Good evening! Due to the pandemic, film releases are still an odd situation with various indie movies and random flicks that are being dumped on streaming or VOD. However, it already seems like 2021 has a slightly better outcome than 2020 with more films and somewhat better quality. Today, I’m reviewing the reboot of Wrong Turn and the latest Tom & Jerry movie. Are these films actually good or did studios have a backhanded reason to release them online? Here are my thoughts.
Wrong Turn had a limited release in theaters and now it’s available for purchase through iTunes, Amazon Prime, and other digital retailers. A group of friends get lost in the woods and encounter a reclusive, self-sustaining community who isn’t friendly to outsiders. As expected in any slasher movie, bloody violence ensues.
Basically, this movie is okay. It’s not good, bad, or particularly memorable. But it’s completely watchable and probably better than most films in the Wrong Turn series. In fact, it’s not a terrible watch for pandemic fare. Wrong Turn is a decent way to kill ninety minutes if you like slasher films. This movie is gory with a solid number of exciting scenes. It’s a surprisingly decent blend of bloodshed and action with a pretty good representation of wilderness horror. Also, this reboot is oddly topical for our political climate. Our country has a severe cultural divide right now and this movie addresses these issues. It doesn’t side with either the left or right. Both sides must work together and fight a completely different counterculture who’s even worse. It’s easy to label one side or the other as evil incarnate, but don’t forget, something worse can always rear its ugly head.
Despite being a little better than most pandemic releases, Wrong Turn has a number of problems. It has some pacing issues in the middle of the story and none of the characters are memorable. Most of the characters come from modern tropes and stocks with very little depth. The characters also make every stupid decision possible to get killed. Granted, this is a typical problem in slasher flicks. I can’t say this movie is particularly scary either. It’s not boring, but this film is definitely more gross than frightening. Also, the cultural and political commentary is heavy handed. I didn’t mind, but many audiences are sensitive around this type of subject matter.
Is the new Wrong Turn movie worth your time and money? Possibly. I would recommend it for horror fans and anyone who’s bored enough to spend a little money on iTunes right now. It’s actually pretty cheap. I bought it for $9.99. Stay away if you don’t like gruesome horror films or the Wrong Turn series in general. Don’t freak out about the political elements. It’s simply not offensive enough to matter.
Let’s head in a completely different direction with Tom & Jerry. It’s a kid friendly movie about a mischievous cat and mouse who are raising trouble in a New York hotel. Perhaps, this unlikely duo can sort out their differences before they ruin the hotel's reputation.
This film was a pleasant surprise with a decent story, fun characters, and a convincing blend of live action and animation. All of the actors were good, including Chloe Grace Moretz, Michael Pena, Colin Jost, and Pallavi Sharda. Everyone was entertaining and it genuinely seemed like they had entire conversations with cartoon characters. Some of the humor was a bit hit or miss, but it was mostly witty. I actually laughed out loud a handful of times. The trailers were stupid, but don’t let it cloud your judgment. I was genuinely surprised with the story, which had a decent amount of substance and heartwarming moments. This movie was a nice way to bring Tom and Jerry to modern audiences.
Regarding negative elements, some people might find this movie juvenile or dumb. After all, kids are the target audience and the humor reflects those ideals. It’s not a highbrow film by any means, but that’s not the point. People who watched the old Tom and Jerry cartoons might not appreciate the humor because it’s different. Basically, Warner Bros. watered down the franchise's violent, mean spirited, and infantile humor. Did you ever watch the old Tom and Jerry cartoons? They’re quite violent, stupid, and the characters are super naughty. The 2021 movie is a lot more wholesome and some of the violence has been toned down. I don’t consider the changes awful, but some fans won’t appreciate it.
Tom & Jerry is the perfect movie for a family viewing at home. It’s available on HBO Max and suitable for all ages. So far, it’s one of the better releases of the year. Shocker, right? I recommend a subscription to HBO Max this year because Warner Bros. is releasing all of their 2021 films on streaming. Take advantage of it! I’m also going to review Godzilla vs. Kong and Mortal Kombat within the next several weeks. Have you seen any good movies lately? Are movie theaters opening up in your home town? Tell me in the comment section. Be safe and don’t be afraid of the COVID vaccine. It literally saves lives. Take care and I’ll see you guys next week.
Greetings! We're going to see many changes this year, including more reopenings at some point. But we still have to wait for worldwide distribution of the COVID vaccine. In the meantime, we can still play games at home and immerse ourselves in elaborate world building without leaving home. Gaming is a great way to kill time because it takes days, weeks, or even months to venture through a campaign. Sometimes the journey continues even when you finish a game through New Game+ mode or additional exploration. Without any further ado, here's a list of games I reviewed.
The Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove is a collection of side scrolling games in 2D that will appeal to retro gamers. It actually includes four games where you play as a knight, plague doctor, grim reaper, and a king. This collection is pretty cute and it’s a nice throwback to an earlier style of gameplay. Each game has witty humor and the characters have a variety of attacks, jumps, and powers. I’m not entirely sure how to classify this collection’s genre, but it seems to have metroidvania influences with an emphasis on platforming and combat. Also, you can manually save your progress, which helps a lot because it’s really easy to die.
Gamers will either love the Shovel Knight collection or not. I appreciate certain elements about the Treasure Trove, but the gameplay is insanely difficult and I can’t even figure out how to use some of the characters. It seems like the target audience is players who really enjoy difficult retro gaming. Believe me, you need to be a gamer who prefers the hard mode on everything. Additionally, the Shovel Knight games require a lot of memorization. You’re going to die many times and memorizing patterns is essential. That’s fine up to a point, but it’s becomes annoying in short order.
Is the Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove is a good choice for you? That entirely depends on your genre preferences. I struggle with metroidvanias and I don’t understand why anyone would pick the suicidal difficulty mode on any game. If those elements sound appealing, you’ll love this collection. I hate to disappoint you, but playing with cute 2D characters isn’t motivating enough to play these games unless you want a hardcore challenge.
Bendy and the Ink Machine is a survival horror game about a cartoon animator who finds his workplace in a state of transformation. Their characters are manifesting in real life and turning the studio into a nightmarish cartoon. Basically, this game has a really interesting concept and it’s genuinely scary. It has a good combination of jump scares and unsettling moments. The environment is an interesting place to explore, even though the gameplay is mostly linear.
I felt really excited to play this game, but it disappointed me. Bendy and the Ink Machine has really clunky controls, the gameplay is tedious, and I was lost in the studio more often than not. That’s especially a problem when Bendy and other invulnerable enemies are chasing you relentlessly. I realize it’s an indie title, but this game feels unfinished and the experience lacks an important fun factor.
Sorry, but I’m not recommending this game. I don’t understand how Bendy and the Ink Machine became such a hit. It has merchandise everywhere. This game has a cool story and unique ideas, but the actual experience is a broken mess. However, a sequel is coming out at some point and it might have improvements.
Devil May Cry 5 is the most recent entry in the series, focusing on demon slayers who are trying to prevent the apocalypse. It retains the franchise’s classic hack and slash gameplay with an onslaught of enemies in each area. This game has quick pacing, impressive boss fights, and unlockable combo sets. You can switch around between different combat styles, involving both sword fighting and firearms. Devil May Cry 5 should be a very entertaining adventure for gamers who like the original series. It includes fan favorites, such as Dante and Nero, along with new characters.
My thoughts about this game are mostly positive, but it won’t appeal to everyone. The gameplay is incredibly repetitive and you’ve seen everything it offers after the first hour. Devil May Cry 5 is a pretty short game and most players will finish it in a couple days. The story is typical of a DMC game and I can’t say the total experience has much substance. Also, I don’t believe this game has notable replay value.
Devil May Cry 5 isn’t a bad game by any means. In fact, it’s a nice return to form and fans of the series will enjoy the experience. However, it might not appeal to gamers who prefer complex RPGs or stories with longer formats. So, if you’re curious about this entry, play to your heart’s content. The new consoles also have a Special Edition that features Virgil as a protagonist.
Life is Strange: Before the Storm is a prequel to its predecessor. It focuses on two girls who are trying to find their own identities and quickly become involved in their town’s darkest secrets. I’m usually a fan of the choose-your-own-adventure format, but this game isn’t particularly interesting. With that said, it might appeal to gamers who appreciate coming of age stories. Your decisions affect the character’s personalities and their relationships, directly impacting the plot. So, make your decisions wisely.
Overall, I wasn’t impressed with this prequel. In fact, I find the entire series overrated. Basically, it fails to tell a good story, which is a cardinal sin for graphic adventures. Before the Storm reminds me of a typical prime time drama on the CW with an emphasis on bickering, social agendas, whiny characters, and predictable stories with huge plot holes. Don’t get me wrong. I really enjoy games with topical social commentaries, but I want to hear a meaningful message instead of a soap opera. Additionally, I don’t understand why this game exists. If you played the first Life is Strange game, you already knows what happens to these characters. This prequel doesn’t bring anything new, insightful, or meaningful to the series.
Ultimately, you can skip this game. I know some gamers really enjoy Life is Strange, but this prequel doesn’t add anything substantial to the franchise. More importantly, I can think of better graphic adventures. I would recommend the Telltale games and Until Dawn instead.
The Order 1886 is a PlayStation 4 exclusive that focuses on a knight who’s battling werewolves in a steampunk fantasy. I didn’t like this game very much, but the visual elements are beautiful. The environment, costumes, characters, and weapons have incredible detail. This steampunk world is a lovely version of an alternate Victorian era with high technology and supernatural threats. If all else fails, I’m glad the animation was top notch.
Unfortunately, the gameplay and story are unmemorable. I found the controls awkward and unrefined. Somehow, explosions randomly killed me, despite being really far away from the blast radius. The developers didn’t take advantage of this gorgeous world because they created a completely linear map. Sadly, this game lacks an open world environment and players don’t have the opportunity for exploration. You can pick up random steampunk knickknacks, but they don’t serve a purpose. Also, the story feels like a mishmash of the King Arthur legend and the Underworld movies with a coat of streampunk paint. It’s simply unoriginal.
I suppose you can try this game if it sounds interesting enough. But keep your expectations really low. The Order 1886 is dull and predictable with clunky gameplay. It’s not going to make steampunk fans happy either. Despite having good visual effects, the game is totally a missed opportunity.
Back when I played this game, it was an exclusive title on the PlayStation 4. Those Who Remain is a mystery and survival horror game that features a man who’s trying to rectify his past mistakes. Truthfully, it was one of my biggest disappointments on modern consoles, but I would say it might appeal to people who play indie games. Those Who Remain has an interesting little mystery and gamers have to uncover it throughout the story. That’s the best part.
What about everything else? I actually believe this game is pretty awful. It’s not scary at all and the controls barely work. You have to click on various items and it can be tricky to make the controls work without getting killed by accident. Also, the environment is inconsistent. You’re supposed to stay in the light, but it’s confusing because you can roam freely in some dark areas while others are fatal. Periodically, an unkillable monster will chase the player and you must remain hidden. It becomes annoying because the monster will randomly teleport from far away and kill you. I know it’s not part of the game design. This game adds more insult to injury by forcing you to play as a character who has very few redeemable qualities. The protagonist lives as a horrible person and he’s willing to change because he knows demons will drag him to Hell. That doesn’t mean he’s developing a moral compass.
It’s probably a good idea to skip this game. Those Who Remain is borrowing a lot of elements from Silent Hill, but it doesn’t come together very well and the overall quality is poor. The basic concept is interesting, but the gameplay and technical issues ruin the experience.
Streets of Rage 4 is a long awaited sequel to a classic beat’em up series that takes place in a dystopian metropolis. I was quite impressed with this game. It brings back the original 2D format with a simple, yet brutal, combat style. This game is authentic to the franchise and it should be satisfactory for retro players. It brings back the original characters and adds a couple new faces with unique move sets. Streets of Rage 4 wasn’t released until the pandemic, but it feels entirely like the original series. Combat has a simple design and it still manages to be intense, frantic, and challenging. It’s a great choice for people who love fighting games and 2D beat’em ups. You can also save the game’s progress. Thank goodness!
I don’t have significant complaints, but you must enjoy this type of genre. The level design is simple, the plot is laughably bad, and the game has very little substance. But you shouldn’t expect this type of game to be super complex anyway. It might also feel repetitive for some gamers and it’s easy to feel frustrated with the combat. Prepare to die frequently.
In general, Streets of Rage 4 is a nostalgic blast from the past and a nice break from RPGs, first person shooters, survival horror, and other popular genres. Even if you don’t participate in retro gaming, you should try this release at least once. You might feel pleasantly surprised.
This collection includes two graphic adventures from Quantic Dream. Heavy Rain is a gritty crime thriller and mystery while Beyond: Two Souls is a complex sci-fi adventure. Most PlayStation exclusives are hailed as masterpieces, but this post shows a number of flawed releases. Both of these games have just enough intrigue to keep the player engaged, but I’ve seen far better graphic adventures. I would only recommend these games for players who want to try every choose-your-own-adventure on modern consoles. Some people have a checklist.
Based on what I’ve said, you can assume this collection is disappointing. Most of the voice acting is mundane, the stories are convoluted, the gameplay is awkward, and they lack entertainment value. This collection is too ambitious and the finished product doesn’t work very well. It’s just not worth the money.
Obviously, I’m not recommending this collection. It seems like the studio tried to change the graphic adventure genre, but this type of ambition comes with risks. In the end, these games fail to tell a good story and they lack solid gameplay. What’s the point? Keep in mind, Quantic Dream also created Detroit: Become Human, which is excellent. Skip these games and play Detroit instead.
That’s my most recent list of game reviews. I hope you can find plenty of games to keep you occupied during the pandemic. Be patient. More places will open up when the contagion goes down. Have you played any of these games yet? Are you planning to play other games instead? Tell me about it in the comment section. Thanks a lot for visiting and come back again next week. Be safe and take care.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.