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Gaming updates for April

Hello everyone. I've been busy preparing for an upcoming holiday among other things recently. That's not stopped the news updates flowing in the world of gaming though. Read on below to find out more

Firstly, long-standing fighting game developer SNK has recently confirmed the last two characters it will be adding as DLC to the existing roster. Fan-made Najd and long-term favourite, Blue Mary, will be joining the roster on April 12th together with the version 3.00 update (thanks official Playstation blog). The game will also receive a variety of character balance adjustments as well according to the game's executive producer, Yasuyuki Oda.

Players can now recreate the original team Mary was a part of
in the first KOF she appeared in with Yamazaki and Billy

You can check out their respective character trailers below.

Capcom has formally announced the next DLC character it will be bringing Street Fighter V, Falke.

Ed's right-hand woman who uses
a staff imbued with psycho power, Falke

According to the Capcom Unity blog, staff-wielding female fighter 'Falke was built to be an alternative clone for M. Bison. She was heavily experimented on by Shadaloo and was forced to train day in, day out to achieve perfection. Falke has the unique ability to infuse Psycho Power into objects and release it through them, mainly through her staff, which she named Harmony. Years of harsh training went by, causing Falke to spiral deep into despair, wishing for it all to end. Finally, Ed came to her rescue and they both were able to escape Shadaloo. Now, the two have a sibling-like bond and are searching for others like them in need of help.'

The character will be joining SFV on April 24th (next Tuesday). You can check out her character trailer below.

Like the rest of the SFV roster, Falke will also be receiving a Story and Battle costume too. You can check these out in the screens below.

And finally, the latest title from developer Arika, Fighting Ex Layer, is to receive an expert mode. This will allow players to go through a variety of trails for each character that will be included when Fighting Ex Layer releases digitally in June this year.

You can check out a trailer for the newly announced mode below.

What do you think of the recent updates announced above? Are you looking forward to using any of the characters in SFV, KOF XIV or Fighting Ex Layer? Do share your thoughts in the Comments section. Also like and share via Facebook, Twitter or your social media network of choice.


A range of gaming updates for mid-March

Hello again everyone. Its been 2-3 weeks since I've updated the blog but I've been subdued by the cold weather. It hasn't stopped the flow of news in the the world of gaming though. Read below for some of the latest updates.

Kazuma Kiryu returns in Yakuza Kiwami 2

SEGA has announced it will be bringing the remake Yakuza Kiwami 2 to the West in late August this year. The revamp of the second numbered entry in the long-running series will be coming to the PS4 on August 28th. You can check out a trailer for the game's announcement below.

SEGA is at it again with the recent announcement that it will be updating the most recent 2D Sonic title with the release of Sonic Mania Plus.

SEGA updates the latest great Sonic title
with Sonic Mania Plus

The game will feature two new playable characters (Mighty the Armadillo and Ray the Flying Squirrel), an all-new Encore Mode and an expanded four-player Competition Mode.

Users who already own Sonic Mania will be able to get the new content of Sonic Mania Plus via a digital update, the pricing of which will be revealed at a later date (thanks Gematsu).

The God of War is now a dad of war?

Sony is gearing up for its reboot of the God of War
 series with the similarly-titled game, due for release on April 20th. A one-minute TV spot has been released in promotion of the game which you can check out below.

Atlus continues to share character trailers for its upcoming rhythm-action games, Persona 3: Dancing Moon Night and Persona 5: Dancing Star Night.

The latest character trailers show the navigators from each title, Fuuka Yamagishi and Futaba Sakura, strutting their stuff solo and with dance partners in their respective titles. You can check out their character trailers below.

And finally, publisher PQube is bringing Arc System Works' latest title, Blazblue Cross Tag Battle, to the PS4 and Switch this Summer.

Its nice to finally receive confirmation of a European release for the title despite its recent negative press regarding how the DLC characters will be offered for the game. You can check out the launch trailer for the game below.

So March appears to be quite the busy month with various upcoming game announcements, launch dates and details. Which of the above games are you looking forward to? And what other titles are you looking forward to this month? (Ni no Kuni II and Far Cry 5 are a couple of the big hitters coming in the latter half of the month). Share any thoughts you have in the Comments section below. Also like and share this post via Facebook, Twitter or your social media network of choice.


Valkyria Chronicles 4 demo available on Japanese PSN

Games developer/publisher SEGA has been gracious enough to offer a demo of the latest in its ongoing strategy RPG series, Valkyria Chronicles 4, on the Japanese PSN store

The demo comes in at 5.3Gb and will let you play from the beginning of the game up until the second chapter of the main scenario. The save data can be imported into the full release when it launches. If you play the demo until the end, you will be able to take on an extra mission based around the new “Grenadier” class in the game (thanks Gematsu). 

You can find the demo via this link HERE (you will need a Japanese PSN account to download the demo but this is relatively easy to setup).

Will you be downloading and trying out the Valkyria Chronicles 4 demo? I'll be posting a brief review of my experience with it later this week. In the meantime you can share any thoughts you have via the Comments section below. Also like and share this update via Facebook, Twitter or your social media network of choice.


Last week's gaming updates

Good afternoon all. I've got some interesting updates for you to read this weekend from the world of gaming. Read on below

Long-standing game developer SNK has recently announced the latest DLC character it will be adding to its current 3-on-3 team fighting title, The King of Fighters XIV.

Commander from the game Ikari Warriors, Heidern brings his slices, chops and eyepatch-wearing self to the 3-on-3 team battle series. You can check out his character trailer below.

Arc System Works has unveiled the cover art for its upcoming crossover fighter, Blazblue: Cross Tag Battle. You can check out how this looks below.

The 2-on-2 fighter sees a variety of characters from Blazblue, Persona 4 Arena, UNIEL and Western anime-themed series, RWBY. The game will also feature an story mode called Episode Mode, allowing players to experience the game's story from the viewpoints of each of the four series mentioned above.

Namco Bandai's long-running weapons fighter, Soul Calibur IV, has confirmed that two familiar characters will be returning to the series with the likes of chain sword-wielding madam, Ivy Valentine and scythe-wielding monk, Zasalamel. You can check out their character trailers and portraits below.

And finally, Atlus has released two new trailers highlighting characters Aigis and Makoto Niijima from its two upcoming spin-off rhythm action titles, Persona 3: Dancing Moon Night and Persona 5: Dancing Star Night. You can check these trailers out below.

Persona 3: Dancing Moon Night and Persona 5: Dancing Star Night will launch for PlayStation 4 and PS Vita on May 24 in Japan (thanks Gematsu).

What do you think of the recent gaming announcements? Are you excited for any of the titles above? Or what are your hoping to see announced for them in the near future? Share any thoughts you have in the Comments section below. Also like and share this post via Facebook, Twitter or your social media network of choice.


Blanka claws his way into SFV:AE on February 20th

We knew he was coming from the previous reveal trailer for the Season 3 characters but Street Fighter's famed green wildman from the Amazon, Blanka, will be joining the SFV:AE roster on February 20th

Blanka returns with his familiar cannonball rolls and electricity attacks. The character appears to have learned a few new tricks with the ability to crouch below fireballs, then either launch the opponent or leap towards them to take advantage of the situation. His V-Triggers also enable him to hit the opponent multiple times with his cannonball rolls, change direction and enhance his electricity attacks.

Will Blanka end up being top-tier when he becomes available in SFV:AE? We won't have to wait long as he will be added to the game's roster next Tuesday (20/02). Then we'll find out how effective (troll-like) the wildman will be.

You can check out his character trailer below which highlights his moves, V-Triggers, Critical art and costumes (the mascot costume is going to appear online a lot, I guarantee it).

What do you think of Capcom's latest rendition of an old Street Fighter favourite? Are you a fan or will you enjoy pulverising Blanka in every match? Feel free to post your thoughts in the Comments below, like the post and share it among your friends on Facebook, Twitter or your social media network of choice.


A variety of gaming news updates for the last month

Hello again readers. Its been sometime since I've updated the blog. However I'm back and I bring your a range of gaming news updates that were shared over the last month.

Firstly SNK dropped details of the first of four DLC characters it will be adding to the existing roster of its latest entry in the long-running franchise, The King of Fighters XIV. Card-weilding in a sharp suit, Oswald, will be returning to the game. You can check out his character highlight trailer below.

Developer Atlus, known for its subversive and immersive RPG titles, is currently working on two dance rhythm action titles based on its famed turn-based series, Persona.

You can check out the trailers for Persona 3, Dancing Moonlight and Persona 5, Dancing Starlight below.

Developer of action titles that often look like paintings in motion, Vanillaware, will be releasing its multiplayer scrolling fighter with a high-fantasy theme, Dragon's Crown Pro for the PS4 in the Americas and Europe on May 15th.

Vanillaware's multiplayer brawler
with a high fantasy setting comes to the PS4

The title will feature 4K resolution support, the entire soundtrack newly recorded by a live orchestra, cross-play with the PlayStation 3 and PS Vita versions (as well as save data importing), and both English and Japanese voice-overs (thanks Gematsu).

Vanillaware games are always a treat to look at and great to play so it will be nice to revisit this former title. Those who will be playing for the first time will be in for a brawling treat.

SEGA has shared a trailer introducing the central group of characters in its upcoming strategy RPG, Valkyria Chronicles 4The trailer introducing Claude Wallace, Riley Miller, Raz and Kai Schulen can be viewed below.

And finally, popular 6-on-6 team hero shooter developer Blizzard has added a new event to Overwatch in celebration of the Lunar calendar New Year. You can check out the trailer which provides a taste of what's in store below.

The last month appears to have been packed with a variety of interesting gaming news. What do you make of the above? Do share your thoughts in the Comments section below. Alternatively you can share this on Facebook, Twitter or your social media network of choice.


New blog update coming soon

To my readers, forgive me for not updating the blog for the last month. January has been an interesting one with various new updates on a range of titles.

I'll be updating the blog this weekend with a full update including a variety of gaming news from the likes of SEGA, SNK, Arc System Works, Atlus and more. Please look forward to reading it.


Top 10 Films of 2017 - Part 2

Hello everyone. I decided to write about my top 10 films of 2017 in 2018, typically. You can find the first part of it HERE. To read the second part, continue reading on below.

5. Thor: Ragnarok

Marvel has continued to have a great track record with bringing its various comic book heroes to the big screen. The challenge therefore appears to be not in adapting them to film but assuring that later entries in a series are both entertaining, exciting and humourous in equal measure. Its no small wonder that Thor: Ragngarok, the third in the series, could not only be the best Thor film yet but the best comic book movie to come out of Marvel Studios since Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

The film sees New Zeland director Taika Waititi (Hunt for the Wildepeople and What we do in the Shadows) provide his own take on the adventures of Marvel's favourite Norse demi-god. That results in a tale where the god of thunder loses his famed hammer, Mjollnir, in an early face-off with Hela, the goddess of death and Odin's banished daughter. Where as one might expect a serious story to follow where Thor attempts to overcoming some almighty menace once again, instead we get what could be seen as a buddy comedy. Thor is forced onto the world of Sakaar, a junk metal-ridden planet with a huge coliseum where he meets an unlikely friend in the Hulk/Bruce Banner during the latest brawl between the two. The comedy is frequent and is rarely misplaced with Thor, Hulk, Loki and new ally Valkyrie trading jibes and callbacks to previous encounters we have seen the characters in through previous films.

Its interesting that Marvel decided to allowed the fun to be ramped up here with the latest Thor film but as Ragnarok shows, it can prove to be a huge benefit to the picture's overall enjoyment. Jokes, gags and witty remarks are fast and frequent, allowing the audience to laugh heartily during the action on display (the film is no slouch in this department either). Production is as good as ever for a Marvel film with performances that are great all around (Jeff Goldblum is his usual self as the Grandmaster, Kate Blanchett revels in the theatrics as Hela, Karl Urban has a witty but heartfelt turn as Asgardian warrior Skurge and familiar faces also return in Anthony Hopkiins as Odin and Idris Elba as Heimdall).

My one concern with Thor: Ragnarok is the film's title given a large part of the film follows Thor and his pals during their adventure on Sakaar. I appreciate that this is a very minor nitpick in what is the best Thor film to date and a strong contender for one of the best of Marvel's cinematic output so far. This is definitely worth a watch if you want to be continuously laughing and wowed by the on-screen adventures of Thor, Loki, Hulk and friends.

4. Your Name (Kimi no na wa)

This animated film from the wonderfully creative mind of Japanese animator Makoto Shinkai sees two Japanese high school teenagers (Taki and Mitsuha) swap bodies after a event of seismic proportions impacts the town in the Hida region of Japan. What follows is a wonderful tale of two teens who go through a very unique happening, helping each other with their troubles as they change bodies, a story that weaves together and pretty much crosses time and space.

Kimi no Na wa is no slouch in the animation department with smooth and beautiful animation throughout. The regions of Mitsuha's hometown in the mountainous Japanese countryside and Taki's central Tokyo dwelling are brought to life as viewers absorb the varied environments, familiar spots and the different elements of Japanese culture.

Adding to the film's energy is the soundtrack by Japanese rock band Radwimps, carrying its own verve and vibrancy, accentuating the scenes of Mitsuha and Taki's everyday lives. The film's story is no slouch either and verges into sci-fi territory with themes of body swapping, communicating over time, meteorites falling from space together with its fair share of Japanese tradition and mythology intertwined within it. It all makes for an animated film that is equal parts a love story, a time travelling adventure and a disaster movie all in one and more.

This is definitely one animated movie that you should catch if you have not had the opportunity to watch it. The box office tells of one of the country's most successful animated films to date according to the website Box Office Mojo. But more so than for its financial success, Kimi no Na wa should be seen to show that there are still many fresh and wonderful ideas and stories to be told through the medium.

3. La La Land

Director Damien Chazelle's latest big screen picture, La La Land is a wonderful film to watch whether you are a fan of musicals or great film in general. The story follows two young individuals with aspirations to become great in their chosen artistic fields with budding actress Mia (played by Emma Stone) and seasoned jazz pianist Sebastian (played with cool and witty charm by Ryan Gosling). Their paths cross in a variety of locales (pool parties, coffee shops, movie production lots and more) as they become closer to each other, share their dreams and support one other in working towards realising them.

During the film there are a variety of musical numbers that never feel out of place and always welcome. From the opening number which takes place during one continuous take to the reoccurring theme City of Stars, director Chazelle does his best to recapture the feeling and wonder of the musical era when the film genre was at its height. The visuals only work to compliment the music with wonderful and imaginative colours, patterns and images appearing on screen to accentuate the different pieces that are performed.

Underpinning the above is some great acting by leads Gosling and Stone. The supporting cast are no slouch either with the likes of John Legend, Rosemarie DeWitt, J.K Simmons and others all bringing their best to the film's unfolding events. The result is a picture that is equal parts an engaging drama, superb musical and generally humorous film to spend your time with. This is definitely one to watch if you want to see how committed Gosling and Stone were to their parts (the duo dance number is a joy to see) and enjoy a movie that's pleasingly different in an era packed with films about superheroes, found footage movies and wars in a galaxy far, far away.

2. Logan

I remember reading a lot of hype around Logan. About how it was a Wolverine film done right and that it was an R-rated take on the clawed-one's latter days. I was willing to check it out so I could make my own mind up about how that would work out. It worked out pretty amazingly.

Returning director James Mangold builds on his efforts with the previous entry in the series, The Wolverine, by taking that R-rating and running with it. Logan sees viewers catching up with the titular character (also known as James Howlett) as an older, jaded and past-caring version of one Marvel's most famous characters, living his later years out as a limousine driver who requires glasses to read the description on pill bottles and manually pull his claws out from their usual inlets. It makes for a world-weary Wolverine who is caught between carrying on living and waiting for death, drinking heavily to pass the time.

Joining Logan is Professor Xavier (played once again by Patrick Stewart) who we are told is one of the last mutants alive after a horrible accident happened in the past due to the professor suffering from some brain disease. It is suggested in Logan that this disease affected his powers, causing great harm to several mutants and leading to the the dissolving of the X-Men. The film does a great job of showing that those mutants that outlive all others don't get to live and die happily and I think that really helps Logan. Through the film's story we are also introduced to X-23 (Laura Kinney), a female clone of Wolverine who carries some similarities to our lead character but also some interesting differences (let alone the number of claws on her hands and a talon in each foot).

It makes for an interesting trio of characters with Logan and Professor X arguing unabashedly like two old friends that are sick of each other but can't leave the other person alone. X-23 adds an interesting dynamic as Xavier advises Logan to care for her not only because she symbolises the future of mutantkind but because it will also bring meaning back to his life. The somewhat strained and difficult surrogate father-daughter relationship that develops unfolds in an interesting manner and matches The Dark Knight in terms of writing that goes beyond its comic book roots. The movie becomes something that can be appreciated for the great acting that is on display.

Logan is no slouch with the action and it warrants its R-rated certificate. There are no cutaways, shadows or splashes of blood here to symbolise the violence. Every gouge, stab, cut, slash and crunch is on full display for viewers to see and its actually refreshing given that besides his healing factor, Wolverine's other major character feature are the large, razor-sharp claws on either hand. The action is also well choreographed, whether it be fighting, a car chase or a tense escape from imminent danger. The film also packs in a good amount of drama as Logan attempts to get Laura to safety whilst being pursued by the film's antagonists in Pierce, Xander Rice and a familiar face that you really wont expect until you see them on screen.

During the press tour for the film long-serving actor Hugh Jackman regularly confirmed that this would be his last time playing Wolverine. After 17 years in the role I wouldn't necessarily blame him. However I would be happy to see Jackman continue playing the character until he himself becomes like old man Logan (though I appreciate the fitness regime may not be feasible when Jackman hits his 60s). Whoever follows him up in the role is going to have a hard time as like Robert Downey Jr. with Tony Stark/Iron Man, Jackman has cemented himself as Wolverine.

Logan is certainly worth your time and the fact that it ranked the highest of the comic book films I saw this years speaks volumes. If you haven't seen it already, you must at the next available opportunity. Its a bloody great (comic book) film.

And now for what I thought was the top film I saw on the big screen in 2017. Scroll below to read about it.

1. Blade Runner 2049

Sequel to the 1982 original, Blade Runner 2049 is/was a film thirty-five years in the making. A sequel that some have argued was never needed, director Denis Villeneuve and crew had a monumental task bringing this film to the big screen in a way that would satisfy both fans of the prior movie and new audiences. And yet he accomplishes this in ways that should make any doubters feel ashamed about their prejudices to this well-crafted, hard sci-fi follow-up.

The film follows K, (played by actor Ryan Gosling), a replicant and Blade Runner working for the LAPD in hunting down other replicants and eliminating them. It instantly creates an interesting scenario of a character hunting his own kind in order to live a relatively normal life among humans (some who despise his existence), unravelling a mystery that leads to exciting and sometimes unwelcome revelations. 

What follows is a film that fuses a depiction of a near-future version of Los Angeles complete with familiar technology, augmentation and grime. It also has a story that is captivating and keeps you engaged as you try to piece how events will unfold, expecting them to go in one direction and then be shown an alternate path but at the same time not feeling cheated. This is no easy task to accomplish in film but director Villeneuve as a convincing track record with PrisonersSicario and more recently Arrival under his belt. If anyone can present a thriller with convincing, interesting and believable turns and twists in a film, Villeneuve is more than capable.

In addition to the film having a compelling story and great performances from almost everybody (Jared Leto's performance as blind cybernetics corporation CEO Niander Wallace made me struggle to understand if the actor had read the same script as everyone else), the production values for Blade Runner 2049 are just as fantastic. Whether its the depiction of a near-future Los Angeles, the minimalist touches of the Wallace Corporation's offices or the sunset and desert hues of the outskirts of the city, the film is dripping in style, befitting its hard sci-fi roots. The music and sound design are equally as immersive with several tracks literally becoming almost overwhelming for the audience (something I feel is both effective and intentional here). It all ties in to the film having a lived-in, authenticate quality to it and I believe that only helps Blade Runner 2049 to be even greater.

Although the film has a long run time, please don't let this deter you from watching one of the most unique, mesmerising, interesting and genuinely great films of 2017 (I after all felt it was the best film of the year).

So that's the second part of my Top 10 films of 2017. What do you think? Share any thoughts you have in the Comments section below. Also like, subscribe and share via Facebook, Twitter or your social media network of choice. Thanks for reading and look forward to more posts from me in 2018.


Top 10 films of 2017 - Part 1

Its that time again where I run down the ten films that I watched and had the most joy, pleasure, excitement and emotionally involving time with in 2017.

Before we get underway with the list there are a few honourable mentions of films I enjoyed over 2017. They were Life, Atomic Blonde, Spider-Man Homecoming, Valerian And the City Of A Thousand Planets, Dunkirk, War For The Planet Of The Apes, Logan LuckyWind River, Kingsmen: The Golden Circle and Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

They were enjoyable, entertaining and interesting to watch but were unable to make my Top 10 films of 2017. You can find the first half of my list below.

10. Silence

Director Martin Scorcese's latest picture is something that he wanted to bring to the big screen for years. An adaptation of the original novel by Japanese author Endo Shusaku, Silence sees Portuguese priests Sebastião Rodrigues and Francisco Garupe (played here by Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver) undertaking a journey to the far away land of Japan to determine if their mentor, priest Cristóvão Ferreira (played fantastically by Liam Neeson) has apostatised and renounced the Christian faith.

The journey Sebastião and Francisco undertakes brings them to the unfamiliar Eastern country as they discover a people and culture not quite like anything they have encountered before. During their mission to determine what has happened to Ferreira they also find Japanese willing to convert to the Christian faith and those of the local Japanese authorities, aiming to stamp out the foreign belief system called Christianity.

The film is filled with great performances from the likes of Garfield, Driver, Neeson together with Japanese actors Tadanobu Asano and Issei Ogata who all give stellar performances. The picture is also wrought with drama, brutality and pain as Sebastião finds the faith in his religion tested repeatedly by the Japanese authorities, the local people and even his own mentor (you'll have to watch the film to find out why). It also brings up the interesting point of whether the local Japanese people truly understand what Christianity stands for and why it is important in the same way it is to Sebastião.

Silence is a lengthy film but does a great job of showing how a religion familiar to most of the Western world becomes an outsider itself when its advocates try to bring its belief and teachings to a new foreign land.

9. The Handmaiden

Its hard to describe in detail what the latest film from director Park Chan-wook, The Handmaiden, is really about. The film incorporates so many themes and ideas, pulling them together and intertwining them in a unique way that it doesn't easily fall into any one category. This is not necessarily to its detriment though.

The film follows young Korean woman Sook-hee who comes from a family of swindlers, aiming to pull a con with her uncle who poses as a Japanese Count in order to swindle a Japanese heiress of her family's fortune. What follows is a most unconventional but equally captivating tale that sees characters grow closer, fall in love, deceive, betray each other, partake in mature, sexual and violent activities and other things I'm not sure how to explain.

As has been the case with Park's previous films, the visual ideas on display in The Handmaiden are equally beautiful, bizarre and captivating to watch. Shots are interestingly composed and the story weaves and intertwines between the characters as developments occur in somewhat unexpected ways. It is a mature tale to watch unfold and although it might make some viewers uncomfortable (the film is not shy about showing full-on sex or violence) it is an absorbing film, something different to watch from the usual fair released by Hollywood and its ilk.

8. Guardians of the Galaxy vol.2

Everyone's favourite intergalactic gang of heroes, the Guardians of the Galaxy, return in this sequel from director James Gunn. Starlord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket Racoon and Baby Groot return among familiar faces such as Ravager captain, Yondu, and Gamora's cybernetic sister, Nebula. Joining them are the likes of a Mantis (a being who has the power to feel the thoughts and memories of those she touches) and Ego, a being that has God-like powers and can stand atop a spacecraft whilst flying through space. The returning and new cast make for an entertaining mix in a tale revolving around Starlord's (Peter Quill's) origins. The film is, thankfully, much more than just another Marvel hero origins story.

In an era when superhero films are now commonplace after almost two decades of them, Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 does a great job of fleshing out our favourite group of space travellers, unveiling more about their histories, complexities, troubles and more throughout the film. Yondu and Nebula also receive similar treatment, making them more than just simple foils to the main group. Underneath it all lies a story that covers interesting themes such as one's birthright, what family really means, the destruction of the planet, loyalty and sacrifice. 

Being a GotG film and to bring some levity to the proceedings there is a reasonable dose of humour to be found here. The film is also capable of having heartfelt and emotional moments. Additionally the costumes, colour palette used and the musical choices are all excellent. It all blends into one of the most fun and entertaining times you can spend with a bunch of comic book characters yet.

There are rumours that the guardians might show up in another Marvel movie this year. If true, I look forward to seeing this group of fun and kick-ass characters again in 2018.

7. Wonder Woman

Who would have thought that after the likes of Suicide Squad and Batman vs Superman, well-known brand DC Comics would finally produce a decent superhero film with Wonder Woman? And yet director Patty Jenkins and crew were able to craft a great film, encompassing the origins of the titular character, her involvement in the events of World War 1 and some earnest heroinism.

There were various rumours around who would be caste as Diana Prince. When Gal Gadot was confirmed to have landed the role several voices around the internet and social media acted in outrage at the idea of an actress that didn't traditionally 'look' like Wonder Woman being cast in the role. And yet, following on from a charming and powerful performance in BvS, Gadot proves in her portrayal of Diana that she has the right amount of acting talent, physicality and charm to make the role her own. 

She is supported well by the acting talents of Chris Pine as American pilot Steve Trevor, Robin Wright as general of the Amazonian army, Antiope, David Thewlis as British minister Sir Patrick Morgan and many other seasoned actors. They all turn in strong performances that are more than just to collect a paycheck. The costumes, settings and film score are also great, helping to immerse viewers in the film's setting during the midst of WW1.

It comes as a surprise that when DC seemed to have focused on its comic book films being dark, grim and gritty, they can produce a movie that can be fun, entertaining, thrilling and exciting in equal measure. It also provides hope for the future that the brand will continue to produce films that are worthy competition to the likes of Marvel's ongoing output.

Although its a shame that Justice League only turned out to be just above average, I have high hopes for the upcoming Wonder Woman sequel in 2019.

6. Baby Driver

Edgar Wright's latest picture traded the usual British streets, pubs and suburbs for Atlanta's avenues, blocks, diners and highways with the cool, stylish and witty action comedy film, Baby Driver. The movie sees the titular Baby (played by Ansel Elgort) as a highly capable getaway driver with music tracks continuously flowing through his ears (the reason given in the film is that he suffers from tinnitus, using music as a means of filtering out the ringing it causes). He carries out various jobs as a driver for local criminals headed by mastermind Doc (played here by Kevin Spacey). Baby owes Doc for stealing one of his cars in the past, therefore becoming indebted to him. 

After Baby clears his debt and plans to leave his life with the criminal world behind, going straight with a waitress he met in the local dinner named Deborah, Doc pulls Baby back in by coercing him into carrying out one more job and the threat of harming Baby's new love. 

Although the film sounds generic, its execution is anything but. The film is full of style and cool with scenes edited perfectly to the various music tracks featured (something director Wright is always particular about with his films). From the opening getaway and car chase, Baby's walk through the neighbourhood from the local coffee shop and a shoot out between the police and criminal couple Buddy/Darling (played here by John Hamm and Eiza González), the film's music helps to accentuate what unfolds on screen but rarely overpowers it. Known actors Jamie Foxx puts in a humourous yet dangerous turn as loose-cannon gangster, Bats, and Kevin Spacey is his usual collected and authoritarian self as Doc.

Beyond these qualities the film is just a joy to watch. Although it won't win any awards for its depth or making the audience think about the possibilities of life, it does what it sets out to do greatly with its fair share of twists that don't feel forced. This is one to watch if you want to kick back and watch a film that is stylish, entertaining, solid acting, has witty, well-written dialogue and a great soundtrack.

Though its a shame that Wright never got to finish his directorial duties on Ant Man, Baby Driver shows he's not lost his unique touch yet. I look forward to the announcement of his next picture.

That's the first part of my Top 10 films of 2017. What will make the top half of my Top 10 in Part 2? Do share any thoughts you have in the Comments section. Alternatively you can share this update via Facebook, Twitter or your social media network of choice.


Valkyria Chronicles 4 update for late December

Good afternoon everyone. I hope you are well, enjoyed your Christmas with loved ones and received various fine gifts. Another gift from myself to all of you is the following gaming news update below.

The main characters of Valkyria Chronicles 4,
squad leader Claude Wallace, grenadier Riley Miller,
sniper Kai Schulen and assault soldier Raz

SEGA is currently working on the latest in the Valkyria Chronicles series with Valkyria Chronicles 4: Eastern Front. The game is scheduled for release for the PlayStation 4 on March 21st, 2018 and the Nintendo Switch in Summer 2018 in Japan, and for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Switch in 2018 in the Americas and Europe (thanks Gameatsu). You can check out the latest trailer for the game below.

The newest upcoming entry takes place around the fictional continent of Europa in 1935 during the Second European War. Due to complications in battle, squad leader of Edinburgh Army 101st Division No.1, Claude Wallace (below) is ordered to partake in "Operation Northern Cross,” a major counterattack to raid the empire’s capital city in order to overturn the Federation’s numerical inferiority.

You can check out images of Claude and his comrades Riley Miller, Kai Schulen and Raz below.


A few images have also been shared of the members representing the Imperial Federation Army's in the game (from left to right) Nikola Graf, Belger, Chiarra Rocino, Crymaria Levic with her aptly named wolf, Fenrir, Forseti and Klaus Walz. You can check these out below.

I will do a more detailed write-up over the New Year for the game which looks to be channeling the vibe of the original Valkyria Chronicles in its presentation. What do you think of what's been shared of the upcoming entry in the series? And do you have any hopes for the game when it gets released in March next year? Do share your thoughts in the Comments section below. Also like and share this post via Facebook, Twitter or your social media network of choice.