Life Is Strange 2: Episode 1 Review

While I came to the original Life is Strange late in the game, after every episode had already been released, I loved the story the game told. The story of Max and Chloe was a heartbreaking one, no matter how it ended and it showed that the team at DONTNOD Entertainment was on to something. Now, with Life is Strange 2, the universe of Life is Strange has begun to expand and while the first episode is far from revolutionary, it is a promising first step in a new direction with new characters.

You play as Sean Diaz, an American teenager of Mexican descent living in the Seattle, Washington area. You live with your father, a mechanic, and your younger brother Daniel, and your biggest concern is how you’re going to impress the girl you like. Unfortunately, when a tragic series of events unfolds, Sean is forced to grab his younger brother and run away from home. On the run from the police, Sean heads south, with some rough idea of getting to the Mexican town where his father grew up, where he might find potential safety.

Gameplay is, for the most part, identical to the previous Life is Strange and other modern adventure games of its type. You walk around a map, interact with the environment, pick up objects, and engage in dialogue with other characters. Decisions you make have the potential to change the story as you progress through the episode as well as in future episodes. The changes between the original Life is Strange and the sequel are subtle but welcome. Not all dialogue sections force you to stand there and talk, instead, you’re frequently able to move around and continue to interact with your environment while still engaged in conversation. It feels more natural.

However, the biggest change comes from the new perspective that Life is Strange 2 takes. It’s clear from early on that while the player is in control of Sean, this isn’t really his story. In the same way that Telltale’s original season of The Walking Dead was more about Clementine than Lee, Life is Strange 2 looks like it will be about Daniel, not Sean, but told through Sean’s eyes. Daniel is always there watching you and even if a decision you make doesn’t technically involve him, he’s a young child and he’s soaking things up like a sponge. Your job as the player is to lead by example. If the example you set is a bad one, well…

These changes are minor, and by the end of Episode 1, they’ve hardly had a major impact on the game. While that could certainly change in future episodes, Episode 1 feels like any other modern adventure game. It remains to be seen how drastically the choices you make will impact the game, though the fact that the biggest decision of Episode 1 is made for you is a bit frustrating for a series that claims that you can control things.

What’s clear about Life is Strange 2 is that the game clearly has something it wants to say. While the original Life is Strange, as well as its prequel Life is Strange: Before the Storm dealt primarily with female relationships, of both the loving and the dangerous kind, Life is Strange 2‘s focus is on giving an audience a glimpse at what it’s like being a minority. And the game is not subtle. One character I met on my travels even commented that he wanted to “build the wall,” in case you were curious how closely the Life is Strange universe mirrors our own. The game’s inciting incident is one so “ripped from the headlines” you half expect the cast of Law & Order to show up.

Life is Strange fans may have noticed I have yet to mention anything about the supernatural powers that were a key part of the gameplay of the first game. In order to avoid spoilers I’m not going to go too deep into them, as most of the detail as to how they will impact the plot isn’t revealed until the end of the episode, but needless to say, powers of that sort do exist in the game, though they’re not identical to the powers of the first game, and how exactly they integrate into the story will be somewhat different.

Overall I’m not waiting with baited breath for the next episode of Life is Strange 2, but I am certainly interested enough to see where things go. Honestly, that’s about where I was at this point in the first Life is Strange. That game also took some time to get going, but once it did, it was an emotional journey worth taking. If that happens here as well, I won’t complain.

This review was completed with an Xbox One version of the game provided by the publisher.

Rating:
movie reviewed rating
3.5/5

Blended From Around The Web

 

HeroBlend #25: Venom Reaction

To start, if you haven’t seen the movie yet but still want to hear about Sean’s impressions of Venom, you’re in luck. What we’ve done for you this time is begin HeroBlend with about 15 minutes of pure, unadulterated, spoiler free Venom discussion! We’ll talk, in general, about the plot, performances, action sequences and special effects, so you can get a basic idea of what Sean thought of the movie. After that, never fear, full fucking spoilers are here! That’s right, the next step is for Eric and Adrienne to grill Sean on the specifics of what did and didn’t work in Venom, using concrete examples from what he saw. We’ll go over everything from the spoiler free portion, but more in-depth, and also touch on things like how many symbiotes the movie actually uses and whether or not it’s easy to tell them apart, if the movie works with a PG-13 rating, if the film really did need some Spider-Man and how many dudes you can expect to get eaten.

Remaining Telltale Games Staff Continues To Shrink

This is just the latest in the complicated and disheartening tale of the closure of Telltale Games. Reports following the initial firings stated that new employees were brought on the week prior; seeming to signify that it caught the studio itself by surprise. Further reports were that Telltale expected funding from a source that, at the last minute, decided to withdraw its support. That, in turn, led to the sudden closure of the studio. On top of that, some employees have opted to sue their former employer, as a closure of this magnitude, according to their claim, requires around a 60-day notice to be given to those affected. As for Telltale, they’ve since disabled sales of the final season of The Walking Dead and have begun looking for a way to get the story completed, potentially by a different studio.

New Hellboy Image Shows Off The Main Cast And Plenty Of Monsters

Maybe heaven can wait, but hell certainly can’t with the triumphant return of Hellboy coming soon. It’s been ten years since Guillermo del Toro’s Hellboy II: The Golden Army starring Ron Perlman was released, and fans have been impatiently awaiting another film. When it was announced that a new Hellboy movie was being made, it promised a reboot instead of a conclusion to the previous franchise. October started fans off strong with a new blazing new poster of Stranger Things‘ David Harbour transformed into the badass hero. With New York Comic-Con is underway, the cast of the upcoming Hellboy are set to make their debut at a Saturday panel. In honor of this, a new image featuring more of the cast has been released. Take a look:

What a hellishly magnificent new poster! While David Harbour’s incredible straight-from-the-comics look is still front and center, this teaser shared on Twitter offers more to unpack for fans. On the left are creepy and gruesome devilish creatures to be unleashed in London. While Guillermo del Toro’s films imagined the beasts from the comic as more fanciful, director Neil Marshall will bring more horror elements to the R-rated reboot. In the center, (below Hellboy) is the first look at Milla Jovovich as Nimue the Blood Queen. The Resident Evil actress will be the main antagonist of Hellboy who threatens the fate of the world. To the right is the rest of the main cast including Lost’s Daniel Dae Kim as Ben Daimio, American Honey’s Sasha Lane as Alice Monaghan and Deadwood‘s Ian McShane as Professor Trevor Bruttenholm.

The new poster gives us a broader sense of the movie in anticipation for the Comic-Con panel tomorrow, and if predictions are true a trailer could also drop tomorrow. The highly artistic feel of the poster reflects Hellboy comic book creator Mike Mignola’s involvement in the script writing alongside Andrew Cosby. Mignola previously said that his visits to the Hellboy set felt like he was seeing something ripped straight out of the comics for the first time during production. This is certainly exciting for fans of the source material to bring the complicated hero to life in a new way.

Hellboy was originally set to be released in January, but last week it was announced that the release will be pushed back until April 11, 2019. With buzz just getting started for the new Hellboy, the movie will likely benefit from this date change. The comic book adaptation will now head to theaters just one week after Shazam!. With more time to market the film and generate more excitement for the film with teasers such as this, Hellboy could be a huge box office success.

DC Universe’s Titans Will Deliver A New Deathstroke

The anticipation surrounding DC Universe’s Titans is growing, and a fresh bit of info from the series’ writer and producer has the power to ramp up the anticipation for it even more. While at New York Comic Con, Geoff Johns teased that the show would be foolish not to tackle The Judas Contract, which would mean having to introduce the Teen Titans’ archnemesis: Deathstroke. There is a twist to this Deathstroke news though. Here is what Johns had to say:

That’s right! Geoff Johns confirmed that Titans would eventually introduce the character of Deathstroke with a hint of change in the air. The news comes from the DC Universe panel at New York Comic Con (via ComicBook) and the keyword that Johns says is “new.” What exactly he meant by a new Deathstroke is unclear. It is a crucial bit of info that is destined to send speculation soaring. For Titans to want a new take on the character makes sense given the competition it has received from other adaptations.

In the Arrow-verse, Deathstroke has been played by Spartacus‘ Manu Bennett. In the movie universe, True Blood‘s Joe Manganiello is the latest to play the Teen Titans’ greatest enemy. Whether the “new” Geoff Johns is referring to has to do with casting or the backstory of the character being different is unknown. With so many iterations, it will be intriguing to find out how Titans plans to set their Deathstroke apart from the ones that have come before.

As for Geoff Johns’ assertion that fans will “eventually” see Deathstroke on Titans — that leaves the door open for when exactly fans will catch a glimpse of the villain. The new DC Universe series will have time though, as it has already been renewed for a second season before its first one has even premiered. While that is good news for the show’s future, it theoretically pushes out the potential debut date of the new Deathstroke, unless he makes an appearance in Season 1.

As of now, fans will have to settle for debating what Geoff Johns’ “new” could mean, as it hints at any number of things. Given how alive the character has been on-screen, Titans will have its work cut out in finding a direction that is fresh. The other exciting part of this Titans news is that Geoff Johns is simultaneously confirming interest in adapting The Judas Contract while teasing the introduction of Deathstroke, which makes sense given the two go hand-in-hand in comic book canon.

Whether Titans introduces Deathstroke in an adaptation of that storyline or beforehand to establish the character will be fun to learn. In the meantime, you can start watching Titans when it premieres Friday, October 12 on DC Universe. From that point forward, new episodes of the 12-part season will drop weekly on the new streaming platform. With some time still left to go before Titans is released, there are a lot of other fall offerings to entertain you while you wait.

The New Mortal Engines Trailer Is Gorgeous And Epic

A lot of the biggest films this holiday season are reboots, sequels or familiar big-name properties. Standing out from the pack of blockbusters in that regard is Mortal Engines. The film is based on the novel of the same name by author Philip Reeve and it is coming from the Lord of the Rings writing trio of Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens and Peter Jackson. Mortal Engines is a YA film with a steampunk aesthetic that looks positively nothing like the rest of the holiday slate. The latest trailer for the film has been released and it is the best one yet, teasing a positively gorgeous film with an epic feel. Take a look at the new Mortal Engines trailer below.

Despite how intrigued I was by the concept and wanted to love the first couple trailers for Mortal Engines, I was underwhelmed. This trailer though I feel does a much better job at selling this movie. It gives us a good look at different parts of the film that are more interesting than we’ve previously seen, and the special effects here also look much better. This film is a visual feast. Mortal Engines is the directorial debut of Christian Rivers, who worked on the visual effects for the Middle Earth films and won an Oscar for his VFX work on King Kong, and it shows in this trailer for Mortal Engines. Aesthetically, this movie is positively gorgeous. Everything from the griminess of the cities to the eye-popping color of the skies and landscapes keeps you transfixed on the trailer and demands that you see this movie on the biggest screen with the best projection possible.

In addition to the captivating visuals, this Mortal Engines trailer further expands on the history of the protagonist and the story of the film that centers on a megalomaniac, a rebellion and a mysterious girl. Comparisons to Waterworld have been made, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Clearly Hera Hilmar’s Hester Shaw is important, but this trailer still doesn’t tell us why she’s special. But maybe we’re not supposed to know that yet and that’s a journey we go on with the character.

The first teaser made it seem like this was standard YA fare in a different wrapper, but this latest trailer, with its steampunk aesthetic and zany characters, gives it a different feel. I’m getting strong vibes of other quirky sci-fi/fantasy flicks like Stardust, The Fifth Element and Snowpiercer (although the director has made other comparisons). Hopefully Mortal Engines leans into that weirdness.

This film also feels positively epic and grand in scale. Just watching the trailer you feel like you are going on a huge journey with these characters. Mortal Engines is an adaptation of the first novel in a four part series, but that novel can apparently stand on its own. This movie looks like it will introduce a whole world worth exploring and maybe it will get a chance to do that with sequels if Mortal Engines can stand out in a crowded holiday season.

Mortal Engines rolls into theaters on December 14. Check out our release guide for all of the biggest movies you can look forward to this holiday season.

Why Star Wars Resistance Is Set Before The Force Awakens

Star Wars Resistance is only days away from hitting the airwaves on Disney Channel, and it promises to deliver Star Wars action to the small screen, help fill in some blanks in the current timeline of that galaxy far, far away, and explain what happened to some of those former Rebel and Imperial pilots after the events of the original trilogy. It is actually set in a time and place that has been largely unexplored by other projects in the saga: before The Force Awakens and in the Outer Rim.

Resistance executive producer Justin Ridge spoke with CinemaBlend about all things Resistance (including how it was impacted by previous series The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels), and he had this to say about why the new show is set before the devastating events of The Force Awakens:

As many Resistance viewers will undoubtedly know thanks to The Force Awakens, the galaxy is in for a devastating tragedy when the First Order unleashes Starkiller Base on the New Republic. The show isn’t just set at a random place in the decades between the happy ending of Return of the Jedi and the dark beginning of The Force Awakens. Its placement in the timeline means that it can tie into the events of the first movie of the sequel trilogy, featuring characters like Poe and Captain Phasm and even BB-8 along with the newcomers like Kaz and The Aces.

Interestingly, the state of affairs being revealed in Resistance can be directly relevant to the sequel trilogy, especially since The Last Jedi takes place so soon after The Force Awakens. Justin Ridge also clarified how soon ahead of The Force Awakens that Resistance kicks off:

Poor Kaz and his new friends (and rivals) don’t have all that much time left before the First Order unleashes Starkiller Base on the galaxy, although it’s worth noting that not all of the news will be terrible. When Poe isn’t dropping by Star Wars Resistance, he’ll be busy helping Leia and the other Resistance leaders. While the Resistance (and Kaz) obviously won’t be able to prevent Starkiller Base’s upcoming strike against the New Republic, Poe will take it down, and we have to hope that Kaz and Co. will have contributed to that victory.

As is clear from the exciting trailers for Star Wars Resistance, the new show will be focusing on pilots and non-Force sensitive characters, meaning there will be some key fundamental differences between Resistance and the two shows that came before it. Poe’s victory against Starkiller Base proves that the non-Jedi characters are vital to fighting the good fight of the sequel trilogy era, even if the titles of the first two movies directly reference the Force and the Jedi. Justin Ridge explained why Resistance is focused on non-Jedi characters:

Naturally, a big question that will be on the minds of Star Wars fans is whether Resistance‘s place so soon ahead of The Force Awakens means that the show could eventually extend into the timeline of the movies. After all, both The Clone Wars and Rebels spanned multiple years before coming to their ends, although Rebels notably ended shortly before the original trilogy began, and showrunner Dave Filoni explained his understandable reasons why. Time will tell if the new batch of Clone Wars episodes will advance into the time of or beyond Revenge of the Sith.

When I asked Justin Ridge whether we could see Kaz’s story extend into the movie timeline, here’s what he had to say:

Star Wars Resistance premieres with a one-hour event on Sunday, October 7 at 10 p.m. ET on Disney Channel and DisneyNOW. It’s only one of the two upcoming Star Wars shows that will be set between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. Be sure to tune in to meet some fun new characters in a truly unique location in the Outer Rim.

Watch Steven Seagal Walk Out Of Interview Over Sexual Assault Question

As seen in the BBC clip found above, Steven Seagal gets up and begins to take out his earpiece as soon as the question is proposed by the interviewer. The person behind the desk was only beginning to ask Steven Seagal about the allegations, when he began to rise from his seat and scramble to take out his earpiece and microphone. It was only a short while later when the telecommunication was cut out from Seagal’s end. While the actor has denied these accusations in the past, Seagal wasn’t willing to discuss the topic on the air when pressed about the allegations in this clip.

The interview took place on BBC’s Newsnight on Thursday night. When jumping between talking points, host Kirsty Wark brought up the #MeToo allegations that have sprung up against him in the months since the movement came into the public spotlight. The claims were that Steven Seagal sexually harassed several women in the past, and also reportedly sexually assault a woman. Before the question was even finished, however, Seagal was taking off his microphone equipment and stepping away from the camera, prompting the interview to be cut shortly thereafter.

Steven Seagal has been accused of inappropriate behavior by Portia de Rossi, who claimed the actor had sexually harassed her during an audition. On Twitter, she claimed that he unzipped his pants during one of her final auditions. Seagal was also accused of similarly indecent actions by Julianna Margulies, who claimed that the B-movie action star once answered the door in a silk robe “and nothing else” during an audition. Seagal has denied these allegations. The actor was also reportedly involved in inappropriate behavior with Katherine Heigl when she made a film very early in her career. The film they made together was Under Seige 2: Dark Territory, which came out in 1995, and the actor apparently made some crude comments to her.

With more allegations being made in the media to high-standing public figures, it’s hard to know what response these public figures will have to the allegations made against them– particularly when they’re in the hot seat. Steven Seagal made it clear in this interview that he doesn’t want to talk about the allegations that have been presented against him, and he isn’t looking to have any sort of dialogue about his feelings regarding the matter at this time. If that were to change, however, we’ll be sure to keep you posted on the latest developments. Meanwhile, when it comes to the newest celebrity news and updates, you can be sure to check back here at CinemaBlend for more.

Pokemon Go Is Adding More Shiny Pokemon

Ever since 2016 when Niantic Labs first launched Pokemon Go and Nintendo’s stock prices went soaring, gamers have been asking for lots of new content for the game; they’ve asked for new Pokemon, which Niantic delivered. They’ve asked for new customization options, which Niantic delivered. They’ve asked for more Legendaries, which Niantic delivered. And they’ve asked for more generational sets, which Niantic also delivered. At this point, Niantic is starting to take the initiative to move forward by providing new content in Pokemon Go without always having the community beg for the content. A good example of that is the developers adding in brand new Shiny Pokemon to the game to give gamers even rarer Pokemon to capture while out and about.

Vincent D’Onofrio Really Wants Kingpin In A Spider-Man Movie

One of the long held hopes among Marvel fans has been to see the New York City-based heroes and villains, who have so much interaction in the comics, finally cross paths on the big screen. Chief among these desired crossovers is to see the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen and the Spider of Queens to unite. In the comics, Spider-Man and Daredevil both share common enemies, most notably Wilson Fisk, a.k.a. Kingpin. Fans would love to see the crime lord mix it up with his original foe Spider-Man on the big screen, and they’re not alone. Responding to a fan lamenting this would never happen, Kingpin actor Vincent D’Onofrio made it clear he wants his character in a Spider-Man movie. Take a look:

Clearly Vincent D’Onofrio is not resigned to his character remaining constrained to the small screen and seems optimistic that the Kingpin could one day show up in a Spider-Man movie. More than that, the actor seems to want it to happen just as much as the fans do. Vincent D’Onofrio’s Twitter response is great, too. His response sounds like how the Kingpin himself would incredulously respond to someone telling him what he can and can’t do. If the Kingpin wants to be in a Spider-Man movie, the Kingpin will be in a Spider-Man movie.

If you actually answer Vincent D’Onofrio’s query, things get a bit more muddled. The characters of Marvel’s Netflix-verse have all crossed over with one another, but none of them have appeared in the MCU films, not even in Avengers: Infinity War. Despite being all under the Marvel Entertainment banner, Marvel Television and Marvel Studios are separate entities which have not shown a great willingness or desire to work together. Beyond that, Spider-Man isn’t even under the Marvel banner, he’s under Sony’s.

So there are some logistical hurdles that must be cleared for this matchup to take place, but there is hope to cling to. Sony is apparently keen on more integration of its Spider-verse films and the Avengers, so perhaps there is an opening for the Kingpin to make his way into the film universe if all the requisite parties can come to an agreement. Vincent D’Onofrio wants it, so that’s at least one less step necessary to make this a reality. And hey, we never thought Sony would allow Spidey in the MCU or the X-Men would be returning home, so stranger things have happened.

It would certainly be a pity if this doesn’t happen considering how great of a villain Vincent D’Onofrio’s Kingpin is. For my money he is the best of the Netflix-verse villains and deserves to be among Loki, Killmonger and Thanos at the top of the villain heap. Spidey vs. Kingpin will have to wait though. Kingpin is getting ready to go round two with Matt Murdock in Daredevil Season 3, which premieres on October 19. Spider-Man is currently dust and will be hanging out in Europe for his next adventure in Spider-Man: Far From Home, which swings into theaters on July 5, 2019.

Check out our 2019 release schedule to see all the biggest movies coming next year and for all the latest in dream matchups and keeping your fingers crossed, stay tuned to CinemaBlend.