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Thursday, 05 December 2019 15:36

Who's Hyped for STRANGE ACADEMY ?

STRANGE ACADEMY will launch this March as a new ongoing series helmed by best-selling comic book veterans: Eisner Award-winning writer Skottie Young (Deadpool, Rocket Raccoon) and critically acclaimed artist Humberto Ramos (Amazing Spider-Man, Champions). The new series will bring together a whole new class of students from Earth, Weirdworld, Asgard, the Dark Dimension, and beyond to learn how to control their gifts in the Mystic Arts under Doctor Strange, Brother Voodoo, The Ancient One, Scarlet Witch, Magik, Hellstrom, and all of Marvel’s most iconic magicians. But with a new threat looming on the horizon, is it too late?

 

“What we’re really trying to do is tell those classic coming of age stories that we’ve seen in so many other properties or other projects out there in the world whether it be TV or film or novels or comics,” Young told the AP. “Whether it’s kids running around mazes or kids at a magic school or people running around trying to survive a post-apocalyptic landscape.”

 

“Over a year ago, I was driving Skottie down from the airport in Mexico, and out of the blue, he asked me what I wanted to do after working on Spider-Man,” said Ramos. “He began to pitch me on an incredible project for the rest of the weekend…and I’m excited to now say that project is STRANGE ACADEMY! Like all great stories, they all start with an idea…and this idea blew me away. We can’t share too much yet, but if you stick around, you’ll get to experience magic like you’ve never seen before in the Marvel Universe. Welcome to Strange Academy! Man, I love the first day of school!”

 

STRANGE ACADEMY will center on Emily Bright (a girl who discovered magical powers since birth), Doyle Dormammu (the illegitimate son of the Dark Dimension’s ruler), and their new classmates as mysteries begin to unfold not just for the students at the school, but for the entire Marvel Universe. With a new cast rooted in Marvel’s history and fan-favorite characters, this series will be the perfect introduction for both fans just diving into comics and for fans who have been following Marvel for years.

 

Set in the mystical backdrop of New Orleans, The Big Easy will play a pivotal role in STRANGE ACADEMY with its rich local culture and innate magic of the French Quarter, the Bayou, the Swamps, and more. To capture the essence of STRANGE ACADEMY, Young and Ramos conducted their research firsthand.

 

“There’s a nice history and folklore about magic and the mystic arts and the dark arts and things like that that kind of surround the mythos of New Orleans,” said Young. “Having just gone there myself for my 40th, I thought that would be a great place to set it.”

 

For more information about STRANGE ACADEMY, check out the video below and stay tuned at Marvel.com for more updates!

iframe width="560" height="315" src="/https://www.youtube.com/embed/a5wo7ku0JD0" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen>

Published in Fantastic Forum Blog
Thursday, 05 December 2019 15:36

Who's Hyped for STRANGE ACADEMY ?

STRANGE ACADEMY will launch this March as a new ongoing series helmed by best-selling comic book veterans: Eisner Award-winning writer Skottie Young (Deadpool, Rocket Raccoon) and critically acclaimed artist Humberto Ramos (Amazing Spider-Man, Champions). The new series will bring together a whole new class of students from Earth, Weirdworld, Asgard, the Dark Dimension, and beyond to learn how to control their gifts in the Mystic Arts under Doctor Strange, Brother Voodoo, The Ancient One, Scarlet Witch, Magik, Hellstrom, and all of Marvel’s most iconic magicians. But with a new threat looming on the horizon, is it too late?

 

“What we’re really trying to do is tell those classic coming of age stories that we’ve seen in so many other properties or other projects out there in the world whether it be TV or film or novels or comics,” Young told the AP. “Whether it’s kids running around mazes or kids at a magic school or people running around trying to survive a post-apocalyptic landscape.”

 

“Over a year ago, I was driving Skottie down from the airport in Mexico, and out of the blue, he asked me what I wanted to do after working on Spider-Man,” said Ramos. “He began to pitch me on an incredible project for the rest of the weekend…and I’m excited to now say that project is STRANGE ACADEMY! Like all great stories, they all start with an idea…and this idea blew me away. We can’t share too much yet, but if you stick around, you’ll get to experience magic like you’ve never seen before in the Marvel Universe. Welcome to Strange Academy! Man, I love the first day of school!”

 

STRANGE ACADEMY will center on Emily Bright (a girl who discovered magical powers since birth), Doyle Dormammu (the illegitimate son of the Dark Dimension’s ruler), and their new classmates as mysteries begin to unfold not just for the students at the school, but for the entire Marvel Universe. With a new cast rooted in Marvel’s history and fan-favorite characters, this series will be the perfect introduction for both fans just diving into comics and for fans who have been following Marvel for years.

 

Set in the mystical backdrop of New Orleans, The Big Easy will play a pivotal role in STRANGE ACADEMY with its rich local culture and innate magic of the French Quarter, the Bayou, the Swamps, and more. To capture the essence of STRANGE ACADEMY, Young and Ramos conducted their research firsthand.

 

“There’s a nice history and folklore about magic and the mystic arts and the dark arts and things like that that kind of surround the mythos of New Orleans,” said Young. “Having just gone there myself for my 40th, I thought that would be a great place to set it.”

 

For more information about STRANGE ACADEMY, check out the video below and stay tuned at Marvel.com for more updates!

iframe width="560" height="315" src="/https://www.youtube.com/embed/a5wo7ku0JD0" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen>

Published in Fantastic Forum Blog

This is one of the things that Marvel does that makes me wonder what is marvel thinking. This book should have come out around the time iron man 3 was in theaters. What do you i know? as always you can get this and other great comics at Geoffrey's comics. Who cares what i think here's the preview:

 

                                                             

      This March, peel back the layers of Colonel James Rhodes in IRON PATRIOT #1 – the all-new series from critically acclaimed writer Ales Kot and fan-favorite artist Garry Brown! Who is the man in the armor? What drives him? James Rhodes may have quit the Secret Avengers, but that’s not going to stop him from bringing the fight to the bad guys from inside the Iron Patriot armor! But his heroism will come with a steep price… “James Rhodes has a family. James Rhodes has friends. James Rhodes has a suit and responsibility and dreams and hopes, and he just realized he needs a new plan;” says writer Ales Kot, in an interview with Marvel.com. “Something that will be more in touch with who he is and what he wants.” As new villains emerge and a deadly conspiracy from within America grows – the Iron Patriot stands alone against impossible foes. This March, the war comes to the home front in IRON PATRIOT #1!

IRON PATRIOT #1 (JAN140673)

Written by ALES KOT

Art & Cover by GARRY BROWN

Variant Cover by MIKE PERKINS (JAN140674)

Variant Cover by SKOTTIE YOUNG (NOV138098)

On-Sale - 03/26/14

                                                     

                                                      

                                                     

                                                     Iron Patriot 1 Young Variant

Published in Fantastic Forum Blog
Sunday, 14 September 2014 00:00

Preview - Interstellar Marines [PC]

Interstellar Marines can be best summed up in one word: potential. These days terms like “alpha” and “beta” have been so overrun by marketing speak and promotion that they don’t have much of a meaning anymore. That’s not the state that this game is in, it’s what we would have considered “pre-alpha” and in truth I don’t think it’s anywhere near complete. That’s not to say that Interstellar Marines doesn’t have something to offer at this early stage, just that the finer points of what it can and intends to become have not formed yet.

The tale Interstellar Marines dates back to 2005, when the project was originally started to be an Unreal 3 shooter for the 360, PS3, and PC that was hoping to use pre-orders and investors to bypass the mainstream publisher system and create a high profile game. While that did not work out, developer Zero Point Software has fully utilized the modern independent landscape to keep its vision alive. After a transition to the Unity engine and an unsuccessful Kickstarter in 2012, Interstellar Marines has found a home on Steam with both the Greenlight and Early Access program. Despite the sordid tale of its beginnings, one who looks at the eventual goal and current work on this title cannot deny that it is compelling and may give way to one hell of a game. Throughout the development, one key concept has remained intact: deliver a “AAA” (which is code for “high budget, high profile”) experience within the independent development system.

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If you haven’t heard of it, you probably wonder what Interstellar Marines is and wants to be. Zero Point Software has released a concept statement that will pique interest. They are promising a tactical shooter that takes a more simulation approach to gameplay and integrates RPG-like elements to create and enhance character progression. Additionally you will have the option to take your character on a sci-fi adventure campaign, a co-operative campaign (at time of writing these appear to be separate campaigns), and of course a myriad of competitive multiplayer modes. Zero Point has made specific focus on the unpredictability of the campaign, realistic simulation goals, and also has released some great concept art as to what we can expect in alien worlds. I mean seriously, there’s a hulking shark creature, who doesn’t think that’s cool?

So how has that fared so far? Since releasing last summer, twelve updates have gone live and this title has begun to shape up into a playable format. It used to be simple items like traversing several areas, which eventually gave way to the eight or so maps that you can play around in at this point (although you will be completely alone in them). Each environment is a medium sized playground that follows the multiplayer shooter concept by the book – mild verticality, choke points, and strategic points for both defensive and assault play types. As you navigate these maps they will come to life with random effects like alarms going off or rain beginning to fall. It could be day, it could be night; both have strengths and weaknesses although I did not see an actual transition cycle from one to the next. Areas warn of hazards like poison gas or reduced oxygen – these hint at future plans for both zoning and the helmet function – but currently nothing happens there. It all points to a heck of a lot of minutia for a game that is so early in development. I’m not a developer and I know little about the stages of creating a contemporary shooter, but typically this amount of detail is one of the last parts in development on most previews I’ve seen (and it’s been quite a few over the last 5 years). Still, there’s no denying the game looks gorgeous and with the steady patter of rain to impede sight or having an underground passage flooded with poison gas to trap enemies you can see where these early ideas could be cool.

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The closest hint you will get to actual gameplay can be found in the prototype area where you can play around with previous updates. Bullseye is a shooting gallery that lets you get used to how the guns will work and the basic concept of aiming. Given that this game is focused on being more realistic, you will probably notice right away that kickback and aim are a large factor. For those hunting down the single player experience, here’s where you can challenge yourself to high scores and even unlock some achievements.

Once you’ve had your go at the shooting gallery, you can move on to the Running Man demo that integrates shooting and movement with some bots. It’s more of a movement concept to show off what could be, but it doesn’t resemble much of a training ground. It should also be noted that you can play these two prototypes in a web browser on the Interstellar Marines web site (interstellarmarines.com) before purchasing the software. There is also a cooler updated version in the “bonus” folder of the Steam version called Get Killed By Bots! that can be run to unlock that fun little feature. It was amusing to say the least.

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Most people who pick the game up at this point will jump into the active stage of development: multiplayer. It’s only available on one relatively open map that takes place at night with the usual weather effects. Named Deadlock, it has capture-and-hold areas on the map but the catch is that it’s more intended for single players to be at each point. This is handled by putting more spread out points on the map than there are players on a single team and points are only given to the first player that arrives. This means you’ll want to take advantage of ducking, cover, sneaking up on people, and planning your shots appropriately. An arrow appears in blue over teammates’ heads so you do not shoot at them, although I think the only penalty is giving away your position. Jumping feels a bit weak, although if you’re going for realism the average soldier doesn’t have the vertical leap that other shooters give them not to mention the near flight Master Chief is capable of. Respawns take time but you can dynamically view cams and open environments while waiting so it’s not so bad, but it does work with the low health of each player to encourage you not to be hasty. Given that it takes place at night, you can also play around with your laser scope and flashlight for assistance, but again this is a visual cue of your position. The helmet can be put on and taken off, but it currently does nothing save for having a visor animation – plans for a HUD may be live in the next update. It’s fun for a short spell, but honestly wasn’t my main draw to this title although in full disclosure I’m not much of a multiplayer fan in shooters.

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If you are going to play Interstellar Marines be prepared for a few decent, and expected, hiccups in running the game. It ran just fine on my Windows 7 64-bit and didn’t ever crash, but I saw quite a framerate dip in multiplayer along with occasional lag. At times the game would hitch up and I would need to quit and restart, not to mention the bugs that Zero Point cop to. Keep in mind that at this early stage this is all to be expected and hopefully as development continues we will see improvement to the framerate. Honestly it’s unfair to expect much until the final finished product hits, which is usually when the engine is optimized to run as best as it can. I was on a 3.4 ghz quad core AMD with 4 GB of RAM and a GTX 760 and was able to run Interstellar Marines in 1080p with mostly high settings around 40-60 fps. Tweaking some of the effects didn’t make a drastic difference in performance, but I also didn’t see a drastic difference in visuals without some effects. Granted, I’m betting the game performs much better on a stronger machine, I would consider mine midline. All in all Interstellar Marines has the potential to take on bigger budget games provided that it can get development wrapped up at a slightly faster pace. This already seems in place as co-op is supposed to hit September 18 and they are hoping to release the single player Prologue after that and within about two years the full campaign. It’s going to be a slow process, but in the end those that get in early should hopefully expect some decent updates every 12 weeks or so (based on current pacing). Keep in mind that mechanics are still being worked on so campaign is most likely a back burner item. With all that in mind you may find that $19 for the regular edition is worth getting in at the ground floor or if you’re really dedicated you can get the Spearhead Edition for $44 that gives you a gift copy of the game and earlier access to some updates along with plenty of bonus items. It all comes down to whether or not you see the potential and if you trust the development team. In the least, Zero Point Software has been very open about the development process, but this also demonstrates just how slow high end game development is today.

Interstellar Marines is currently available on Steam Early Access for $18.99 or $43.99 for the Spearhead edition. It is possible to pay to upgrade the regular version to Spearhead at a later date. A code was provided for this preview. We plan to continue review coverage after major updates come along that justify more elaboration. Currently the co-op update is scheduled for September 18, but this is subject to change. Keep in mind that all Early Access games are in development and that this game is still quite early. It will be some time before it is in any state that resembles the goal of the finished product, but purchasing at Early Access means that you are getting the final project at presumably a lower price point.

Published in PC
Tuesday, 12 November 2013 03:39

World of Tanks Xbox 360 Preview Impressions

 

WoT Xbox 360 Preview title

I first saw World of Tanks in a small booth at E3 a few years ago. I played it a little, but at the time, to me the term ‘Free to Play’ meant ‘Not a Real Game Yet’. I admit it, I was biased against F2P games and didnt give it much thought. Every year since then, the World of Tanks booth has grown to the point where now you can expect to see full size WW2 tanks looming beside the game area. I began to think that maybe I had misjudged this MMO version of a tank sim.

A few weeks ago I got the chance to play the new version of World of Tanks on the Xbox 360. I kept an open mind, because when a company shows up at E3 with a tank, they must be doing something right. And they are, World of Tanks manages to solve not only a lot of the problems I have with F2P games, but it manages to avoid the shortcoming of most shooters.

 

WoT Xbox 360 Preview01One of my big issues with shooters (and make no mistake, WoT is shooter, not a sim. Think Call of Duty...but with tanks), is what I call ‘lone wolf syndrome’. No matter what the game developers envisioned, the game is almost always populated with ‘lone wolves’ who sprint around the map like wanne be Rambos trying to take out the opposition on their own. I’ve always said, if you can get just 3 people in a shooter to work together, their team would win every match. "Think Call of Duty...but with tanks"And yet it never happens. But in World of Tanks, you can’t sprint. You’re a tank. A big slow tank. Even the ‘fast’ tanks are still pretty slow. and that’s a good thing. Because now you’re almost forced to work as a team. Because of your speed and size, if you go out alone, you’re just a big target. This means that almost every game, you’re aware of where your teammates are. You cover them, and they cover you. And with that comes an immediate sense of ‘I’m part of a Team’, even in pickup matches with strangers. That’s something that you almost never get in most shooters.

 

WoT Xbox 360 Preview03The next big plus happens when you die. In the modes I played, you only get a single life, with no respawning. Once your tank is destroyed, you can wait around and watch the rest of the match unfold. Or you can leave immediately and start a new match without being penalized any points or rewards you may have earned. No more waiting around while the final two tanks look for each other on opposite sides of the map. That change allowed me to keep playing instead of just sitting back and flipping through the different camera views of other players.

 

"the devs have managed to keep the tedious parts of sims out"World of Tanks is a slightly arcade-y tank game with more than a few simulation style additions. There’s a ton of historically accurate war machines to pilot, with everything from small Shermans to huge Panzers. All of the tanks have the same simple controls. It’s more complicated to drive a car in Forza than it is to move a 30 ton beast in WoT but I’m not a tank buff so I can’t comment on how historically accurate each tank is. I was pleasantly surprised how well WoT uses terrain. For once in a game, higher ground actually means something. Flanking around the side of a hill isn’t just possible, its the norm. Getting into cover means driving behind a house, and not just hitting a button. Somehow the devs have managed to keep the tedious parts of sims out while including all of the ‘cool’ stuff like the damage model that allows you to blow off a tread or destroy a turret while still keeping the tank alive. And there’s a huge draw distance where you can see someone creeping from behind a fence on the other side of the map.


WoT Xbox 360 Preview06Notice I've gotten this far into the preview without mentioning ‘Leveling Up’. Usually in F2P games, the game is obviously secondary to the economy the developer has concocted to get you to start spending money. I know Wargaming.net isn’t a charity and they want to fill their bank accounts like any over dev, but I have to admit, I never felt pressured to hand over my credit card, or felt like I was being held back because I didn’t drop an extra $5 in the jar. The games were matched up in a way that I was always against similar skilled opponents, or on a team that had an even mix of small and big tanks. This is just a preview so I won’t go too deep on how the economy works, but basically, you play, you get money, you buy stuff for your tank (or new tanks).

 

World of Tanks on the Xbox 360 is now in open beta and from what I’ve seen, there’s no reason it won’t make as big a splash on the console as it has on the PC. It manages to have an arcade like control style, strategic gameplay, and is well paced. Maybe ‘F2P’ isn’t such a bad word after all.

 

Published in All Games Blog
Wednesday, 22 January 2014 00:00

Eschalon: Book 3 Preview [PC]

 I recently got my hands on a preview copy of Eschalon Book 3. Since this was a preview of the final release, and not the final release, I’ll be giving my thoughts on the game while ignoring any and all issues with the game’s running stability, as those aspects have not been fine tuned for this build.

The two easiest words I can use to describe Eschalon Book 3 are intense and intimidating. The character creation is similar to a D&D character sheet. There is an easy way around this, where you simply choose one of the classes and let the game build a character for you, but doing this leaves every single attribute to the discretion of the system. You will have a character that works in the class you wanted, but you will not have chosen their gender, name, race, religion, or any of their unique skills. I chose a randomized character, not knowing that the attributes I had my character randomized.

eschalon3 elderoakDifficulty selection is done in a very interesting way, in that you don’t select a difficulty at all. Instead, you choose whether or not to use four different rules. The first rule makes food and water a requirement for you character’s survival. The second makes your weapons degrade with use. The next two get into insane territory. The third rule makes the player unable to save or load the game while diseased, poisoned, critically injured, or near enemies. It is worth noting for this rule that I was diseased almost immediately after starting the game, and remained diseased for several hours as I could not afford to cure myself. The fourth rule makes any probabilities seeded instead of random. This means that if you are trying to hit something, instead of doing a 20% probability dice roll each time, the game follows a pattern to ensure you only hit that thing 20% of the time. Depending on the rules you pick, you are assigned a difficulty level that describes your gameplay. Each level affects the score you will receive with either a penalty or a bonus. I wanted to at least stay at Normal difficulty, but hate weapon degradation, so I activated rules one and four.

After you have created a character and selected the difficulty rules you are given a brief story introduction. Your character was attempting to destroy two powerful items known as crux stones. Alien Voldemort showed up and tried to kill you. He failed and destroyed one of the crux stones, teleporting you without your memories some place far away. You wake up lost, confused, and with the Crux of Fire. Your goal is now to find out more about the Crux of Fire, and the land you are in. Another goal is to not die. This one’s going to prove a bit difficult.
This game is hard, from the moment you start any combat whatsoever you’ll understand this. When you are a level one character you’ll spend most of your combat time wishing you weren’t constantly missing your targets. I started as a ranger, which is sort of hard, given I had no weapons skills other than a bow and arrows are hard to come by and get wasted because of all the freaking missed shots. The one advantage to the gameplay is that it is entirely turn based. You don’t have to worry about getting everything you need lined up quickly, but rather with as few actions as possible. If you need to open your inventory, you won’t be attacked a bunch while searching for the items you need. Only when you use an action to actually use the item.

eschalon3 alpha8
Once you’ve managed to actually get yourself a character that can handle fighting cock roaches (this takes a lot of time) you’ll note that you must now go and face greater challenges. It’s not possible to grind in Eschalon, as enemies don’t respawn. This has upsides and downsides. It does make for a better gameplay flow since you can’t just beef up your character so that all things in your path are like mere insects. But it also means that you can’t level to just the point where you feel comfortable with the difficulty curve. You have to handle whatever the game is going to throw at you. The other issue is that the game is entirely non-linear. You are meant to explore new areas and complete quests based on what you are capable of. Without the ability to grind, you’re generally left finding out where you should go by entering an area, having a near death experience, and then running away. This often wastes your food, water, and gold on recovery.

Overall, Eschalon Book 3 is a fun game if you enjoy a seriously difficult RPG. Its story is based around total mystery, its world is entirely unknown, and it is seriously freaking hard. You don’t enter the game feeling like the messiah from on high that all have awaited. Instead, you feel like some jackass with minor combat skills being thrown into a situation that you are not prepared for and hardly understand. This makes Eschalon Book 3 a realistic and engaging game.

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Published in PC