All posts by Jesse Schedeen

Batman #28 Review

The sheer unpredictability of Tom King’s Batman saga continues to be one of this book’s greatest strengths. You never quite know what to expect with each new issue, even within the same story arc. Batman #29 pushes “The War of Jokes and Riddles” in its strangest direction yet, as nearly every A-List villain in Gotham shows up for a lavish dinner party at Wayne Manor. Rarely has high society been this twisted, or this fun.

Essentially, this issue could be viewed as the bottle episode for “The War of Jokes and Riddles,” as it unfolds almost entirely within one room and features a set cast of characters. And while various lieutenants from both sides of the war are on display, this is really a story about the interplay between Riddler, Joker and their mediator, Bruce Wayne. There’s a clear,m palpable tension driving this story, with both ringleaders primed and ready to turn their comfortable surroundings into a violent bloodbath at a moment’s notice. Various other little touches enhance the overall impact of the story. In particular, the use of different French food courses as a framing device gives the book a comical, Hannibal-esque quality.

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IGN's New Video Player

We’re pleased to announce the launch of an all-new video player across all of IGN. The new player — we call it V6 — rolls out globally today on desktop and mobile web.

Video has helped us cover games and entertainment for two decades. Back in the day, we offered download links to stamp-sized Quicktime files. Video has come a long way since then, and our new V6 player is thoroughly modern.

We know our previous video player has some problems. That’s why we started from scratch when building V6. We ditched our old technology and built around the open-source VideoJS project. The new video player runs entirely in HTML and Javascript, which means absolutely zero use of Flash. That’s good for mobile, naturally, but also means improved performance in desktop web browsers. In our testing, the V6 plays 4K video smoothly even on two-year-old laptops (given good network conditions).

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MoviePass Price Change Angers AMC Theatres

You can now see a movie a day in theaters for under $10 a month, but the new subscription price point from the MoviePass service has caused one of the company’s partners to consider opting out of the program.

MoviePass announced its new price point yesterday, allowing interested buyers to subscribe into the service for $9.95 a month. Users then download an app and are mailed a debit card, which allow users to check in to a movie at partnered theaters once a day and see one movie every day. (Effectively, the service now pays for itself with one movie viewing in many parts of the United States.) Those who already subscribed will automatically be adjusted down to that price on their next bill.

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Marvel Answers Long-Running Spider-Man Mystery

Spider-Men II finally addressed one of Marvel’s longest-running mysteries, but fans might not be happy with the answer.

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Warning: this article contains spoilers for Spider-Men II #2!

The original Spider-Men mini-series ended on an unusual cliffhanger in 2012, with Peter Parker returning home and Googling Miles Morales’ name, curious to see if the Marvel Universe had its own version of Miles. Peter seemed shocked by the results, but readers never did learn what he found. Until now, that is.

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Star Wars #34 Review

It seems that Jason Aaron is ending his Star Wars run with a series of standalone, one-shot stories spotlighting the various heroes of the Rebellion. It’s not necessarily the most exciting way to wrap a two-and-a-half-year saga, but it is an entertaining way of allowing Aaron to bid farewell to these characters. Consider Star Wars #34 a flawed but endearing celebration of Han Solo’s “ex-wife,” Sana Starros.

Apart from that, the obvious selling point with this issue is the guest role for Lando Calrissian. Apart from his surprisingly excellent solo mini-series, Lando hasn’t played much of a role in Marvel’s new Star Wars line yet. While that’s to be expected given Marvel’s emphasis on the pre-Empire Strikes Back timeline, Lando’s presence is still sorely missed. This issue goes a little way towards rectifying that problem. Lando makes for an amusing foil to Sana as she carries out an elaborate and highly dangerous con. But he doesn’t really bring anything more to the table. By the end of this issue, I found myself questioning whether Lando actually needed to appear in this story at all. Why did Sana need him around in the first place? I don’t blame Aaron for wanting to squeeze in a little Billy Dee before leaving the series, but maybe he deserved his own, separate adventure?

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Spider-Men II #2 Review

Spider-Men II is rapidly turning into a disappointment. The novelty of seeing Peter Parker and Miles Morales share the page is already far less than it was five years ago. And if issue #2 is any indication, there’s little hope of the sequel actually delivering worthy payoff to the original’s cliffhanger mystery. As great as it is seeing Brain Bendis and Sara Pichelli working together on a Miles Morales story, it often feels like their energy would be better spent on Miles’ ongoing series.

I won’t get into story spoilers here (click here for more on this issue’s “big” revelation), but suffice it to say that Spider-Men II’s handling of the five-year Miles Morales mystery is frustrating. It’s not that the payoff is disappointing so much as it’s basically nonexistent. But that’s just one of many problems plaguing the book at the moment. It’s tough to care about the “other” Miles introduced in issue #1 because we know so little about the character or his motivations. And when it comes to Taskmaster, it’s not even clear whether we’re reading the classic version of the character or the Ultimate version who somehow made the jump between universes. The fractured narrative only compounds these problems, skipping between the Taskmaster battle and Peter and Miles’ showdown with Other Miles in very jumbled fashion.

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Madden NFL 18 Review in Progress

Ask Tom Brady and Matt Ryan what they think about halftime adjustments. Those adjustments, major or minor, are the key to winning any football game – and that’s exactly the kind of change Madden NFL 18 has made to EA’s series. Madden is coming out of the locker room with more than an adjustment to its gameplay and story mode; the development team just stormed back onto the field with a new engine, improved gameplay, and a story mode finally worth giving a damn about.

Madden 18’s move to the Frostbite Engine has enhanced the graphics dramatically, and the gameplay to an extent. While playing a rematch of last season’s Patriots vs. Falcons Super Bowl, it was easy to get distracted by the lighting effects and the improved body types, which, to my eye, have both taken the largest leap of any of Madden 18’s graphical upgrades. While watching a replay I noticed details like how the glimmer of the sun flickered off of a receiver’s helmet, and even while referees are announcing penalties you can see that the glare in their faces is real.

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The Mighty Thor #22

For all the credit Dark Nights: Metal is receiving for injecting a dose of heavy metal-flavored bombast into the DCU, it should be said that Jason Aaron has quietly been doing the same at Marvel for the past five years. The latest chapter of The Mighty Thor is one of Aaron’s most metal comics yet, offering a symphony of carnage and destruction fueled by the compelling new anti-hero that is the War Thor.

Having established the War Thor’s tragic origin story and his general status as a one-man Red Lantern Corps, Aaron is now free to unleash him upon the Ten Realms. This issue opens with some fun banter between the Queen of Cinders and Malekith, but for the most part the focus is on Volstagg’s bloody revenge quest. The scale of the ensuing battle is terrific, reflecting the full fury of a thunder god and a fire demon unleashed.

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Uncharted: The Lost Legacy Review

No one should play Uncharted: The Lost Legacy without first playing the rest of Naughty Dog’s epic adventure series. A side effect of that, however, is that no one who plays The Lost Legacy will experience much they haven’t seen before. This standalone adventure, set after the events of Uncharted 4, is packed with the beautiful vistas, exciting action, and memorable characters we expect from an Uncharted game, but the familiarity of it all made Lost Legacy feel more like a by-the-numbers summer blockbuster than the milestone events that came before it.

I had a distinct sense of deja vu with nearly every action scene of this six-hour adventure. Every shootout with disposable guns against mindless paramilitary dudes, every crumbling wall I had to climb and shimmy across, and every floaty driving sequence across the Indian planes felt directly lifted out of the previous Uncharted games. It feels like replaying a great linear action game game – still good, but without the novelty and suspense.

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