Saturday, April 17, 2021

Oddworld: Soulstorm Review – A NEGATIVE Batch Of Brew

Playing Oddworld: Soulstorm is as arduous as Abe’s quest to liberate his Mudoken brethren from slavery. Each step is a supreme test of patience as you methodically guide your followers through challenging hazards, sweating over the fact that one slip-up could unravel all your effort. If you enjoy putting up with that old-school challenge, you might love this journey. However, if you’re a newcomer or a fan that believes this style of platformer hasn’t aged very well, turn back now. Soulstorm doesn’t do enough to modernize the series’ tedious gameplay, and a litany of severe technical hiccups spoil Abe’s attempted comeback. A reimagining of Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus, Soulstorm’s gameplay remains largely the same: you recruit and guide followers through 2D platforming stages littered with dangers. As charming as the classic Oddworld games are, they can be frustratingly difficult and that hasn’t changed much in Soulstorm. Most Slig enemies and other hazards mow Abe down instantly, and I was infuriated by how little wiggle room I had to correct course when things went sideways. Abe drops so fast that it makes the health meter seem like a cruel tease. While playing Soulstorm, I often felt like I was walking on eggshells because of that high price of failure, retracing every step, re-recruiting every Mudokon, and carefully guiding them through a gauntlet of foes is soul-crushing when it all falls apart in seconds. Dying to unexpected perils, like being suddenly gunned down by off-screen enemies, feels cheap and happens way too often. A crafting system serves as Soulstorm’s biggest addition, but it doesn’t feel necessary. You must repeatedly gather the same ingredients every time you die (by searching lockers, trash cans, and fallen foes), which wore me down in a hurry after repeatedly replaying certain sections. The crafted tools themselves, like proximity mines, smoke screens, even a flamethrower, do add a welcomed element of flexibility and improvisation to gameplay. Dropping smoke screens to create hiding spots anywhere is nice, but I wished I didn’t have to make these items myself and grew tired of digging around the same spots over and over.   Even when Soulstorm’s difficulty eases up, the gameplay is bland. The action feels largely the same from previous games in the series, and that formula doesn’t evolve significantly beyond the first few hours. Even the more interesting sequences, like facing down a giant mech aboard a speeding train, are far too punishing to be fun. I’m glad that Abe controls better now (he even has a double jump), but the controls still have a mushy unresponsiveness that makes entertaining actions, like possessing Sligs, feel like a hassle. The controls also lead to additional deaths because Abe doesn’t act as swiftly as you need him to, especially during the ill-fitting, overly demanding combat arenas that pit you against waves of baddies while you try to protect fleeing Mudokens. Soulstorm would be a tough recommendation for anyone outside of diehard fans if it performed flawlessly, but I encountered several progress-sabotaging bugs (even after installing the big day-one patch) that should scare off even those players. When I died, Mudokens sometimes failed to respawn alongside me even though my tally indicated they were still alive and under my command. That meant I lost out on turning in followers that I’d spent ages trying to safely liberate, which negatively affected my overall quarma – a vital metric in determining which of the four endings you get.  Abe occasionally gets stuck in environmental geometry, forcing a restart. At one point, I fell into an infinite loop. One escape portal permanently vanished once I reached it, forcing me to abandon followers. A gun in a late-game turret sequence failed to shoot despite working fine in previous segments. After multiple restarts, I randomly discovered that clicking the right stick “fixed” the weapon for some reason, allowing it to fire. I spent over an hour trying to lead a large group of followers through a particularly challenging area, but once I opened the exit door an invisible wall prevented me from moving forward. I was forced to restart this entire, lengthy sequence twice before the exit worked properly. Soulstorm’s gameplay pushed my patience to its limits, but these bugs sent me over the edge and made me nervous every time I started a new level. “What on Earth is going to screw me over this time?” I regularly asked myself. Soulstorm’s faults are a shame because its narrative and presentation brought a smile to my face. Abe and his pals are goofy, delightful underdogs I couldn’t help but root for. The enjoyable story is packed with heart, and the cutscenes look great. I wanted to welcome Abe into a new generation of gaming with open arms, but Soulstorm fails to make a case for why its brand of cinematic platforming works today. In fact, Soulstorm only reaffirmed that Abe’s past adventures are best viewed with rose-colored glasses.
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    Enter ComingSoon’s Holiday Giveaway From Paramount!

    Enter ComingSoon’s Holiday Giveaway From Paramount! Paramount Pictures has provided ComingSoon.net with a few select Blu-ray titles for our holiday giveaway, including It’s A Wonderful Life in 4K UHD, Scrooged, Planes, Trains & Automobiles, Paramount Presents: Trading Places, Office Christmas Party, Sonic The Hedgehog Limited Collector’s Edition, and Mario Puzo’s THE GODFATHER, CODA: The Death of Michael Corleone! The first prize winner will receive the complete set, and the second and third prize winners will each receive a copy of Mario Puzo’s THE GODFATHER, CODA: The Death of Michael Corleone. All you have to do to win is email your name with the subject line “HOLIDAY” to [email protected] and three winners (must be within the U.S.) will be selected by December 11! RELATED: CS Holiday Gift Guide Part 2: Books! Click here to purchase It’s A Wonderful Life! Click here to purchase Scrooged! Click here to purchase Planes, Trains & Automobiles! Click here to purchase Trading Places! Click here to purchase Office Christmas Party! Click here to purchase Sonic The Hedgehog! Click here to purchase Mario Puzo’s THE GODFATHER, CODA: The Death of Michael Corleone! Paramount Pictures’ new edit and restoration of Francis Ford Coppola’s final film in his epic Godfather trilogy features a new version of The Godfather: Part III, achieving Coppola and screenwriter Puzo’s original vision for the finale. Coppola’s masterful film adaptation of Puzo’s novel chronicles the rise and fall of the Corleone family and the saga is rightfully viewed as one of the greatest in cinematic history. Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, The Godfather: Part III was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director. The film follows Michael Corleone (Al Pacino), now in his 60s, as he seeks to free his family from crime and find a suitable successor to his empire. Coppola and his production company American Zoetrope worked from a 4K scan of the original negative to undertake a painstaking, frame-by-frame restoration of both the new Mario Puzo’s THE GODFATHER, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone and the original The Godfather: Part III. RELATED: CS Holiday Gift Guide Part 1: Movies & TV! In order to create the best presentation possible, Zoetrope and Paramount’s restoration team began by searching for over 50 original takes to replace lower resolution opticals in the original negative. This process took more than six months and involved sifting through 300 cartons of negative. American Zoetrope worked diligently to repair scratches, stains, and other anomalies that could not be addressed previously due to technology constraints, while enhancements were made to the original 5.1 audio mix. These thorough restoration efforts were not immune to the coronavirus pandemic: midway through the project, all work—even the search for the negative—shifted to the San Francisco Bay area and Los Angeles and was completed by Zoetrope and Paramount remotely.

    Enter ComingSoon’s Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution Kizuna Giveaway!

    Enter ComingSoon’s Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution Kizuna Giveaway! In celebration of Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution Kizuna coming out on Blu-ray and DVD October 6, Shout! Factory has provided ComingSoon.net with five sets of the Blu-ray and the Ultimate Digimon Prize Packs. The winners (must be within the U.S.) will be picked at random by Tuesday, October 6 and all you have to do to win is email your name with the subject line “DIGIMON” to [email protected]! You can check out the Blu-ray box art and art on the prize items below and pre-order your copy of the Blu-ray here! Special thanks to Toei Animation and our partners Atsuko, Bandai Namco Entertainment, Funko, and Just Funky for providing these awesome prizes! RELATED: CS Video: Keira Knightley on the Historical Drama Misbehaviour In honor of the 20th Anniversary celebration of Digimon, Shout! Factory, in collaboration with Toei Animation, is proud to present the new anime feature Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution Kizuna on national home entertainment shelves on October 6, 2020. Available for the first time in North America, this new movie features the last adventure of Tai and Agumon. Each highly collectible edition of Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution Kizuna DVD and Blu-ray Combo Pack (Blu-ray + DVD) boasts exciting movie presentation (featuring both versions – English voice cast and the original Japanese audio with English subtitles) and contains a new insightful bonus feature, “The Final Evolution: Remembering 20 Years of Digimon Adventure” with Joshua Seth and Tom Fahn. In the movie, Tai is now a university student, living alone, working hard at school, and working every day, but with his future still undecided. Meanwhile, Matt and others continue to work on Digimon incidents and activities that help people with partner Digimon. An unprecedented phenomenon occurs and the DigiDestined discovers that when you grow up, your relationship with your partner Digimon will come closer to an end. As a countdown timer activates on the Digivice, they realize that the more you fight with their partner Digimon, the faster their bond breaks. Will you fight for others and lose your partner? The time to choose and decide is approaching fast. There is a short time before “chosen children” will become adults. A must-own for fans, collectors, and pop culture enthusiasts, this definitive entertainment release promises to captivate you on the edge of your seat. Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution Kizuna is available for pre-order now at ShoutFactory.com and will be made available in stores and other fine retailers. Avid fans and collectors please take note on a special offer: order the Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution Kizuna Blu-ray Combo Pack directly from ShoutFactory.com and get an exclusive 18”x 24” lithograph of the cover art as a gift-with-purchase, while supplies last. Die-hard fans further rejoice! Toei Animation has revamped this highly sought-after anime movie for North American audiences by bringing onboard a stellar English voice cast. Joshua Seth, who voiced the main character Tai Kamiya in the original series, returns to the role for this feature film, alongside an exciting team of voice talent. RELATED: Exclusive Jay Sebring….Cutting to the Truth Clip From Anthony DiMaria’s New Biography Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution Kizuna takes place five years after the events of Digimon Adventure tri, the six-part film series released in 2015. Now on the cusp of adulthood, Tai and his DigiDestined friends discover that with age their bonds with each of their Digimon will ultimately break. How does it end for Tai, Agumon, and the others? Fans must watch Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution Kizuna to find out the answer.

    Enter ComingSoon’s The Tax Collector SteelBook Giveaway!

    Enter ComingSoon’s The Tax Collector SteelBook Giveaway! Just ahead of its debut on 4K UHD, Blu-ray and DVD, RLJE Films has provided ComingSoon.net with three 4K UHD/Blu-ray combo SteelBooks for David Ayer’s The Tax Collector starring Bobby Soto (The Quarry) and Shia LaBeouf (Honey Boy) for a special giveaway. All you have to do to enter is email [email protected] with the subject line “THE TAX COLLECTOR,” and three winners (must be within the U.S.) will be chosen at random by Monday, October 5! The SteelBook can be viewed below! RELATED: Enter ComingSoon’s The Pale Door Giveaway from RLJE Films & Shudder! The film follows David (Soto) and Creeper (LaBeouf), “tax collectors” for the Los Angeles crime lord Wizard who collect his cut of the profits from local gangs’ illicit dealings. When Wizard’s old rival returns to the City of Angels, the business is upended and David is put in a fight to protect his family. “We are lucky to have an amazing caliber of actors and writer/director David Ayer on The Tax Collector,” Mark Ward, Chief Acquisitions Officer of RLJE Films, previously said in a statement. “Audiences will be awed and entertained by the talent they will see on the screen with this intense, edge-of-your-seat thriller.” Ayer previously revealed he’s “very excited” to work with the AMC Networks-owned distributor, feeling that their past and current slate of projects “reflect their singular vision and desire to push the bounds of creative storytelling.” The Transformers star and director previously worked together on the 2014 war drama Fury and LaBeouf is set to be joined by Bobby Soto (For the People), Lana Parilla (Once Upon a Time), George Lopez (Lopez) and Brendan Schaub (The Fighter & the Kid). Ayer, whose most recent work was the hit Netflix fantasy crime-thriller Bright and has co-written the script for the sequel, is directing based on an original script. RELATED: Maika Monroe Joins Shia LaBeouf’s Biopic Drama Production officially began on the film in July 2018, with LaBeouf having just come off of the autobiographical drama Honey Boy in which he wrote and stars as a character based on his father alongside Lucas Hedges (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri) and Noah Jupe (A Quiet Place) portraying versions of LaBeouf. The Tax Collector is set to hit shelves on 4K UHD, Blu-ray and DVD on October 6!

    Enter ComingSoon’s The Pale Door Giveaway from RLJE Films & Shudder!

    Enter ComingSoon’s The Pale Door giveaway from RLJE Films & Shudder! RLJE Films and Shudder have provided ComingSoon.net with two Blu-ray copies of the thrilling Weird Western horror pic The Pale Door ahead of its October 6 release! The winners (must be within the U.S.) will be picked at random by Wednesday, September 30 and all you have to do to win is email your name with the subject line “THE PALE DOOR” to [email protected]! RELATED: CS Interview: Pat Healy on Weird Western The Pale Door The Dalton gang finds shelter in a seemingly uninhabited ghost town after a train robbery goes south. Seeking help for their wounded leader, they are surprised to stumble upon a welcoming brothel in the town’s square. But the beautiful women who greet them are actually a coven of witches with very sinister plans for the unsuspecting outlaws-and the battle between good and evil is just beginning. Click here to pre-order your Blu-ray copy of the thrilling Weird Western! The horror western pic features an ensemble cast that includes Devin Druid (13 Reasons Why, Greyhound), Zachary Knighton (Happy Endings, Magnum P.I.), Melora Walters (Big Love, Venom), Bill Sage (Power, Hap and Leonard), Noah Segan (Knives Out, Scare Package), Pat Healy (The Innkeepers, Bad Education), Stan Shaw (The Monster Squad, Jeepers Creepers 3), Natasha Bassett (Hail, Caesar!) and Tina Parker (To The Stars, Better Call Saul). Bonus Features featured with The Pale Door Blu-ray and DVD include: The Making of The Pale Door Filmmaker Commentary Editing The Pale Door RELATED: CS Interview: Co-Writer/Director Aaron B. Koontz on The Pale Door The film is co-written by Aaron B. Koontz, Cameron Burns and Keith Lansdale and directed by Koontz. The Pale Door is now in select theaters and on digital platforms and VOD and is set to hit shelves on Blu-ray and DVD on October 6!

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