While I have a soft spot for indie titles, I have an even greater appreciation of indie titles with a distinct local flavour. Chris de Castro’s The Wizards of Trinity Bellwoods is a neat little gem that is currently in development that makes a statement about the way of things in our society. It focuses both on the problem and the solution in such a simple and honest way that I think it deserves a look.
I know next to nothing about the IRA and the conflict between loyalists and Irish separatists dating back to the 1960s. Wikipedia tells me that the conflict did not see resolution until the Belfast Agreement of 1998, meaning the struggle lasted a full thirty years. Over that span, 3,542 people were killed and countless more injured. I’ll admit to feeling a little embarrassed for not being more familiar with the details, but somehow its story never made it into local public school curricula, nor our general cultural narrative. It was with helpful ignorance, then, that I went to a screening of ’71, the debut film from French director Yann Demange that toured film festivals in 2014. Knowing nothing gave the film an opportunity to tell its story to me with optimal impact, and it accomplished exactly that.
Where were you on Monday night? I was downtown on Queen West in a dressed-up loft space above Design Republic trying my hand at Evolve on Xbox One. EB Games and Xbox Canada put together a launch-party-slash-demo of the game, where we could bathe in green LEDs and eat Doritos with Mountain Dew. Sounds like a wicked party, right? As a demo night, things were pretty simple as no devs were onsite to talk about the release. It was more of a barebones, hands-on experience for media and consumers to spend a few rounds in the game before its official launch at midnight. If you’re curious how it came together, the short answer is that the game is good. There’s still a lot we need to see before making more confident and thorough assessments, though, so stay tuned for our complete review.
If you like competitive strategy games but don’t like to take hours to play them, then you might want to keep your eyes on Prismata from Lunarch Studios. Pitched as a deckless turn-based strategy game that distills real-time strategy down to a turn-based format, Prismata is all about strategic resource assignment and forward-thinking. Matches in Prismata don’t last very long, and there is a very thin margin for error, making it very challenging. Even though the game is in its early development phases and doesn’t look as great as it could, it is still compelling based on game-play alone and deserves some attention from the card-dueling set.
It won’t be news to you that 343 Industries ran a beta of Halo 5: Guardians featuring an online multi-player preview. It launched just after Christmas for gamers with a copy of Halo: The Master Chief Collection on Xbox One, and was available until January 18th. While the game won’t be released until fall 2015, gamers are getting a chance to try out the next-gen Halo experience and, more importantly, give developers a chance to crowdsource some debugging and a bit of consumer feedback. Given the cultural moment we’re going through with regards to the launch integrity of AAA releases, this is a pretty good move on the part of the studio, but I’ll get to that later. First off: the game.
There isn’t much time left to take the Hill. The Blue Team has been camping there long enough to erode your lead, leaving your team little choice but to make a desperate charge and hope for the best. You lean around the corner and hear the telltale sound of assault rifles, your vest shivering as your shield is being pounded into oblivion. You quickly pull back completely behind cover, making a mental note that three of the four Blues are hunkered down securely at the captured location. You wonder where their fourth member is – she was the one that seemed to give you so much trouble. Why, with all of the Reds covering the field there’s nowhere that she could hi-
Suddenly, you feel your vest shake, giving up the last of your recharging shield to the pounding force of a shotgun – and before you can react, she switches to an assault rifle and takes you down rapidly, causing mild electric shocks to the armband on your bare right arm – one pinching buzz for every quarter of your life. Then, you are dead. The buzzer goes, indicating the end of the match, and your team has the blues because you failed to make the other team see Red.
Welcome to Battlegrounds!
Not too long ago, I was invited to hang out with Sony Mobile to check out some of their new hand-held devices. So, I made my way over to where they were holding the Touch & Try Event, and was lucky enough to have arrived before everyone else! I sat down with Rob, a product representative from Sony Mobile, to check out a few of their new products – including a demonstration of Playstation 4 Remote Play on some of those very devices!