-platformer, mechanically at least. Yarny, our accident-prone, panicky hero made of wool, overcomes puzzles and obstacles by fashioning tools from his skin of string. But if you're curious about Unravel simply because you want to test your frontal lobe and thumb reflexes, this game will come off as solid but unspectacular. It isn't The Witness or N++.
In a manner similar to Mario 64's castle paintings, Unravel's dozen levels are entered via framed photos dotted around an elderly lady's home. Whereas Nintendo's seminal platformer transports you to fantasy worlds of Goombas and Chain Chomps, here each picture sends you to what appears to be the time and place they were snapped in. Somewhere along the backgrounds of these 12 landscapes you'll find the subjects of each photograph, suspended in eternal camera poses, assembled in a towering glitter of fairylight. If real life has blessed you with happy memories of your own, you will see yourself in some of these photos, and it will ache.
If you're curious about Unravel because you want to test your frontal lobe and thumb reflexes, this game will come off as solid but unspectacular.
Physicists among you; please don't ruin your evening trying to make sense of the level-to-level objectives. At the end of each world, Yarny collects a knitted badge that, when returning back to the elderly lady's home in the present day, he places onto an empty scrapbook, thus populating it with photos from within each memory. Schrodinger sends his regards.
How you reach each level’s finishing-line is the meat of the dish. Yarny is no taller than a wine glass and certainly more fragile, and it’s these drawbacks which amplify the challenge of something as simple as walking across a back garden. He is adorably useless, insofar as he can't swim or talk or punch or duck or back-flip or any of the arbitrary qualities of Mario and co. As he meanders through each world, Yarny's body unravels (think trail of breadcrumbs) which means if he walks too far he is reduced to a gaunt wireframe, tethered to the spot, tugging on his remaining stretch of string. Balls of wool, scattered throughout each world, must be routinely collected to replenish Yarny's ever-thinning body, and on occasion you'll also need to backtrack and simplify his trail in order to free up some slack.
But Yarny's weakness is also his strength. His party trick is throwing a lasso of string out from his arm, Spider-Man style, which allows him to climb over rocks, abseil down trees, and swing across perilous puddles of rainwater. Conveniently, each level is dotted with knots of wool that Yarny can attach his string to, thus creating a range of tools from rope bridges to trampolines. Most obstacles, certainly from the second level onwards, demand a mixture of these tools fashioned in the correct order.If your path becomes too elaborate your string will tangle.
If at some point over the past 300 years you got round to reading Gulliver's Travels, you'll know Unravel's depiction of life at ankle height is hardly innovative. The execution is very impressive nonetheless, showcasing an impeccable attention to detail as you saunter through its dusty wooden floors and lush garden undergrowth. It's the little things--quite literally--that win you over. Like how slabs of pier-wood have swollen and fractured from years of tidal abuse, or how the paint at the base of banisters has cracked and formed into a brittle skin.
Much of Unravel's charm comes from how its puzzles, and their solutions, are concocted from everyday items. So a crushed can of cola is a couch-sized step, a fallen tree branch is a makeshift bobsleigh, a filthy fishing lure is an urgently required lifeboat, and a neglected bucket becomes an indispensable force field. Such imagination spreads into hazards and obstacles too. A clump of garden weeds is an impassable thicket. A murder of ravens becomes a terrifying fleet of Stuka dive-bombers. A field vole becomes your worst nightmare.
Such a shame that the puzzles don’t reach the same standard. Aside from a few memorable exceptions, Unravel's underpinning mechanics prove too basic, to the extent that most conundrums aren't particularly satisfying to overcome. Eventually some solutions can be gathered just by observing the convenient placement of knots around you. The challenge becomes threadbare (sorry), with a lack of pondering and experimenting and stumbling into new problems. I found that, by level five, the challenges had lost creativity to the extent that they began to outstay their welcome. Unravel is also very good at exposing its own problems, particularly because most levels drag on a little longer than they should.
Sometimes Unravel doesn't play by its own rules either. The length of your lasso, for example, occasionally stretches beyond its set limits when the game needs it to. Even more unpredictable is the distance you can travel before your woollen frame diminishes. And while tightly fastening string between knots can create bridges and trampolines, this only works when the game decides. Sometimes your lines will be limp for no reason other than Unravel wants you to solve its problems another way.Click on the thumbnails below to take a closer look at Unravel's beautiful world
Granted, had Unravel stuck to the laws of physics with scientific rigor, it would probably cease to be as fun. But for a game with physical conundrums at its core, it needs at the very least to be more consistent with its laws. Play Unravel long enough and a tiny but noticeable distrust will have built between you and the game. Devastating, really.
Despite that fracture in your relationship with Unravel, you will nevertheless be dazzled by how beautiful it looks. It is strikingly rich in detail, right down to how the moss grows on the neglected side of a stone bench, and how wooden floorboards warp and splinter, to how flakes of dust blink under the gaze of a table-lamp. Yarny aside, the visuals verge on photorealism, but that’s not to say they are merely authentic; Unravel’s abandoned worlds are a ceremony of vistas, all laced a faint hallucinatory quality, like a perfect memory.
The audio design is just as impressive. Unravel features no spoken words or narration, with developer Coldwood Interactive instead hinging much of the narrative on the soundtrack. The gamble has paid off tremendously. The aching sorrow of violins and panpipes, along with the inspirited Celtic folk music, swells and stirs along with you.
Such musical highs and lows are ideal for this storybook adventure; the tale of a doll brought to life who restores the faded memories of his owner. Unravel’s wonderful sights and sounds won’t escape your own memory so soon. But assessed purely on gameplay, it’s everything I tend to fear about indie projects; Beautiful, heartfelt, but like Yarny himself, not robust enough.
Every week, we take a look at some of the most bizarre, exciting, and downright unique things to happen in comics. Check out our choices below of the strange and wacky things that shouldn't be overlooked from this week's releases.
There may be some tiny spoilers ahead.
Best Literal Team and Superhero Names
She-Hulk comes meets Nico, a member of the Runaways. She-Hulk tries calling them out on having such a literal team name, but Nico throws the fact that She-Hulk's name is pretty literal as well right back in her face.
Best Use of Kryptonite
Superman has been suffering from having his powers reduced. He discovered that a layer of cells in his body mutated, and he is unable to absorb power from Earth's yellow sun. (You can read more about this here). He uses Kryptonite to kill off those cells and surprisingly becomes powered up in a new way.
Best Reason to Have X-Men on an Avengers Team
The Avengers Unity Squad is looking for the Red Skull. Human Torch, Rogue, Deadpool, and Cable board a private ship full of members of the criminal underworld. Johnny Storm asks nicely for information on Red Skull's whereabouts. When they refuse to offer any assistance, he lets the others ask in their own special way.
Best Way for Deadpool to Exit a Hovering Jet
After they found out where Red Skull's bank is, they fly over there. As they exit their jet, Deadpool does so while riding a motorcycle. Rogue actually asks Johnny why he's on a bike. Johnny replies, "It's weird, right? How we don't even talk about this stuff anymore?"
Best/Grossest Use of a Crowbar
Crowbars have popped up in the DC Universe from time to time. Midnighter brought one along with him while trying to steal back a deadly weapon the Suicide Squad stole. When a speedster is sent after him, using the brain inside his head to calculate every outcome in the fight, he uses the crowbar against the runner's Achilles' heel.
Best Group of Worst X-Men
You might agree or disagree with this selection.
This series has focused on Bailey, the worst X-Man ever. Bailey has the ability to explode--once. After he explodes, he's dead. Jumping forward in time a bit, we see a gathering with assigned seating. Bailey has to sit at the table with the other worst X-Men.
Best Explanation for Why Heroes Never Really Age
One of the new mutants Bailey met has the ability to change reality. She explains to Bailey how she's used her powers to keep the heroes of the world young.
Weirdest Attire for a Romantic Dinner
Barbara Gordon has started dating Luke Fox. Luke recently took on the role of Batwing but decided to give it up. To celebrate Barbara's recent business venture, she makes him put on his old suit.
Best Way to Hurt Spider-Man’s Feelings
Spider-Man likes to make a lot of jokes and witty comments. His banter is often used as a distraction technique while fighting his opponents. The problem is, Spider-Man isn't always funny. We all know people that think they're really funny. The best way to hurt their feelings is to let them know.
Note: GameSpot doesn't encourage the hurting of your friends' feelings.
Best Magazine for Cheetah to Read in a Waiting Room
Cheetah is one of Wonder Woman's biggest enemies. What does she read while waiting in a waiting room? Cat Fancy, of course.
Best Reason to Wear Clean Underwear Under Your Superhero Costume
Silk has the ability to weave her own costume from her webs. She and Spider-Man accidentally traveled back in time. In the middle of a fight, her powers started to fade. She immediately was hoping to herself she was wearing clean underwear.
Best Reason Superheroes Need Watches
Being a superhero isn't easy. Imagine being a hero as a teenager. You have other responsibilities like homework and curfews to worry about. This is a good reason to try to incorporate a watch into your superhero costume.
Best Reason to Leave a Happy Environment
In the future, a manmade virus is killing humanity. The salvation possibly lies in the blood of young Daisy Ogami. Her android bodyguard, Ito, put her in a safe place while he gathered some intel. When it was time to go, Daisy didn't want to leave the happy home. Ito made a good point why she had to go with him.
Deadpool has a team of mercs. Out on a mission, Slapstick is using a mallet against their foes. He comments he needs a mint. The reason just might be worse than his breath might be.
Best PC Term for a Living Cartoon
What's the deal with Slapstick? Basically, he's a living cartoon. He has a more politically correct way of describing himself.
Best Pink Floyd Reference
Hopefully you're familiar with the Pink Floyd song, "Goodbye Blue Sky" off their 1979 album, The Wall. The song starts out with some birds chirping and a little child saying, "Look mummy, there's an aeroplane up in the sky." (Listen to it here).
On the first page of this issue, a little kid comments on an astronaut in the sky.
Best Long Lost Skywalker Descendent
We all know Star Wars took place "A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away..." It turns out Harvey Bullock knows a lot about space. Jim Gordon (in his Batman suit) refers to Harvey as "Harvey Skywalker."
Best Thing to Bring Into a Waterlogged Space Room Reminiscent of a 1970s Sci-fi Horror Film
When exploring weird places out in space, you want to make sure you're always wearing the proper attire. One agent wishes they wore their mukluks but was told he wouldn't need them.
Best Look at a Head of State
What's it like to hold a Head of State in the palm of your hand? It's pretty gross apparently.
Best “Hello, My Name is” Nametag
I don't know about you, but I hate those "Hello, my name is..." nametags. Imagine seeing this guy wearing one.
Best Reaction to Having Bleeding Eyes
As the Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Strange goes through some really bizarre situations. When it's noticed his eyes are bleeding, his reaction is pretty calm.
Best Reaction to an Almost Deadly Landing
Have you ever flown while it was snowing? You can't help but wonder what the landing will be like. Now imagine landing in an arctic location and the plane is headed right for the edge of a cliff. This reaction pretty much sums up what you'd be feeling.
Best Reaction to an Unexpected Arrival
War Machine is investigating one of Tony Stark's buildings for him. He comes across a cleaning lady and startles her. Her reaction is pretty priceless.
Best Question about Mister Fantastic and the Rest of the Fantastic Four
Even if you read the final issue of Secret Wars, you might still be wondering where Reed Richards and the rest of the Fantastic Four are. It turns out the Thing and writer Chip Zdarsky don't even know where he's at.
Best Description of a Bad Smell
As a superhero, you know you're going to have to fight all sorts of crazy villains. The only thing worse than fighting a supervillain is fighting a stinky supervillain. Miles Morales has a good way of describing his stench.
Best Hidden Discovery
As mentioned way back at the beginning, there will be spoilers.
In the future of the DC Universe, the heroes were pretty much all killed by Brother EYE, including the Justice League. We see Terry McGinnis' little brother make a startling discovery in the remains of the Justice League Watchtower.
Best Reason Not to Call Your Spouse at Work
Sometimes you get a call from your spouse while you're in the middle of a big project. It's not convenient, but you also don't want to be rude. Imagine being married to a superhero and trying to call them while they're working.
That's it this week. Let us know in the comments below what other Best Stuff you dug this past week. Special thanks to @djfanco and @mak13131313 for their suggestions. If you want to participate or felt we missed some other Best Stuff, don't complain, contribute! Especially if you didn't offer any suggestions. Each week you can @reply me on Twitter at @GManFromHeck by Saturdays using the hashtag #BestStuffInComics. We'll give you a shout out and I'll think you're pretty groovy.
Be sure to always look for the best stuff and always be sure to always wear clean underwear under whatever outfit you might wear as part of your everyday activities.