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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    HBO Max shall showcase its streaming library having an interactive SXSW experience

    South by Southwest is taking place online this year, and one of the things attendees can check out is an interactive HBO Max experience. HBO Max Orbit aims to show off the depth of the streaming service's catalog in a novel way. Through facial movement recognition and voice commands, HBO Max Orbit will allow you to interact with moments, stories and characters from the library, according to WarnerMedia. HBO Max has packed more than 150,000 clips into Orbit, including ones from Game of Thrones, Lovecraft Country, The Big Bang Theory, Tom and Jerry and Zack Snyder’s Justice League. The scenes are drawn from titles from HBO, Warner Bros., DC, Cartoon Network and other WarnerMedia brands. The experience will dig up clips of characters that match your movements in real time. Certain clips will activate a challenge, through which you'll need to move your face to look for clips that match a title. You might also be asked to say a phrase from a specific show within a time limit. Completing a challenge will unlock parts of an exclusive clip from Godzilla vs. Kong, which arrives on HBO Max and in theaters at the end of the month. You'll be able to check out HBO Max Orbit starting on March 19th. Starting in April, an in-person version will be available at some flagship AT&T stores. WarnerMedia says that will take place in an immersive 360-degree chamber designed to "optimize the feeling of a vast audio-visual space." It will match clips to your body movements and voice.

    Month zack Snyder’s Justice League to start out Filming New Footage Next!

    Zack Snyder’s Justice League to start filming new footage next month The Hollywood Reporter brings words that Zack Snyder is reportedly planning to start filming additional footage for Zack Snyder’s Justice League next month with Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot and Ray Fisher expected to reprise their superhero roles. This news comes as a surprise because it wasn’t mentioned in the original announcement that the cast members would only come back to record additional dialogue for the four-episode HBO Max miniseries. However, the outlet didn’t reveal if whether Jason Momoa and Ezra Miller will also be included in the new shoots.  Our recent chat with Release the Snyder Cut author Seaon O’Connell revealed that the original decision not to shoot new footage may have simply been COVID-related, so it’s possible appropriate safety steps were ironed out. RELATED: CS Video: Release the Snyder Cut Author Sean O’Connell Zack Snyder’s Justice League will reportedly cost around $20-30 million in order to properly finish the editing and visual effects of the director’s original vision. The original post-production crew is also expected to return along with the cast members to record additional dialogue for the cut. It is expected to debut sometime in 2021.  Fueled by the hero’s restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Justice League sees Bruce Wayne enlist the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy. Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to find and recruit a team of metahumans to stand against this newly awakened threat. But despite the formation of this unprecedented league of heroes—Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg, and The Flash—it may already be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions. Justice League, which features a screenplay from Chris Terrio from a story by Snyder and Terrio, stars Ben Affleck as Batman, Henry Cavill as Superman, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, Jason Momoa as Aquaman, Ezra Miller as The Flash, Ray Fisher as Cyborg, Willem Dafoe as Nuidis Vulko, Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor, Jeremy Irons as Alfred Pennyworth, Diane Lane as Martha Kent, Connie Nielsen as Queen Hippolyta, with J.K. Simmons as Commissioner Gordon, and Amy Adams as Lois Lane. RELATED: DC FanDome: Watch the New Trailer for Zack Snyder’s Justice League! Released in November 2017, the film earned mixed reviews from critics and audiences alike, praising the action and performances from Gadot and Miller while criticizing every other aspect of the film, namely the inconsistent tone that many fault Joss Whedon (The Avengers) for after taking over directorial duties from Snyder. With a large budget of $300 million and a break-even point of $750 million, the film is considered a box office bomb having grossed only $658 million.

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