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.
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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Gotham 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.
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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 >>