Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 Review

After Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare was such a pleasant surprise for me, Garden Warfare 2 was always on my radar. Garden Warfare 2 builds on the success of the first one in a lot of ways, but it also falls back in a few.

New Hub

One of the biggest changes is the fact that the menu’s of the last game have been replaced with a hub world. This change is very welcome as it comes with a lot of new additions. In Garden Warfare 2 you have quests, given to you by leaders of the two factions. These quests form the basis of a story mode, and gives the player a taste of the gameplay and useful tactics for playing online. These quests are honestly very fun, like me, you’ll probably find yourself addictively blasting through quest after quest in your first couple hours of gameplay and completely neglect online.

The quests however don’t last too long and definitely leaves you wanting more. Hopefully we’ll see more quests in the form of DLC.

New characters

The new characters introduced are a really breath of fresh air and a great change of pace. On the zombie side you’ve got the superhero, who gets in close and personal and bashes faces. You’ve also got the imp, who’s fast and mobile and has the ability to call down a robotic suit that is incredibly tough and dangerous. In addition to those two you get the pirate who plays similarly to the scientist but with some interesting power ups, including a devastating barrel bomb, that you control (including when it explodes).

The Corn on the Cob is great for surpression but his lack of mobility lets him down.

The Corn on the Cob is great for surpression but his lack of mobility lets him down.

On the plant side you’ve got the corn on the cob which plays very similarly to the american football player of the zombies. You’ve also got the citrus which can morph into a ball for a quick getaway and finally the rose which turns people into goats.

They’re great additions to the cast and all are very fun to use. Unfortunately they’re unbalanced.

Zombie Domination

This year it feels like the zombies are very much on top. Not so much in the standard team death match, but in the all-encompassing Turf Takeover (the mode in which you battle for territory; one side defending, the other attacking). This year, unlike the last edition, the zombies can be the ones defending, which is a welcome addition, except for the fact that it’s next to impossible to defeat even a half-decent team of zombies. I fear the new characters have swung the balance. Specifically the Imp, who, when small, is very hard to hit and when encased in a machine Gundam would be proud off, is an absolute wrecking machine.

That’s not to say it’s not fun, when it’s plants defending it can be a really fun back and forth game that often goes to the wire.

Is it worth it?

If you liked the last one there’s a lot to like here. It hasn’t changed a massive amount (for good and bad) and the new additions make a nice change of pace. I don’t think I’ll put as many hours into this one as I did the last one, as the novelty has worn off slightly and the changes can make for a frustrating play at times, but it’s still unique and makes for a really fun experience.

Have you managed to play Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 yet? If so, let me know your thoughts on the game, in the comments down below.

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5 Of The Best FIFA Songs Of All Time

These days FIFA is more of a hate-hate than love-hate relationship. This years edition is probably the most rage-inducing edition yet but one thing EA always seem to get right is the soundtrack. Throughout the years FIFA has featured many legendary bands and singers from Kasabian, Beck, Muse, Keane, Chase and Status, TV on the Radio and a whole lot more. Here’s my list of 5 of the best songs from any and every FIFA I’ve played (which dates back to FIFA 98) and, as in my Top 5 FIFA 16 songs, i’ll link it to a famous player I think the song most correlates to.

5. Caesars – Jerk it Out – FIFA 2004

The flagship song of FIFA 2004, Caesars ‘Jerk it Out’ is incredibly catchy and just makes you bounce up and down. It’s puts you in the right frame of mind just to have a relax with and not take the game too seriously.

If this song was a player it would be: Edgar Davids – Silky smooth player with lots of flair.

4. Dizzee Rascal – Stand up Tall – FIFA Street

Now perhaps FIFA Street shouldn’t be on this list, but I had to include it for this song alone. I wasn’t overly impressed by the FIFA Street soundtrack and this was by far the standout for me. This bubbly and addictive song introduced me to the legend that is Dizzee Rascal and I’ve never looked back since.

If this song was a player it would be: Jimmy Bullard – Cheeky

 

 

 

 

3. Dan Black – Wonder – FIFA 11

Dan Black was a wonderfully unique voice and he’s another gem that FIFA has introduced me to. Wonder is one of Dan’s best songs and really captures his talent.

If this song was a player it would be: Zinedine Zidane – A once in a generation talent.

2. OK KID – Am Ende – FIFA 14

I’ll be honest, I’ve never really explored the genre of German rap. But this song made me keen to. I don’t understand a word but that doesn’t stop me rapping along.

If this song was a player it would be: Thomas Muller – Football is a simple game. Twenty-two men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans always win.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Saint Motel – Just My Type – FIFA 15

This is FIFA in party mode. This is a 32 mate tournament, with explicitly no sweaty players, but you’ve sneaked Doumbia on the bench and no one has noticed.

If this song was a player it would be: Cristiano Ronaldo – Not only is he fairly good at kicking a ball he looks like he should be modelling perfumes and he does!

What are some of your favourite songs from FIFA? Let me know in the comments down below.

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5 of my favourite comedy film moments

McLovin

You can’t beat a bit of comedy. Nothing better to cheer up a gloomy mood and put behind you a 6 game losing streak on FIFA that saw you launch your pad through the air like a swan chasing a bit of mouldy bread. Here’s 5 moments that never fail to get me chuckling.

The Talent Show – Wet Hot American Summer

Wet Hot American Summer is a seriously underrated film. Don’t believe what Rotten Tomatoes tells you, they lie! I love 80s films, and Wet Hot American Summer takes every element in any 80s film ever made and lampoons the living hell out of it.

The talent show is my favourite moment just because it comes completely out the blue, which is an incredible statement for a film where pretty much nothing makes sense.

It has literally got everything. A rocking soundtrack that gets the blood pumping, girls making out, Paul Rudd air guitaring into the wind. It probably doesn’t make much sense without context, but trust me, watch the film, get to that moment and you’ll be in tears.

Honorable mention

The Training Montage

Before South Park did their montage song there was this. Greatest. Montage. Ever.

McLovin – Superbad

Superbad is, in my opinion, Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg’s best outing so far. It was the making of the three cast members who have all gone on to have great careers. The fake ID just sums up the film perfectly, Fogell’s defiant stupidity, Seth’s frustrated anger and Evan’s fleeting optimism.

Decapitated Budget – Dumb and Dumber

Dumb and Dumber is Jim Carey’s best comedy film. There’s no film that has a better laugh to minute ratio than this.

This scene is just a masterclass in comedic delivery, both from Jim Carey and Jeff Daniels.

Meeting Candy – Harold and Maude

Describing Harold and Maude is no easy task. It is by no means a conventional comedy. It’s a romantic comedy but not like anything you’re ever likely to see.

What makes this scene is that it all goes on in peripheral. It really engages the audience and the anticipation builds to an absolutely amazing pay off. When Harold then breaks the fourth wall you know you’re in for a ride.

The Fight – Step Brothers

Two great comedy actors of the modern era, at the height of their powers, combine in this classic.

This scene is a culmination of half a movies worth of build-up and is a great blending of brilliant writing and beautiful physical comedy.

What are your favourite comedy moments? Let me know in the comments down below.

 

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Futurama: Game of Drone – Milking the fans

Fry and Zoidberg must have brain slugs on the backs of their heads, it’s the only reason they’d be smiling.

So I was kind of excited when I saw that Futurama had made its way back into the video game realm, in the form of an android game. Futurama has always been my favourite TV show. It’s pure hilarious escapism. I’ve spent thousands of hours watching the original four-season run and then more when it was brought back from the dead. I even played the PS2 Futurama game which had its own simplistic fun.

I should never have got my hopes up for Futurama: Game of Drones. The first clue was that Game of Drones is a freemium game, which these days means less ‘game’ and more money sink. The second clue was Simpsons: Tapped Out.

Now Game of Drones is not devoid of fun. It’s a Candy Crush clone and plays almost identically with the same aim, same power-ups, same structure. It’s honestly shameless. And like Candy Crush, Game of Drones has it’s 5-minute burst of addictive puzzling fun. Combine that with the classic Futurama sound and art, the occasionally witty Futurama line in the brief comic-like interlude between levels – and you have a reason to give into the evil and click the app.

The Creative Director

The Creative Director for Futurama: Game of Drones

But what really pisses me off about the game is the pure lack of creativity or artistic vision.

The way the game and movie industries work is that, in most cases, you have to create something good to make money. Fundamentally creating good art and making money goes hand-in-hand. The best-selling games of all time – the Grand Theft Auto’s,¬† the Halo’s, the Call of Duty’s are all fundamentally brilliant games and they got to the top by being that way. The reason Futurama got in a position to have a licensed game, is off the back of the absolutely brilliant writing and character building of the show.

Games like Game of Drones and a lot of freemium games are made without artistic visions. Without creativity. They are made for one reason and one reason only. To make money. And somehow they get to the top of the mountain!

The only reason Game of Drones was made was to make money and it’s absolutely despicable.

They’ve re-skinned Candy Crush, that’s the entirety of the work that went into this game. It was never made to tell a story, it was never made to provide worthwhile or substantial¬† entertainment, there’s no commentary, no message. It has literally taken no talent to make this game.

Does Matt Groening really need that much more money that he’s willing to rip-off people who might, naively spend money on this game. Not just any people either, fans of the show, who’ve supported it for years. Because let’s be honest, Futurama has never had the following or pop-culture presence of the likes of The Simpsons or Family Guy so realistically it’s going to be fans of Futurama that fund this trash.

How the game makes money

How the game makes money

Also the name is terrible. They already did that joke with the Game of Tones episode!

Don’t play the game.

If you have played the game (and I feel very sorry for you if you have) then let me know your thoughts down below and also let me know what you think of freemium games as a whole.

 

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Preacher – Thoughts on the upcoming series

Preacher-Proud-Americans-cover

A few months back, I sat back and over the course of a week or two, read the entire Preacher¬†(Garth Ennis and Steve Dillion) graphic novel series. Being more than a bit into my graphic novels, I’d come across Preacher a few times and heard a lot about what a fantastic series it was, but I don’t think I was quite prepared to be reading the funniest piece of literature I’d ever set my muggy grubs on.

The loveable arse himself

The loveable arse himself

It’s next to impossible to describe just what you get with Preacher. In essence it’s a revenge story of a Preacher out to enact some justice on a God that has abandoned Earth. But that doesn’t nothing to mention an Irish Vampire, a character by the name of Arseface, an undead Angel of Death, a 700+ pound bulimic that heads up a secret, government controlling, organisation and much much more.

There is not a single novel, graphic or otherwise, that I’ve laughed longer and harder at. There’s also very few graphic novels that are able to tell such an engaging story, which include real strong character and relationship development.

A few weeks after finishing the series I, very excitedly, discovered that AMC were adapting Preacher into a tv show and a trailer had been released!

After watching the trailer I was left a little concerned

Now don’t get me wrong, as much Preacher is about humour, it is also about violence, revenge and pain. It’s about the impact that a life of violence has, both for those that lead it and those who are caught in the wake of it. But I was disappointed that no real humour was captured in the trailer. The worst thing in the world would be for Preacher to be gutted of its core like so many other adaptions we’ve seen in the past.

Now one thing that does give me confidence in the series is the casting choices. There is no one more appropriate to play Cassidy, the womanizing Irish vampire, than Joe Gilgun, who is probably most famous for playing the pants-wettingly funny Rudy in the Channel 4 show Misfits.

Joe Gilgun channelling my feelings upon finishing the Preacher trailer

Joe Gilgun channelling my feelings upon finishing the Preacher trailer

I also have every confidence that Dominic Cooper (The Devil’s Double, My Week with Marilyn) will be an excellent Jesse Custer as will Ruth Negga as Tulip. Futhermore having Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg directing, who have thus far created a pretty decent track-record with comedy, has me more assured.

I sincerely hope we see Preacher fulfil its potential because AMC has a goldmine on its hands.

 

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Telltale’s Game of Thrones Review

Iron from Ice

Game of Thrones is just one in a long line of high-profile licenses Telltale Games have made use of in recent years. It was announced with a lot of hype and a lot of fanfare – knowing what Telltale had done with their Walking Dead efforts made Game of Thrones, the adaption from arguably the biggest show on television right now, much-anticipated.

Having completed all 6 episodes (about 3 to 4 hours long each) I’ve got mixed feelings about the series. At times it faithfully recreates the bitter drama of the TV series. The crushing lows and the triumphant highs, but at other times its famous names hold back what it can accomplish.

As nice as it is to trade wits with Tyrion Lannister it is frustrating knowing he's due to star in the next season of 'Making a Murderer'

As nice as it is to trade wits with Tyrion Lannister it is frustrating knowing he’s due to star in the next season of ‘Making a Murderer’

One of the balancing acts The Walking Dead played was to create a game without the big characters of the show. This allowed Telltale to craft a beautifully impactful, original story. With Game of Thrones they’d hit the middle ground and done what many fans would have been calling for. As well as creating some real compelling original characters for the game, Telltale also splice in some familiar faces like Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen, Tyrion Lannister and others. Unfortunately this is where the Game of Thrones game falls down. While it’s nice to see Ramsey Snow; an abundant amount of frustration comes from the fact that you know you cannot impact on his storyline. That Ramsey Snow will continue to be a bastard and you can do absolutely nothing about it. Similarly, why would you side with Tyrion in King’s Landing, knowing he’ll soon find himself in the slave pits of Meereen.

Gryff Whitehill - Youngest son of Ludd and one of the antaganists. In one word  'Backpfeifengesicht'. Google it

Gryff Whitehill – Youngest son of Ludd Whitehill and one of the antaganists. In one word ‘Backpfeifengesicht’. Google it.

These limits effect how much you can become attached to the Forrester’s that you control, which really is a shame as generally you’ll find them endearing and very likable. Asher is the standout character for me, combining that sense of youthful adventure with a noble desire to honor and protect his family. Likewise the Whitehill gang of thieves and vagabonds are intensely despicable. These two families fit perfectly within the Game of Thrones lore and you can easily imagine their torrid lineage filling fantasy books all around Westeros.

One of the common complaints with most Telltale games is the amount of impact you actually have on events. As someone who typically sticks to one play through it doesn’t affect me too much, but I understand the illusion of choice is particularly potent in Game of Thrones. While it is somewhat understandable with the level of licence that they hold, there is frustration in gleefully leaping onto the discussion forums, looking for the things you missed, only to discover that everyone had pretty much the same experience.

Another complaint would be the nature of the story arc. I feel at times Telltale trod a bit too close to the formula of the show. It’s hard to ignore the similarities between the misadventures of the Stark’s and the Forrester’s. The sudden deaths also seemed cheapened in light of this.

Is it an essential play? No probably not, but there’s moments of beauty and real story crafting that makes the game worth playing. The story progression of Garid and his search for ‘The North Grove’ (though it does end somewhat disappointingly) and Asher’s adventures certainly outweigh more dull moments in King’s Landing with Mira who is simply too far disconnected from her family.

If you are looking to bridge your time before season 6 airs in April then you should look here. You may not be completely satisfied. But the Forrester’s are a family you should be introduced to.

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My Funko Pop Collection Part 2: TARDIS & Marvel

Here is part two of the showcase of my Funko Pop collection. It was originally just going to feature my little Marvel set but since I’ve made an addition to my Doctor Who collection I thought I’d throw that in as well.

TARDIS

The TARDIS really is the centrepiece of my collection. It’s bigger than any other Funko Pop and only a couple of quid more expensive. To me it is the most important piece beyond The Doctor himself, so I was delighted to get the TARDIS as a Christmas present.

The only disappointment with the TARDIS is that the inside isn’t decorated. Now while I don’t expect it to bigger on the inside (despite my dreams) I coat of paint to make it appear that way wouldn’t have gone a miss

Marvel

The Marvel collection is ever expanding, though I feel this is a good start. I still aim to add Thor, Ant-Man and Spider-Man among one or two others. One thing that I do like about the Marvel set is that they are proper bobble heads and so are perfect for the car or work desk.

Look out for part 3 coming soon!

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