GOG release: “Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Daughter”

Deduction and action go hand in hand with the DRM-free release of Frogwares‘s adventure game Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Daughter.

It’s been quite some time since I reviewed The Testament of Sherlock Holmes, and while it might not have been the best of games, it still did the detective work of Arthur Conan Doyle’s literary detective justice with all the clue gathering and suspect interrogation sequences, although as with the previous point-and-click adventure games, it wasn’t without its obscure puzzles and backtracking. Now even if I’ve missed Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments that seems to be quite an improvement with various cases to solve and endings to see, Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Daughter might be the next best thing if one goes the DRM-free route of GOG, because the former game is still not available on that digital platform.

This time Holmes looks much more like the modern Guy Ritchie movie version and the game includes enough QTEs to make classic adventure gamers turn away in frustration. The story about the private detective’s adopted daughter Katelyn who brings a dark family secret to light also adds a more supernatural touch to proceedings than one is used to, although there was always something mysterious and strange about Holmes’ cases. Still, judging from the cinematic trailer, it almost looks as if taken out of a horror movie (which isn’t a bad thing in my book). Despite relying more on action set-pieces, deduction with combining clues hasn’t been forgotten, though. I’m not really averse to a more cinematic presentation and don’t have a problem with QTEs, so if this means that those terrible sliding puzzles or other strange object combinations are absent, this is more than just a big improvement.

Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Daughter is now available on GOG with a 70% discount that will last until February 8, 2PM UTC. There is also a Detective Stories Sale going on at the moment with up to 90% off the individual games, with quite a few Sherlock Holmes games and some other even more enjoyable adventure titles I already reviewed being featured. The sale will end on February 5, 11PM UTC.

Official website

If you liked reading this article, make sure you pay a visit to Future Sack which kindly features it as well, and every LIKE or comment is appreciated on EMR’s Facebook page or FS’s Facebook page :). Or FOLLOW the blog on EMR’s Twitter page.
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Game release: “Outcast – Second Contact” (PC,PS4,Xbox One)

Appeal’s classic late 90ies sci-fi open-world and action-adventure game Outcast finally receives its remake with Outcast – Second Contact.

The original Outcast was originally released in 1999, and I can still remember how much its otherworldly atmosphere impressed me. First diving into water that had realistic reflections and ripples was already an eye-opener, but being able to look into the far distance and traveling there without loading times was even better. Unlike other games of the time that relied more on specific graphics cards, the CPU did most of the work and that’s why it didn’t offer high resolutions even on a high-spec PC. While it might look rather dated today, the story about military man Cutter Slade who finds himself in the strange new world Adelpha and becomes a prophetic savior of the enslaved alien people is still highly engaging, not because of its novelty, but because of how believable the world feels and how it’s so expansive with various quests to complete. It’s not really an RPG, but it often feels like one, although its emphasis is more on shooting and exploration.

While the game didn’t receive a sequel, attempts at a remake were made in 2014, with the digital version of Outcast that was released in 2010 being renamed Outcast 1.1. This one had better graphics, controller support, and some bugfixes. But it took three more years for Outcast – Second Contact to arrive. Developed by the same company and now published by Bigben Interactive, this seems to be the definitive version. It looks stunning with modern graphics, offers new combat moves and a cover system and even has new hidden areas to explore, although the story and characters remain the same, as the voice acting and stellar music do. While the voices might not be up to the high standards of today’s AAA productions due to its lower quality and the cheesy writing at times (although I still remember the German one to be pretty good, especially since it was the same actor who dubbed Bruce Willis’ voice), the musical score is as epic as one expects from an amazing predecessor of modern open-world action-adventures. This is certainly an adventure that has to be experienced once in a gamer’s life time, and there’s no better way than with this remake.

The game is out now on PC, PS4, and Xbox One, with the digital GOG PC version 45% off until February 5, 2PM UTC. Unfortunately, the soundtrack as well as a Gold Weapons skin Pack are only available on Steam, but maybe these extras will make it to the DRM-free platform in the near future, as it happened with other games before.

Buy the digital version for PC on
GOG
Steam

Buy the digital soundtrack for PC on
Steam

Buy the digital Gold Weapons Pack for PC on
Steam

Buy the digital version for PS4 on
the PSN store

Buy the digital version for Xbox One on
the Xbox store

Buy the retail version for PC on
Amazon Germany
Amazon UK
Amazon USA

Buy the retail version for PS4 on
Amazon Germany
Amazon UK
Amazon USA

Buy the retail version for Xbox One on
Amazon Germany
Amazon UK
Amazon USA (import)

Official website

If you liked reading this article, make sure you pay a visit to Future Sack which kindly features it as well, and every LIKE or comment is appreciated on EMR’s Facebook page or FS’s Facebook page :). Or FOLLOW the blog on EMR’s Twitter page.
Using the GOG or Amazon links and buying the product also helps ;).

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Overview of (blog) life in January 2018

Before going back to the news and reviews routine, let’s have a quick glance at what happened in January 2018 blogging.

I know it’s been a bit quite here and the articles haven’t been as numerous as they used to be. So I’ll first have this overview out in order to get back into the habit of writing. Hopefully daily blogging will pick up again from here.

One overview already showed that a few days were without articles in December, indicating the vacation time also meant a vacation from writing that would continue a bit longer than anticipated:

Overview of (blog) life in December 2017

Fortunately, there was enough to write about TV shows on the streaming service Netflix, although movies were absent from this one:

Netflix watchlist: December 2017

Writing about all the latest additions to the media collection almost didn’t make it, as taking all those photos and remembering all the movies I watched turned this into more of a small reviews section, which was rather time-consuming:

New additions to the media collection in December 2017

Even if it was only one gaming news article, at least it was a pretty cool one about two very good games made available for free via Humble Bundle for a limited time:

Humble Bundle free games “Amnesia: The Dark Descent” + “Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs”

As you can see, compared to December or the months before, it was awfully quiet in January, which might also have to do with the fair amount of gaming hours I put in with the Borderlands series (finished all three including DLC!). Now I’m trying to get through all the review copies and have some articles done. Fingers crossed that I’ll keep up the good work as I used to. So thanks for checking in once in a while even if there wasn’t a lot of stuff to read ;-)!

If you liked reading this article, make sure you pay a visit to Future Sack which kindly features it as well, and every LIKE or comment is appreciated on EMR’s Facebook page or FS’s Facebook page :). Or FOLLOW the blog on EMR’s Twitter page.

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New additions to the media collection in December 2017

Being the last day of the month, it’s about time to get our final overview of December out which covers all the latest media additions.

It’s been a long time since I read the latest Games TM issues that are starting to pile up, but I’ve had my fair share of retro reading. It’s rather nice that one receives some goodies once in a while, and as the new year was almost there, what better way than to celebrate it with an awesome calendar? The next few photos give you an insight into all the 8-bit/16-bit sprite work that went into the individual monthly covers. I left out the odd old computer photos, as I didn’t find them very appealing. However, having some consoles or arcade machines presented in that art style is definitely something special. Seeing more modern gaming icons as 8/16-bit characters is also quite interesting. So take your time and see how many references you can spot!

It was the month of Star Wars movie fever, and even if I didn’t like Episode VIII: The Last Jedi so much, there were enough reasons to make one love the franchise, as with the newest LEGO magazine that celebrated the release of the newest movie with some cool stickers and Kylo Ren’s shuttle.

I also received some nice Star Wars birthday/Christmas presents with the Monopoly board and other card games that were quite fun.

More birthday presents included the 3D BDs of Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (I already reviewed and liked much better) and Star Wars: Rogue One (unfortunately a mixed bag of boring story/characters and a grand action-packed finale). Star Wars Robot Chicken wasn’t 3D, but turned out to be a pretty fun collection of clay figures anarchic comedy scenes (although some of them were already included in the original trilogy BD collection as special features). XxX: The Return of Xander Cage was surprisingly fun. In spite of all the bad reviews, I preferred watching this over-the-top action feast than the first two movies.

Last month I covered the Efteling theme park book in the new additions to the media collection article, and my girlfriend gave me the original fairytale figurines as presents, which all look as detailed as the ones in the fairy tale forest I visited.

Videogames didn’t really make it to the shelves this month, except for a few Gameboy titles. Two I owned back in the days and which were just as much fun to play (the alligator pinball and arcade classic game) and the other was a good puzzler to pass time on the go or at home. I got them together with empty cases that will be used for keeping other module-only acquisitions in a better dust-free environment.

I really don’t like German TV, and it’s a pain that we are forced to pay a monthly fee without watching it, supporting horrible shows and movies in the process. Fortunately there’s one man who makes fun of everything bad on TV in the most insulting way possible: Oliver Kalkofe. You might know this guy from short cameos in the fourth and fifth Sharknado movies and he presents and comments on trash movies as well (with one included as a DVD in this set). Anyway, I finally got this special edition of almost all his 15-minutes TV-bashing goodness, although it didn’t come without its problems…

With lots of unnecessary goodies (like a barf bag, a tie or a beer coaster), these were certainly not incentives to buy it. The main reason was that it was cheaper than buying the box sets individually. Only too bad that when I opened the box…

…none of the discs were in their clasps and everything fell out. Good thing that these were almost all BDs, but some of them were DVDs, so you can imagine that they didn’t come without scratches. At least one received a digital copy code for every season, but that’s not really the point of collecting physical media, is it?

You might have realized that there was one empty clasp. This was because the disc wasn’t missing, but it wasn’t released at the time when the box went into production. Great marketing to make people buy the next one, right? Anyway, I bought this season together with another one (so much for premonition, eh?). Unfortunately, the online shop I bought it at sent me the DVDs… Okay, the quality on the BDs is SD, but I want to receive what I bought… Sending the old ones back (and paying more postage than the shop anticipated) and finally getting the right package, this chapter was closed, and even if the price was okay (the BDs were out of print on Amazon), that was probably the last time I bought at Rakete Shop in M√ľnster… Getting the final season of Kalkofe’s Mattscheibe (translated: Kalkofe’s Matt Screen) on Amazon was without any hassle, and as I took advantage of the 3 for 2 offer, I also got myself the Back to the Future animated series I remembered quite fondly from my childhood.

Despite having a fondness of 80ies movies, I have to say that I didn’t grow up with all the action B-movie icons like Michael Dudikoff or Chuck Norris. So it was time to add their movies to my collection, starting with the American Ninja (or in Germany American Fighter) series.

Speaking of fighting, upgrading from the DVD to the BDs was about time with the Rocky movies, although I have to say that I don’t consider them to be my all-time favorites. The first one was pretty boring at times, and I still need to find it in me to continue the series again in HD. I remember them getting better (and more violent), and I want to watch the newest one on Netflix as well… but only time will tell.

Chuck Norris’ magnum opus seems to be Invasion U.S.A., and together with the second Delta Force instalment, these should be good old-fashioned action no-brainers. Same with River of Death that looks more Indiana Jones, but with Dudikoff. Will it actually work? See above…

88 Films is my UK label to go to with their nice reversible artwork, although the Chuck Norris one was pretty lame (read: only without the age rating sticker removed as an alternative version).

Staying with violent action movies for a while, Exterminator 2 and Blastfighter sure look awesome, especially in their respective alternative artwork versions. And who can say no to a poster?

More trash that still seems to be part of a lot of cult movies could be seen in Zombie Flesh Eaters 2 (or the alternate title Zombi 3), and I liked this one much better than the slow-burning predecessor, as it had more action and ridiculous zombie make-up effects than before. Flesh Eating Mothers was also pretty bad but highly enjoyable. The atrocious acting has to be seen and heard to be believed. Still have to watch the Trancer sequels, but as I can’t remember the first two movies, I might have to re-watch these. Maybe the countless sequels will be released before I have the time to do that…

Being a big fan of slasher horror movies, I watch the most obscure ones, and even if 88 Films doesn’t always offer the goods, there is always something interesting in these types of movies (or something to laugh about if one isn’t bored by the slow pacing). Slaughterhouse was a rip-off of Texas Chainsaw Massacre, even if it wasn’t that disturbing. Still, except for the ending, I’d prefer watching the Michael Bay versions… Drive-in Massacre wasn’t as bad as I imagined it to be. Not really suspenseful or violent (especially what the overblown original poster made it out to be), but the setting and the nonsensical ending saved it for me. The First Power was more of a psychological thriller with a few supernatural elements thrown in. Not really special, but entertaining for a while.

Other obscure movies with WTF moments were Hellgate and Hell Comes From Frogtown. I haven’t come around watching the latter post-apocalyptic trash fest yet, but the former movie was actually quite okay. It had its pacing problems, and the humor was as annoying as the teenagers, but with these WTF moments, it’ll probably have a re-watch for Halloween sometime in the future.

Of course my movie collection doesn’t consist of strange movies only, with a few 3D blockbusters added as well (although Comin’ At Ya might fall into that category again).

To finish this overview, I won’t leave you with all the violence, gore, and bad acting, as six more Studio Ghibli movies indicate that I can also enjoy some fine animated movie art.

If you liked reading this article, make sure you pay a visit to Future Sack which kindly features it as well, and every LIKE or comment is appreciated on EMR’s Facebook page or FS’s Facebook page :). Or FOLLOW the blog on EMR’s Twitter page.

Posted in Collecting, Gaming, Movie reviews, Movies, Theme Parks, TV | 1 Comment

Netflix watchlist: December 2017

December 2017 was lacking in the Christmas movies department on my Netflix watchlist, but there were still some good TV shows on, especially for Star Wars and to a certain degree Marvel fans.

I didn’t have the time to watch movies (although I did in the physical DVD/BD world), but there were a few TV shows I was looking forward to. Having started with the first episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, it became obvious that the lack of continuity and therefore emotional attachment to characters remained the biggest issues. This was a shame, because there was non-stop action in the first season with great lightsaber duels, on-ground shoot-outs and space battles that came very close to the original Star Wars movies fun. Of course Jar Jar Binks humor was a constant reminder that this was the new George Lucas vision, but fortunately there weren’t so many episodes with this annoying character. The later seasons became more focused on diplomacy, war crimes, and political intrigues, while the darker side of Anakin Skywalker and the hidden plans of Senator Palpatine all showed that this wasn’t a kid’s show. Even the return of the presumably dead Darth Maul from Episode I: The Phantom Menace was a pleasant surprise, but the constant change of places, characters, and storylines made it difficult to get into the show.

Other TV shows I watched were Netflix Originals and focused on Marvel comic characters. The Defenders was the finale of what the second season of Daredevil and the first one of Iron Fist built up, also including characters Luke Cage and Jessica Jones (see Netflix watchlist: June 2017). It obviously didn’t make much sense to watch it without getting to know what happened before. While it wasn’t the most exciting mini-series, it at least didn’t take too long for all the characters meeting up and finally beating up all the bad guys. Unlike the first Avengers movie that was an absolute drag to watch before the finale, there was enough action and some pretty funny scenes to watch, mostly because of Jessica Jones’ one-liners.

Unfortunately one series I was excited about turned out to be the most disappointing one: The Punisher. The first appearance of Frank Castle who single-handedly fought his way through a prison with all sorts of bloody knife attacks and later gunning through even more baddies in the second season of Daredevil was awesome. Sadly his own series made him a talkative person that the original comic version didn’t intend him to be. With too many characters and their problems introduced, the series’ writers made the mistake so many other shows fall victim to: too many storylines that didn’t help to keep up suspense and just too much talk instead of action, even if the latter was pretty bloody at times. Dealing with war trauma was nicely done in some emotional scenes, but the Punisher has never been a one-man drama show, so hopefully the next season will have a much more over-the-top antagonist, more shoot-outs, and knife fights to do the name justice.

TV shows:
The Defenders (Season 1) [7/10]
The Punisher (Season 1) [5/10]
Star Wars: The Clone Wars (Season 1, Episodes 6-22 + Seasons 2+3+4) [7/10, 7/10, 7/10, 7/10]

If you liked reading this article, make sure you pay a visit to Future Sack which kindly features it as well, and every LIKE or comment is appreciated on EMR’s Facebook page or FS’s Facebook page :). Or FOLLOW the blog on EMR’s Twitter page.

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