Football Manager 2018 Announced

Football Manager 2018 has been officially announced, with its release date revealed as Friday 10th November. As with previous versions, anyone who pre-orders the game will be able to play the Beta-version two weeks before release, and will be able to carry their saves on to the main game.

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Image: footballmanager.com

As a bonus for returning players, anyone who has FM17 in their Steam Library is eligible for a 25% discount, or ‘contract extension bonus’, upon pre-ordering the game before Monday 9th October.

Details on features for this year’s game are expected to be announced in late-September via the Football Manager social media channels and through the FM Insider newsletter.

FM Touch and FM Mobile will also drop on November 10th, with features for these versions of the game to be revealed in October.

For those who want to try out the series before the new game, FM17 is available on the Steam store at an 80% discount until Thursday 17th August.

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Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol.2 Review (Spoiler Free)

After saving the galaxy in their last adventure, Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and Baby Groot (Vin Diesel) return as a team of heroes for hire. After a job goes sideways, the Guardians find themselves being hunted by their disgruntled former clients, the Sovereign, but are aided by a mysterious being claiming to be Star-Lord’s father. 

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Image: The Independent

Guardians of the Galaxy was commonly thought of as having the potential to be Marvel’s first disaster, but in fact turned out to be one of its biggest hits. It proved a breath of fresh air, different from the formulaic structure that has plagued the other Marvel movies. Surely recreating the surprise factor that made the original so well-loved would be prove an almost impossible task.

Well, luckily, James Gunn has proved that it was not impossible. Volume 2 offers the same light-hearted adventure and deep character moments that made us fall in love with the team in the first place. Whether or not the sequel matches the original Guardians is debatable, but Volume 2 more than holds its own against its predecessor.

Set just months after the first film, Guardians 2 opens up with the team on a job for the Sovereign, a race of genetically perfect aliens that are easily offended. What follows is easily the best opening credits sequence in recent memory, eclipsing Peter Quill’s karaoke in the first film, as we follow Baby Groot during the team’s battle with an inter-dimensional being with ‘Mr Blue Sky’ booming out in the background.

The opening really sets up the tone of this film, as for the first hour or so, it appears that Gunn has decided against actually having a plot, instead just deciding to stop in and watch the team carry out their everyday life. This works in the movie’s favour, as it makes the bickering and the jokes feel just that bit more realistic. Most of these jokes land, with Drax standing out yet again, but even those that don’t, most notably two running jokes about fruit and villain Taserface’s name, you tend to forgive.

It is the dynamic of the team, and the idea of family in general, that is the focus of Guardians 2. As well as Peter’s reunion with estranged father Ego (Kurt Russell), Gamora and Nebula’s past is explored, humanising and adding depth to the fairly bland antagonist from the first film. We also get a bit more information about Drax and his family. The only slight misstep was between Rocket and Yondu, as although the unlikely pairing proved a good partnership, their bond felt a little rushed.

The main worry with this film was whether Baby Groot would be a ‘Jar-Jar’, but fortunately Gunn manages to resist the temptation to have him feature heavily throughout, instead limiting him to two or three hilarious sequences. This applies to the whole team as well, as almost every character is given an arc, with none of them feeling as if they were being cast off in to a background role.

One of the main reasons for the success of this film is that it is very self-contained. Perhaps learning from Age of Ultron, there is very little in this film that links to the wider Marvel Cinematic Universe. And this is only a good thing. It means we spend more time with the characters that we care about.

It would be impossible to talk about a Guardians of the Galaxy film without mentioning the soundtrack. Like the first film, Awesome Mix Vol.2 does not disappoint. It shows Suicide Squad just how to use a soundtrack, with the songs fitting in with the narrative instead of completely taking you out of the experience. And, without spoiling the end of the film, it looks as though Gunn has plenty left in mind for Vol.3.

Guardians 2 could have struggled to live up to its surprise hit of a predecessor, but although it doesn’t quite hit the same heights, it certainly does not buckle under the pressure. It proves a light-hearted adventure with characters which we have grown to love over the course of these two films. The jokes, on the whole, land, and the film builds up enough good-will in the first two acts to allow for those that don’t, as well as a slightly CGI-heavy finale that borders on being overwhelming. And yes, there are five (FIVE!!!) mid/post credit scenes.

Verdict: 8/10

Who is ‘The Last Jedi’?

Star Wars Episode 8 has a title, and it is already sending fans in to meltdown. The next instalment of the epic saga will be titled ‘The Last Jedi’. Already there has been much speculation as to who this refers to, with most people favouring the theory that it refers to Rey. With story details still scarce, it is impossible to tell who the title refers to, but here are four possible last Jedi.

1. Rey

rey
The most predictable of the theories is that Rey will become the last Jedi during the course of Episode 8. This would mean that the film would see Luke training Rey, before the Master is killed, possibly by Kylo Ren or Supreme Leader Snoke. This theory would give a purpose to Episode 9, with Rey fighting to avenge her fallen master. However, with the death of Han Solo in The Force Awakens, this would seem a bit of a retread, as well as bearing similarities to The Empire Strikes Back.

Probability: 5/10

2. Luke

luke-skywalker
Another possibility is that the last Jedi refers simply to Luke Skywalker. The opening crawl for The Force Awakens refers directly to Luke as ‘the last Jedi’. Since the death of Yoda, Luke has been the only Jedi master, despite his attempts to train a new generation of Jedi. As well as purely describing Luke, this theory could lead to greater exploration in to what Luke did during his time as the last Jedi, paralleling his training of Rey with his previous training of Ben Solo. This would be interesting to see what tempted Ben to the Dark Side and explore the similarities between Ben and Rey in greater depth.

Probability: 7/10

3. Finn

boyegalightsaber
One of the more ‘out there’ theories is that ‘The Last Jedi’ refers to Finn. This would require Rey to follow a similar path to the Dark Side as Kylo Ren, meaning that Luke would have to recruit Finn and pit the former friends against each other. Finn is possibly force sensitive, as he manages to wield a lightsaber without cutting off his own limbs and is able to hold his own against, an albeit injured, Kylo Ren despite only having basic training with melee weapons. One of the most popular fan theories from The Force Awakens states that Rey will join the Dark Side. She hears Palpatine’s voice both during her vision when she touches Luke’s lightsaber and in a deleted scene during her battle with Kylo Ren. It has also been noted that her fighting style is very reminiscent of the Emperor’s. However, Rey’s conscious decision to ignore Palpatine’s command to finish off Kylo Ren would mean that she is unlikely to give in to the Dark Side.

Probability: 2/10

4. All of the Above?

rey-and-luke-skywalker-in-star-wars-force-awakens
Do you know what the plural for Jedi is? It’s Jedi. The most likely theory is that ‘The Last Jedi’ refers multiple people, with Luke and Rey the obvious choices. This could lead to a different style of Star Wars film, with the last Jedi, Luke and Rey, fighting for their survival and being hunted down by Supreme Leader Snoke, Kylo Ren and the First Order. The benefit of ‘The Last Jedi’ referring to multiple people is that it allows for a lot of story options whilst not definitively confirming that a character will have to die during the movie.

Probability: 9/10

 

Star Wars: The Last Jedi hits cinemas on December 15. Who do you think the title refers to? Could it possibly refer to Kylo Ren? Let me know in the comments or on twitter @MoodyMan147.
Originally posted here.

Inhumans TV show clears way for X-Men in the MCU

The announcement of an Inhumans TV show has left fans theorising about what this means for the MCU. An Inhumans movie had been scheduled for a 2019 release, but was delayed indefinitely in April.

inhumans

The Inhumans will debut on ABC and in IMAX in 2017. Image: The Independent

This means that there is now a gap in the Marvel schedule. Currently, Captain Marvel and the untitled Avengers movie are scheduled for 2019, and if you follow the pattern of the MCU so far, the third Marvel film will be an sequel for an already established character.

The Inhumans were scheduled to be Marvel’s third big screen team, after the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy. It is, perhaps, only right to assume its replacement will also be a team movie. 2019 may be late enough for a potential Guardians of the Galaxy 3, but it could also signal a move to the MCU for one of Marvel’s properties currently owned by Fox.

x-men-apocalypse

Fox has another X-Men movie scheduled for 2018/19, as well as Logan and Deadpool 2. Image: Screen Rant

The obvious candidate is the X-Men. The X-Men franchise is stagnating, and with the contracts of leads James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence expiring after X-Men Apocalypse, it is looking likely that the franchise will be rebooted. This presents the perfect chance for Marvel to bring the X-Men in to the MCU, using the same characters without confusing audiences by recasting the current cast.

The Inhumans had previously been unofficially billed as Marvel’s on-screen version of the X-Men, and Marvel had already positioned the two against each other in the Death of X comic series. Moving the Inhumans to TV could be the perfect opportunity for Mutants to join the MCU

This article was originally posted here.

Battlefield 1: Back in Time, But Not a Step Back

Whilst being praised for not being yet another generic futuristic FPS, Battlefield 1‘s First World War setting has been met with some scepticism. Some view the step back in time as a safe decision, just retreading the earlier Battlefield 1942. But Battlefield 1 is the last thing from a retread, and this is why:

It’s a New and Exciting Time Period

With its World War setting, Battlefield 1 has drawn some lazy comparisons to the long list of Second World War FPS games. In reality though, it is likely to bring about a whole new experience due to being set in a completely different time period, one that is rarely explored in the mainstream media.

battlefield1-tank

The First World War is arguably the most impactful event in modern history, and saw huge technological advances. The tank was first deployed during the Battle of the Somme in 1916, whilst the role of the Air Force developed from purely reconnaissance to strategic bombing and aerial battles by the end of the war. Just imagine trying to capture an objective when you first see an enemy tank appear, and the dread that you will feel when you realise, quite like the German soldiers at the Somme, that you are not equipped to face such a behemoth.

Surely if EA wanted to play it safe, they would have headed back to WWII. For a series known for its vehicular warfare and map destruction, the Second World War provides more advanced, mobile vehicles and even more destructive weaponry than any found in a First World War setting.

Bucking the Trend

Recently, Call of Duty has tended to ignore its fans, plunging deeper and deeper in to a futuristic setting. Many fans of the genre are now fed up of the futuristic setting, the boosting around the map, and the absurdly ‘camouflaged’ soldiers dabbing after racking up the most kills. A shooter based somewhat in reality (I am aware calling Battlefield‘realistic’ can be a bit of a minefield) is what is needed to reinvigorate the FPS genre, and also explains why there is a lot more hype around the release of the remaster of CoD4than there is around Infinite Warfare. The more limited options for class creation means that Battlefield 1 is heading back to the roots of what made the FPS genre so popular, which can only be a good thing.

This is not to say that Infinite Warfare will be a terrible game just because it is set in a futuristic setting – I’m sure zero-gravity combat will add a new and interesting dimension to the shooter genre – but it could suffer from futuristic FPS fatigue.

Are you excited about Battlefield 1 exploring an untouched time period, or would you rather have seen it set in the modern day? Let me know in the comments below.

Originally posted here.

New FIFA 17 Career Mode Features Announced

EA have announced some new features for FIFA 17’s Career Mode, including allowing you to choose a manager avatar and a new feature known as ‘Total Club Management’.

fifa17 objectives

Total Club Management involves the breaking down of board objectives depending on the areas that they see as the most important. Each team will have different objectives based upon their club management style in real life. The different categories that you will be judged upon are:

  • Domestic Success
  • Continental Success
  • Brand Exposure
  • Financial Management
  • Youth Development

The importance of each of these objectives depends on the real life objectives of the club you are managing. If you take over Manchester City, then you will be judged mostly on Continental Success, whilst almost not at all on Financial Management, whilst Southampton’s manager will be heavily judged on Youth Development.

fifa17 finances

FIFA 17 also introduces a new Financial system known as ‘Club Worth’. This offers an in depth evaluation of both your club’s earnings and expenditures, including transfers, player wages, match day revenue and stadium maintenance.

Using the new Frostbite engine, you can now choose from 11 manager avatars that will appear on the sideline during matches.

fifa17 managers

FIFA 17 will also include the Japanese J1-League, with 18 Japanese teams now playable in Career Mode.

These new features add to the new game mode that EA have already announced, ‘The Journey’. FIFA 17 comes out on September 29 on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

Will these new features see you playing Career Mode on FIFA 17, and what else would you like to see? Have your say in the comments below.

This article was originally posted here.

Suicide Squad Review (Spoiler Free)

After the world has been exposed to the threat of ‘Meta-Humans’, Amanda Waller, the head of government agency Argus, assembles a task force of some of the most deadly villains on the planet to combat this new threat. When a supernatural threat hits Midway City, Task Force X gets its first field test.

suicide squad


Suicide Squad sees a team up of some of DC’s best villains, and a few of their lesser known lawbreakers. Although it doesn’t quite deliver on the craziness promised in the quippy, action-packed trailer to the tune of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, it still offers a fun outing.

There are a number of stand out performances amongst the huge cast. Will Smith seems to benefit from not having to carry the film, with his Deadshot really proving the emotional heartbeat of the film. He has many of the film’s best lines and delivers them with typical Will Smith charisma. His introduction was one of the highlights of the film, but unfortunately the whole way that the members of Task Force X are introduced didn’t quite work.

Viola Davis nails the ruthless, uncompromising nature of Amanda Waller, dominating anyone that she interacts with. Margot Robbie’s unhinged Harley Quinn is, rather fittingly for this movie, often guilty of stealing the scene as she provides a light-heartedness that is much needed in the DCEU. Jay Hernandez’s El Diablo is the surprise of the team, offering much more as a character than initially thought, and even Jai Courtney’s Captain Boomerang is enjoyable, despite not offering much more to the team other than another brawler with a few one-liners.

But although their are some excellent performances, others fall rather flat. Katana and Killer Croc are only in the film to swat away henchmen, whilst Cara Delevigne’s Enchantress is very much by-the-numbers. And there is one member of the squad that is held back for a long time only for his impact to be minimal – and that’s being generous.

Jared Leto’s portrayal of the Joker is perhaps one of the most dangerous yet. Everything about him, especially his eerily slow laugh, is unnerving, and although he is only offered up as a subplot, it leaves you wanting to see him as the primary villain. His relationship with Harley adds another layer of danger to him, as he gives just a glimpse of what he will do to be reunited with her. One element that could have done with more exploration is how Dr Harleen Quinzel came to fall in love with the Joker, as this potentially interesting subplot is never fully explored.

Suicide Squad is not without it flaws. Some of the jokes feel forced and do not land, and the romance between Rick Flag and June Moone isn’t fleshed out at all. There are some elements of confusion with the tone, probably down to the large amount of re-shoots. It seems to be trying to achieve a blend of the craziness of Deadpool with the brooding nature of Batman v Superman, something that doesn’t quite work. There is also problems with the villain, with their motive unclear and their plan conventional. Unfortunately, the CGI-heavy climax will bring a sense of deja-vu if you have ever seen any comic-book movie.

It would be easy to compare Suicide Squad to Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. Both feature a team of rogues teaming up to save the world backed a pop soundtrack. But although Guardians’ soundtrack was close to perfection, some of the choices for Suicide Squad just felt forced, mainly The Rolling Stones’ ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ and the track the two films share, Norman Greenbaum’s ‘Spirit in the Sky.


Overall: 7/10

Suicide Squad offers a fun movie that signals that DC are starting to move in the the right direction. Sure, it doesn’t live up to it’s Marvel counterpart, but that’s not to say that it is not a good movie. The cast is Suicide Squad’s real strength, and many of the characters would be welcome as anti-heroes or villains in other DCEU films, or in their own solo movies.