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Video Game Review: Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series, Episode 1

April 25, 2017 | By Mike Chen | Comments Comments Off
Guardians of the Galaxy
TellTale’s take on GotG perfectly matches the tone of the popular film.

A few years ago, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy exploded from cult comic book to film mega-hit. TellTale Games very smartly picked up the license to tell a story in this universe, and its arrival is welcome simply because most TellTale adventures are very grim in tone.

This version, starting with Episode 1: Tangled Up in Blue, captures everything that worked so well with the film and instantly feels fresher and livelier than other recent fare (The Walking Dead, Batman).

CONTROLS (3.75/5)

If you’ve played a TellTale game, then you know the controls for Guardians of the Galaxy. There’s nothing terribly unique about it outside of using up and down directional pad buttons to move vertically with Star Lord’s rocket boots. In addition, L2 activates radio communication with teammates. Other than that, it’s standard TellTale quick-time events.

GRAPHICS/SOUND (4.25/5)

TellTale’s episodic games are often style over graphical substance — there’s usually not too much when it comes to the complexity of the models or animation, and instead, they are highly stylized to look like comic books come to life.

Guardians of the Galaxy offers a slightly more realistic look, more in line with the popular Star Wars: The Clone Wars TV show. Perhaps it’s because it doesn’t use cel-shading, but Guardians is probably the best looking Telltale game, or at least the highest fidelity when it comes to textures and lighting.

TellTale usually employs strong vocal performances, and there’s no doubt about that here. The Guardians cast is slightly different from the popular film cast. For example, Star Lord is played by Scott Porter, but he sounds more like Nolan North’s Nathan Drake than Chris Pratt (ironically, North plays Rocket Raccoon).

While the cast doesn’t necessarily replicate the film experience, they fit the characters perfectly, and any sort of disbelief left by that discrepancy is quickly forgotten.

GAMEPLAY (4.25/5)

Recent TellTale games have tried to add franchise-specific elements to their standard formula. For example, the Batman series offered Detective modes and combat planning. For Guardians, the two new elements are radio conversations and vertical-level exploration using Star Lord’s boots.

Outside of that, the same pros and cons come with TellTale fare. Thus, the strength of Guardians depends on the story and the characters. TellTale is increasingly removing true gameplay elements (there are only three real segments of interaction and exploration in Episode 1) and, at the same time, there feels like there’s little of consequence outside of one major decision. Otherwise, it feels like dialogue choices are only going impact the immediate conversation, not the bigger picture.

This is a criticism, but it’s balanced out by a strong story and even better dialogue. The story and characters unfold in a way that someone can be completely new to the franchise and will still be caught up to speed really quick.

The exposition isn’t as painful as it can be, and all of the humour — there’s a lot of that — fits in with what you’ve come to expect. There are even a few trademark 1970s/80s rock songs (and Indie cred for getting punk band The Buzzcocks in there).

So, while Guardians doesn’t break any new ground, it’s engaging and fun in a way that welcomes new and old fans of the franchise. For people who’ve never heard of the series but like TellTale, the humor is right on par with the excellent Tales from the Borderlands series.

OVERALL (4.25/5)

While not breaking the TellTale formula for better or worse, TellTale’s take on Guardians of the Galaxy is fun, engaging and smartly comic with endearing characters. As long as you’re not expecting anything too different, you’ll be extremely satisfied with the start of this new series.

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The Wire Troll: Mitch Moreland Providing Punch for BoSox

April 23, 2017 | By David Weightman | Comments Comments Off
In four starts, the southpaw is 2-1 with a 2.19 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP. On Friday, Santiago pitched his third straight quality start, which matches his total for all of 2016. His next start will be on Wednesday in Texas, normally an unattractive matchup, but the Rangers are struggling right now, ranking just 24th in the bigs in OPS.
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The Wire Troll: Cesar Hernandez Keeps Raking for Phillies

April 16, 2017 | By David Weightman | Comments Comments Off
Since the start of the 2016 season, Hernandez ranks third in walks (68) and BABIP (.363), seventh in OBP (.371) and tied for seventh in batting average (.295) among all qualifying second baseman in the majors. In fact, that BABIP ranks eighth among any qualifying player in the majors over that span, at that’s a concern that he’s due for a correction at some point. But for now, it’s full steam ahead as in his last seven games, Hernandez is hitting .370/.414/.519 with four RBI.
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Video Game Review: Persona 5

April 14, 2017 | By Brian Gunn | Comments Comments Off
Persona 5 starts out similarly to Persona 4, with a young student being forced to move and attend high school in a very different setting from where they grew up. This time our lead relocates from the countryside to Tokyo due to being branded a minor criminal. Soon enough they gain the ability to use Personas and the code name “Joker,” and then it’s off to balance dungeon diving and having a social life.
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Blu-ray Review: The Bye Bye Man

April 10, 2017 | By Herija Green | Comments Comments Off
As an otherworldly antagonist, the Bye Bye Man is about as generic and uninteresting as it gets. There’s no compelling back story to uncover, no unsettling taunting or terrorizing (we don’t recall him ever uttering a single word) and no cool signature ability. On top of that, he’s saddled with some terrible looking CGI dog thing. It’s laughably bad.
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