Gotham – “The Balloonman” Recap and Review

Detectives Gordon and Bullock track down a vigilante who is killing corrupt Gotham citizens by attaching them to weather balloons. Meanwhile, Oswald Cobblepot returns to Gotham and gets a new job close to an influential figure in the underworld.

gotham balloonman

I mentioned in last week’s review that I was growing fond of the focus on Penguin’s rise to power and the intriguing manner in which he’s portrayed – a sycophantic, underestimated sniveler who nonetheless squeezes out of dangerous situations and resorts to gruesome violence at the drop of a hat. It’s fun to watch this character from a “what the hell is he going to do next” point of view, and “The Balloonman” opens with his darkly humorous return to the city he loves.

Alas the actual titular villain is as lame as you imagine and much of the main structure of the episode is so heavy-handed in introducing a proto-vigilante that I worry about Gotham’s extreme dumbing down for the broader audience it’s trying to reach. I think going for that larger, non-comic book audience is great, but there shouldn’t have to be a compromise for heavy-handed dialogue and eye-rolling repeating themes.

After Penguin steps off the bus and becomes refreshed upon witnessing numerous petty crimes happening around him, we cut to what is apparently going to be our Murder of the Week. This one is a bit unusual, even for a comic world, as a crooked business man (we know he’s crooked because he’s literally on the phone telling his lawyer to pay off judges and jury members) gets accosted by a street vendor before he’s handcuffed to a weather balloon and sent soaring. It’s inventive, theatrical and silly, and it also means our poor detectives have no body to work with when they arrive on the scene.

Read the Full Review at Leviathyn >>

New Gameplay Video – Endless Legend

Our latest episode of Chamber of Game, the video series hosted by Leviathyn, takes a look at Endless Legend. Developed by Amplitude Studios who previously made well-received 4x space strategy game Endless Space, Endless Legend takes the action down to the planet of Auriga featuring fantastical factions and gameplay that’s very similar to Civilization while still introducing lots of new concepts and mechanics.

In this video Chris and I show off some of the early game while discussing how a race of murderous insect people are maybe just misunderstood.

Read More at Leviathyn >>

New Final Thoughts – Dust: An Elysian Tail

I’ve finished another backlog game from the excellent Humble Indie Bundle I purchased earlier this year. You can read my latest Final Thoughts on my gaming blog, and enjoy the excerpt below.

Dust-An-Elysian-Tail

Video games are extremely difficult to make, in cost, time and skill. The concept of the auteur has been around in film for decades – that a single filmmaker’s work on a film was as complete and total as an author of a book, but in games it’s exceedingly rare due to the amount of work involved. Thus I was pleasantly surprised to find that Dust: An Elysian Tail was created (designed, drawn and programmed) by one man – Dean Dodrill.

Originally crafted to be an old-school Castlevania-style platformer, Dodrill won the 2009 Dream.Build.Play Microsoft Challenge, resulting in a contract to provide a full-fledged release on Xbox Live Arcade, which eventually released as part of the Summer of Arcade promotion in 2012.

I mention all this as a testament to how well crafted the story and themes of Dust are, and though every indie studio can’t secure a big contract from Microsoft it’s an absolute joy to see the auteur surface in gaming.

Read the full Final Thoughts on my gaming blog >>

Gotham – “Selina Kyle” Recap and Review

selina kyle

Last week’s pilot episode was bloated with introducing familiar faces from Batman’s world as well as all new characters, but still managed to present a decent murder mystery that sets Gotham up as an institutionalized organized crime world that’s begging for a hero. In Fox’s Gotham, that hero is unfortunately a straight-laced Jim Gordon, who ended the pilot episode by pretending to go with the flow by faking the murder of Oswald Cobblepot. Penguin and the rest return in “Selina Kyle,” which I enjoyed a bit more than the pilot simply because the episode was not afraid to take the focus away from Gordon and Bullock and explore Gotham’s far more interesting characters.

The episode opens with young Bruce Wayne attempting to conquer his fear, as he opened up to Gordon about last week, by hovering his hand over a burning candle. Alfred catches him and immediately reprimands him before they embrace. This is an Alfred we’ve never before seen portrayed on screen – the young soldier who’s inexperience with child care is almost painful to watch. With Gordon being propped up as the obvious father-figure, it’s difficult to see where Alfred fits in. Hopefully their tense relationship allows us to dive a bit more into Alfred’s own past and personality.

Read the full Review at Leviathyn >>

New Gameplay Video – Wasteland 2

With the help of my usual co-host and best friend Chris Renner, I’ve uploaded another episode of Chamber of Game to Leviathyn’s YouTube channel. This video looks at Wasteland 2, the Kickstarter-funded, Brian Fargo produced sequel to 1988′s Wasteland.

Wasteland 2 is a deliciously old-school cRPG involving custom character creation, branching dialogue, choice-driven narrative and turn-based tactical combat. As a huge fan of the early Fallout games, this is a dream come true.

Check out the link below for the Leviathyn write-up, and enjoy the embedded video.

Read More at Leviathyn >>

Rogue’s Adventures Now Has a Steam Group

RA steam group

This week Valve’s popular PC digital distribution and social gaming platform Steam underwent a rare major update, mostly in modernizing the Steam store page and adding more interesting ways to discover new games via Steam Curators.

Curators are formed from Steam groups, a way for like-minded gaming fans to get together. I, like many Steam users, never really paid much attention to Steam groups until now, as the Curator system is pretty interesting. Users can Follow like-minded groups or people such as TotalBiscuit and PC Gamer to see their recommendations.

With this new system in place I’ve finally made an official Rogue’s Adventures Steam group page. I added every game I’ve played on Rogue’s Adventures (Minus one, Beneath a Steel Sky is available on GoG but not Steam) into the Curator system, along with a brief note and a link to my Final Thoughts. Hopefully it will serve as a fun and easy way to view all the games I’ve played, as well as a more centralized hub that exists outside of Facebook (which I keep private for friends and family).

Pressfolio

pressfolio

In keeping with this explosion of information all about me and my work, I’ve created an account for Pressfolio, a nifty site that pulls stories into nice little thumbnails to create an easy-to-use at-a-glance résumé of my work. I plan on keeping it up to date with the latest dozen or so stories. You can check it out at the link below, and I’ve updated the About Me and Contact pages to include the link.

Eric’s Pressfolio >>

15 Films That Always Stuck With Me

This was originally one of those chain Facebook posts where a friend tags you to do a list. In this case, listing the top 15 films that most affected you. So it’s not quite a list of favorites but probably pretty close.

Anyway, I wanted to post mine here as it’s already getting buried in Facebook and I think it’s a fun thing to remember. So, here we go:

This was super tricky, even with 15 to choose. As a film student I wish I could pick a lot of film classics that I do legitimately enjoy, but I had to go with the ones that continue to mean the most to me in my life. Which is of course mostly 80s-90s sci-fi and action films.

Here we go, in a vague but not exact order:
1) Tombstone
2) Terminator 2: Judgement Day
3) Jurassic Park
4) The Boondock Saints
5) Snatch
6) The Transformers: The Movie (1986)
7) Star Wars (Ep 4 A New Hope)
8) Braveheart
9) Aliens
10) Predator
11) Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
12) Die Hard
13) Pulp Fiction
14) Jaws
15) A Christmas Story

I purposefully neglected to include most animated/Disney films as watching them with my daughter these days has allowed them to take on even more precious meaning, so it would be a bit unfair.

Gotham – “Pilot” Recap and Review

gotham bruce alleywayGotham is a show about two unlikable cops and the drama that surrounds organized crime and police corruption in a big city. The big city happens to be Batman’s famous stomping ground Gotham, though the show includes the twist of taking place right when Bruce Wayne’s parents are murdered in front of him as a young teenager. Gotham acts as a prequel to Batman’s story, as well as the numerous colorful characters that inhabit the city – including our main protagonist of the series Jim Gordon, played by a dead serious Ben McKenzie.

Exploring the world of a superhero without said superhero should throw up all kinds of red flags, and instead of lingering on an emotional and troubled Bruce in his young life, the series focuses on our would-be police commissioner. Gordon is new to Gotham and a good entry point for the audience to follow around as he’s introduced to the various players with his new partner Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue).

Bullock is another character pulled form the comics; though he’s never been portrayed on the big screen his role as a corrupt, gruff Batman-hating cop has certainly been used in various characters. Bullock’s reliance on the delicate balance between crime and order is in direct opposition to Gordon’s straight arrow ethics, and this difference of opinion looks to be a big focus of the series’ overall tone.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Read the full Review at Leviathyn >>

Age of Wonders III: Golden Realms Review | Leviathyn

If you ever caught yourself in the middle of playing Triumph Studios’ Age of Wonders III wondering where all the poo-flinging Dread Monkeys are – fear not. As the first expansion pack released for the turn-based tactical strategy game, Golden Realms introduces an entirely new faction, new skill specializations, new units, two new scenarios, a new mini-campaign and several new gameplay features that tweak and expand an already fantastic game.

But also adds those filthy, filthy monkeys.

I was a big fan of Age of Wonders III when it released last April, and in the months since Triumph Studios have done an admiral job listening to fan feedback and incorporating lots of tweaks and balance changes.

Read the full review at Leviathyn >>