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Seasons greetings and upcoming postings

I've been quiet the last few weeks but I can only say that Persona 5 has been taking my time among other things. That said, this week I will be writing my Top 10 films of 2016 and aim to up it to the blog by the New Year (there may also be some special categories too). I might also write a Top Games of 2016 article also that will detail some of the best (and perhaps contraversial) games I got to play this year. Finally I hope to write some comprehensive impressions of Persona 5 once I finish the game given I am in the late stages of Atlus' latest JRPG. That will mostly be spoiler-free but I may also do a separate post detailing my thoughts on the overarching story and character motivations if I feel like it.

In any case, look forward to some of the above if not all of my upcoming content. As ever be sure to like, share and comment. Here's to a great upcoming 2017 and catch you all soon.


Persona 5 impressions

Atlus' latest major RPG release

So it appears Autumn is being bypassed and we are moving swiftly into Winter with the recent weather and cold nights. Typically that can have a knock-on effect with people's mood as the days stay brighter for less and darker for longer. However there is no need to fret as there are a great number of titles available and leading up to the end of the year to keep us in good spirits and combat the chills of the upcoming cold season.

In a stroke of luck (i.e keeping my eyes daily on various online retailers/sellers) earlier this month I managed to pick up a copy of Atlus' latest major RPG release, Persona 5 (herefafter P5).

Persona 5's protagonist and leader of the Phantom Thieves

Contrasting with the countryside town setting of Persona 4, P5 sees our crow feather-haired protagonist transfer from his oringinal school to one in Aoyama, central Tokyo after an incident that is reported to the local police as an assault (though this is open to interpretation). From here the MC is thrown into a new school life whilst on probation, resulting in his guardian (cafe owner Soujiro Sakura) and new teachers treating him with heavy judgement. Perhaps as a result of fate however we are soon introduced to a smartphone app that looks like a giant red eye (or perhaps a portal) that allows our playable MC to travel to a world inside the hearts of heavily corrupt adults. It is from here that we learn more of this new world and how the MC gains his 'mask', something that bestows the power to reform the severely corrupted hearts.

If the above sounds bizarre then don't be surprised as this fits with the general themes and tone of the more recent titles in the Persona series. Playing the game sees you progress through a Japanese school year (April to March of the next year) as you gain friends and increase your social links (now called cooperations) with various individuals around central Tokyo and in the parallel world. As this takes place there are additional mysteries to uncover that develop as you progress through the year and in some cases tie into events earlier in the game. I won't spoil anything here but those with sharp eyes and a liking for detective mystery-like stories will be able to connect the dots more or less in Persona 5's central story.

Some of the cooperations you find earlier in Persona 5. Cooperations are made 
with various characters and link to different classes of tarot card

Presentation-wise developer Atlus continues to show its capability for highly polished flair here. Everything from the main characters to the dungeon settings, user interface and various persona (creatures that you capture in-game and use to fight by your side) are gorgeously presented without a glitch in sight. The music is no slouch either with series composer Shoji Meguro returning for the game's soundtrack duties. Equal parties rock, funk, acid jazz and more, Meguro has assured that for the duration the player will spend with the latest entry in the series that they will enjoy listening to the various tracks the game has to offer. Additionally the track Poem of Everyone's Soul plays once again in this game's version of the Velvet Room, this time a prison with returning character Igor being the MC's probation officer (perhaps).

He may looked crooked but Igor is integral to your journey in Persona 5

Its nice to have the change of setting in central Tokyo with famed areas such as Shibuya station square, crossing and central street, Harajuku, Akihabara and many other areas accessible through the game. The cafe the character's guardian runs is in a fictional district but takes inspiration from the real area Sangenjaya, west of Shibuya. It does a nice job of allowing players with a fondness for Japanese settings to feel both immersed and able to wander the streets of Tokyo whilst growing their character, catching persona and 'reforming' the hearts of various twisted individuals.

Quite possibly one of Tokyo's most famous
and popular locations, Shibuya Central Street

At around 50 hours in my major concerns are the volume of dialogue. Although this may be welcome for series veterans who love to soak up the world and characters presented here, sometimes it impacts the pacing of P5. Although developing the characters, setting and story are both welcome and necessary, sometimes what needs to be said can be in 30 words, not 300. It feels somewhat like the dialogue was written sometimes to give the voice actors (who all commit to their roles) a lengthier recording session rather than serve the game's story progression. That said, the character-specific stories experienced through increasing your cooperation ranks do well in fleshing out their concerns, worries and backgrounds. Its nice that these are mostly optional but tie into various benefits for strengthening the player and your squad inside of battle and around Tokyo.

Additionally, although the game's mascot character Morgana can be entertaining at times, he/she/it (the character identifies as he but the game doesn't confirm this 100%) can also be quite tiring. From a heavy amount of tutorials early in the game to commenting on almost everything, Morgana is more akin to a young child allowed to venture out with a parent for the first time. I understand that perhaps that is what Atlus is going for in P5 but even so, as soon as I had a fifth member join my party I swapped the cat-like treasure lover out for the newest addition to my group to give this love/hate mascot some time on the bench.

Love or hate him/her/it, Morgana's one of
your companions on the journey of Persona 5

Detractions aside, I'm going to continue with Persona 5. Although the issues with pacing were quite noticeable early in the game, thankfully with the tutorials out of the way and the game's flow more seemless now I can see it getting better and hope it continues in that fashion. I also intend to write a non-spoiler review for the title once I've completed it (but predict if it mirrors the length of Persona 3 rather than Persona 4 I might be in for quite a long journey with all its twists, turns and mysteries ahead).

Watch out or your rotten heart might be stolen
one day by the Phantom Thieves

If you've read this far, thank you for taking the time. Also feel free to share, like or share any thoughts you have about my early impressions of Persona 5 in the Comments section below.


Nintendo's new console/handheld is the Nintendo Switch

Nintendo's new console/handheld hybrid, the Nintendo Switch

The latest announcement from gaming and entertainment giant Nintendo has unveiled its latest upcoming console named the Nintendo Switch.

Confirming rumours from months leading up to last week's announcement, the Nintendo Switch shows the renowned company will release a console/handheld hybrid, allowing gamers to play upcoming titles either at home or on the move with the additional tablet-like screen.

You can see a short video promoting the Nintendo Switch below:

What do you think of the latest announcement of the Nintendo Switch? And will you pick one up when it is due to launch in March 2017? Post your thoughts in the Comments section below.


KOF Tournament organiser Antanov trailer is live

It is uncommon that I post more than once a day on the blog so there must be a special reason. In the case of The King of Fighters XIV this is such a reason.

Cigar? Check. Immense blonde sideburns? Check.
Gold chain, watch, tournament belt and bejazzled dress shirt? Check.

Not only are the last three team trailers viewable on the blog but the trailer for the organiser of the latest King of Fighters tournament, Antonov, is available to watch for your viewing pleasure below.

I don't think there has been such a manly character in the KOF series ever. Attacking with mere flexing must be direct competition for the likes of Street Fighter's Zangief if I do say so myself (lol).

What do you think of the permanent cigar chewing and macho organiser boss of the newest KOF game? Post any thoughts you have in the Comments section below. Also be sure to like, share and follow the blog to receive my newest updates first.

Three new team trailers inbound for KOF XIV

Continuing from my last post, three new team trailers are available for viewing below for SNK's newly released entry in its long running franchise, The King of Fighters XIV.

Firstly we are treated to the all new Another World Team. SNK fans may recognise Nakoruru from another famous series by the fighting game developer, Samurai Showdown. She is joined by the small but powerful MiuMiu and sky pirate Love Heart (both heralding from pachinko titles produced by SNK). You can check their trailer out below.

Next we have a long-standing team from the KOF franchise, the K' Team. Ever the cool guy with a heavy street-fighting style and glove allowing the power of flame, K', heads the team. Joining him are harbinger of ice and candy lover, Kula Diamond (a mid-boss character from KOF 2000 and a series regular thereafter) and K's comrade and cybernetic powerhouse with great sideburns, Maxima. Check their team trailer out below.

Finally we have the Women Fighters Team, consisting Mr. Big's former bouncer from Art of Fighting, elegant kickboxer King, and Fatal Fury's female bombshell ninja Mai Shiranui return to assert some female-infused power. Joining them is a character from another of SNK's pachinko games and big-time Terry Bogard fangirl, Alice (be sure to check out the similarities in her moveset).

So those are the trailers for all the teams featuring in KOF XIV. What do you think of the last three team trailers and will you be using any of them in the game? Feel free to leave any thoughts or opinions in the Comments section below. Also like, share the post and become a follower of the blog to receive all my future updates first.


A flurry of team trailers for The King of Fighters XIV

There's no better time than the present to add a trio of trailers highlighting three of the teams from SNK's 3-on-3 fighter (releasing tomorrow in the UK and Europe), The King of Fighters XIV.

Firstly we have a trailer for the China Team, consisting of the body-morphing kung fu master from the Garou franchise, Tung Fu Rue and two new faces in sleep-happy Meitenkun and spirit arms-wielding schoolkid with the (unofficial) pair of Beats headphones, Shunei.

Next we see the return of a long-established team in the KOF franchise, The Pyscho Soldier Team. The franchise's idol and psychic energy user Athena, kung fu and ki wielder Kensou and the old drunken kung-fu master Chin show their skills in the trailer below (the Climax super move of Kensou's is quite stylish indeed).

Finally we are reintrouced to the Ikari Team (a team in the series that has remained unchanged since KOF '96). The trailer shows the explosive punching skills of Ralf, the slicing and explosive skills of blue (sometimes red?)-haired cool beauty, Leona, and the shades-wearer with throws for days military man, Clark.

Be sure to watch the trailers and leave any thoughts you have in the Comments section below. Also be sure to share my posts and become a follower of the blog if you haven't already.

My next blog update will include the remaining team trailers for the last three teams in the game's roster (and perhaps one or two more). I also hope to post my impressions of KOF XIV once I have the game in my hands and have given its various modes a good playtest.

Thanks as ever for reading and have a good Thursday.


KOF XIV release is imminent, game's key staff interviewed by Famitsu

SNK's upcoming 3-on-3 fighter, The King of Fighters XIV, is seeing an international release this week with the game officially coming out in the US tomorrow (23/08), Japan on Thursday (25/08) and Europe getting its hands on the title on Friday (26/08).

In anticipation of the game's release some of the key members of the game's development staff including producer Yasuyuki Oda and art director Nobuyuki Kuroki were interviewed by Japanese weekly gaming magazine, Famitsu.

You can read the first half of the interview which has been translated by the fine folks over at the website Madman's Cafe right HERE

(From left to right) KOF XIV producer Yasuyuki Oda, programmer Seiji Andou,
motion artist Youichiro Soeda and art director Nobuyuki Kuroki

Throughout this week I'll be adding the remaining trailers for the remaining teams that have been unveiled leading up to KOF XIV's release.

What do you think of what SNK's developers have to say of its upcoming fighter KOF XIV? Be sure to share your thoughts in the Comments section below. Also feel free to share my posts via Facebook, Twitter and any other social media platforms you can think of.

Thanks to Madman's Cafe for the interview and its translation


SNK announces a KOF XIV Premiere World Tour, posts full command list for whole roster

Today must be a special day as I have not only one but two KOF XIV-related posts for the blog. This one is not another trailer but an announcement by developer SNK about laucnhing its own Premiere World Tour for the upcming 3-on-3 fighter.

A recent press release reveals the tour will start at this weekend's Evo 2016, taking place in Las Vegas from July 15th - 17th. The game's roster of 48 characters will be playable at the event, allowing avid fans to get some hands-on time with the new title and craft their impressions of it.

The list below details some of the future venues the tour will be heading to over July and August.

Additionally SNK has made the full command list for the game's 48 characters available for public viewing. They can be seen over at SNK Japan's dedicated page which details what each character will have at their disposal in KOF XIV.

If there are any exciting new updates from Evo '16 this weekend I'll be sure to post them on the blog right here. Be sure to check back soon for more information and feel free to leave any thoghts in the Comments section below.

KOFXIV new team trailer, Nightmare Geese trailer also live

In timely fashion SNK has released the newest trailer for its 3-on-3 fighting game releasing in late August, The King of Fighters XIV.

This time viewers can check out the Southtown Team, consisting of the self-assured aikido practicing crimelord of Southtown, Geese Howard; his right-hand bandana wearing henchman and fiery bo-wielder, Billy Kane, and new character to KOF XIV, Geese's butler with the power to control gravity, Hein.

You can check the newest trailer out below:

That's not all for the latest reveal. SNK has also released a brief trailer for an alternate looking version Geese, aptly named Nightmare Geese. Both trailers show he can grab the opponent off the ground, has regular/super counters, a super version of his standard fireball, reppuken and his trademark super from the very first Garou game, Raging Storm.

You can check out how he looks, sounds and a sample of his character theme playing during the trailer below (I don't think even Rick Grimes and co. would want to face this zombie-looking boss).

What are your thoughts on the latest trailers for the Southtown Team and Nightmare Geese? Furthermore are you looking forward to getting those versus matches in when KOF XIV is officially released on August 26th? Be sure to post in the Comments section below.


KOF XIV new team trailer unleashed, shows Team Mexico full of passionate grapppling spirit

Keeping the proverbial ball rolling, SNK has once again released a new trailer for another team in its upcoming 3-on-3 team battle fighting game, The King of Fighters XIV.

This time around we are treated to the likes of returning brawler/grappler with debatable biker-style dress sense, Angel, the costumed wrestler who must be channeling his favourite movie Jurassic Park, King of Dinosaurs, and the returning luchador with the tiger motif and the classy eyepatch, Ramon.

Check the new trailer out for Team Mexico below:

What do you think of the newest team of the upcoming KOF XIV? Are there any characters you would like to see added to the game's roster in the near future? Be sure to leave your thoughts and impressions in the Comments section down below.


Newest KOF XIV team trailer is live, recent gaming round-up coming soon

SNK Playmore has been at it again by releasing the latest team trailer for its upcoming 3-on-3 team battle fighting game, The King of Fighters XIV.

This time we are shown the varied skills of the South American team, consisiting of pugilist Nelson, wanabee ninja Banderas Hattori and toucan-owning capoeirista, Zarina.

I also aim to do a write-up of what I've playing over the last few months (think of them as small summaries with recoomendations where appropriate). I will keep you updated with further details soon as to when that will be available to read on the blog.

In the meantime be sure to check the trailer out below and post any thoughts you have about the trailer, KOF XIV or anything else that comes to mind in the Comments section down below.


Newest KOF XIV trailer is live, shows off the Official Invitation Team

I certainly pick my times to update the blog. At the risk of getting bogged down with the outcome of the recent UK vote on the EU referendum, I instead want to focus on one of the things I continue to enjoy the most. Games.

Although I haven't kept up with the regular updates, today's post will focus on the lastest entry in SNK's upcoming 3-on-3 fighting game series, The King of Fighters XIV. SNK has been doing a great job of releasing team-focused trailers once a week with the latest trailer focusing on the Official Invitation team (a trio of new faces to the franchise no less).

Although we get to see the ever-quirky idol Sylvie again we are also shown the hooded sand-user, Kukri, and the Sichuan Bushinryu user, Mian (both of which are looking pretty awesome right now).

What do you think of the new faces from the Official Invitation team for the upcoming KOF XIV? Post your thoughts and opinions in the Comments section below.

Check out the latest team trailer below:


Persona 5 new trailer is live, new characters unveiled

In a fabulous explosion of information, this last week saw the gaming world receive a new trailer for the upcoming latest entry in the occult meets regular school life RPG series, Persona 5.

The newest trailer reveals new characters, settings and perhaps a little peak at some of the potential dangers our gang of thieves will encounter through the stylish JRPG. Check out the trailer below

The developer also updated the official website characters page with profiles for three new characters that appear in the above video (and are more than likely to join the player's party as you progress through the story).

Persona 5's New Faces

Firstly we have class president and Syujin High School third year, Makoto Niijima. She's a female with strong morals who won't easily be swayed by anybody but is drawn towards the determination of the main playable character.

Strong in morals and in name,
Makoto should prove to be
a sturdy and reliable ally in Persona 5

Next to be introduced is the team's potential navigator and social shut-in, Futaba Sakura. Although she is a first year of Syujin High, an as of yet unexplained incident has caused her to physically stop attending classes since middle school.

The hikkikomori of the group
who is comfortable around
the main protagonist but
socially awkward around others

The final character to be introduced is the cordial and socially upstanding third year at Syujin High, Haru Okumura. Although the daughter of a food manufacturing company president and being from such a refined background, her observation of people around her has assisted in her becoming an effective communicator.

Haru's appearance provides
a pleasant demeanour, but could it be
a cover for her alternate identity seen
in the trailer as the Beautiful Female Thief?

In any case it looks like we have three more interesting faces joining the Phantom Thieves in the upcoming Persona 5, releasing for the Playstation 4 and Playstation 3 in Japan on September 15th. Hopefully a Western release date/window will follow by the time next month's E3 in Los Angeles rolls around where Atlus will further showcase the game (and hopefully show lots more gameplay too).

Let me know what you think by leaving your thoughts in the Comments section below. Also like, share and subscribe (or tell your friends if you follow me already).


KOF XIV gets a grand update, roster and release unveiled

Although we had become accustomed to weekly trailers for SNKs upcoming 3-on-3 fighter, The King of Fighters XIV,  this week we had to wait a little longer. Until today in fact. However the reward comes in the form of not just one trailer but three as SNK drops the mic by showing everyone the game's roster and a formal release date (at least in Japan and the US).

The game will see a release in its homeland on August 25th with the US supposedly getting it a couple of days earlier on the 23rd. In any case you can check out the trailers below showcasing the game's roster, features and the release date in question:

So what do you think of the recent trailer reveals for KOF XIV? Excited, neutral or do you still get hung up on the game's graphics? In any case feel free to leave your thoughts in the Comments section below (and fingers crossed we get a publisher and formal release date in Europe soon).

BONUS: SNK knows what their fans like and although it might seem a little like a money grab, the traditional costume of Kyo in his gakuran will be available as DLC for the game. Your can check it in action down below:


American air force hero Guile is the next DLC character for Street Fighter V, videos show Critical Art and Guile theme

UPDATE: Capcom has released its trailer for Guile showcasing the American air force muscleman's possibilities in the game (looks like he's been taking tips from Popeye). Check it out below:

Although there have been rumours about who the next DLC character will be for Capcom's current fighter Street Fighter V, today we have received confirmation it will be none other than everyone's favourite American air force hero, Guile.

You can check out the blond flat-top wearing tough guy's in-game critical art and a sample of his SFV theme via the videos below (HINT: its quite slick in a summery-funk kind of way).

Chances are we will have to wait until the character's release before we get the official character trailer (my guess is next Wednesday April 27th but Capcom will have the final say on that).

What do you think of the addition of one of Street Fighter's most iconic characters to the game's roster? And will it be possible to remove the shades?

Any thoughts feel free to post them in the Comments section below. Also like the post, share and subscribe if you haven't done so already, thank you.


New KOF XIV trailer is live, shows fan-favourite kunoichi Mai, newcomer and ninja fanboy Banderas

I know I'm a little late with sharing this but I've had a busy lady couple of days. With that our of the way, developer SNK has shared its latest trailer for the upcoming team-battle fighting game franchise, The King of Fighters XIV.

This time around we are treated to a returning favourite in the franchise and SNK's poster girl of recent years, Mai Shiranui. In addition to the fiery kunoichi we are are also shown a new entrant in wannabe ninja and overbearing fanboy, Banderas.

Be sure to check both of them out in the video and leave your thoughts in the Comments section below. Also like, share and subscribe.


Newest King of Fighters XIV trailer is live, unveils kung-fu girl Miu-Miu and master of sand, Kukri

It might seem like an inappropriate time to do an update but whatever. The latest trailer for The King of Fighters XIV  has dropped and this time we're treated to two new entries in the long running franchise.

Pulled from one of SNK's pachinko franchises, Miu-Miu is perky Chinese kung-fu practitioner that is already reminiscent of previous KOF entry Li Xiangfei. We also get a new addition to the roster in Kukri who appears to possess a command over the manipulation of sand.

Be sure to check the next trailer below and feel free to share your thoughts on the Comments section below.


Overall impressions on Bloodborne

Format: PS4
Release date: 14/03/15
Online co-op: Yes
DLC: The Old Hunters additional content saw release in mid-November 2015

You can trust me to be late to a party. Its perhaps a trait I'm not to fond of but none the less exists. To be late to one of the PlayStation 4's defining titles and earliest exclusives, Bloodborne, is a situation all of my own making. I didn't let that put me off though and finally picking up a copy of the atmospheric RPG by renowned Japanese developer From Software, sat down and reasonable time with the gothic title set on one very bloody night of a hunt for various blood-craving beasts.

Perhaps a skillful evolution of developer From's famed franchise Dark Souls, Bloodborne sees significant changes in favour of a more aggressive and offense style of play. Rather than pensive progression with sword and shield, players will often find themselves dodging, sidestepping and dashing among foes in efforts to slay them before being made into a bloody mess. It certainly is initially a stark contrast to the playstyle of the Souls games but compliments the overall style and feel of Bloodborne. You can still feel highly skilled once you familiarise yourself with the new control scheme.

A change from riposting in the Souls games is the ability to carry a firearm in the character's left hand. This allows players to score a counter hit if the enemy is caught at the right time, leaving them open for a visceral attack (a strike that tears through the enemy's insides and does significant damage). It again rewards skillful play and timing, a risk/reward scenario that allows its bearer to either revel in a successful takedown or suffer the brunt of the opponent's attack. The ability to consume blood vials on the move to recover health further adds to the higher tempo the games progression brings.

Even in the grim world of Yarnham, things can look beautiful

Fundamentals aside, From is no such when it comes to the game's art design. Set in a fictional late-Victorian era gothic city named Yarnham, everything from the architecture to the weapon, creature and boss designs are fantastically detailed, dripping with both splendour and grotesqueness in equal. The interchangeable nature of the game's trick weapons is also neat, allowing players to adapt their play style to the situation at hand (adjusting a weapon's length, strength or secondary function all at the press of a button). Its use in mid-combat keeps things exciting, allowing players to explore new avenues whilst playing Bloodborne.

Those who want to take a break from the game proper can face one of the many Chalice dungeons accessible from The Hunter's Dream (the player's general hub area). These allow players to descend through randomly generated dungeons to reap additional blood echoes and items (proving very handy when you reach a point in the main game you are currently unable to traverse). It adds additionally content to the main game, a great idea that gives die-hard fans almost infinite trials to overcome.

Great night for a beast hunt indeed

Online co-op has been a part of From's Souls games since Demon's Souls released back on the PS3. Teaming up has thankfully been made easier in Bloodborne due to being able to set passwords, allowing friends online to more easily locate each other and assist with the many dangerous areas of Yarnham together.

If you can't tell by now I'm quite a fan of Bloodborne. It is true the developer From Software has found a formula with their more recent 'try hard, die more' action RPGs but when the atmosphere, feel and general gameplay are as strong and immersive as they are here, this player is pleased to continue experience the developers titles as long as they keep making them.

'Live by the Blood, Undone by the Blood' indeed...

If you've read this far thanks for taking the time to do so. If you have any thoughts about my general impressions of Bloodborne feel free to leave them in the Comments section below.


New KOF trailer shows Geese, Ryo

The newest trailer for upcoming fighter The King of Fighters XIV has been released, showcasing Kyokugen-ryu protége, Ryo Sakazaki and everyone's favourite bad-ass boss of Southtown and aikido master, Geese Howard.

The first part of the trailer showcases the effectiveness of Geese's multiple counters and how he gets away with that name (hint: being tough as nails normally helps). Ryo also gets his moment to shine and no doubt the inclusion of these two in the roster will please long-term KOF fans for sure.

What do you think of the most recent additions to the roster? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the Comments section below.


Street Fighter V update goes live this afternoon, adds Challenges, returning character Alex and in-game shop

The latest entry in the long-running going game franchise, Street Fighter V, Is getting a significant update this afternoon. The update to version 1.2 that will see players gain access to trials for each character in the roster as well as demonstrations showing how many of the game's systems function.

More substantially for fans of the franchise we will see series favourite Alex added to the roster. Although he would normally cost 100,000 in Fight Money (the game's currency) he will be available for free for a limited time due to the Zeny system (currency that can be bought in-game) not going live just yet.

The game's shop will also be available allowing players to purchase a variety on content including alternate costumes, banners and more.

To whet your appetite, check out the launch trailer for Alex below and feel free to leave your thoughts in the Comments section underneath.


Thoughts about Bloodborne coming, new KOF XIV trailer is live

I know I haven't upped my thoughts about From Software's gothic England set action RPG, Bloodborne but they will be available to read very soon.

In the meantime as its Good Friday, feel good by watching the latest trailer for the upcoming release in SNK's long-running franchise, The King of Fighters XIV.

Have a great Easter weekend everyone and feel free to leave your thoughts in the Comments section below.


Recent film round-up

Although I haven't written one of these for a while I thought it would be nice to do a medium-size entry on films I've caught over the last 2-3 weeks (courtesy of a couple of home on demand services).

I managed to catch the film Tommorowland starting the ever charming George Clooney as wunderkind inventor Frank and the relatively unknown Britt Robertson as a modern-day smart kid with a habit for fixing space rocket launch pads, Casey. A somewhat delightful but also mature take on the idea of "what if some of the most brilliant mins in science, engineering and humanity came together to create almost anything to make the lives of humans better?

The Brad Bird-directed film has some really interesting ideas and can be quite heavy on the CGI. The overriding messages of how we the human race need to take action to make the planet better for the future could also be too persistent for those who would rather just be entertained for two hours. It does at least show that with this and Mission Impossible:Ghost Protocol under his belt, Bird is most capable of directing animated and live-action affair equally well.

I also managed to catch The Anomaly starring actor/director/writer Noel Clarke. The premise of ex-soldier Ryan being awake for only 9 minutes and 47 seconds before reawakening in another body/timeline is both interesting and allows lead Clarke to play various roles in the same film. His attempts to find the cause of the phenomenon and how to stop it are the driving force of the movie with Ian Sömmerhalder's Harkin assuring he prevents that from ever coming to fruition. Alexis Knapp also plays gang-owned escort and potential ally to Ryan, Dana. Although a pretty face (and body) she proves to be more than just eye candy as the film progresses.

An ambitious premise let down perhaps by its budget or the seemingly rushed nature of certain parts of the film makes The Anomaly a great idea on paper that maybe needs a little more work in its execution. A reasonable effort though by Clarke who has shown with the likes of Kidulthood/ Adulthood he can write great scripts/material.


Updates coming this weekend

In efforts to adhere to my earlier claim to update the blog more frequently, look forward to some upcoming updates to the blog.

The first will be my thoughts about my recent playthrough of the PS4 exclusive and darkly-themed RPG title by developer From Software, Bloodborne.

I also aim to do a film review round-up of movies I have watched over the last 1-2 weeks. This should be available to read via the blog from Sunday 20/03.

Finally, despite the criticism of detractors for its lack of current-gen graphical polish, the latest trailer for The King of Fighters XIV shows the game t its best yet. With 50 characters available to choose from upon release this could turn out to be SNK's best 3D effort yet (the KOF: Maximum Impact being the company's last forays into 3D KOF titles).

Feel free to watch the latest trailer below and let me know what you think in the Comments section below.



The Best 10 Films of 2015

Firstly I know its nearly been a year but life has been busy and I've been occupied with other pursuits. Not so much a New Year's resolution and more to recommence an outlet I haven't been involved with actively for the last 12 months, I will make a concerted effort to update the blog more frequently going forwards.

Now with that out of the way, get ready to read my Best 10 films of 2015.

Cinema has had an interesting year with some huge films as well as independent pictures that not only took me by surprise but were a firm reminder why the medium is a fantastic way to entertain and deeply connect with audiences.

Let's run down the list for 2015...

10. It Follows

The first in the list is a film that not only channels the off-kilter mood and feel of the likes of John Carpenter straight of the 1980s but is as ambiguous as it is horrifying.

It Follows tells the story of late-teenage female protagonist Jay (played by the promising and upcoming actress Maika Monroe) who makes love with her boyfriend for the first time. Unbeknowst to her, rather than as a mere act of love, the boyfriend has more selfish intentions at heart with his main purpose being to remove a curse that causes its bearer to be constantly pursued (albeit always at a steady walking pace) by the 'creature' in the film.

Taken as a straight up B-movie horror tale or a compelling message about the risks of unsafe sex (how the creature is perceived or what it actually is trying to do is down to the viewer), It Follows is a smart take on the genre's conventions. The supporting cast are mostly young and do a reasonable job and the film's score is a great throwback to the slightly off yet highly effective mood-setting music common of the likes of John Carpenter's best filmography (the film is shot quite interestingly to boot).

Definitely one to watch if you want to become heightened to the prospect that the stranger you pass in the street could be something more.

9. Jurassic World

This film needs no introduction. A continuation of the beloved franchise first helmed by renowned director Stephen Spielberg, Jurassic World sees its predecessor (Jurassic Park III) outright ignored in attempts to carry on the original idea Richard Attenborough's John Hammond from the original Jurassic Park had in that film; a high-scale resort and dinosaur park for people around that world to enjoy.

Jurassic World does in many ways feel like a worthy successor to one of the most revered franchises in all of cinema history and mostly meets fans' expectations. The setting for the film is well realised, Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard are well cast as gamekeeper Owen who has a knack for communicating with raptors under his care and the park's chief of staff, Claire.

The dinosaurs are no slouch either with the familiar raptors returning (and an interesting appearance of an old favourite) as well as new dinosaurs both timid and fierce. It wouldn't be a Jurassic Park film without a king of the lizards though and JW is no exception. The aptly titled Indominus Rex is both fierce and intelligent in equal measure, an excellent hunter and addition to the fierce Tyranosaurs Rex and other fearsome reptilian menaces that cane before it in this popular franchise.

Director Colin Trevorrow managed to capture many pleasing elements that make Jurassic World highly watchable and despite a couple of negatives (the story of the two children in the film (Claire's nephews) and some of the supporting cast) shows that the film is great not because it made impressive bank at the box office but because it was able to have the audience on the edge of our seats once more as we see dinosaurs terrorise the human race once again.