IN REVIEW: Destiny

So what is Destiny? Is it a MMO? A competitive multiplayer shooter? An action filled story driven space opera? The marketing behind Destiny makes you believe that it is an entirely new genre of game that mixes social aspects of an MMO and the gameplay of a modern day first-person shooter thats never been attempted before. But Destiny is a definite dungeon crawler that looks gorgeous, plays fantastic, but overall, is a complete mess.

Bungie’s first game in the last 10 years without the word ‘Halo’ is structured around a campaign that had me confused in the first several hours upon playing it.

destiny_playstation_exclusive_content_2

The plot — or lack thereof — is where I first noticed Destiny’s potential and its failure to live up to it. The universe Bungie has created here operates on a simple premise: Humanity (alongside a few other friendly races) explored and populated huge swaths of the known universe during a Golden Age, until some mysterious force known as “the Darkness” halted that progress and pushed back. Humanity is now down to one thriving city, and all that remains elsewhere is ruins and wreckage.

Bungie has crafted an astoundingly beautiful and detailed series of ruined worlds to support that fiction, but Destiny seems scared of taking players to the most interesting parts. That devastated city you can see on the skyline? Yah, It’s going to remain a background fixture while you’re stuck running through bland, look-alike factories and “warbases” over and over.

The most exciting part of running through these generic spaces is often stumbling across other players, who will sometimes populate the same area as you while you’re on a mission. You’ll never more than a handful at a time, and the game rarely gives you any reason to actually interact with these players, but it can be fun to temporarily team up to take down a group of enemies.

Branching off from the campaign Destiny offers what are called ‘Strike Missions’. These strike missions are where you’ll end up spending most of your time while in Destiny if you don’t chose to play The Crucible – Bungie’s lackluster attempt at competitive multiplayer in Destiny. But we will touch base on that here shortly. Strike missions are your cookie cutter dungeon crawls that you would find in games such as Diablo and Neverwinter Nights. Fight through waves of enemies, encounter mini boss battle, fight some more enemies, FINAL boss battle. Collect loot. Repeat. Though Bungie does it well, it just was not what I expected when picking up Destiny.

destiny-screenshot-5

If the dungeon crawling aspects of Destiny is not your cup of tea then maybe you would like to get up close and personal with some PVP competitive multiplayer.

Destiny’s competitive component takes place in the Crucible — a special selectable playlist that includes control point, team deathmatch and free-for-all modes taking place in ten competitive maps.

If there’s any place to talk of Bungie’s legacy, it would be here. Three modes and just four multiplayer environments feels like an afterthought, especially in comparison to the Halo series’ ever-swelling roster of locations. But the number of maps isn’t the problem.

Instead, the Crucible’s biggest failing is its reliance on your character’s progression to power you through against other players. While damage numbers for weapons are evened out, you remain at the mercy of other players’ weapon types and skills, especially against players who find the motivation to grind on beyond level 20.

You’re also at the mercy of class abilities that were tuned to look cool in cooperative play rather than balanced for multiplayer. This became most obvious the second or third time a Titan player’s air-stomp splash damage killed everything in a six-foot radius. The care and refinement that defined Bungie’s previous multiplayer efforts just doesn’t seem present. Hopefully Bungie can address these issues allowing new players throughout the holiday season to jump into a multiplayer game in an instant without becoming immediately frustrated.

Repetition is everything is Destiny. The sole fundamentals of the game are to collect loot in order to obtain a cool weapon or piece of gear. Level up that certain item so you can gain access to even COOLER gear, and repeat. Loot and items are obtained throughout all areas of gameplay in Destiny. But if you want to purchase that badass looking sniper rifle appropriately named ‘THE FINAL BOSS” you have to strictly grind out countless hours in The Crucible in order to obtain it or become lucky and hope the Destiny gods are nice to you and acquire it from a random item drop in a strike mission.

With all of this said, is Destiny a terrible game? No. Destiny is an enjoyment that has had me locked away in my room for countless hours already. Even though it has had its launch day flaws and disappointments. The most important thing to remember about Destiny is that is has potential… lots of it. When Activision and Bungie announced that they would be making a 500 million dollar investment into Destiny over the span of ten years. That alone had me believing that Bungie had big plans for this game through its lifespan. With a week into release we’ve already seen the release of its first raid, which took the first players over TEN HOURS! to complete and DLC planned to be releasing in December. This is only the beginning for Destiny. I’m quite excited to see if Bungie can keep me coming back for more in the coming months.

 

rating7

SPAWN: THE RECALL Fan Film Is Better Than Actual SPAWN Film

spawn-the-recall-107094

The first rule of the Spawn Fan Club? Don’t talk about the Spawn movie made in 1997….yeesh.

As per usual with the whole “we tried that and it didn’t work so we just gave up” trend with Hollywood comic book adaptations, chances of another Spawn flick are pretty slim. The character does have a rather huge potential at the box office if done right, and this new fan film is definitely an indicator that fans are still interested.

Spawn is the alter-ego of former Assasin turned CIA agent Al Simmons. After Al began to question the government and it’s intentions, he caught the attention of some of his superiors; who then concocted a plan to get rid of him. Having knowingly killed innocent people during his tenure in the CIA, Simmons’ soul was sent to hell; where he made a deal to come back to the surface world in the form of a Hellspawn.

Bingo. That sounds like one kick-ass set up to me.

Here’s the synopsis for the new fan film, written and directed by filmmaker Michael Paris:

Spawn: The Recall is the story of a former witch and her son, who try to live a normal life away from the darkness. While they’re shopping in a supermarket, the child suddenly disappears. She starts looking for him, freaked out knowing evil forces are still lurking. A security guard comes to her help but while they are checking on the surveillance cameras, something happens. She can sense it, they are here…

Check out the film here (and make sure you wait till the end):


What do you think folks? Is there enough interest in the character to ramp up a new flick? Or should Spawn stay hidden in the depths of the underworld? Let us know in the comments below!

Destiny Is Now The Best Selling New IP Ever


Mere months after Watch Dogs broke the sales record for a new IP, it seems Bungie’s brand new shooter has ousted Watch Dogs as the best selling new IP of all time. Destiny made a reported $325 million dollars within its first 5 days. No specific sales numbers have been released yet, but early speculation has the PS4 version as the front-runner,  with the Xbox One version not far behind. Destiny also released on Playstation 3 and Xbox 360.

Bungie reports that players have logged over a million hours of online play, with 137 million activities completed. Needless to say Destiny has been a huge hit. Watch Dogs sold 4 million units in its opening week, so it will be interesting to see what region Destiny hits in its first week. The game has been met with criticism, but really in today’s era of over-hyping  every new game that comes out, it’s not that surprising.

Destiny certainly has its flaws, what game doesn’t? We here at ACR have enjoyed our time with the game for the most part and have been streaming it several times a week since release. Check out our live streams both myself and CJ have been playing nonstop, and as always, stay tuned to ACR for all your gaming news!

Microsoft Has Purchased Minecraft Studio Mojang For $2.5 Billion Dollars


As confirmed on Mojang’s official website, Microsoft has bought the studio for a cool $2.5 billion dollars. Studio founder Markus ‘Notch’ Persson along with co-founders Carl and Jacob will be leaving the company after the sale is finalized. Notch cited the pressure of owning a huge property like Minecraft as the primary reason for selling the company, saying that a game of the magnitude of Minecraft makes it difficult to try and pursue new projects.

Persson has said several times over the years that he prefers the indie approach, and has refused several buyout offers in the past. It seems that Microsoft’s offer was just too much to pass up and it gives the founding trio a chance to possibly open a new, smaller studio and get cracking on a new project. The sale of Mojang does seem to leave other Mojang titles like Scrolls in a limbo at the moment, with the main focus of the purchase being Minecraft.

The studio had the following statement in regards to the sale;

“Minecraft has grown from a simple game to a project of monumental significance. Though we’re massively proud of what Minecraft has become, it was never Notch’s intention for it to get this big.

As you might already know, Notch is the creator of Minecraft and the majority shareholder at Mojang. He’s decided that he doesn’t want the responsibility of owning a company of such global significance. Over the past few years he’s made attempts to work on smaller projects, but the pressure of owning Minecraft became too much for him to handle. The only option was to sell Mojang. He’ll continue to do cool stuff though. Don’t worry about that.”

 The studio has also assured the community that all versions of Minecraft will continue to be supported and grow over time. It seems that Microsoft is taking a similar approach to their own business model used for their Office products, allowing the program suite to be used on multiple platforms. I think that in the end this will only strengthen Minecraft. The game will now have the backing of one of the richest software companies in the world allowing Minecraft to reach new heights. Stay tuned to ACR for all your gaming news!

Max Rants: Marvel Beyond Ant-Man and Dr. Strange…

Superheroes, they’re EVERYWHERE right now! Marvel Studios has brought characters like Iron Man, the Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Falcon, War Machine, and the Guardians of the Galaxy to life so far and they aren’t stopping there. Avengers 2: Age of Ultron is going to introduce Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, and the Vision (possibly more?). Then Scott Lang’s Ant-Man, a possible Wasp, and Dr. Strange in movies to come in the near future. It seems like they plan on making a movie adaption to every character in their comic book universe that has existed for 60+ years, BUT they have two major obstacles going against them! ONE; Marvel doesn’t own the film rights to 3 of their biggest franchises (X-Men, Fantastic Four, and Spider-Man). That means Wolverine and Spidey aren’t joining the Avengers anytime soon and Marvel can’t use any characters connected to those franchises unless there is a legal loophole. TWO; Actors like Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, and Chris Hemsworth are only contracted to play their high profile characters for 2-3 more movies. Sure, they could get recasted (but can anyone really live up to RDJ as Tony Stark?), their characters could get killed off (pissing millions of fanboys off in the process), or their characters could pass the torch to someone else (like Sebastian Stan’s Winter Soldier taking over as the new Captain America) but worst case scenario; we’re looking at a cinematic universe without any of Marvel’s biggest players. So here are two characters Marvel should focus on filling in the big boy shoes in both the comics and movies.

capmarvel
#1 Captain Marvel. Not a boy, but a girl! I really wanted her to be a cameo or easter egg in Guardians of the Galaxy. Why? Because she’s closely related to the Kree aliens, in which the villain of the film, Ronan the Accuser is. Carol Danvers started off as a United States Air Force officer and the civilian love interest of the Kree alien superhero in disguise, Captain Mar-Vell. An explosion somehow fused Mar-Vell’s Kree powers onto Carol and she later became the energy absorbing, strong as Thor super heroine, Ms. Marvel. She had a very rough career as a superhero though. She abandoned humanity for space, became an alcoholic, and got her powers sucked away by Rogue of the X-Men. Despite that she’s overcome her problems in recent years and is now a motivated and militant badass big leaguer.

In a movie sense; I say screw her boyfriend, Captain Mar-Vell, and throw him under the bus. Make him out to be an undercover alien scout on Earth planning the Kree invasion just like he was in the Ultimate comics. Once Carol finds out about his true identity there will be hell to pay! Have the two break up, fight, find love again, leave each other for the greater good, name herself after him. DRAMA! That should be the focus of the movie; love, betrayal, and aliens! The only trick would be solidifying her origin story on how she got her powers. I mean it’s junk. Let’s add some believable super science and make it work. Have the villain of the movie be the Kree Supreme Intelligence or the Kree army in general and throw in as much supporting characters you can from the comics surrounding Carol and Mar-Vell. You know what I always say; a good hero needs like 4-5 good villains to make them great. So let’s create some well thought out villains for her in the comics in the meantime. Black Widow ain’t shit compared to Carol Danvers. There’s your strong female lead, Marvel.
blackpanther
#2 Black Panther. Black Panther was technically introduced in the Fantastic Four comics but I believe Marvel has been in talks of making a movie surrounding him for quite some time… Maybe another loophole. At any rate, there are two rare things in the Marvel Universe. One is the sound absorbing durable metal known as vibranium and the other… is black superheroes. The answer is T’Challa, prince/king of the made up African country of Wakanda. Wakanda is uncharacteristically wealthy and futuristically advanced for an African nation because of their ample supply of vibranium which crash landed in the country in the form of a meteorite long ago.

Sometimes Black Panther is a lot like Batman in that he has no powers and uses his brains/fighting skills/resources mainly as weapons. Other times he is gifted with supernatural Panther-deity powers. The Ultimate comics featured him as a mute mutant who had pseudo-Wolverine claws that barely pop out of his knuckles and he was pretty much abandoned by his people after SHIELD saved his life from a fatal incident and trained him as a weapon under US care. The constant thing about him is that he has a genius level intellect, he’s observant, he’s sneaky and quiet, and cuts the bullshit by being straight to the point.

The Panther “rank” in the Wakandan kingdom is passed down from one generation to the next, so obviously a movie would involve T’Challa being raised by his father T’Chaka, eventually witnessing him die by unnatural means, and reclaiming the thrown as the new king. There are rival clans within Wakanda represented by other animals such as the White Gorillas, Lions, and Crocodiles… So potential movie villains could be shown by various leaders of these tribes going for the throne or T’Challa’s adopted white brother, White Wolf, who became a mercenary after being exiled from the country for being a brutal law enforcer. I’d say Black Panther’s most high profile villain would be Ulysses Klaw, an outsider scientist who plots to steal the vibranium for his own experiments and eventually becomes a being made of “solid sound” and is able to use sonic vibrations as a weapon. But I like the idea of Marvel taking a C-Lister like White Wolf and turning him into something of a Loki-status villain. He doesn’t even have to be a white guy, his character would still make sense as T’Challa’s actual brother (Let’s try not to make it too much like Thor and Loki).

I would opt for that along with mixing elements of Black Panther’s mainstream and Ultimate origin. The hard truth is that separating Black Panther from Africa, at least for a good half of a movie, will allow American audiences to identify with the character more as an immigrant who went from riches to rags rather than a king of a secluded xenophobic country. Plus if Wakanda shuns him instead of making him king, he would be less obligated to return to Africa fulfilling his kingly duties and more obliged to help the Avengers. Just sayin’.

Grand Theft Auto V For Xbox One, PS4, and PC Gets A Release Date


Rockstar has released new details about its enhanced version of last year’s smash hit Grand Theft Auto V. The most important detail being that the game is coming out soon, it will arrive on Xbox One and PS4 on November 18th, with the PC version dated for January 27th, 2015. It looks like we won’t have to wait long to make our triumphant return to Los Santos.

So right about now you’re probably asking why would I want to buy GTA V twice, I already have it on another console! Well Rockstar may have your answer. First and foremost the added horsepower of the new hardware allows them to push the game to heights it just couldn’t reach on the 8+ year old last gen consoles. This allows for a boost in just about every graphical aspect of the game, better resolution, better framerate, better textures, better lighting, etc. The boost in processing power will also allow for more dense foliage, more wildlife, and better weather effects. Just see the difference for yourself, check out the comparison video so that you can see the differences.

 

 

Now some of you still might be saying “It looks nice and all, but I’ve already played the game!” While this is certainly true, Rockstar is adding A LOT of content to entice even veteran players back. To start things off, if you pre-order now you will get 1 million dollars in in-game cash, 500k for single player and 500k for GTA Online. If you’re returning from past versions of the game you’ll immediately have access to classic GTA vehicles like the Dodo plane or the Dukes as well.

The main campaign will feature new activities, missions, and items. Some of the added activities include wildlife photography and an enhanced shooting range. GTA Online is also being overhauled, allowing now up to 30 players to play simultaneously. Online will also see new activities, missions, and weapons added. All previously released GTA Online content will also be available on the enhanced version day one. We don’t have long to wait, but in the meantime check out the latest trailer below.

 

 

MAX’S TOP 100 VILLAINS (#21)

Renegade with Letters
#21 – Juggernaut

X-Men (various comic book titles, film, tv shows, and video games 1965-now)

Everybody knows the X-Men villain, the Juggernaut, but not everyone knows that he’s NOT actually a mutant. X-Men bad guys tend to be either mutant-hating humans or “evil mutants” so why not just group Juggernaut in with the latter? Well you shouldn’t! It takes a lot away from his character. Sure, he’s just a big dumb guy that can smash through anything but his relationship with his mutant step-brother, Charles Xavier, from his human perspective holds great importance in the development of Charles’ stance on mutant/human acceptance as well as the formation of the X-Men.

Juggernaut_33
Charles Xavier’s father, Brian Xavier, was a wealthy nuclear scientist who had died when Charles was very young. Brian’s partner, Kurt Marko, swooped in and married Charles’ mother, Sharon Xavier. At first Kurt seemed to be a stand-up guy and became a supporting father figure to young Charles, but at the cost of neglecting and sometimes abusing his own son, Cain. Of course this caused a lot of animosity for Charles in Cain’s mind which led to bullying even though Kurt was eventually abusive to Charles as well. Charles soon developed his telepathic mutant powers and was able to read Cain’s hateful thoughts towards him. This allowed Charles to read, empathize, and come to terms with Cain’s physical and psychological pain (giving him an extremely enduring trademark of fighting for understanding rather than a sense of glory). He was also able to read Kurt’s mind to figure out that he only married his mother for his father’s enormous wealth. Soon Sharon died which caused a fight between Cain and Charles in Kurt’s laboratory. The fight led to an explosion in which Kurt was fatally injured in. He was able to save the fighting boys but died right after shamefully admitting to conspiring in Brian Xavier’s death.

Years later, Cain and Charles were stationed in Korea together while serving in the Army. At some point Cain abandoned his post and Charles followed him into a hidden temple. This random Korean temple just happened to be dedicated to a demonic entity of destruction known as Cyttorak and was the home of the mystic ruby that imbued it’s holder with Cyttorak’s powers as an Earthly avatar influenced by its will. Cain seized the moment to have an equal power rivalling Charles’ own and chanted the incantation to become the human Juggernaut. Due to the temple collapsing on top of Cain, Charles believed him dead until years later after the formation of Charles’ first class of X-Men.

Cyttorak_(Earth-616)_Uncanny_X-Men_Vol_1_542
As Cytorrak’s Juggernaut, Cain’s main mystical power revolved around his immense durability. Not only was he granted Hulk-level strength and an extremely high degree of invulnerability, but his durability is greatly enhanced by a mystical force field that makes him virtually unstoppable once set in motion. Rather than being classified as a mutant, the Juggernaut is what hardcore Marvelites would call an “Exemplar.” Exemplars are people who have been granted awesome powers by finding magical objects on Earth that grant them the powers of eight different demon entities that when grouped together are called the Octessence (Cytorrak is one of the eight). Can you believe there are seven other people like the Juggernaut out there? Well they’re all forgettable and were introduced/forgotten in the 90’s so it’s not a big deal.

hulk_vs_juggernaut
As an Exemplar, Juggernaut is compelled to do Cytorrak’s bidding by destroying everything in his path, which in turn fuels his unbelievable powers. The more he destroys, the more overwhelmingly strong he becomes. At first Cain was dead set on killing Charles out of childhood jealousy and came incredibly close several times due to his magical helmet providing a mental shield against his telepathy. It goes without saying that his only weakness is a telepathic attack while his helmet is off. Juggernaut’s classic highlights are taking on the X-Men and Fantastic Four simultaneously, the X-Men teamed up with Dr. Strange, the Hulk, Alpha Flight, and Thor teamed up with the New Warriors. Juggernaut has only been physically defeated at full power by three people (Nimrod, Onslaught, and Hulk while augmented as a Horseman of Apocalypse). Cain has often attempted to mature himself by becoming a father figure/friend to Squid Boy (Sammy Pare) and even joining the X-Men on his behalf (and later does the same for Nocturne by joining New Excalibur). Although Juggernaut attempting to put his hate filled past behind him is a cool idea, his power is severely reduced when Cyttorak becomes disappointed by his chosen minion which pretty much makes him useless as a good guy. Cytorrak even transferred the Juggernaut powers to Colossus in recent years when he thought Cain had abandoned him as his master.


Anyway the important thing to remember is: Juggernaut isn’t a mutant. His Ultimate Universe counterpart, however, is a mutant… He also grew up in the same trailer park as Rogue and had no relation to Xavier. Is that cool? Not really, he was hardly as memorable as the classic. I don’t even want to talk about his film appearance in X-Men: The Last Stand… Capitalizing on My Way Entertainment‘s Youtube hit parody; “I’m the Juggernaut Bitch!” videos just didn’t seem like the best researched interpretation of his first and only appearance on film. It also kind of ruined what was an awesome saying.