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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    Apple Unveils First-Look Images From Stephen King’s Lisey’s Story!

    Apple unveils first-look images from Stephen King’s Lisey’s Story!Over six months since filming officially wrapped on the miniseries adaptation of Stephen King’s best-selling novel, Apple has finally announced a June 4 premiere date and unveiled first-look photos from Lisey’s Story, led by Oscar winner Julianne Moore (Kingsman: The Golden Circle) and Oscar nominee Clive Owen (The Knick). The first-look images can be viewed in the gallery below!RELATED: Exclusive: Dane DeHaan Teases Stephen King Series Lisey’s Story!Adapted by King himself, the series is a deeply personal, pensive thriller that follows Lisey Landon (Moore) two years after the death of her husband, famous novelist Scott Landon (Owen). A series of unsettling events causes Lisey to face memories of her marriage to Scott that she has deliberately blocked out of her mind.Click here to purchase King’s acclaimed 2006 novel of the same name!Alongside Moore and Owen, the cast for the limited series includes three-time Oscar nominee Joan Allen (Room), Oscar and Golden Globe nominee Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight), Dane DeHaan (ZeroZeroZero), Emmy winner Ron Cephas Jones (This Is Us) and Sung Kang (F9: The Fast Saga).Lisey’s Story is directed by Pablo Larraín and produced by J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot Television and Warner Bros. Television, with King, who personally wrote all eight episodes, executive producing alongside Moore, Abrams, Larraín, Ben Stephenson and Juan de Dios Larraín.RELATED: Mythic Quest Season 2 Trailer Teases More Workplace HijinksThe first two episodes of the series will debut on Friday, June 4 followed by new episodes every Friday.

    The Talisman: Spielberg & Duffer Bros. Adapting Stephen King’s Novel Into a Series

    The Talisman: Spielberg & Duffer Bros. Adapting Stephen King’s Novel Into a Series Stephen King and Peter Straub’s fantasy horror novel The Talisman is being adapted into a series with Oscar winner Steven Spielberg (Saving Private Ryan, Schindler’s List, Jaws) teaming up with the Emmy-nominated Duffer Brothers (Stranger Things) to finally make the project a reality, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Mark and Ross Duffer will executive produce the series adaptation that is being produced by Netflix in association with Spielberg’s Amblin Television and Paramount Television. Spielberg acquired the screen rights to The Talisman two years before the book was published in 1984. The filmmaker has spent over 35 years attempting to get the story adapted into a movie. Now, the tale of young Jack Sawyer is heading to the small screen. RELATED: Dave Erickson Developing Series Adaptation of Stephen King’s The Jaunt The Talisman follows a 12-year old boy named Jack Sawyer who sets off on an epic road-trip quest in order to save his dying mother’s life. He is in search of the Talisman, a powerful relic that can not only heal his mother but, as he learns, save the world. Sawyer’s journey crisscrosses two realities: the America we know and its dangerous, fantasy-world twin, The Territories. Emmy nominee Curtis Gwinn will act as showrunner and writer for the project. Gwinn worked as a writer and executive producer on the Duffer Brothers’ Stranger Things series for Netflix. His credits also include Narcos, The Leftovers, and The Walking Dead. Pick up your copy of The Talisman here! The Duffer Brothers will executive produce through their Monkey Massacre Productions. Spielberg will executive produce via Amblin Television along with partners Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey. King and Paramount Television will also executive produce. Todd Cohen will oversee the day-to-day development of the series for Amblin, along with Spielberg, Frank, and Falvey. RELATED: Paramount Taps Edgar Wright to Develop/Direct New Running Man Adaptation King and Straub wrote a follow-up novel, Black House, in 2001, which follows a now-adult Jack as a retired Los Angeles homicide detective trying to solve a series of murders in a small Wisconsin town. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images & Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic via Getty Images)

    Stephen King Takes You Behind-the-Scenes of Mr. Mercedes in New Featurette

    Stephen King Takes You Behind-the-Scenes of Mr. Mercedes in New Featurette Peacock has shared a new Mr. Mercedes video with author Stephen King taking viewers behind-the-scenes of the crime-thriller drama series based on his bestselling Bill Hodges novel trilogy. Seasons 1 and 2 of the series are available to stream now on Peacock. You can check out the featurette now in the player below! RELATED: Joshua Jackson to Replace Jamie Dornan in Peacock’s Dr. Death Series Mr. Mercedes follows a retired detective who is tormented by a serial killer (Brady Hartsfield, aka Mr. Mercedes) through a series of letters and e-mails, causing him to set out on a dangerous and potentially felonious crusade to protect his loved ones and himself. Purchase the Bill Hodges trilogy from Stephen King here! The series stars Brendan Gleeson, Harry Treadaway, Kelly Lynch, Jharrel Jerome, Mary-Louise Parker, Holland Taylor, Justine Lupe, Breeda Wool, Scott Lawrence, Ann Cusack, Jack Huston, Tessa Ferrer, Maximiliano Hernández, and Nancy Travis. Mr. Mercedes is written by King, David E. Kelley, and Dennis Lehane and directed by Jack Bender. The Temple Hill Entertainment and Sonar Entertainment production is executive produced by King, Kelley, Bender, and Lehane. RELATED: Saved by the Bell Premiering on Peacock This November Mr. Mercedes originally aired on AT&T’s Audience Network and was then acquired by Peacock. Despite the show moving to a new home, details about its future or potential renewal have not been announced. The crime-thriller series’ latest and third season concluded its 10-episode run last November 2019.

    Zac Efron in Talks to Lead Blumhouse’s Firestarter Remake

    Zac Efron in talks to lead Blumhouse’s Firestarter remake Perfectly timed for the novel’s 40th anniversary, Collider has brought word that Blumhouse’s upcoming remake of the 1984 adaptation of Stephen King’s Firestarter has found its male lead in the form of Zac Efron (Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile) as he has entered talks for the role. Blumhouse’s seeming confirmation can be viewed below! RELATED: Blumhouse’s Firestarter Remake Poised for 2020 Shoot Welcome to the fam @ZacEfron #firestarterhttps://t.co/LdTo1r4k3M — Blumhouse (@blumhouse) September 29, 2020 Firestarter centers on an organization called the Department of Scientific Intelligence, aka “The Shop.” Two participants in their mysterious research program end up getting married and having a child. Their offspring, Charlie McGee, inherited pyrokinetic powers from her parents, who were given a low-grade hallucinogen called “Lot Six” during their college years. Now the government is trying to apprehend the young Charlie in order to harness her powerful and unique skills as a weapon. Click here to purchase the original King novel! Drew Barrymore previously played Charlie in Mark L. Lester’s 1984 adaptation that also starred David Keith as Charlie’s father Andy. Written by Stanley Mann, the movie earned $17.1 million at the box office from a $12 million budget. A TV miniseries titled Firestarter: Rekindled followed in 2002 starring Marguerite Moreau, Malcolm McDowell, and Dennis Hopper. RELATED: Blumhouse Considering Making a Halloween Horror Nights Movie After originally setting In the Fade‘s Fatih Akin for the job, Blumhouse partnered with up-and-comer Keith Thomas (The Vigil) late last year to direct the new adaptation while Scott Teems (Halloween Kills) is penning the script.

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