Note: Full spoilers for the episode follow.
After spending most of the first season checking in with various characters spread out around New York in each episode, tonight changes things up with a gas station siege for most of its running time. The narrow focus keeps the hour moving smoothly, and the action informs the characters far better than more monologues could. The Strain has been improving bit by bit over the last few weeks, and “Creatures of the Night” keeps that trend going.
The most satisfying moment was deceptively simple: one character asking someone in the know, point-blank, the most basic of questions. It’s something we’ve all yelled at the screen while watching other genre stories, frustrated that nobody would ever stop and ask “No, really—what’s going on?” That Vasiliy actually does this is an all-too-rare instance of someone behaving the way we’d like to think people would in this extraordinary situation. That Abraham had answers and didn’t have pull the “hey, you asked” card like he always has to with Eph was even more rewarding.
Warning: Full spoilers for the episode follow.
This week’s episode, the first of a two part finale, picks up seconds after “Drawing Straws” ended with Lexi’s arrival drawing the attention of everyone near by. Saying that the reaction her arrival was mixed might be a bit disingenuous as she is met with skepticism and fear. Even Anne, the only person who seemed to have any faith in Lexi, is hesitant to trust her daughter. “Space Oddity” relies heavily on this distrust as a tense narrative develops around whether or not Lexi is still working for the Espheni.
The audience is given a unique perspective, as we already know that Lexi has turned on her Espheni masters and is trying to make amends for her mistakes. At least that’s what we think we know. As the episode progresses we’re led down a weaving path that gives us serious doubt about what Lexi’s intentions really are.
Warning: Full spoilers for the episode follow.
“Shoot the Moon” is tonally quite a bit different than the first hour. The opening scene with Dingaan was a creepy introduction to what has been happening back on Earth while Tom and Lexi have been in space. The twisted scene with Dingaan’s team being transformed into human skitters right before him definitely had a B horror film vibe and that atmosphere carries itself throughout the episode.
We quickly learn that the process of turning humans into skitters has seemingly evolved and now the Espheni are able to drop pods from the sky with slug monsters that can do the job with great efficiency. It’s kind of odd that just three episodes ago we were being show this very mechanical process in a factory of changing humans into skitters and now that process has been completely changed. I guess we’re just expected to believe they had this process in development without anyone knowing this whole time? Regardless, visually this works a whole hell of a lot better as we have slug monsters, fog and some weird slime that causes people to freeze into place. This is a lot more fun than some remote factory that is churning out hybrids.
Hearthstone has been an even more exciting game to play than usual over the last month and a half. Every week during the Curse of Naxxramas expansion, new cards were being added to the pool, changing the game in interesting new ways. Now that Naxx is complete and all 30 of its cards have been out in the wild for a little over a week, I figured there’s no better time to try and rank the best of the batch.
How have I arrived at this list? Well, obviously it’s pretty subjective. After all, as the saying goes, one man’s Captain’s Parrot is another man’s Ragnaros the Firelord. (I think I might play too much Hearthstone.) The value of cards also changes as players discover new ways to utilise cards and build decks, and the shape of the meta also has a huge impact. The essential cards when players are running more aggro decks, for instance, will be pretty different than in a slower-paced, Control-heavy meta.
Want to know what'll be available for streaming on Amazon Prime this September? Check it out.
While (as usual) Prime and Netflix share a few titles - like this month's All is Lost, A Simple Plan, Bad Grandpa, and more - there are a handful of cool, unique offerings that you can only catch on Amazon. Grimm Season 3 and Broad City Season 1, for example. Along with Mel Brooks' Spaceballs, the early 90s animated film Ferngully: The Last Rainforest (featuring the voices of Robin Williams, Tim Curry, and Christian Slater), and Young Sherlock Holmes from Barry Levinson and Chris Columbus.
“I said everything I wanted to say about shooters with Far Cry 3.”
Jeffrey Yohalem is still getting questions about the story he wrote for 2012’s Far Cry 3. He recently fielded an AMA on Child of Light and still the shadow of Vaas and golden tigers wavered on the walls. And someone blamed him for UPlay. Tonight I have not asked him anything yet, but instead lamented: I’m sad you were not asked back to do Far Cry 4. I’d talked to him extensively about its precursor circa 2012 and this may be cheating, but I genuinely liked what he did there, though Far Cry 3’s myriad subtexts seem to have changed their collective final form a few times since.
In a capacity-PAX panel in Seattle today, legendary video game designer Keiji Inafune announced that beta access will be live for Comcept's upcoming game Mighty No. 9 "within 24 hours."
The access is open to those who supported at the $80 or more tier on the project's Kickstarter, as well as for those lucky enough to have been at today's panel. Access codes were given to those in attendance, much to the delight of everyone. Also, Mighty Gunvolt was announced as a free download for all backers of the Mighty No. 9 Kickstarter.
The hand-out given to those in attendance had not only a code to access the Mighty No. 9 beta, but also included with a code to download Mighty Gunvolt for those who didn't support the Kickstarter. Mighty Gunvolt currently comes free with the purchase of Azure Striker: Gunvolt, and is a tiny, retro-inspired stand-alone game. However, the download of the 8-bit demake is only available for download with the purchase of Azure Striker: Gunvolt before November 28. Beck, the protagonist from Mighty No. 9, is one of the playable characters.
PAX Prime 2014 is slowly coming to a close. Cosplay, weird animal fights, and loud noises filled the convention center.
To bring the craziness of PAX to the many people who didn't have the opportunity to go, we asked people to send us requests of what they wanted to see via Twitter. Below are our responses and our on the ground look at PAX Prime 2014.
— IGN (@IGN) August 31, 2014
I don’t consider myself the squeamish type, yet I couldn’t help but wince as I saw fatalities in Mortal Kombat X. The version we play at PAX is setup to showcase deadly finishing moves easily. I admit Fatalities have been my favorite part of prior MK games. They always delivered a funny dose of shock value with a trail of silliness tacked on at the same time. But this time was different. This time was gross.
When IGN editor Daemon Hatfield let the first one rip, I expected to laugh. I didn’t. In fact, for the first time ever I wondered if the developers went too far. I watched one of the new characters named Kotal Khan carve a deep cut across the chest of a bloodied Cassidy Cage’s with a blade. He then rips out her heart and holds up his new trophy before popping the juicy, still-beating muscle. The blood flows into Khan’s grotesque open mouth and drips down his lips. The visual fidelity carefully renders every second of this vicious moment.
Back to school, back to streaming. Here's what's landing on Netflix this September.
As we enter the gateway to Fall, Netflix is taking a look back at at the late Robin Williams with Disney's remake of 1961's The Absent-Minded Professor, Flubber - along with the breakout role that nabbed the late comedian his first Oscar nomination - that of Adrian Cronauer in Barry Levinson's Good Morning, Vietnam.
Those looking to play catchup on some TV are in luck as well as Season 4 of The Walking Dead, Season 2 of Arrow, and Season 1 of The Blacklist all arrive. Comedies Parks and Recreation, New Girl, About a Boy, and Trailer Park Boys are also ready to abuse your funny bone.
Four add-on packs will be released for Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, along with a season pass, 2K Australia announced at PAX today.
The DLC will release on unspecified dates following Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel's release, each priced at $10 USD –– alternatively, players can purchase the season pass, which includes all four packs, for $30 USD. The add-on packs will showcase new characters and missions, 2K said in a press release.
Although no other information was given regarding the content of each pack, 2K did announce the Shock Drop Slaughter Pit bonus content, which comes with any pre-orders of Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. This content will not be included with the season pass, but will be for sale at a later date.
As Guardians of the Galaxy topped the Labor Day weekend box office in its fifth week in release, the Marvel sci-fi action-comedy also became 2014's biggest hit domestically.
Guardians finished the three-day weekend with an estimated $16.3 million. It is now the No. 1 movie of the year domestically followed by Marvel's Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Guardians' worldwide total of $547.7 million makes it the year's 8th highest-grossing film internationally; Transformers: Age Of Extinction remains No. 1 worldwide with $1 billion.
Of the holiday weekend's new releases, the found footage film As Above/So Below fared best with an estimated haul of $8.3 million for fourth place. The Pierce Brosnan espionage film The November Man bowed in sixth place with a meek $7.7 million.
If Joaquin Phoenix doesn't end up playing Doctor Strange then this could be one of the big reasons why. And it's reportedly not just about money or the multi-film contracts Marvel Studios demands their actors sign.
According to Badass Digest, Marvel Studios had hoped to sign Phoenix in time to announce him during their panel at July's Comic-Con, but they couldn't seal the deal. And they still can't.
Phoenix is said to have met with Marvel this week (Collider reported a few days ago that the Oscar nominee was still very much in talks for Doctor Strange), but that there's a roadblock preventing the studio from signing him to play their Sorcerer Supreme.
Mezco Toyz announced Friday that they have acquired the license to release merchandise based on the horror hit The Conjuring and its forthcoming spinoff-prequel Annabelle, which tells the tale of the demonic doll introduced in the 2013 blockbuster.
In a posting on their Facebook page, Mezco said its "award winning design team has already begun creating an Annabelle version of their world record holding Living Dead Dolls, and has many more scares tucked away for the future. Mezco's unholy collectibles of the damned will arrive in stores in late 2014."
Mezco will be at New York Comic Con from October 9-12 (booth 1855) so look for creepy Annabelle and Conjuring merchandise there.
Note: Full spoilers for the episode follow.
It's time for a party. Besides presenting a chance for cameos from executive producer Ron Moore and author of the Outlander books Diana Gabaldon, the gathering of the clan gave Claire an opportunity to escape the castle. We needed to see her attempting forward progress after her declaration at the end of last week's episode, and Claire didn't disappoint. She wasn't successful, but she tried and she did so with intelligence. She thought of most everything, and it was nice to see that she's retaining her composure despite her desperation to get out. However, we didn't need the step by step voice over to get the point.
Must is a tricky word. Claire said it last week in regards to leaving Leoch and ended with it again tonight saying she must not fail in getting back to Craigh na Dun. The use of the word seems like a sure sign that she won't be successful. I understand that Claire's feeling determined, but they should dial back use of that particularly charged word.
The Order: 1886 demo I played at PAX Prime was one of the stranger slices of a game I’ve played in quite some time. It managed to reel me in from the get-go and keep my attention until the very end, despite some deep gameplay flaws. Let’s start with the positives.
I don’t need to tell you that The Order is a gorgeous video game. The characters, setting, and lighting effects are all top-notch. The world is an interesting and unique setting that straddles a nice line between Victorian horror and alternate history. The idea of a game combining werewolves and Nikola Tesla is fantastic -- I love the looking at a historical setting and playing with the idea of what it would be like with a dash of technology here and a bit of magic there. The few major events I was privy to inside of the world were equally intriguing. The voice work and banter between my team was great, and it was genuinely one of the few times where a game transitioned from a cinematic into gameplay, and I just sat there not moving because I didn’t spot the hard-cut from one to the other.
Free-to-play "Sandpark" MMO ArcheAge will launch on September 16, Trion Worlds has announced.
This will be preceded by an open beta from September 4-8, before those who purchased Founder's Packs get to jump in on September 12.
For those not in the know about ArcheAge, it's highly-anticipated among Western MMO fans as it incorporates aspects of Sandbox gameplay. While games like World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy XIV, Star Wars: The Old Republic and the like are branded "Themepark" titles as you get on the ride and have a carefully orchestrated journey of fun, ArcheAge is similar to Eve Online in the sense it also hands you the tools to make your own fun, only instead of spaceships there's the usual riffs on traditional fantasy tropes.
Harmonix announced the final tracks in the initial lineup for Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved at Pax today.
The artists were announced during the "Music Evolved –– From 8-Bit Soundtrack to Gameplay" panel. Award-winning composer Inon Zur and recording producer Eddie Kramer were present for the panel, which went behind the scenes of music production on the upcoming game. The new tracks are listed below:
• The Flaming Lips - "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt. 1"
• Imagine Dragons - "Radioactive"
• J.S. Bach - "Tocatta and Fugue in D Minor"
• Inon Zur - "Scout's Theme (ft. violinist Lindsay Stirling)"
• Jimi Hendrix - "Fire"
• Lady Gaga - "Applause"
The Royal Canadian Mint and Warner Bros. Consumer Products introduced four new collector coins this week featuring DC Comics' Superman. The Mint's seven-coin Superman series from 2013 proved a sold-out success.
These four new gold and silver collector coins (seen below) feature variations on Superman comic book covers throughout the decades, from his first appearance to the New 52. They were introduced Friday at FAN EXPO Canada.
These four new Superman coins ($10, $15, $20 and $100 CDN) can be ordered from the Mint by calling 1-800-267-1871 in Canada, 1-800-268-6468 in the US, or online at the Mint's site. The coins will also be available as of September 2nd at the Royal Canadian Mint's boutiques in Ottawa, Winnipeg and Vancouver, as well as through the Mint's global network of dealers and distributors, including participating Canada Post outlets.
Note: Full spoilers for the episode follow.
This may sound like sacrilege, but it's getting increasingly difficult to make the Daleks scary or, more importantly, interesting anymore.
Sure, if you grew up with them and have sense-memories of cowering behind the sofa in abject self-soiling childhood terror, then they'll always elicit a Pavlovian 'eep' or two. But while they're undeniably one of the Doctor's most iconic nemeses, they're also one of his most reliably beatable and singularly, predictably motivated.
Which is why 'Into the Dalek' was such a surprising success, offering the double whammy of both a new physical and surreally spiritual look into an enemy Whovians have gotten to know all too well in the 50 years since their debut.