Category Archives: Gaming

Gaming related stuff

Happy 130th Birthday To Nintendo!

1566899686873.png“Otanjoubi Omedetou” to the big ‘N’ themselves – Nintendo! Initially founded in September of 1889 as ‘Nintendo Koppai’ by Fusajiro Yamauchi, they began their long and successful run as a playing card company making ‘Hanafuda’ cards (translation: flower cards) which are used to play a number of different card games in Japan.

In 1947, Fusajiro stepped down to be replaced by his grandson Hiroshi Yamauchi who successfully moved the company’s (now many) products into the international market. In 1963, they changed their name to Nintendo Co. ltd and began to diversify from their playing card heritage with such unusual and somewhat outlandish things as – taxi services, television networks, and (yep, really) love hotels!!

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It wasn’t until the 1970’s that Ninty became the company we now know and love – the family friendly video game giant that has given us such wonderful gaming delights as the Legend of Zelda series, Metroid, and of course the Super Mario Bros games. They have successfully held their head up over the decades through stiff competition from major console manufacturing companies – Sega, Microsoft and Sony, and their current hybrid console – the Nintendo Switch is resolutely outselling the competition on a month to month basis. Happy Birthday Nintendo.

 

Mario, Zelda and Metroid are copyright: Nintendo.

 

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Precinct1313’s Video-Game Vaults Presents: Resident Evil

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Zombies have, in the last decade become rather de-rigueur, in fact you can’t swing a chainsaw without hitting at least another few dozen low budget movies, TV series or video games starring re-animated flesh munching corpses. Much like an undead apocalypse itself, zombie media has hit oversaturation point. I’m sure when influential horror director George Romero first introduced the modern zombie to a horrified audience back in 1968 with the seminal Night Of The Living Dead, he had absolutely no idea that these ghastly ghouls would one day be so over used, that all their dread and terror would give way to a yawn and passive indifference, zombies just aren’t scary anymore… (that said, if I was actually to meet a zombie – I’d be pretty damn terrified! Ooh, ooh, unless it’s a zombified Christina Ricci… I adore Christina Ricci, even if she was a flesh eating, undead, green skinned, puss ridden monster… I’d still adore her! Mmmmm, went a little off topic there… on with the show!)

When Romero’s groundbreaking introduction to the living dead first hit the cinema screen back in the sixties, it was met with revulsion and abhorrence by an audience unfamiliar with such overtly graphic violence.

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Where It All Began…

Romero’s low budget, independent movie was the catalyst of a thousand imitators, some were great (Lucio Fulci’s “Zombie”Dan O’Bannon’s “Return Of The Living Dead”) but most were awful Z grade rip offs, literally hordes of terribly made and woefully acted low budget cash ins, riding on the back of the movie going publics sudden reverence of all things undead.

It wouldn’t be long before video-game companies decided to take on this burgeoning horror phenomenon with their own interpretations, with the most prolific and famous of the digital dead games beginning in an imposing mansion in the Arklay Mountains, site of the original outbreak of the T-Virus and our initial introduction to S.T.A.R.S and the sinister Umbrella Corporation.

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A Creepy Mansion, Undead Foe, and a Jill Sandwich (!?) Await The Player In Capcom’s Classic…

Resident Evil (known as Biohazard in Japan) was first unleashed to video gamers worldwide in 1996, developed by Japanese company Capcom (of Street Fighter fame) and helmed by game design auteur Shinji Mikami. It is one of the original progenitors of survival-horror, a sub genre of gaming that takes cues from horror fiction and focuses on the survival of the main character against overwhelming odds, with limited resources at their disposal.

The first game established many of the ongoing conventions and tropes for the survivalist series, such as the limited inventory system, third person perspective, fixed camera angles for dramatic effect and the iconic typewriter save system.

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Creepy Locations, Limited Ammo, and Relentless Enemies Are Hallmarks Of The Resident Evil Franchise

The game opens with the elite members of S.T.A.R.S (Special Tactics And Rescue Service) responding to the disappearance of fellow team members who lost contact in the remote area on the outskirts of Raccoon City, known as the Arklay Mountains.

Players choose to take control of either Jill Valentine or Chris Redfield at the start of the game, and then, with their chosen avatar, proceed into the mysterious mansion embedded deep within the creepy forests of Arklay Mountains in search of their fellow team-mates. 

Graphics are a mix of three dimensional characters set against pre-rendered backdrops, fixed camera angles give the game a rather compelling cinematic feel.

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“Who’s a Good Boy Then… Uuh, Could You Please Stop Chewing On My Leg Now!”

As your chosen avatar explores the mansion they discover documentation in the form of diary entries and audio tapes that provide story beats and exposition, as well as uncovering clues to the various puzzles that need to be undertaken to progress through the mission. The combat takes centre stage through the use of a variety of firearms discovered around the environment, though ammo conservation is important as ammunition is limited.

The inevitable health loss can be counteracted by the use of either first aid sprays or three different types of combinable herbs. The capacity for carrying items on person is also limited, though extraneous items can be kept in an item box for later use. Saving is done through typewriters that are scattered through the mansion, ink ribbons must first be located before saving is possible, and once more these are in limited supply so must be used sparingly.

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Player characters will fight through a succession of undead and mutated creatures as they progress, from the humble zombie through, giant spiders and hulking behemoths. Also of note are the multiple endings the game can deliver depending on the actions taken by the player throughout their adventure, giving the game an impulsive replayability.

Capcom’s Resident Evil is a landmark game, it is almost single handedly responsible for the Survival-Horror genre and is one of the longest running video game franchises of all time, with the most recent game “Resident Evil 7″ released to abundant praise from fan and critic alike. Though there have been a couple of missteps (Resident Evil 6 being rather… awful) the majority of titles in the franchise have been absolute gems and are a blast to play (with personal faves being Resi 4 and Code Veronica) The original has seen a remastered overhaul with an upgraded version released on platforms such as Xbox One Playstation 4, and as of this month – Nintendo’s fabulous Switch… which means Zombie blasting on the go! so there’s never been a better time to immerse yourself in the wonderful world of zombies, elite swat teams and evil corporations.

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Precinct1313’s Top Ten Favourite Feisty Female Fighting Furies…

Mmmmm, we haven’t dared to tread the perilous path of the infamous Top 10 list so far here in the darkest depths of Precinct1313, never really gave the idea of doing one much thought to be honest. That is until recently, when blogging buddy ‘The Vintage Toy Advertiser’ rendered his very own (and really rather amusing) Top 10 masterclass (which you can indulge your senses in right here) that we thought, suffering sappho, let’s do one of them there list things then, and thus…

Precinct1313’s Ten Favourite Furiously Fierce Femme’s Fatale

NB: This list will contain both fictional and non-fictional wildly wondrous warrior women for your delectation…

No.10 – Big Barda

No list of vivacious virago vixens should ever be without the formidable presence of fighting fury and thorn in Granny Goodness’ side – Big Barda, for she truly encompasses everything to love about powerful, vibrant female characters who are easily able to match and (in most cases for Barda especially) surpass their male counterparts. How tough is Barda? we’ll let the picture below answer that query…

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No.09 – Lara Croft

Quintessentially British acrobatic archaeologist Lara Croft has been raiding tombs, securing ancient artefacts and performing perilous platforming since she was first unleashed unto the gaming world by Core Design in 1996. Since that time she has become one of the most recognisable video-game characters of all time and sits proudly in the upper echelons alongside Master Chief, Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog.

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No.08 – Moon Lee

I’m an 80’s kid, I grew up during that phenomenal decade alongside many classic onscreen action stars and martial artists, even as a youngster my preference was always female characters/fighters and one of the biggest influences for me then was the magnificent Moon Lee. Hong Kong action star supreme, Moon Lee Choi-Fung starred in close to a formidable fifty films during her heyday of the 1980’s!

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No. 07 – Batwoman

Kate Kane’s Batwoman alter ego first debuted in the 1956 issue of Detective Comics #233 created by Bob Kane and Sheldon Moldoff. Initially created as a female counterpart and love interest to the Batman, Kate has over the past sixty years (thankfully) shed that unfortunate creation calamity and has now become one of the biggest and most beloved of female comic book characters, with a much needed revamp and resurgence through the hand of artist/writer JH Williams III. Reversing the inauspicious and unenlightened conception and delivering a new standard for empowerment in the burgeoning female Superhero market.

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No. 06 – Catwoman

Though most Bat-fans see The Joker as Batsy’s biggest foe, for me personally the character that inhabited that perch was always anti-hero cat burglar Selina Kyle. Though Mr J is without a doubt the bigger threat to the dark and surly one’s psyche, Selina holds something over Bats that the jester of genocide never, ever could… his heart. She has been Batman’s most enduring love interest since her inception in Batman #1 in June of 1940… puuuurfect!

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No. 05 – Cynthia Rothrock

As previously mentioned some of the biggest influences on me growing up were the plethora of fantastic fighting females that occupied the realms of martial arts cinema, and my most beloved and admired is none other than scintillating Cynthia Rothrock. American born Cynthia is quite possibly the most successful female martial arts master in history – she is five times world champion in weapons and forms and currently holds an astonishing seven black belts in varying martial disciplines! She has also starred in over fifty movies throughout her career, and has acted alongside greats such as Sammo Hung and Michelle Yeoh.

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No. 04 – Batgirl

Though the Batgirl name and costume have been inhabited by several different women over the years, the most beloved and well known is assuredly the second holder of the bombastic bat mantle – Barbara (Babs) Gordon. Replacing original holder of the title – Bette Kane (who was created in 1961) Babs debut was in 1967, daughter of Gotham Police Commissioner James Gordon and head of Gotham City Library. Her auspicious crime fighting career began with a triumphant save of Bruce Wayne from a kidnapping plot wrought by SuperVillain Killer Moth, and cemented her place in Bat history!

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No. 03 – Elvira – Mistress Of The Dark

Elvira may not be a martial arts action star or female fighting force but what she definitely is, is a sensation of female empowerment and positive attitude. A strong, outspoken comedienne who used her innate sexual prowess to turn the tables on mysogynynistic and prejudice laden media from her first appearance courtesy of actress Cassandra Peterson in 1981. Self deprecating and dripping in risque double-entendres, her campy humour has propelled the voluptuous vixen vamp to celebrated cult status, and beyond!

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No. 02 – Starfire

Fiery alien princess – Starfire has been a favourite of the Precinct since she was first unleashed in the pages of DC Comics Presents #26 in 1980. Created by the legendary pairing of comic book royalty – George Perez and Marv Wolfman, Koriand’r instantly became a much beloved character and mainstay of The Teen Titans. Hailing from the planet Tamaran, Kory escaped the ravaging of her home by Tamaran enemies The Citadel and her own feuding sister Komand’r (aka – Blackfire) and made a new life for herself on Earth. She is currently the leader of the Teen Titans and founding member of Justice League Odyssey alongside Jessica Cruz, Azrael and Cyborg.

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No. 01 – Wonder Woman

Well, if you’ve been following the Precinct for any length of time then you probably knew that the Themysciran Titan would, of course, occupy the titular top spot, and hey, guess what… you were right! I’ve been a WW fan since I was around nine years old she is truly the greatest fictional female character ever, and has had the most significant and profound effect upon female empowerment of any fictitious persona ever created. Her genius creator William Moulton Marston first envisioned the Amazonian warrior princess in 1941, when she took the covetous cover appearance on All Star Comics #8. Marston was a supporter of the Suffragette movement of the 1940’s, of whom his own wife Elizabeth was a founding member.

All hail the wondrous one!

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If you’ve managed to stay the course of this list, then thanks fellow Agents. Who are some of your personal favourite female furies of all time? let battle commence in the comments below…

The Week In Geek… With Precinct1313

Welcome fellow agents of Precinct1313 to another episode of The Week In Geek, where we love to share our favourite, Comic Book, Video-Game, and Cult Movie news for your perusal and pleasure. And so once more unto the geek dear agents, once more…

Happy 40th Birthday Judge Dredd…

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Not only did the Galaxy’s Greatest Comic – 2000AD reach it’s 40th anniversary milestone this year, but this month also brings us four decades of ol’ stony face himself, grim lawman of the future, the inimitable Judge Dredd. That’s right fellow fans of fantastic fiction, the UK’s biggest ever comic book star has been busting perps and incarcerating crooks for a fantastic forty years!

Dredd made his first appearance in prog #2 of 2000AD in March 1977, created by John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra, and became an instant hit with UK comic book fans, finally we had a character who could stand toe to toe with his American peers. Like many stories emanating from 2000AD, Dredd was an extreme satire of British culture and politics, often taking these themes to ridiculous extremes (though possibly not so extreme, considering the unfortunate direction that the UK has taken in the past year)

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Dredd is the most infamous of the Judges who patrol the future city of Mega City One, riding his Lawmaster motorcycle through it’s mean streets and conferring justice utilising his Lawgiver sidearm. Judges literally are the law… judge, jury and executioner, dispensing justice as they see fit with complete autonomy, save their Book of Law. Dredd is one of the (very) few characters to have become successful outside of the British isles, and has always served as a harsh parody of how the world could end up lest it reins in it’s inherent fears and prejudices. Happy Birthday Joe, here’s to another 40!

 Zelda: Breath Of The Wild Hailed As “Greatest Game Of All Time!”

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Nintendo’s new hybrid console “The Switch” is now amongst us (well, at least the lucky few who pre-ordered the device, such is the way with new Nintendo machines… unfortunately!) and with their new machine comes a brand new entry in their (arguably) most popular series… Zelda, and the gaming media is going crazy for it!

Currently sitting with an astonishing ’98’ overall rating on Metacritic, it seems the professional game reviewers can’t get enough of Ninty’s magnum opus… with even the notorious, critically harsh gaming magazine, Edge giving it an incredible ‘100’ rating, that’s right… Edge!! 

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The Legend Of Zelda is an action RPG originally released on the Nintendo Famicom in 1986, designed by Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka. The series protagonist is a small elven boy named Link, who, at the start of virtually every game would be roused from slumber and tasked with saving Princess Zelda and the kingdom of Hyrule, from the evil shenanigans of chief antagonist, Ganon.

What makes Breath Of The Wild so different from it’s forebears though, is it’s abandoning of specific gaming tropes from previous iterations, the impressively vast world is entirely open to you from almost the get go, no slingshots, boomerangs or bombs holding you back from unlocking new areas, like earlier incarnations of the game. The physics are astounding, the graphics are gorgeous,with a rousing soundtrack and an infinite things to do, maybe this is the greatest game of all time.

Why not join us next time friends, for more Week In Geek…

The Week In Geek… With Precinct1313

Welcome fellow agents of Precinct1313 to another episode of The Week In Geek, where we love to share our favourite, Comic Book, Video-Game, and Cult Movie news for your perusal and pleasure…

Lara Croft Returns…

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Lara Croft, the quintessentially English raider of tombs will be returning to the silver screen in 2018 courtesy of Swedish actress Alicia Vikander. The adventurous archaeologist was last seen at cinemas in the 2003 “Tomb Raider: The Cradle Of Life” starring Angelina Jolie. The new movie seems to be following heavily in the footsteps of the recent reboot of the game itself in 2013, right down to digital Lara’s actual outfit, as these recent set photos confirm.

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Alicia Vikander’s Lara Croft Looking Uncannily Like Her Virtual Reboot Counterpart

The movie is set for release in March 2018, starring Alicia Vikander, Walter Goggins, and Dominic West. Directed by Roar Uthaug.

2000AD Gets Set To Celebrate It’s 40th Anniversary…

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Stalwart British Sci-Fi/Fantasy anthology comic (or Prog, as we call it here in jolly ol’ Blighty) 2000AD is preparing itself for celebrating it’s fortieth year in print! The Zarjaz zine was unleashed onto the British comic book scene in 1977 and has gone on to be the biggest selling and most loved comic book in the UK’s history, the classic comic has introduced such legendary creations as – Judge Dredd, Nemesis the Warlock, Slaine and Zenith amongst a cavalcade of others too numerous to mention.

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Not only has this groundbreaking comic given us a cadre of classic characters, but it was also responsible for letting loose some of the UK’s most famed comic book creators, such luminous lights as – Alan Moore, John Higgins, Brian Bolland, Alan Grant, Grant Morrison, Simon Bisley, Pat Mills et al. And on February 11th, these creators and more will be attending Hammersmith, London in a celebration of mighty magnitude for a “Forty Years Of Thrill Power” festival that includes panel discussions, live drawing exhibitions, exclusive film screenings and prop displays. Happy Birthday 2000AD!

Netflix To Unleash Castlevania TV Show…

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Netflix have announced an upcoming series based upon Konami’s much loved video-game franchise Castlevania. The Japanese action adventure game debuted way back in 1986 to instant acclaim, it is centered around the Belmont family, a clan of vampire hunters and their protracted war against Count Dracula and his minions.

Apart from this initial announcement (contained within a press release) very little else is known about the project, except one tantalising nugget, that the first season will be penned by none other than the great Warren Ellis, Comic Book author extraordinaire, who has given the world such astonishing series as Hellblazer and Transmetropolitan. If this turns out as great as I hope, maybe we could see more production companies mining the vast annals of video-game lore… Dark Souls TV series anyone!

Why not join us next time friends, for more Week In Geek…

Precinct1313’s All Time Favourite Video-Games: Dark Souls

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I have been a gamer for over thirty years, which means that I have not only seen the respective technology of said medium grow and become more complex over this time, but also the inherent gameplay, graphics and storylines become more intricate and mature. The one thing that really defines games of the earlier generations for me, such as Sega’s Megadrive (Genesis) and Nintendo’s SNES, weren’t the less complicated pixel form graphics but the relative difficulty of the actual games themselves, modern games in contrast to these 80’s classics are ridiculously easy… then Dark Souls happened.

Dark Souls was released by Japanese video-game creators “From Software” making it’s debut in 2011 and is an action role-playing game set in the perilous lands of Lordran. It is technically the second game in the souls series, a spiritual successor to From’s former “Demon Souls.”

ds - Edited.jpg“Prepare To Die” are the ominous words that greet you on Dark Souls box art, and it’s no lie, you will die again, and again… and again! Now if you’re thinking to yourself at this moment “well that doesn’t sound like fun”, I say au contraire my fellow gaming buddies, it’s this difficulty that makes the game the gem it is. A real sense of achievement and progress is gained from defeating that ‘impossible’ boss character that took you fifteen tries to take down, learning their strategies and just purely surviving make for a really satisfying sense of accomplishment when you finally do fell the big beastie.

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Difficulty aside, the world and lore of Dark Souls is rather fascinating but unlike many role-playing games does very little through direct exposition to the player bar the initial introductory story cut scene. Dark Souls lore is embedded in it’s characters, architecture and items, all the vital knowledge and exegesis can be derived from multiple conversations with the NPC’s (even then, the ambiguity of their replies requires you to really dig even deeper) or the description that accompanies the various weaponry and items you acquire as you adventure (read: barely survive!) through the treacherous lands of Lordran.

In fact the story is so well hidden that you could be excused for thinking that the creators had decided not to add one, yet, if you’re willing to dig really deep you will find one of the most cerebral and emotional tales that gaming has ever wrought. But if plot holds no interest for you and you only really want to venture into these perilous lands for the combat, then that’s fine, because the fighting system in Souls is glorious.

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Dark Souls combat really is it’s defining feature – weighty, precise and intricate. Though it can initially feel a somewhat shallow fighting system, it slowly forms into quite possibly one of the greatest combat engines to ever grace an RPG. Of course the weaponry open to the Soul’s titular hero begins with the player’s choice of class, do you prefer to enter this dangerous land as a steel clad Knight or a leather bound assassin, maybe sorcery is more your thing, whichever role you choose there is an expansive amount of weaponry, armour, spells and shields (which are your absolute best friends in Souls) available to your chosen avatar.

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Of course all the lore, combat and cool armour is for naught if there aren’t any memorable antagonists to pit your courageous hero against, and the adversaries in Souls are some of the largest and most unforgiving any persistent Paladin has ever faced. from the humble undead to the terrifying half arachnid-half witch Queelag, the foes you face down are some of the most relenting and remorseless you will have ever encountered. 

The Boss characters are relentless in their pursuit of your demise, from the aforementioned Queelag, through gilded knights Dragonslayer Ornstein and Executioner Smough, your gaming skills will be tested to their utmost limits, but each and every time (many times!) you will learn a little bit more of their inherent weaknesses and pattern, giving you more confidence in their demise with each successive visit to their lair.

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Smough And Ornstein: Literally Video-Game Hell!!

There was also an extremely popular online duelling mode where the Dark Souls aficianados could test their mettle and levelled avatar against others, though this rarely interested me personally, but I did enjoy the ability of being able to call in one of my Dark Souls brethren to join in jolly co-op and hopefully down a boss or two (or at least share in my torment!)

The game itself has so much depth, intrinsic lore, customisation and complexity that this review could easily become an epic of encyclopedic proportion, so I will just say this: Do you adore – video-games, fantasy, bloody huge swords, intricate storytelling and are a bit of a masochist at heart? then you’ll fall in love with the world of Dark Souls, just be Prepared To Die… again, and again, and again, and again………..

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The Week In Geek… With Precinct1313

Welcome fellow agents of Precinct1313 to another episode of ‘The Week In Geek’ where we love to share our favourite Comic Book, Video-Game and Cult Movie news for your perusal and pleasure… and so once more unto the breach dear readers, once more…

Nintendo Switch Release Date And Launch Games Announced…

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You know, I have always been more of an Xbox than a Nintendo (and previous to Microsoft’s beast of a console, I was a SEGA… in fact I still am.) But the one thing I have always loved (and bought) were Nintendo’s handhelds. I have owned virtually every portable device they have launched since the classic Gameboy in 1989, which is why I am genuinely excited for the Switch, Nintendo’s first hybrid console.

The Nintendo Switch is the incoming flagship console from the legendary Japanese gaming giant, which effortlessly combines home and portable play into one very cool package, and I want one… right now! Set to be released worldwide on March 3, 2017 at a very reasonable £279.99 ($299.99) with a strong launch line up that includes – Zelda: Breath Of The Wild, Dragon Quest XI, and Skyrim (that’s right folks, a portable version of Bethesda’s classic RPG… there goes my life.) 

Geoff Johns And Dr Manhattan – Dream Team…

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DC Entertainment’s President and comic book author extraordinaire Geoff Johns is returning to writing comics again this year, and has (heavily) hinted that he may be exploring the intriguing connection between Watchmen and the DC Universe. In a series of tweets Johns has confirmed his return to his oeuvre, with an accompanying image of Watchmen’s Dr Manhattan. Johns’ last comic authorship was last May’s “DC Universe Rebirth #1” in which he eluded that the electric blue super-human may have had a hand in creating the rebooted Rebirth timeline.

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The highly enjoyable one-shot also portrayed Batman discovering the iconic blood spattered smiley badge from Alan Moore’s groundbreaking 80’s mini-series, in the Bat Cave! Hold on tight dear readers, for this promises to be one hell of a wild ride!

Constantine Set To Return, In Animated Form…

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Everyone’s favourite chain smoking, mystical, demon fighting anti-hero – John Constantine is set to return to the small screen in a new CW animated series. Following on from his fantastic (yet criminally short lived) NBC live action show, the new animation will find Constantine actor Matt Ryan reprising his role in voice over form and is being produced by Greg Berlanti. We were honestly hoping for another live action depiction of the magical man of mystery, but I guess an animated rendering is better than no return at all, plus CW’s animated Vixen series has been rather wonderful, so all the signs point to this being equally as great.

Why not join us next time friends for more Week In Geek!

The Week In Geek… With Precinct1313

Welcome fellow agents of Precinct1313 to another episode of ‘The Week In Geek’ where we love to share our favourite Comic Book, Video-Game and Cult Movie news for your perusal and pleasure.

NES Mini Launches, And Instantly Sells Out…

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In This Case N.E.S. Obviously Stands For ‘Non Existent Store-Wide!’

Nintendo’s classic grey box made a comeback this week with the release of the NES Classic Edition, a cute mini version of their hit 80’s home games console, replete with 30 built in games and a reproduction of the original controller… and instantly sold out worldwide!

Demand has been extremely high for the retro beast and Nintendo manufacturers are currently producing more as we write this post, though for some fans the wait might be too long, as the titchy console (which retails for £50 here in the UK) has been selling for ridiculous amounts on E-Bay, with people paying 4 to 5 times the RRP. Luckily us Precinct1313 dwellers are SEGA fans, and already have our mini Megadrive (known as the Genesis in the US) console… which actually comes with 80 games built in!

We Can ‘Harley’ Wait For Ms Quinn’s Solo Movie…

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The Clown Princess of Crime, Harley Quinn, was a huge hit this year at the box office as an integral part of DC’s ridiculously fun Suicide Squad movie, in fact Margot Robbie’s performance was so highly rated that DC and Warner Bros almost instantly announced her own solo movie would be coming ‘at some point.’

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“But Of Course I get My Own Movie, I Mean If It’s Good Enough For Wonder Woman, Right?”

Well technically not solo, as DC are lining up a veritable cadre of female comic book characters to star alongside the Mischievous Minx of Mayhem, as we reported some time back, possibly including such luminary legends as Batgirl, Black Canary and Poison Ivy. To help cement the fact that the movie will hopefully begin production soon, it’s been announced that scripting duties have been given to Christina Hodson. Hodson is known for her highly sought after screenplays that include soon to be filming, female led Sci-Fi actioner ‘The Eden Project’ and psychological thriller ‘Shut In’.

(Update: It’s now been confirmed by Suicide Squad director David Ayer that the scripting will be undertaken by Geneva Dworet-Robertson, and the movie will also star Catwoman and Poison Ivy, better known together as the ‘Gotham City Sirens’.)

Justice League Of America’s Full Line-Up Is An Eclectic Enigma…

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This Is The Greatest Line Up Of JLA Members Since The Keith Giffen Classic 1980’s Series Justice League International

Not since the halcyon heroes of the 1980’s JLI has a roster for the world’s greatest Super-Team been so… damn cool! Justice League International has always been my favourite version of DC Comics’ beloved team of MetaHumans.

I much preferred the quirky line up of characters, Blue Beetle (the Ted Kord variant, not the current version) and Booster Gold were standouts in the team… essentially they were lovable Superhero screw ups, C-list at best, to begin with, but advanced through those ranks to A listers in a very short amount of time indeed, thanks to great writing, fantastic character arcs, and an endearing slapstick style humour.

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Justice League International, The Greatest line Up Of Leaguers Since… Forever!

The new JLA line up includes some classic heroes you expect to be included, such as The Batman and Black Canary, but then throws caution to the wind with lesser knowns like The Ray and former villain Killer Frost!  Definitely the most intriguing and exciting addition is ‘The Main Man’ himself, Lobo, back to his original arse-kicking alien bounty hunter self, after ditching the (rather terrible) New 52 version. Justice League of America Rebirth will be available in February 2017, brought to you by those ceaseless creators of cosmic comic book craft; Steve Orlando and Ivan Reis.

Why not join us again next time friends, for more Week In Geek!

The Week In Geek… With Precinct1313

Welcome fellow agents of Precinct1313 to another episode of ‘The Week In Geek’ where we share our favourite comic book, video-game and cult movie news for your perusal and pleasure.

DC Unveil Wonder Woman 75th Anniversary Logo…

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“Suffering Sappho!” This Is Awesome!

“Great Hera!” is what I exclaimed in a rather loud tone (to the surprise of the other patrons in the cafe at the time!) when I first saw DC’s logo for the upcoming anniversary of Wonder Woman. The original female Superhero, and template for all female heroes who came thereafter will be celebrating her 75th anniversary in December, and her anniversary celebrations will begin in earnest at this year’s San Diego comic-con, with DC bringing along a life size replica of the amazing Amazon’s iconic invisible plane! 

DC Unleash Two More Classic Heroes Unto The Small Screen…

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Citizen Steel & Wild Dog Step Out Of The Comic Book Pages

DC have an absolutely mind-bending array of characters that are just crying out to be given life in the many live action projects that they are currently involved in. From successful TV shows like The Flash and Supergirl, to big screen movies such as Batman v Superman and the upcoming Suicide Squad, the fine purveyor of spandex clad heroes has been successfully mining its back catalogue of characters. And now two more classic comic heroes are set to join their illustrious live action forebears.

Legends of Tomorrow will be adding Nathaniel Heywood to its roster, Nathaniel is the grandson of Henry Heywood, the Superhero once known as Commander Steel. Nathan accidentally received his own powers after a deadly attack on his family by the villain Reichsmark and his men, who was under orders from Vandal Savage to wipe out the bloodline of all Golden Age Superheroes. 

Arrow from season 5 will be introducing one of DC’s more obscure creations, when they unleash Wild Dog onto Starling (Star) City. Wild Dog was first introduced in a 1987 four issue mini-series by Max Allan Collins and Terry Beatty. Wild Dog is actually Jack Wheeler, an ex-marine who first donned a hockey mask and body armour to fight a vigilante war on crime after his girlfriend was slain by hitmen. In Arrow, Jack will be introduced as an excessively violent and foolhardy vigilante which will eventually force Ollie Queen to take him under his wing.

Be The Batman… Again!

Injustice2 - Edited

I love DC Comics (uuh, you’ve probably noticed that!) and I love video-games, so when you put them both together… I am in literal geek nirvana! Three years ago, Mortal Kombat creators NetherRealm unleashed the Gods amongst us with the DC Comics’ fighting game Injustice, that pit a plethora of heroes and villains against each other set against some fantastically interactive backgrounds from classic comic lore.

The game was a huge hit for NetherRealm and DC, and now a follow up has been announced along with a (rather fantastic) trailer. New characters added to the already massive line up include – the girl of steel Supergirl and telepathic great-ape Gorilla Grodd.  Watch the most recent trailer below fellow fans of fantastic fiction…

Why not join us again next time friends, for more Week In Geek.

The Week In Geek… With Precinct1313

Welcome fellow agents of Precinct1313 to another episode of “The Week In Geek” where we list our favourite comic book, video-game and cult movie news for your perusal and pleasure.

JK Simmons Cast As Jim Gordon In Justice League Movie…

JG JK - Edited

Award winning actor JK Simmons has been cast in the role of Gotham City Police Commissioner James Gordon in the 2017 dated Justice League movie. Simmons will follow in the footsteps of Gary Oldman, who played the role (fantastically, I might add) in Christopher Nolan’s ‘Dark Knight Trilogy’.

Of course this isn’t the first time that the Oscar winning actor has had a major role in a comic book franchise, he portrayed Chief Editor of the Daily Bugle – J. Jonah Jameson in the original Sam Raimi directed ‘Spiderman‘ trilogy.

Cult British Game Developer – Lionhead Studios Are Being Shut Down…

lionhead_logo

Classic and much loved English video-game creators Lionhead Studios are being shuttered by their parent company Microsoft in the very near future it has been announced. Lionhead was founded by Peter Molyneux and Steve Jackson in 1996, and has given the gaming world such iconic delights as – the Fable trilogy and Black and White.

Lionhead were deep in development of the persistent online Fable Legends game when the announcement was broken, Fable Legends has also been canned. A very sad day for gaming, Lionhead have always been one of the very best when it comes to British video-game creators, Microsoft have said that they would seek alternative employment for their staff at Lionhead once the layoffs become official.

Crimson Fox Will Be One Of The First Superheroes To Join DC Comics’ “Powerless”…

c fox - Edited

The currently filming NBC comedy “Powerless” which takes place in an insurance agency office that deals with claims arising from Superhero destruction, has announced that one of the first DC characters to appear on the show is French superhero and former member of Justice League EuropeCrimson Fox.

Crimson Fox is actually two different people, identical twins Vivian and Constance D’aramis, who share the role. Fox was created by Keith Giffen and Bart Sears in 1989 and made her (their) first appearance in JLE #6. This is a fantastic idea for a Superhero TV show, and it will be intriguing to see each week what obscure DC characters will show up. More news on this as we hear it.

Why not join us again next time friends, for more “Week In Geek.”

Precinct1313’s End Of The Year Geekstravaganza!

P1313 Rors-grave.1

The space year of 2015 comes to a close, fellow agents of Precinct1313, and with its inevitable demise comes our 13 favourite moments from across the comic-book, movie and videogame spectrum.

No.13: The Dark Knight Returns!

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‘Dark and brooding’… but enough about me, let’s talk Batman!

After a 14 year hiatus, veteran comic book creator Frank Miller returned to his genre bending masterpiece Dark Knight saga with a third instalment, titled DKIII: The Master Race. This final (maybe) chapter takes place chronologically three years after 2001 mini-series “The Dark Knight Strikes Again,”  and continues to chronicle an ageing Caped Crusader and his allies in an increasingly violent and turbulent Gotham.

Thematically this series picks up from the ‘Strikes Again’, but this time Miller has brought along some fellow superstar creators for the intense and dark ride, as he is joined by, writer Brian Azzarello and artists, Andy Kubert, Jim Lee, and original collaborator Klaus Janson. Like its previous instalments, DKIII concentrates on the Batman as a symbol, an almost mythological character of inspiration and a catalyst for the weak and oppressed of Gotham.

No.12: Resident Evil Games Are… Good Again!!

"It's not the zombies that scare me Claire, it's the idea of playing through Resident Evil 6 again!"

“It’s not the zombies that scare me Claire, it’s the idea of playing through Resident Evil 6 again!”

2015 is the year that survival-horror veteran Resident Evil became great once more, as Capcom released not one, but two terrifyingly awesome instalments in the long running zombie franchise. After the awfulness of Resident Evil 6, even die-hard fans weren’t necessarily looking forward to whatever would come next in the once predominant horror gaming series. The sixth game in the franchise took a downward spiral into bland third person action/shooter territory, leaving behind most of what made the earlier games so much fun to play, namely the tension, spookiness and survival aspects.

Then in early 2015, an HD remake of the original game digitally graced home consoles, with the same intense and creepy vibe of the original, but with much improved visuals, soundtrack and most definitely improved in the acting department (though Jill still, humorously remained – “The Master Of Unlocking” .) And less than a month later Resident Evil Revelations 2 was released episodically across all formats, initially digitally only, though later on disc. This 4 part series was a hark back to classic Resi , tense and horrific with much more limited supplies and the difficulty switched up a notch from the mediocrity that was Resi 6. Capcom redeemed themselves in my eyes after the Resi 6 debacle, and I look forward to their next game with bated breath, the much touted remake of most fans favourite in the series, Resident Evil 2… can’t wait.

No.11: Starfire Goes Solo…

SF solus

“My own series you say, by Conner and Palmiotti you say? I think I feel a little faint”

Everyone’s favourite flame haired, orange skinned alien princess finally flies solo in her own, rather marvellous, monthly series. Tamaranean native Koriand’r most recently starred alongside one time Robin, Jason Todd now known as violent masked vigilante The Red Hood, and former Green Arrow sidekick Roy Harper, aka Arsenal, in the highly recommended series “Red Hood and the Outlaws.” With the shake-up of DC recently with “DC You” Koriand’r was finally deemed a character strong enough to hold her own monthly series, and the creative reins were handed to the married, dynamic duo of Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti, to great effect.

The series has been a joy to read so far, we are huge fans of Starfire here in the Precinct and could think of no better team than Conner and Palmiotti to be given control of the series, but what has really drawn us into the series the most are the sublime visuals rendered by Emanuela Lupacchino, each panel is a masterpiece and the book is worth reading for just this alone. This has been standout my favourite comic series so far in 2015, and I’ll just say it’s been a great year of comics, which makes Kori’s solo debut even more impressive.

No.10: Jared Leto Cast As The Joker…

J Leto, Mr J

Well dye my hair green, bleach my skin and call me “puddin” if this isn’t just a superlative casting choice, Jared Leto as the Clown Prince Of Crime!?… oh hell yes! The term “Method Actor” could of been created for Mr Leto, as he is one of the most dedicated character actors you could ever come across, his casting in the upcoming Suicide Squad movie as the Joker, has me very excited indeed.

No.09: Mad Max – Fury Road…

MM F Road

Now then, I know that this is going to appear on a lot of end of the year lists, but if you had told me a year ago it would be on mine, I’d have thought you were the mad one himself! You see, as much as I like the director George Miller, and the acting duo of Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron, not to mention, I adore the original Mad Max trilogy, what I don’t like are lazy remakes of classic films from my youth, and for a long time that’s what I thought this was, I was sooooo wrong.

The film is a marvel to behold, an almost perfect blend of real time practical effects, mixed with limited but extremely well implemented CGI. Tom Hardy gives a good performance as the antipodean crazy ex-cop, Charlize Theron is fantastic as Furiosa, but it really is the crazy action and fantastic directing style of George Miller that are the stars here. Shiny and Chrome indeed!

No.08: New X-Files Series Begins Filming…

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I love the X-Files, I have been a super fan since it first began way back in 1993, my interest in the unknown and supernatural initially drew me into the show but it was the performances by the leads, David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson and the increasingly emotional and complex relationship of their characters – Mulder and Scully that kept me coming back to the show time and time again.

Of course the writing was top notch, the episodes were always extremely well made and directed, but ultimately it was that relationship between the main players that drove the series to the cult and beyond status that it now has. Let’s hope the magic is still there over 13 years later, when the much anticipated tenth season finally appears in January 2016.

No.07: Supergirl Soars Once More…

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Kara Zor-El is awesome, one of the most iconic female Superheroes of all time, Superman‘s cousin has been with us now since her initial introduction in 1959, created by Otto Binder and Al Plastino. Originally hailing from Argo city, a fragment of the planet Krypton that had managed to survive destruction.

She is one of the few female comic book characters who has appeared on the big and small screen several times in the past few decades (only Catwoman has had more live action appearances.) Played by Helen Slater in the 1984 movie, by actress Laura Vandervoort in TV series Smallville (strangely enough, Laura was born the same year the original movie was released) And now as of 2015, we have a new girl of steel, Melissa Benoist has taken up the cape and red boots of the seminal character in what has become a fantastic and fun interpretation, another quality Superhero show that stands tall amongst its peers.

No.06: Margot Robbie Brings Harley Quinn To Life…

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Mistress of Mayhem, Harley Quinn is one of those characters that everyone loves, but have always believed would be almost impossible to bring to live action successfully. There have been attempts, the short lived Birds Of Prey series had a version of the character played by Mia Sara, who, while okay in the role, didn’t really capture Harley’s perfect blend of crazy cool and sociopathic tendency. 

Then we got a glimpse at actress Margot Robbie in the Suicide Squad trailers, everything about her portrayal seems to scream Harley, she looks perfect and I have high hopes for the character, she is definitely the most anticipated of all the Suicide Squad members so her portrayal will be of paramount importance to the film itself (along with her ‘puddin’, the Joker of course.)

No.05: Twin Peaks Season 3 Announced…

Twin Peaks Return...

The coffee is great, let’s hope season 3 is also…

I’ll admit, I am both elated and worried at the idea of Twin Peaks returning for a third series, I love Twin Peaks, it is without a shadow of a doubt my favourite TV show of all time, but the perfection of the originals will be very hard to recapture I believe. Though this is David Lynch we’re talking about, a ‘mad genius’ of a director and film maker and I have adored virtually everything he has ever put out, so there is hope. Please be good… please!!

No.04: Convergence Was… Awesome!

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DC Comics are the master of the epic crossover series, their “Crisis” stories have always been bombastic reads of monumental proportions. The more recent Blackest Night maxi-series was also phenomenal, but for me, it was this year’s “Convergence” that really blew my veritable bat-socks off!

Convergence was a limited series that released weekly and ran between April and May. The story span out of two earlier mini-series – “New 52 – Futures End” and “Earth 2 – World’s End.” The storyline follows Braniac as he gathers Cities and their inhabitants from across different timelines and alternate Earths.  Really there aren’t enough superlatives to sum up this fantastic mini-series, all I’ll say is buy it, read it, thank me later…

No.03: Suicide Squad Trailer…

Suicide Squad- the girls

DC Comics‘ ultimate team of anti-hero badasses finally achieve cinematic glory in 2016, courtesy of David Ayer (director of Sabotage and Fury) in what looks to be a gritty, violent adaptation of the comic book classic. Where this movie differs from all other Superhero films of recent years is the fact that it offers up a different perspective on the comic book adaptation, it focuses solely on the bad guys, the Supervillains and the crazies.

Director David Ayer is well known for his dark and gritty cop thrillers, and is the perfect choice for this live action version of the popular comic series. Peruse the trailer below and bask in the glory of seminal DC characters that include – Harley Quinn, Katana, Enchantress and Deadshot, and lest we forget, what may turn out to be the biggest draw of the film… Jared Leto’s Joker.

No.02: Wonder Woman Solo Movie Begins Production…

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It may of come to your attention that we quite like Wonder Woman here in the Precinct, so we are rather excited that her long awaited silver screen appearance has finally begun production, and in the UK no less. Gal Gadot will make her first appearance as the amazing Amazon in March 2016 “Batman v Superman” movie before her 2017 solo film. Seriously it is about bloody time that the most iconic female comic book character of all time got her own movie, and with director Patty Jenkins at the helm and actress Gal looking every bit the Amazon Princess, I for one, cannot wait.

No.01: Batman v Superman Trailers Finally Released…

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Well this is it, with the trailers finally released, and the epic nature revealed, you just have to prepare yourself for two things. 1. What could be, quite possibly, The Greatest Superhero Movie Of All Time and… 2. The cinematic debut of the original, and still greatest female Superhero. With these two imperatives in mind watch the trailer below, and then weep for the fact that the biggest cinematic event in DC Comics… nay, in history, is still three months away…

Happy New Year everyone…

The Week In Geek… With Precinct1313

Welcome fellow agents of Precinct1313 to “The Week In Geek,” where we list our favourite comic-book, video-game and cult movie news from the past 7 days for your perusal and pleasure.

New Wonder Woman set photos;

Gal Gadot and Chris Pine visit the 1930's in latest shots from the Wonder Woman solo movie

Gal Gadot and Chris Pine visit the 1930’s in latest shots from the Wonder Woman solo movie

With filming currently underway in the UK, for Warner Bros’ Wonder Woman movie which stars Gal Gadot as the amazing Amazon, more photos have emerged showing Gal and her co-star Chris Pine (who is playing Steve Trevor… twice!) on set in Southend, Essex. The pictures show the actors in the first half of the film, which is (now confirmed) set during World War One, with the latter half of the film set in modern day. The Themysciran demi-goddess will be gracing the silver screen some time in 2017, but can be seen first in next years highly anticipated (especially by us!) “Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice.”

Become Ben Affleck in new Arkham Knight DLC;

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Game developer Rocksteady released a new trailer for some rather interesting extra content for Batman: Arkham Knight. The DLC will feature the Batmobile and costume from next years Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice movie, giving the player a chance to play as Affleck’s version of the iconic crime-fighter a full four months before his big screen debut.

The DLC also includes two new missions that feature, Catwoman sneaking through a deadly toy shop that houses Edward Nigma‘s automated robot factory in “Catwoman’s Revenge”, and we follow Robin as he tracks down the duplicitous Two Face in “Robin: A Flip Of The Coin.”

Teen Titans Movie a possibility;

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And lastly let’s finish on a little bit of rumour and speculation as a new post on JoBlo.com postulates that the planned 2020 “Cyborg” movie may actually be scrapped in favour of a Teen Titans flick. The 2020 Cyborg film is set to star Ray Fisher as the cybernetically enhanced Superhero, with the character making his initial silver screen debut in the 2017 planned Justice League film.

The much loved team of teens have already been stars of several animated series, and have a pilot in the works for a live action series at TNT. If this turns out to be true, it will be fantastic to finally see live action versions of classic characters such as Starfire, Donna Troy and of course one time Boy Wonder, Nightwing… fingers crossed on this one fellow Titans fans.

Join us again next time friends, for more “Week In Geek.” 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Precinct1313’s All-Time Favourite Video Games: Dragon’s Dogma

(Capcom, 2012)

(Capcom, 2012)

Welcome adventurers, to our review of 2012’s open world RPG Dragon’s Dogma. Your guides on this fantastic journey are; newly arisen hero, Kara and her trusted friend and ally, Koriand’r. Now please allow us to introduce you to our guides on this perilous quest…

A big hello to our daring duo...Kara & Kori

A big hello to our daring duo…Kara (right) & Koriand’r

Released by Japanese game company – Capcom in 2012, Dragon’s Dogma is an action role-playing game set in the mythical land of Gransys. You play as the Arisen, a hero on a quest to retrieve her heart (literally..not metaphorically!) from an ancient dragon named Grigori, whilst saving the kingdom from the many trials and tribulations that threaten its populace on a daily basis.

First order of the day is character creation, and in this Dogma stands proud above its peers. You have total control over the creation of your Arisen, gender, size and shape, hairstyle and colour, skin and eye colours, plus a myriad of minor adjustments, so that each and every Arisen will look totally unique. Not only do you create your own personal avatar, but also your companion for the adventure ahead.

Infinite possibilities for character creation

The one feature of Dogma that most makes it stand out from a crowded RPG genre is the amazing A.I. that your created companion has, starting off as a blank slate, she will gradually gain a unique personality as you play. The way your main character interacts in the game world or deals with the arising situations has a dramatic effect on your chosen companion, plus other players from around the world can hire your ally (Pawns as they are known in Gransys’ lore), and when they return from adventuring in their parallel worlds she (or he) will have accumulated new knowledge and personality traits. I can honestly say that I am blown away by the variety of personalities that a pawn can adopt, you actually end up growing rather attached to your digital compatriot.

Another fantastic option incorporated into the game (fairly unique for consoles at the time) is the ability to take screen captures at any point in play, revolving the in-game camera and zooming in for the perfect action shot was something I found utterly addictive, all the screen grabs accompanying this review are from my own personal Gransys.

"He's Behind You!!"

“He’s Behind You!!”

A vast scenic and perilous open world is yours to explore, Gransys’ continent takes in expansive sweeping plains, dense forests, broken down keeps and ancient castles, plus plenty of dank and dense dungeons. It’s an interesting hybrid of Japanese and Western style RPG, with open world exploration, a robust and complex fighting system and squad based tactics, plus some elements of an MMO thrown in for good measure, creating a unique experience for the player.

Taking in the view

Taking in the view

Adding to the replayability of the game are a total of nine different vocations the player character can choose to adopt. Vocations are the classes Dogma players can inherit, beginning with basic; Fighter, Strider, and Mage, later unlocking advanced classes of Warrior, Ranger and Sorceror, and finally the hybrid vocations Mystic Knight, Assassin, and Magic Archer.

Each vocation plays very differently, and has access to its own unique weaponry and armour, plus skill sets and animations change dramatically depending on character class, want to blitz your opponents with multiple whirlwinds or a devastating meteor storm? Sorceror is the class for you, prefer good old fashioned sword and board gameplay? then you need a Fighter or Assassin in your life.

Dogma has dragons, plenty of them... and they're huge!

Dogma has dragons, plenty of them… and they’re huge!

Gransys is a dangerous place, a mammoth amount of varied enemies stand in your way, from the lowly goblin through to massive Wyverns, Drakes, Hydra’s and of course the Dragons of the title. The titular Dragons are the stars of the game with Red Dragon Grigori and the asynchronous online Ur Dragon being stand outs, and they are absolutely massive in stature making for fun though precarious battles.

Dragon’s Dogma has become one of my favourite RPG’s of all time, and I am still playing on a week to week basis, years after after its release. With a fantastic combat engine, myriad customisation options, almost infinite loot system and large and interesting world, let alone its unique online component, Dogma is a game recommended to all fans of fantasy fighting games. Welcome Arisen… your quest awaits.

Precinct1313 Rating: 5 Fire Spewing Dragons Out Of 5.

Nintendo Legend Satoru Iwata Passes Away

Ninty 1Satoru Iwata, chief executive of legendary games company Nintendo, has sadly passed away at the age of just 55. Mr Iwata had been battling cancer and underwent surgery last year before resuming his duties after a brief recovery period. Mr Iwata was a highly respected figure in the Japanese gaming scene and was the driving force behind some of the company’s most popular hardware

Satoru Iwata shows off the 3DS at a Nintendo press conference

Satoru Iwata shows off the 3DS at a Nintendo press conference

Mr Iwata successfully drove the sales of Nintendo’s handheld and home consoles and under his leadership the Nintendo DS became the best selling handheld games machine in the world when it first was released in 2004. Two years later he helmed the launch of the Nintendo Wii, which became one of the fastest selling home consoles in history, attracting gamers and non-gamers alike with its innovative motion controls and accessibility.

Mr Iwata started out originally as a programmer in a Nintendo subsidiary, and steadily worked his way up through the ranks, becoming Nintendo’s fourth President in 2002. I have been a gamer since I was nine years of age and even though when I was growing up was more of a fan of Ninty’s rival Sega, have always had an admiration for Nintendo, who have given the world some of the most iconic characters of all time. Very sad news, our thoughts go out to his family at this time.