Rockstar Games faced no small challenge by taking up development on Max Payne 3. After nearly a decade since Remedy made the last entry in the series, could they live up to expectations? Was the series’ signature Matrix, slow-down mechanic and noire style even relevant anymore? Lucky for us, Rockstar took up that challenge and has created a game that lives up the game’s legacy while moving it forward.

Max Payne 3 looks very different than its predecessors. Gone are the dark alleyways and tunnels of New York in favor of the luxurious penthouses and rundown favellas of Sao Paulo, Brazil, where Max is working as a private body guard. Mixed with Max’s addiction to alcohol and painkillers, things only snowball from there. The change of setting is not the only aesthetic change, however.

The graphic novel style storytelling from the orignal games is replaced by dynamic multi-frame cutscenes interlaced with flashes of light and distortion with the occasional random highlighting of words. These help give the game a true sense of style. However, in trying to illustrate the world through Max’s over-drugged, intoxicated eyes, Rockstar may have gone a little too far. While it certainly sets the game apart from others, it can become tiring and distracting during one of the game’s many long cutscenes.

Max Payne 3 a gritty, all-out action game and makes no apologies about it. The gameplay retains the style of the series with the mechanic of diving and slowing down time still intact. Rockstar has made a slight addition with a cover mechanic. While this may seem like a small change, it makes a discernable difference in how the game is played. In many fights, it is to your advantage to utilize cover instead of the stylish bullet time jumps. While the addition is helpful in bringing the game up to modern standards, it is still a shame that the game’s initial hook is almost put on the back burner.

Unlike many modern titles, Max does not regenerate health. Instead, you rely on painkillers to replenish yourself. Not only does this make the game a bit more interesting as you can’t just sit back in a firefight and wait to get back to full strength, but it also fits the narrative of Max’s addiction.

Rockstar has done a terrific job with the writing and sound of Max Payne 3. Dan Houser’s script is one of the best examples for good writing in a video game. Max is not a good person, he abuses pain killers and alcohol and ignores the duties of the job he has been paid to do. Despite this, you start to feel sympathetic towards his character because Rockstar has done such a good job of humanizing the man.  The voice acting is spot on throughout as well and the soundtrack always manages to capture the moment on screen.

More than all this, it’s the small details and polish that make the game such an enjoyable experience to play. Little touches like holding a large weapon in one hand while you have a handgun drawn instead of slinging it to Max’s back bring a sense of realism that you don’t get with many other games.

Like many games recently, competitive online multiplayer has been added for the first time in the series. It’s set in the same world with many of the same factions as the single-player, but it’s a very different experience. You can still trigger slow-motion that will affect the entire map in multiplayer, though in much smaller quantities. Overall though, it’s pretty standard with deathmatch, team deathmatch and objective-based modes. It’s well thought out and fun, but it’s probably nothing special.

Rockstar has continued its string of excellent titles with Max Payne 3. Despite a few small annoyances, the game is solid throughout. It’s one of the year’s best and I’d be hard pressed not to recommend it to fans of the old series and newcomers alike.

Grade: A-

Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events will star Neil Patrick Harris in the role of Count Olaf, and on a recent episode of Live! with Kelly, the actor shared many interesting details about the new show.

Anyone who’s looking forward to the book to film adaptation of Lemony Snicket’s wonderful series will no doubt be thrilled to hear what Harris had to say while updating Kelly Ripa on what he’s been up to.

Perhaps most notably, NPH revealed how A Series of Unfortunate Events is being cut up into episodes. So far, the first four books are two episodes each:

Read full article

Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events will star Neil Patrick Harris in the role of Count Olaf, and on a recent episode of Live! with Kelly, the actor shared many interesting details about the new show.

Anyone who’s looking forward to the book to film adaptation of Lemony Snicket’s wonderful series will no doubt be thrilled to hear what Harris had to say while updating Kelly Ripa on what he’s been up to.

Perhaps most notably, NPH revealed how A Series of Unfortunate Events is being cut up into episodes. So far, the first four books are two episodes each:

Netflix’s ‘Series of Unfortunate Events’ episode count

neil-patrick-harris-series-unfortunate-events-netflix

“They truncated all of the books into a two hour movie,” Harris said of the Unfortunate Events movie starring Jim Carrey, noting that it just wasn’t a great adaptation. “And there’s thirteen books in the series. So [Netflix’s take] is more spread out. Each book is going to be two episodes. We did the first four books, the first eight episodes of the show.”

As for the tone of the show? Great news: “It’s super dark,” he said. “It’s a much darker on the take on the material than has been seen before.”

When Kelly asked Harris if her kids could watch it, the actor dropped some interesting information about Neflix’s plans:

“I hope so!” he replied. “It’s not Rated-R dark. It’s the most expensive show that they’ve ever done. It’s the first one they call a four quadrant show, so they’re try to get four different quadrants to like it. So in addition to being for adults and for 20-somethings and teenagers, they want it to be for kids as well.”

Dark, appealing to all ages, and two episodes per book? We are so down.

Netflix has yet to share a premiere date for A Series of Unfortunate Events, but we’ll keep you posted.

Jessica Jones introduced us to Marvel’s live-action Luke Cage (Mike Colter), who has his own show debuting on Friday. Here’s everything you need to know ahead of time.

The mythology of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is rich and complicated. Not only do you have to remember what’s happened from episode to episode and season to season, it’s also important to keep in mind what’s happened in other shows and movies.

But that’s why we’re here. Looking forward to Luke Cage premiering on September 30? Us too. Having a little trouble remembering what happened in Jessica Jones and not feeling up to rewatching the show from start to finish? No problem.

Read full article

Jessica Jones introduced us to Marvel’s live-action Luke Cage (Mike Colter), who has his own show debuting on Friday. Here’s everything you need to know ahead of time.

The mythology of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is rich and complicated. Not only do you have to remember what’s happened from episode to episode and season to season, it’s also important to keep in mind what’s happened in other shows and movies.

But that’s why we’re here. Looking forward to Luke Cage premiering on September 30? Us too. Having a little trouble remembering what happened in Jessica Jones and not feeling up to rewatching the show from start to finish? No problem.

Everything you need to know about ‘Luke Cage’

The man

luke cage premiere date

We first met Luke in the series premiere of Jessica Jones and he was in the majority of the episodes for the season. He owned a bar in Hell’s Kitchen and made it a priority to stay away from complications. Too bad Jessica Jones is the definition of complicated. Sweet Christmas.

With chemistry pretty much off the charts, it didn’t take long for Luke and Jessica to start hooking up. Unfortunately, between Kilgrave’s manipulations and Jessica’s lies, the situation came to a head and Luke found out it was Jessica who was responsible for his wife’s death way back when Kilgrave was livin’ large with Jessica at his side.

Luke left after that, but not before he ran into Kilgrave with the intention of killing the man. Instead, Kilgrave used his power of mind control to plant Luke back into Jessica’s life and keep an eye on her until it was time for Kilgrave to use his trump card. He even forced Luke to blow up his own bar.

In a final confrontation, where Kilgrave once again played with Jessica’s emotions, Luke said he didn’t forgive her for killing his wife and, under Kilgrave’s power, attacked her until she was forced to put a shotgun to his head and pull the trigger.

Thanks to Luke’s powers, he survived, but that didn’t mean there wasn’t some damage. Luke was unconscious, and Jessica was forced to bring him to the hospital where Claire used her position as a nurse to sneak him back to Jessica’s apartment and keep an eye on him.

By the end of the series, once Kilgrave was killed and Jessica was arrested, Luke recovered from his injuries and left Jessica’s apartment when Claire wasn’t looking.

The myth

luke cage mike colter

Luke Cage’s powers are not unlike Jessica’s, though where they both share a similar level of strength, Luke has the added benefit of unbreakable skin. The experiments he was subjected to didn’t make him completely impervious to injury, as seen when the shotgun blast rattled his brain so much it did some internal damage. Areas like his eyes are also open to injury, if Claire sticking that needle through the socket is any indication.

Luke is also just, you know, a big guy. Is intimidation a supernatural ability? Because if so, this guy has got it in spades. He’s a good fighter and obviously used to dealing with the seedier side of the city, so even without his powers, he’d be good to have in a fight.

Luke Cage from the comics isn’t much different, though his interactions with other superheroes have given him an additional leg up. For instance, Iron Fist has taught Luke Cage additional fighting techniques, but we haven’t seen that in the MCU since Iron Fist has yet to debut on Netflix and it’s uncertain what their interactions will be like.

Apparently Luke also has a sweet jacket that’s as impervious as his skin. Given all the clothes we see him go through in the trailers for the upcoming season, perhaps we’ll see him gain a useful item like this in the upcoming freshman run.

The legend

luke cage clip

Luke Cage is already making a name for himself by the end of Jessica Jones, and it’s clear that season 1 of his own show is only going to further his story as a legendary hero. If you want to avoid spoilers at all costs, skip this section. If you’d like to get familiar with some of the show’s upcoming new characters, read on.

In Luke Cage season 1, it’s clear that Cornell Stokes/Cottonmouth will be to Luke as Wilson Fisk/The Kingpin was to Matt Murdock’s Daredevil. This is the guy who wears the crown around Harlem (where Luke has recently moved following his interactions with Jessica), and it’s pretty clear Stokes took no time in pissing off Luke.

Mariah Dillard will be an enemy of a different variety, as she’s a powerful local politician who also happens to be Stokes’ cousin. From the trailers it looks like the two are in business together, but the relationship is contentious at best. Alvarez/Shades, an associate of Cottonmouth, is also going to cause some problems for Luke.

On the other side of the line you have Misty Knight, a police detective who has Luke Cage on her radar. She might also be causing some problems for our hero, but she’s definitely one of the good guys. Her partner is Rafael Scarfe.

Claire will also be returning, this time in a starring role, so the hope is we’ll be seeing plenty of the nurse who is heroic in her own way. She might not have supernatural abilities, but she heals who she can, despite their various complications. She’s also there to light a fire up under the asses of heroes who might be losing their way — and she’s very good at her job.

Everyone’s favorite crook, Turk, will also be showing up in Luke Cage, as will Claire’s mother, Soledad. You can also expect Willis Stryker/Diamondback to play a part this season. He’s tied up with Cottonmouth and Shades and definitely has something against Luke. In the comics, they go way back, and Stryker even had a thing for Luke’s wife, Reva.

Here’s the latest trailer for ‘Luke Cage’ season 1

‘Luke Cage’ season 1 will be exclusively available to stream on Netflix come September 30

Once Upon a Time season 6 will see Sean Maguire’s Robin Hood at least one more time! Come on, is anyone ever really gone for good on this show?

Remember when Hook died, but he really didn’t? Remember when Neal died, but we got see him again in limbo between reality and the Underworld? Well, Robin Hood is following a similar Once Upon a Time narrative arc as EW confirms that the outlaw will return in season 6.

Adam Horowitz and Eddie Kitsis confirmed the news saying, “We’re thrilled to have Sean back for this story arc and are excited for the audience to see what we have planned, which in the wake of his character’s heartbreaking demise, is something we hope is unexpected and surprising.”

Read full article

Once Upon a Time season 6 will see Sean Maguire’s Robin Hood at least one more time! Come on, is anyone ever really gone for good on this show?

Remember when Hook died, but he really didn’t? Remember when Neal died, but we got see him again in limbo between reality and the Underworld? Well, Robin Hood is following a similar Once Upon a Time narrative arc as EW confirms that the outlaw will return in season 6.

Adam Horowitz and Eddie Kitsis confirmed the news saying, “We’re thrilled to have Sean back for this story arc and are excited for the audience to see what we have planned, which in the wake of his character’s heartbreaking demise, is something we hope is unexpected and surprising.”

Bringing back characters is one of the major reasons why characters on this show can never have closure. In the aftermath of season 5’s most remarkable death, Once Upon a Time took the necessary steps to give Regina closure. In Neal’s apartment (once again, reviving Neal’s presence for Emma), Regina began to process the reality of her life through a letter from Robin.

Once Upon a Time season 5 regina robin

Kitsis makes note that Regina’s course of action this season will deal with processing her grief. “I can tell you that a lot of this year is about Regina dealing with loss and moving on, because I think Regina has the most unfair luck of anybody, but that’s what makes her Regina,” says Kitsis.

We already caught some of that in the season 6 opener where Regina talks with Snow White about her character’s story and its various interpretations. If the feather floating away from Regina on the bench was a nod to her finding the strength to let go even a little bit, what will Robin’s return mean for her mentally? Regina needs all her faculties to face the most terrifying adversary this season– herself.

What will Robin’s return look like?

Maybe he will appear Jiminy Cricket style and remind her of her best qualities as she faces the Evil Queen. Or perhaps he will appear to save his daughter through some kind of intrinsic bond that exists between them? Maybe that feather actually means a bit more than we give it credit for!

Once Upon a Time season 5 episode 100 review regina robin henry

Kitsis and Horowitz note that Sean Maguire will have “an arc” meaning it is likely that he will appear in more than one episode.

What are some of your theories for Robin’s involvement in season 6? Let us know in comments!

Once Upon a Time season 6, episode 2, “A Bitter Draught,” airs Sunday, October 2 at 8:00 p.m. ET on ABC.