VuePoint: Coming Soon in 2017

Well, 2017 has been pretty great for us gamers so far right!? Resident Evil 7 and Nioh have already blown a significant hole in my budget. Horizon: Zero Dawn is just around the corner, with its own price tag looming – thank god I don’t have to pay until release! Isn’t pre-ordering great!? Because despite having limited funds and plenty of more important things on my shopping list, I can’t help myself when that shiny “One Click Buy” button glints.

With that in mind, I thought I’d take a look at some of the great stuff we have coming over the course of the next year. I hear many people saying that this article would have been better at the start of the year, and to that I say…well…good point.

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Anime 101: Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

Like the magic system of the series, what you get out of Fullmetal Alchemist is governed by the law of equivalent exchange.

Mild Spoilers

Fullmetal Alchemist came to my attention back in 2009 with the announcement of the English dub of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (FMAB). I remember watching the first episode but, for whatever reason at the time, I just didn’t commit to following its run. Recently, I decided to have another crack at it and I can see why it gets such high praise from both fans and critics…

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Morning BS: Why read Tom King’s Batman: I Am Gotham In 250 words or less

Graduating from Nightwing to Batman, Tom King may have written one of the greatest Batman stories of all time in I Am Gotham.

A while back I covered Tom King’s Vision, which I proclaimed as one of the greatest interpretations of a B-list superhero (get the full story here). However, what happens when you take the same writer that worked on a wacky, inversion n of the super hero genre and plonk him on the most mainstream book in the whole industry. Batman. Every writer on Batman has their own unique take on the character, so what does Tom King have to say about Batman? To answer that I’ll take you through the first issue of the arc.

Batman Issue One sees Batman dealing with a 9/11-esque aeroplane attack. The entire issue follows Bruce using every trick he has to deal with the attack while meditating on the nature of his duty. In this moment we see Batman realise that he cannot possibly stop the crisis as he’s just a man. But then he works out a solution that will result in his death but save Gotham. Needless to say, Bruce takes it without a moment of hesitation. As he resigns himself to death, Batman is saved by two new heroes Gotham and Gotham Girl, protectors of Gotham City with pseudo-Superman powers. This leads to a series that examines what it is to be a hero and what separates Batman from other heroes. It’s dark, smart and a must read for every Batman fan plus David Finch’s clean-cut art style is beyond brilliant.

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I’ve got a few words left so I’ll just say this: Silence of the Lambs meets The Karate Kid …what more could you want?

You can pick I Am Gotham in graphic novel form for £10.49 from Amazon

Have you read I Am Gotham or are planning to? Let me know in the comment section down below, on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/Beartrails/ or on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/BearTrails

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bearsleuthWritten by: Patrick Lunn

Morning BS: Why read Rick Remender’s Tokyo Ghost: Atomic Garden In 250 words or less

Veteran comic book writer Rick Remender pens an explicit piece of dystopian fiction poking fun at modern society in a way only seen previously in the pages of 2,000AD.

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The rise of Image Comics has led to many respected members of the comic book industry receiving a platform to tell stories rarely seen in the pages of the medium. For some this has resulted in attempts at genres outside of the industry’s comfort zone but for others it has been an opportunity to relay a message. Rick Remender’s first volume of Tokyo Ghost, Atomic Garden, is a perfect example of how to use the Image platform effectively and provocatively. Imagine if Judge Dredd had been created in the time of global warming and social media and you’ll have a pretty good idea of the fantastic dystopia that is Tokyo Ghost.

The book follows Led Dent, a Image result for tokyo ghostsocial media and TV addicted hit man, and his lover, Debbie Decay who has managed to abstain from the addictions of the masses. The two maintain law and order until they solve one of their biggest cases and are sent to help colonise Tokyo, the last pure area of Earth where there are no addictions. The story then shifts from action-adventure to one of rehabilitation and romance. While that is all still fairly standard, what makes Remender’s piece stand out is a constant stream of background jokes and satire provided by artist Sean Murphy. Whether it’s a dildo octopus, thinly veiled references to Donald Trump or both, you can spend hours reading and rereading this novel.

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I’ve got a few words left so I’ll just say this: Judge Dredd meets An Inconvenient Truth…what more could you want?

You can pick Atomic Garden in graphic novel form for £8.99 from Amazon

Have you read Atomic Garden or are planning to? Let me know in the comment section down below, on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/Beartrails/ or on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/BearTrails

Also if you want daily BS remember to sign up for emails or follow with your WordPress account.

bearsleuthWritten by: Patrick Lunn

 

 

Morning BS: The Order of the Phoenix’s Patrol Playlist

If Mr.Weasley could get a computer to work around magic then wizards could access Spotify and your humble BearSleuth would have some banging recommendations!

Wizards and technology just don’t mix, it’s as simple as that, they never have and they never will. However, Arthur Weasley might have found a way around all that while tinkering in his garage. He’s made several small appliances work including a car. So if Arthur could make all of those work it stands to reason that one day he may even get a computer to spark into life. With that in mind, here are a few tracks I would recommend to our wizard friends once they discover Spotify:


Lupin and Tonks’ Mix-tape


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One of the order’s greatest couples come together in this fantastic mix-tape.

  • The Times They Are A’ Changing – Bob Dylan
  • I wish I was a Punk Rocker (with flowers in my hair) – Sandi Thom
  • I like you so much better when you’re naked – Ida Maria
  • Werewolves Of London – Warren Zevon
  • Don’t let me be misunderstood- The Animals
  • Home – Edward Sharpe and the magnetic zeroes
  • Going up the country – Kitty, Daisy and Lewis
  • Mary Jane’s Last Dance – Tom Petty and the heartbreakers
  • Time in a bottle – Jim Croce
  • Friday I’m in Love – The Cure

Give it a listen on Spotify here.


Mad Eye Moody’s Broomstick Boombox


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When fighting death eaters you need exactly the right set of classic rock hits to strike fear into their hearts.

  • Bat Out Of Hell – Meatloaf
  • Paranoid – Black Sabbath
  • Paint It Black – Rolling Stones
  • Ace Of Spades – Motörhead
  • Radar Love – Golden Earring
  • Wanted Dead Or Alive – Bon Jovi
  • Mr. Crowley – Ozzy Osborne
  • Holy Diver – Dio
  • (Don’t fear) The Reaper – Blue Oyster Cult
  • Renegade – Styx

Give it a listen on Spotify here.


Weasley Weekly Warm Up


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Cleaning out Grimold place is no easy task but with these feel good songs it’s an absolute breeze.

  • Have A Nice Day – Stereophonics
  • Let’s Dance To Joy Division – The Wombats
  • Fill my little word – The Feeling
  • Upside Down – Paloma Faith
  • Dreaming of you – The Coral
  • Half The World Away – Oasis
  • Same Jeans – The View
  • Little Lion Man – Mumford And Sons
  • Elvis Ain’t Dead – Scouting For Girls
  • Teenage Kicks – The Undertones

Give it a listen on Spotify here.

Do you agree?  What tracks would you add or remove for the Order’s playlist? Let me know in the comment section down below, on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/Beartrails/ or on Twitter at: @BearTrails

Also if you want daily BS remember to sign up for emails or follow with your WordPress account.

bearsleuth

Written By: The BearSleuth

Avengers, X-Men and the Crisis of Infinite Earths – Part One: MCU & XUC.

With the departure of Hugh Jackman from everyone’s favourite mutant franchise, could we see the X-Men return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe any time soon?

An empty X-Jet hanger filled with the sound of strong, confident footsteps as Captain America strides across it saying ‘Logan. Scott. Stand down. You know the Avengers can’t let the Phoenix survive’. A grunt from Wolverine as we hear the slow metallic sound of his claws extending just before the thunderous outpouring of energy from Cyclops’ visor announces the start of a battle we’ll never forget. Beast and Colossus fighting the Hulk. Black Widow locked in combat with Psylocke. All on the big screen with a small horde or big-name talent leading the charge.

It’s every Marvel Fanboy’s wet dream, right? But could it ever become a reality.

Could Marvel Studios acquire the rights allowing them to the X-Men into the giant melting pot that is the MCU? To answer that we have to jump back seventeen years when your humble Sleuth was a meek five year old and start a journey that is going to take a whole slew of articles.

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Morning BS: Why read Max Landis’ Superman: American Alien In 250 words or less

The genius visionary behind Chronicle, American Ultra and Victor Frankenstein hits the world of comics with one of the greatest Superman books of all time and you need to read it!

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While Superman might be one of the most Iconic superheroes of all time he isn’t particularly liked by a large portion of the comic book fandom. I mean, why choose Superman’s vanilla when you can have Green Lantern’s mint choc chip, right? It’s tough to write a Superman book at the best of times and normally it ends up being a played out battle between Superman and Lex or another alien threat, but occasionally a writer comes along and turns the man of steel on his head. Last year, Max Landis did just that.

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Landis tracks Clark Kent’s growth from a young boy all the way through to manhood. We see the evolution of Superman across seven issues which include tonnes of extra short stories and single panel pieces that Landis has incorporated to create a full picture of the Man Of Steel. It’s a story of moral and physical evolution that keeps interesting and light hearted for the average reader while also throwing in tonnes of stuff that long term Superman fans will love. If you only read one Superman story make it this one.

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I’ve got a few words left so I’ll just say this: Boyhood meets the best Man of Steel has to offer…what more could you want?

You can pick American Alien up for £12.99 digitally through the DC Comics app or in graphic novel form for £12.51 from Amazon

Have you read American Alien or are planning to? Let me know in the comment section down below, on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/Beartrails/ or on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/BearTrails

Also if you want daily BS remember to sign up for emails or follow with your WordPress account.

bearsleuthWritten by: Patrick Lunn

Morning BS: Black Widow’s Patrol Playlist

When the world’s greatest Shield agent needs to work out, fight or unwind she’s going to need one hell of a playlist, luckily your humble Sleuth has some recommendations.

Natasha Romanov is one hell of a shield agent, possibly the greatest of all time and she fights alongside the likes of gods and super humans a member of the Avengers. Thats a lot of stress. Doctor BearSleuth has a simple prescription though, simply cut loose and rock out. I reckon with these three playlists miss Romanov could rule the world:

 


S.H.I.E.L.D Work Out


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When you’re training to fight alongside Iron Man and the Hulk this is the only playlist you need.

  • Black Widow – Iggy Azalea
  • 212 – Azealia Banks
  • Ignorance – Paramore
  • Just A Girl – No Doubt
  • Heartbreaker – Pat Benatar
  • Barracuda – Joan Jett
  • That’s Not My Name – The Ting Tings
  • Remedy – Little Boots
  • Edge Of Seventeen – Stevie Nicks

Give it a listen here!


Undercover Ninja Mixtape


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Who said that stealth work couldn’t have an awesome soundtrack? With this Soundtrack you’ll be ready for anything behind enemy lines.

  • Switchblade Smiles – Kasabian
  • Prayer Of The Refugee – Rise Against
  • Watercolour – Pendulum
  • Invaders Must Die – The Prodigy
  • Galvanize – The Chemical Brothers
  • Weapon Of Choice (feat. Boots Collins) – Fatboy Slim
  • Joker And The Thief – Wolfmother
  • Sabotage – Cancer Bats
  • Blue Orchid – The White Stripes
  • Enter Sandman – Metallica

Give it a listen here!


Emotional Cleansing


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Everybody hurts and Natasha is no different. She might seem like an ice queen in the field but behind closed doors even she has to blow off some steam.

  • Prayin’ – Plan B
  • Hurt – Johnny Cash
  • Creep – Radiohead
  • Why Does It Always Rain On Me – Travis
  • Dakota – Stereophonics
  • This Is The Last Time – Keane
  • I Miss You – Blink 182
  • Sweet Disposition – The Temper Trap
  • Champagne Supernova – Oasis
  • Torn – Natalie Imbruglia

Give it a listen here!

Do you agree?  What tracks would you add or remove for Black Widows’s playlist? Let me know in the comment section down below, on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/Beartrails/ or on Twitter at: @BearTrails

Also if you want daily BS remember to sign up for emails or follow with your WordPress account.

bearsleuth

Written By: The BearSleuth

 

Morning BS: Why read Tom King’s Vision: Little Worse Than A Man In 250 words or less

Vision is possibly one of the strongest Avengers with abilities matching Thor or Hulk so what happens when the synthetic superhero wants to start a family?

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There have been a few attempts over the years to give the Vision a solo book and each have been met with low to middling success. This has mostly been due to the fact that he’s a little too perfect. A robot with the ability to change his body density and access many other powers on top of that is pretty muchl unstoppable. When the duties of revisiting Vision fell to rising star Tom King, who went from this to writing Batman, there was one direction no one had ever conceived for the automatous Avenger…Vision the soap opera.

These first six issues see Vision create a family including a Wife, Son, Daughter and Dog. In the first issue we see the kids go off to school, Vision heads off to help the President on normal Avengers business and Vision’s wife murders a super villain. The story then becomes a twisted commentary on suburban lifestyle and the family unit all told through Tom King’s brilliant style which pulls in references to classic literature and comic books.

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I’ve got a few words left so I’ll just say this: I, Robot meets Fuller House…what more could you want?

You can pick Little Worse Than A Man up for £13.49 digitally through the Marvel Comics app or in graphic novel form for £14.99 from Amazon

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Have you read Little Worse Than A Man or are planning to? Let me know in the comment section down below, on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/Beartrails/ or on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/BearTrails

Also if you want daily BS remember to sign up for emails or follow with your WordPress account.

bearsleuthWritten by: Patrick Lunn

 

VuePoint: NIOH

Let me just get one thing out of the way. I love the Souls games, and I also love the Souls-like games. I have got the 100% Platinum trophy for all three Dark Souls games, as well as Bloodborne and Demon’s Souls. I am working on the platinum trophy for Lords of The Fallen, which I don’t enjoy as much, but still love. Salt and Sanctuary is up there with my favourite indie games of all time. I have a certain degree of experience with the unforgiving nature and cruel difficulty of Souls and Souls-like games. That being said…

…NIOH KICKED MY ASS.

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NIOH takes the tried and true formula of the Soulsborne (hereby referred to simply as SB) mechanics—managing stamina to block, dodge and attack, controlling enemy numbers, levelling up individual stat points, and losing everything if you die— and applies them to a Japanese Samurai setting. This is all super cool, and although it has its own sense of style, its own unique little design elements, and just generally its own distinctive flavour, at its core it’s still a Souls-like RPG.

It isn’t out yet, but I recently spent a whole week totally bashing the final beta test for the game, so I have a lot to talk about. Hopefully I can help you decide whether it’s worth spending your hard-earned cash on, come release day next week (the 8th of February to be exact). The strange thing about this game is that if you hated the SB games, you’ll probably not enjoy this one either as it shares similar turnoffs to that series—mainly the difficulty. However, if you did enjoy the SB games, this one might also NOT be for you.

This makes it sound like an objectively all around bad game, which it isn’t, not by a long shot. On the contrary, NIOH is actually really fun to play. It’s a tough one to explain. Whilst it shares its punishing difficulty with the SB games and this may turn some people away, this isn’t an objectively bad feature. Personally, I enjoy the level of challenge the games present, and don’t see it as being “hard” per se.

To me a game is hard if I am unable to progress due to the enemies being too powerful or the puzzles being too obtuse with no clear way of figuring out the answer. SB, and now NIOH, present you with obstacles that are perfectly manageable, so long as you tackle it in the correct way. True difficulty—the unpleasant kind—comes in the form of an objective that is designed to destroy you regardless of your angle of attack, where success comes in the form of a lucky hit, or a fluke.

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SB and NIOH’s difficulty gives you a situation and expects you to learn how to deal with it. Death is part of the process, and as time goes on, you learn enemy positions movements and tactics. Most importantly, you learn their strengths and weaknesses. After some frustration, your fingers are dancing across the control pad as you storm through the area like an unstoppable maelstrom of death.

Combat encounters become puzzles, as surviving becomes just as much about figuring out what an enemy is going to do as it is about skilful dodging and timing your strikes. There is a degree of skill involved—quite a large degree in fact—but as your character levels up and progresses, your skill level increases, making no obstacle insurmountable. Anyway, that’s a generalisation for SB and NIOH. Let’s focus more on what’s in store for the upcoming title.

In terms of the RPG elements, NIOH functions in much the same way as SB. You can equip different weapons, armour, and other such goodies (including spirit animals), and levelling up involves increasing the value of certain stat points. You can also unlock and upgrade new skills—a new feature not seen in SB—and get another level of customisation over your character. Furthermore, each weapon you use increases in level the more you use it. You gain a skill point with each weapon level, which you can use anywhere you want, not just with that weapon. This directly rewards your play style, but also encourages experimenting with other weapons. The lower a weapon’s level, the faster it levels up. Using a low-level weapon that you never use could not only open a new play style for you, but it could also be a quick way to earn some extra skill points if you’re in need.

The combat is fast and furious—at least, it is in two of the three stances available to you. You have two weapon slots, each weapon has three stances: high, medium, and low (basically fast, slow, and balanced), and each stance has a quick and a heavy attack. At first this all seems intimidating, but it honestly isn’t much more complex than the SB combat. A few hours of practice (which, let’s be honest, is a fraction of the time you spend playing these games) and you’ll be switching through stances and weapons in the middle of combat, and sometimes even mid-combo!

Even in medium stance, combat is faster than the SB games. I got the impression that the main focus in combat should be moving around and dodging, rather than tanking and blocking. Other people may have gotten a different first impression. This is still just the beta so there wasn’t a huge amount to go off, but to me speed seems far more important here.

This is where my comments about the combat from earlier come in. It feels very different from the SB games, but also the same. It took a little adjustment (and a lot of death). One welcome addition is the ability to see an enemy’s stamina bar. Each enemy has a stamina bar below their health, which allows you to see when they’re getting tired and plan accordingly. Dancing around an enemy as he wore himself out, only to perform a quick action to regain my stamina and unleash a tidal wave of pain on his defenceless, panting form was remarkably satisfying. 16558967_10209228658807606_1750874732_n

I haven’t even mentioned that manoeuvre, have I? There’s a whole bunch of neat little features that I haven’t touched on. Stamina regeneration, spirit animals, multiplayer, they’re all things that I got a mere taste of in the demo. I could go on for pages, but instead I’ll begin to wrap up. You’re reading this, wanting to know if you should spend your money on NIOH. Here’s my verdict: If you didn’t like the SB games, try and find a demo of this, it’s at least worth a try. If you DID enjoy the SB games, I would recommend a rental if one is available. Or borrow it from a friend. There won’t be enough in a demo to give you a full understanding of the features it brings to the table. Before you pay full price and dive in headlong, consider the risks. This game has some heavy influences from SB, but is also very different, so be sure you know what you’re getting into.

Personally, I will be buying this…if I can justify spending another £50 as I’ve just bought Resident Evil 7. My bank account hates me right now, but I have the willpower of someone stumbling into a KFC at 2am, regardless of their Weight Watchers meeting the following morning. And on that note, I say good luck in the world of demonic fantasy Samurai battles. Enjoy your time with the game, but make sure you know what you’re spending your money on. Until next time, peace out and keep gaming!

Written by: Jack Sutton

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