WEEKLY COMIC REVIEWS 6.11.2014

Here’s our latest video review featuring comics released on Wednesday, June 11 2014. Gonna’ be completely honest, most of this week’s reads were complete caca and garboski with a few gems sprinkled in. Check out the video below to watch us talk smack on the turds and gush over the good stuff.

As always, comments on these are truly appreciated and you can help our YouTube channel grow by subscribing and clicking that thumbs-up button. It really, really helps.

Also, this show needs a catchy name. Weekly Comic Picks was dumb since it sounds like we’re recommending top picks, so this week I changed it to Weekly Comic Reviews, but that’s sooooo boooooring. I’m torn between Comic Book Casserole because I thought of it while making a casserole the other day, or Comic Book Real Talk because it has sass and we don’t mess around with silly scores, but that just sounds kind of generic.

Whoever comes up with the best name in the comments section wins a prize.

Killzone: Shadow Fall - The Albotas Review
On a complete whim I decided to pick up a PlayStation 4 on launch day. I typically never get systems on launch day because their libraries either consist of updated ports or first party exclusives that look amazing, but are just kind of okay in terms of gameplay. Killzone: Shadow Fall fits into that second category.
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AWESOME
The graphics. The graphics on this game are bonkers and make this game a showpiece that perfectly demonstrate what the PS4 is capable of.
Seamless transitions. In one level you’ll go from being flown into a beautiful futuristic city on an aircraft, to that city being reduced to burning rubble while all heck breaks loose, to being flown across the city to a railway transit system in the sky. It’s all done in a very seamless way and loading screens are disguised as dialogue sequences when flying from one place to another.
Level design. These levels are HUGE. There’s futuristic ghetto slums reminiscent of Blade Runner which absurdly tall steel towers and neon lights reflecting on the wet streets. There’s apocalyptic desert wastelands where decaying stone buildings lay collapsed while the sun casts lens blooms every which way. I kind of want an “Art of Killzone: Shadow Fall” book.
The OWL Drone. This is a little flying robot dude that you control with the PS4’s all new touch pad. He has 4 modes: shoot things, hack things/EMP things, turn into a shield, or turn into a zipline. It’s sort of a gimmick, but it helps spice up the stale run-of-the-mill FPS formula.
The less FPS-y parts. For a mediocre FPS, this game deserves some credit for trying to mix things up with stealth, anti-gravity parts (one was a particularly challenging escort mission of sorts), summoning giant flying robot things to kill waves of enemies, hacking/controlling robot spiders, and ordering an unkillable sniper with unlimited ammo to take dudes out while you sneak around and get shit done.
After the credits. There’s a mid-credits mission that I really wanted more of. Rather than play the main protagonist, you play a completely different character with a different set of skills. It’s a stealth mission where your objective is to assassinate someone, but first you need to go around disabling security cameras. A whole game of just that with a little generic FPS action probably would have been way more enjoyable, but I wouldn’t be surprised if some sort of DLC expanding on the concept was made available at some point.
NOT AWESOME
Forgettable story. I seriously barely remember what it was about. The Vektans are the good guys and they let the Hellghast live on their planet after they messed up the Hellghast planet in Killzone 3, but they’re both still at war for some reason.
The falling parts. There are a few chapters that have you navigate while falling. You will die numerous times. Not because these sequences are hard, but because the controls for them are terrible.
The text is absurdly small. Even on my 47” flatscreen I have to get up from my sofa to read mission objectives. I felt like I needed binoculars.
Multiplayer leaves a bit to be desired. Where to even begin. The walls in almost every level are the shame shade of metallic grey as the character models, so it’s almost impossible to see anyone, not all multiplayer modes and loadouts are made available from the start and it’s unclear how to unlock them, and some of the levels simply seem more like terrain than actual well-though-out levels for a multplayer FPS.
VERDICT
As a tech demo to show off the power of the PS4 to your friends, Killzone: Shadow Fall is amazing, however, while it may have gorgeous next gen graphics and gimmicky-but-fun next gen controls, it fails to deliver next gen storytelling or next gen gameplay. It isn’t a terrible game by any stretch, but it isn’t remarkable either, just solid. If you own a shiny new PS4 and want to be blown away by some top-notch visuals, this game is quite the spectacle to behold.

Killzone: Shadow Fall - The Albotas Review

On a complete whim I decided to pick up a PlayStation 4 on launch day. I typically never get systems on launch day because their libraries either consist of updated ports or first party exclusives that look amazing, but are just kind of okay in terms of gameplay. Killzone: Shadow Fall fits into that second category.

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Rat Queens #1 Review
Rat Queens is what Lord of the Rings would have been like if everyone on Middle Earth was hung over, tripping on shrooms, and constantly starting bar room brawls. It’s no wonder this book sold out of its first run and is already on its second printing in less than a month.
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Written by Kurtis J. Wiebe with art by Roc Upchurch, Rat Queens focuses on the titular band of ass-kickers-for-hire who used to be known for protecting their village, but since they’ve slain just about all of the monsters, these days they usually get drunk at the tavern, start fights, and pretty much wreak havoc throughout the town on a daily basis.
The group consists of Dee, the Atheist Human Cleric; Betty, the Hippy Smidgen Thief; Violet, the HIpster Dwarven Fighter; and Hannah, the Rockabilly Elven Mage.

When issue #1 starts, the town has pretty much had it with the Rat Queens and have gathered to discuss how to get rid of them. They are given one last chance, but as punishment, they are sent on a quest to rid a cave of goblins that they thought they already took care of, but apparently goblins breed like rabbits and they’re back.
We’re also introduced to some similar parties of warriors who are also sent on various missions as punishment. There’s the Peaches who are tasked with sacking a bandit camp, the Four Daves are asked to deal with some undead ghouls at a nearby cemetery, Brother Ponties must slay a one-armed ogre, and the brooding goth group of Dark Elves known as the Obsidian Darkness are slapped with the menial task of cleaning the shitters.
Amidst the humor and silliness, the plot picks up when it’s revealed that assassin’s are being sent to kill these bands of heroes-for-hire.
AWESOME
The setting. Sure, it may seem like your run-of-the-mill LotR/WoW setting, but there are little nuances that set this apart from your average mideval fantasy. Characters speak to one another in modern-day language, so expect plenty of “dude” talk and lots of swearing. There’s also a somewhat clever use of magic being used as a device that mimics a cell phone, but that concept tiptoes around making the team of bad-ass she-warriors seem like at-the-mall/Sex in the City girly-girl clichés.
The characters. It’s always a treat to see strong female roles in comics without having them dressed in lingerie (no matter how big a fan I am of such things). Each one of these girls are firecrackers and readers of all types will be able to find a favorite.
The art. Roc Upchurch absolutely KILLS it on the pencils. He also does the inks and colors which makes his skills that much more impressive. There’s plenty of violence and gore in this issue, but it’s mostly used in an over-the-top comedic way that totally works. Upchurch’s calling card, though, is his amazing facial expressions. Some of the biggest laughs to be had in this book are simply from the faces that some of the characters make.
The humor. This is a series that will either live or die by the graces of its humor which, thankfully, is pretty spot-on for the most part. The lead characters are a mix of Whedon-esque wittiness with the vulgarity of Bridesmaids, but with extreme violent tendencies.
NOT AWESOME
Forced narrative. Sometimes it feels like characters are talking to the reader instead of each other. I understand trying to cram a rich world and characters into a first issue, but there’s way to convey information to readers while making conversation flow naturally.
Some jokes fall flat. Sometimes it seems like Wiebe is trying a little too hard to shock the readers with profane potty humor that it borders on Dane Cook levels of trying-too-hard unfunniness. Thankfully, these moments are far and few in between and the rest of the book’s sheer awesomeness more than makes up for it.
FINAL THOUGHTS
Rat Queens is one of the most fun books I’ve read in a long damn time and it’s easy to see why the first printing of this issue sold out (second printing drops Oct. 23). This is a near flawless execution of a first issue, providing just the right amount of back story and intrigue to make readers want to dive right into issue #2. If fantasy, action, and humor are your thing, you’ll definitely want to check out Rat Queens.
VERDICT: READ THIS BOOK

Rat Queens #1 Review

Rat Queens is what Lord of the Rings would have been like if everyone on Middle Earth was hung over, tripping on shrooms, and constantly starting bar room brawls. It’s no wonder this book sold out of its first run and is already on its second printing in less than a month.

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All The Feels: ‘Breaking Bad’ Finale [SPOILERS]
It’s finally over, guys. It’s okay, we’re here for you. Let’s talk about it. Together.
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Five years of perhaps the greatest television writing of our lifetime has all culminated to this. The final episode of Vince Gillian's Shakespearean masterpiece, Breaking Bad, wrapped up last night and it was everything a fan of the show could want and more. Every line of dialogue was expertly crafted by the writers and delivered pitch perfect by the actors. Every shot was perfectly framed with purpose and intent. It was glorious. It was beautiful. It was some of the greatest character-driven storytelling that any of us will ever  experience unless someone, somehow, finds a way to top this masterpiece.
But enough gushing. Here’s some random observations and musings I had from throughout the episode. Feel free to share your own in the comments below.
Fe Li Na.That was the title of the finale. Fe = Iron. Li = Meth. Na = Sodium. Blood, meth, tears. Also an anagram for finale. Kind of poetic how that all worked out.
"Just get me home and I’ll take care of the rest." Walt’s plea to God, or the universe, or himself, or whoever, as he hides in the car he’s about to steal while cops close in on the bar that he just fled. I translated that into “Get me home and I’ll make everything right again. I’ll pay for my sins. Just give me one last chance to make everything right.”
Donna Bowman of The AV Club said: ”We’ve all been asking ourselves what we want from this show. I’ve tried not to commit myself in writing to wanting anything, beyond Jesse’s getting out alive, because more than anything I wanted to let Vince Gilligan take us where he wanted us to go. But now I can say what I wanted. I wanted the special thrill that comes when the forces of luck and the forces of human will coincide to make miracles happen. And on this show, that has happened to Walt again and again in the service of his own ego. The end has been dreadful, but the means have been intoxicating. When Walt pounded the window of that stolen car with his fist, causing the snow to fall away, it was like the Fonz thumping the jukebox: a moment of supreme efficacy, endorsed by the universe. That’s what I wanted, one last time. And there it is. I’m grateful.”
That pounding-the-window moment was magical. The confidence, you could just see his ego swell and his spirits rise. Such a small scene on paper, but Bryan Cranston killed it.
This version’s pretty good too.

Oh, Huell. What happened to that guy?
When Marie calls Skylar to warn her about Walt. The split second she evokes Hank’s name and gets all choked up: SO GOOD! But then we cut back to Skylar in her sad little kitchen and the camera pans to reveal Walt hidden behind a beam. This entire scene was beautiful. You could tell that even after everything, she still loved for him. And Walt finally admitting that everything he did, he did for himself!!! Fucking redemption. Lots of silent acting. I always love when actors can speak volumes with just their faces. I just kept hoping he would steal a kiss, or that Skylar would offer one, or he’d tell her he loved her or something, but I’m a big fat sappy jerk.




It’s almost like he let his own confession just pour over him like a baptism. His conscience is finally cleansed.

Walt Junior’s rebellious new fashion sense. Dark hoodie. Camo pants. Boots. Super angsty. Poor kid. It really sucks he’ll never know the full story of everything that his father went through for his sake (well, until his stupid dumb ego got in the way and ruined everything). Pretty much everyone in this show gets some sort of closure, but poor Flynn has to go on believing that his father murdered his Uncle Hank. And the kicker is, his mom knows that he really didn’t, but it’s a secret that she’ll have to live with for the rest of her life. Heavy stuff.
Badger and Skinny Pete, yo! God DAMN it was good to see those guys one last time. Having their farewell scene be one last job for Walt was just icing on the cake. The fact that the job was shining laser pointers into Gretchen and Elliott Schwartz’s mansion so that they’d think hired hitmen were pointing sniper rifles at them, well, that was the sweet creamy center.



And speaking of the Gretchen and Elliott scene…
The Gretchen and Elliott scene. Walt lurking in the shadows, calming walking through their front door like he owned the place, just admiring everything, more of that silent acting stuff and Crantson brought the goods.
There’s a particular shot where Gretchen and Elliott are in the kitchen and Walt is right around the corner just looking at their framed photos lining a shelf. I’m not sure this was intentional (I’d like to think it was), but the scene almost felt like Walt was in museum looking at a display of what the perfect life would be like — what he could have had if things went differently.
What do you think Todd was about to say? “Jesus. Mr. White -” and before he can say another word, Jesse is strangling the living shit out of Todd’s creepy ass. But what the hell could he have possibly said!? “Mr. White, I think something’s wrong with your car.” “Mr. White, is that a robot?” Dude, your uncle and all of your friends are dead as shit! And I love how he still has the manners to call him “Mr. White.” Just another weird quirk of the character, but you’d think he’d have the sense of mind to, like, get a gun and make a last stand or something.

(via Reddit)
His ringtone for Lydia was pretty dope though.


"Then do it yourself." So glad to see Jesse refuse to be manipulated one last time. I feel like when he took off the chains that Todd had him in, it was symbolic of him removing the chains that Walt’s had on him all this time.
And holy SHIT this dude totally had this coming!

That’s right. Don’t even let him finish his sentence. I wonder how they pulled off the blood splatter gag. Think it was done in the scene or somehow edited in during post?
The rest of it. While the majority of the episode was a slow building swell of perfection, pretty much everything that happened during and after the trunk-gun incident was just a rapid fire succession of greatness. Walt telling Lydia about the ricin, Jesse and Walt’s subtle nod before they part ways. Walt basking in his self-perceived excellence as he admires the meth lab.

And my God the mirror imagery!



Everyone in this episode truly was a shadow of their former selves.
All in all, it was a brilliantly executed send-off to one of televisions few true masterpieces. Walter White was a man who let his creation destroy his life, so he used the time he had left to redeem himself. In the end, it was his creation of redemption (the trunk-gun) that did him in.
Everything was perfect and everything and I wanted. Even the final scene and the song that accompanied it.
It also reminded me of Lost, which is never a bad thing.

Vince Gilligan and everyone involved with the show really should be proud of themselves. They’ve managed to create something that set the bar for mainstream entertainment and I can’t wait to see what comes along to top it.
And just because, here’s my favorite Breaking Bad .GIF ever.

All The Feels: ‘Breaking Bad’ Finale [SPOILERS]

It’s finally over, guys. It’s okay, we’re here for you. Let’s talk about it. Together.

Read More

Conan O’Brien Plays Grand Theft Auto V

As part of their Clueless Gamer segment, Conan O’Brien reviews Grand Theft Auto V in this hilarious video. Loads of strip clubs and bad driving ensues.

The Stars Wars #1 - The Albotas Review
So here’s an interesting concept for a comic book. Dark Horse Comics got their hands on the original rough draft screenplay that George Lucas wrote before the Star Wars we know and love was created, simply titled “The Star Wars.” Dark Horse decided to take that rough draft and give it to writerJ.W. Rinzler and artist Mike Mayhew to adapt into an 8-issue comic book mini-series.
So they did it and issue #1 released about a week ago. And although it’s totally not Rinzler’s fault, the comic book is kind of…bad.
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[+] AWESOME
This is such a cool idea and neat opportunity for Star Wars and comic book fans to see a rough drafted version of the original Star Wars screenplay. It’s interesting to see the vast similarities and huge differences between what was in theaters versus what Lucas actually had planned.
George Lucas himself has approved the pages of The Star Wars, so you know he can fess up to this (rough drafted) mess in the future (unlike the holiday special). It’s 100% authentic.
Mike Mayhew’s artwork is incredible. It’s detailed where it wants to be and really captures the Star Wars sense of feeling, showcasing a vast galaxy with fascinating characters and places.
The final page of the comic shows a concept of what the original Stardestroyer was going to look like. Again, the ideas and similarities between the draft and the original film are just an overall cool thing to see.
[-] NOT AWESOME
Perhaps the biggest problem The Star Wars faces is it’s large cast of characters and places. This isn’t simple to comprehend like the original films. This is huge setup that doesn’t explain itself by the end of the comic.
We’ve got Governor Hoedaack, Whitsun, Annikin Starkiller, Darth Vader, the Jedi-Bendu, Vantos Coll, Seig Darklighter, King Kayos, Queen Breha, Senator Nash, and so many other characters in this first issue. But who the hell are they and will when will we care? There are far too many cast members in this comic and too little time for you to pick up on who does what and why you should care about them.
The majority of everyone’s motives are unclear. Thanks to it’s vast number of characters, you’re not going to have time to root for anyone. I’m not even sure who the ‘good guys’ are yet…
And since you won’t really care about anyone, the first issue ends up pretty flat and boring. 
This is an 8-part comic, sure, but I’ve read a couple of interviews where Rinzler explained that it could not be cut down any shorter than 8 issues and anything less would be too short. If so much is thrown at the reader in this first issue alone, what makes further books easier to comprehend? 
VERDICT
The Star Wars is a really cool concept, and I’ll be reading the entire comic series to see how it all pans out and what Lucas originally had created, but other than that and Mayhew’s art, it has nothing really going for it at the moment. Star Wars fans and curious readers may enjoy the original story unfold, but most will find it to be boring and clearly understand why this was a rough draft and not the final product.

The Stars Wars #1 - The Albotas Review


So here’s an interesting concept for a comic book. Dark Horse Comics got their hands on the original rough draft screenplay that George Lucas wrote before the Star Wars we know and love was created, simply titled “The Star Wars.” Dark Horse decided to take that rough draft and give it to writerJ.W. Rinzler and artist Mike Mayhew to adapt into an 8-issue comic book mini-series.

So they did it and issue #1 released about a week ago. And although it’s totally not Rinzler’s fault, the comic book is kind of…bad.

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On Cinema Reviews Percy Jackson: Sea Of MonstersElysium

For those who don’t know: On Cinema is a show hosted by Tim Heidecker andGregg Turkington in which they review movies on a weekly basis. It’s extremely awkward, cheesy, and almost every film they see gets a 5/5 rated.

This week, they review Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters and Elysium. Watch it above. It’s hilarious and somewhat cringeworthy.

A Positive Customer Review of SimCity
If you haven’t heard anything on the new embarrassingly atrocious SimCity video game, or if you’ve been living under a rock with no Wifi for the last couple of weeks, let’s catch up to speed.
EA Games released Maxis' SimCity weeks ago. People bought it. A lot of people couldn’t play it. The game has to run online and always needs Internet to play since it runs cloud-based, but the thing is, EA’s servers can’t handle that. The servers aren’t fit for its players, thus, a huge chunk of folks who bought the game can’t even play it. EA tried saying sorry by giving out free games, but I don’t think anyone cares.
Amazon user reviews on the title include 2,000+ negative one-star and two-star reviews. Amazon decided to take the download down in case anyone would purchase the item through them, due to so many user complaints.
But, if you can filter through some of the five-star game reviews Amazon users have to offer, you can find some really positive words to say about EA’s diaster of a video game, Sim City.
This is one of the most positive five-star reviews on Amazon right now toward the game, written by user plantos500:

You’d think I’d be mega unhappy like everyone else at the constant waiting and lack of actually being able to play a game I purchased.Well, you’d be wrong.The hours upon hours since launch that I haven’t been able to log in, whether it be sitting in queues, or server busy messages, or just plain old not working screens, I’ve managed to do a heap of things that I never do when I’m locked in my man cave playing video games.I’ve washed the dishes, the laundry, changed the oil in the car, mopped the floors, dusted, did a spot of gardening, greeted my children who I hadn’t really seen since Christmas, walked the dog, asked how my wife’s day has been and listened to the entire response, restocked the groceries and many more things! My family has never been happier that they’ve got a father and husband again.In fact, I feel like Simcity has given me a new lease on life. This wouldn’t have been possible without the seemingly crazy decision to have constant online connections and server side save points even for single player.So I can only thank EA and Maxis. Your failures have been my rewards. 5 stars!

Dull Dad’s life has been changed forever, thanks to SimCity. Dull Dad is now deemed “Cool Dad,” after writing this user review, and we’re all happy for him and his life altering decision to purchase, and attempt to play, SimCity on his PC. 
We hope that EA Games sees this post and is overcome with a sense of happiness, knowing that their product actually worked in making at least one person content.
Check it: More featured editorials on AlbotasBuy it: A good video game
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Positive Customer Review of SimCity

If you haven’t heard anything on the new embarrassingly atrocious SimCity video game, or if you’ve been living under a rock with no Wifi for the last couple of weeks, let’s catch up to speed.

EA Games released Maxis' SimCity weeks ago. People bought it. A lot of people couldn’t play it. The game has to run online and always needs Internet to play since it runs cloud-based, but the thing is, EA’s servers can’t handle that. The servers aren’t fit for its players, thus, a huge chunk of folks who bought the game can’t even play it. EA tried saying sorry by giving out free games, but I don’t think anyone cares.

Amazon user reviews on the title include 2,000+ negative one-star and two-star reviews. Amazon decided to take the download down in case anyone would purchase the item through them, due to so many user complaints.

But, if you can filter through some of the five-star game reviews Amazon users have to offer, you can find some really positive words to say about EA’s diaster of a video game, Sim City.

This is one of the most positive five-star reviews on Amazon right now toward the game, written by user plantos500:

You’d think I’d be mega unhappy like everyone else at the constant waiting and lack of actually being able to play a game I purchased.

Well, you’d be wrong.

The hours upon hours since launch that I haven’t been able to log in, whether it be sitting in queues, or server busy messages, or just plain old not working screens, I’ve managed to do a heap of things that I never do when I’m locked in my man cave playing video games.

I’ve washed the dishes, the laundry, changed the oil in the car, mopped the floors, dusted, did a spot of gardening, greeted my children who I hadn’t really seen since Christmas, walked the dog, asked how my wife’s day has been and listened to the entire response, restocked the groceries and many more things! My family has never been happier that they’ve got a father and husband again.

In fact, I feel like Simcity has given me a new lease on life. This wouldn’t have been possible without the seemingly crazy decision to have constant online connections and server side save points even for single player.

So I can only thank EA and Maxis. Your failures have been my rewards. 5 stars!

Dull Dad’s life has been changed forever, thanks to SimCity. Dull Dad is now deemed “Cool Dad,” after writing this user review, and we’re all happy for him and his life altering decision to purchase, and attempt to play, SimCity on his PC.

We hope that EA Games sees this post and is overcome with a sense of happiness, knowing that their product actually worked in making at least one person content.

Check it: More featured editorials on Albotas
Buy it: A good video game
Follow Albotas on Twitter | Like Albotas on Facebook
Critics Consensus: Tomb Raider
The much anticipated reboot of Tomb Raider by Crystal Dynamics/Square-Enix hit store shelves today, and without much surprise, it’s getting very positive reviews.
Lara Croft hasn’t been getting much talk since the Edios-published reboot trilogy comprised of Tomb Raider: Legend, Tomb Raider: Anniversary, and Tomb Raider: Underworld, but according to many critics, this is a drastically different experience. The game is much darker now (this is the first in the franchise to be rated ‘M’ for Mature) and pulls influence from the Uncharted video game series, as well as its own older titles.
Here’s what the critics had to say about the new reboot:
“The game itself contains some minor irritations, but Tomb Raider’s own failings are minimal – they only become magnified in light of the games it’s been inspired by and can be compared to. The story, script and cast fall some way short of the brilliance that the Uncharted series has consistently achieved, and the set-pieces never have quite the same ‘it’s too amazing for my brain to process’ factor. The exploration, side-activities and setting never compels or excites to the level of Far Cry 3, and the package offers much less for your money.” - Joel Gregory, Official PlayStation Magazine UK
“For those who have never delved into the series, Tomb Raider serves as a great first step. The combat is the best it’s ever been, puzzles are short but satisfying, and Yamatai is a veritable platforming playground. […] More importantly, it just may convince a new generation to like Tomb Raider again.” - Richard Mitchell, Joystiq
“The gaming equivalent of Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy, the latest Tomb Raider is a gritty franchise reboot, exploring the origins of everybody’s favorite female adventurer in a new environment. […] With a well written cast of characters, mightily impressive production techniques, sumptuous visuals, tight platforming and surprisingly enjoyable combat, Tomb Raideris most definitely a release to be treasured.” - Liam Martin, Digital Spy
“Beneath the noise there is an engaging story clamouring to be heard, and there are moments of true beauty, serenity and pathos fighting for attention. The game does get better as it goes on, and despite the distractions the last few hours are a pleasure to play. At the centre of it all is a brilliant character, still iconic but more human and believable than she’s ever been before.” - Ellie Gibson, EuroGamer
“Crystal Dynamics has nailed a pitch-perfect new vision for one of gaming’s most recognizable characters, and revitalizes her for what I hope will be many more installments.” - Matt Miller, GameInformer
“It doesn’t try to rewrite the book on third-person action adventure games. But with its excellent controls, engaging heroine, thrilling combat, and fascinating setting, it doesn’t need to. Lara may be covering some previously charted territory here, but Tomb Raider is so well-crafted, you won’t mind at all.” - Carolyn Petit, GameSpot
“Tomb Raider is well-written, sympathetic, exciting, beautiful and just incredibly well-made.” - Keza MacDonald, IGN
“It’s easy to point out the many ways that Tomb Raider borrows bits and pieces from other popular games of the last five years, but Crystal Dynamics has blended these disparate strengths into something remarkable. It’s cinematic yet open, intense yet laid-back, fresh yet polished. It’s a near-perfect embodiment of the age of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 with a hint of what to expect next.” - Phillip Kolar, Polygon
Bottom line: Tomb Raider has proven to be a remarkable reboot of a beloved franchise. The game took bits and pieces of other games of this generation (Uncharted, Far Cry), mixed them up a bit, and provided an exciting a fresh new take on an old hero. While the multiplayer might not be on par, the writing, story, and overall gameplay experience makes the title really shine. This is THE game to play if you haven’t had a chance to experience previous Lara Croft titles.
Check it: More Tomb Raider on AlbotasBuy it: Tomb Raider (360) (PC) (PS3) 

Critics Consensus: Tomb Raider

The much anticipated reboot of Tomb Raider by Crystal Dynamics/Square-Enix hit store shelves today, and without much surprise, it’s getting very positive reviews.

Lara Croft hasn’t been getting much talk since the Edios-published reboot trilogy comprised of Tomb Raider: Legend, Tomb Raider: Anniversary, and Tomb Raider: Underworld, but according to many critics, this is a drastically different experience. The game is much darker now (this is the first in the franchise to be rated ‘M’ for Mature) and pulls influence from the Uncharted video game series, as well as its own older titles.

Here’s what the critics had to say about the new reboot:

The game itself contains some minor irritations, but Tomb Raider’s own failings are minimal – they only become magnified in light of the games it’s been inspired by and can be compared to. The story, script and cast fall some way short of the brilliance that the Uncharted series has consistently achieved, and the set-pieces never have quite the same ‘it’s too amazing for my brain to process’ factor. The exploration, side-activities and setting never compels or excites to the level of Far Cry 3, and the package offers much less for your money.” - Joel Gregory, Official PlayStation Magazine UK

For those who have never delved into the series, Tomb Raider serves as a great first step. The combat is the best it’s ever been, puzzles are short but satisfying, and Yamatai is a veritable platforming playground. […] More importantly, it just may convince a new generation to like Tomb Raider again.” - Richard Mitchell, Joystiq

The gaming equivalent of Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy, the latest Tomb Raider is a gritty franchise reboot, exploring the origins of everybody’s favorite female adventurer in a new environment. […] With a well written cast of characters, mightily impressive production techniques, sumptuous visuals, tight platforming and surprisingly enjoyable combat, Tomb Raideris most definitely a release to be treasured.” - Liam Martin, Digital Spy

Beneath the noise there is an engaging story clamouring to be heard, and there are moments of true beauty, serenity and pathos fighting for attention. The game does get better as it goes on, and despite the distractions the last few hours are a pleasure to play. At the centre of it all is a brilliant character, still iconic but more human and believable than she’s ever been before.” - Ellie Gibson, EuroGamer

Crystal Dynamics has nailed a pitch-perfect new vision for one of gaming’s most recognizable characters, and revitalizes her for what I hope will be many more installments.” - Matt Miller, GameInformer

It doesn’t try to rewrite the book on third-person action adventure games. But with its excellent controls, engaging heroine, thrilling combat, and fascinating setting, it doesn’t need to. Lara may be covering some previously charted territory here, but Tomb Raider is so well-crafted, you won’t mind at all.” - Carolyn Petit, GameSpot

Tomb Raider is well-written, sympathetic, exciting, beautiful and just incredibly well-made.” - Keza MacDonald, IGN

It’s easy to point out the many ways that Tomb Raider borrows bits and pieces from other popular games of the last five years, but Crystal Dynamics has blended these disparate strengths into something remarkable. It’s cinematic yet open, intense yet laid-back, fresh yet polished. It’s a near-perfect embodiment of the age of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 with a hint of what to expect next.” - Phillip Kolar, Polygon

Bottom line: Tomb Raider has proven to be a remarkable reboot of a beloved franchise. The game took bits and pieces of other games of this generation (Uncharted, Far Cry), mixed them up a bit, and provided an exciting a fresh new take on an old hero. While the multiplayer might not be on par, the writing, story, and overall gameplay experience makes the title really shine. This is THE game to play if you haven’t had a chance to experience previous Lara Croft titles.

Check it: More Tomb Raider on Albotas
Buy it: Tomb Raider (360) (PC) (PS3
Gunman Clive: A Worthy Bang for your Small Buck
The concept of indie-gaming really just turns me on in today’s game market. A tiny team or sole person creates a video game with a small budget, releases it, and the creator(s) waits for people to find it and dig through the game, leaving a player with the feeling of wanting more from the content’s source, or just similar titles. A big part of indie-gaming is also tapping into the nostalgia feeling, bringing back difficultly into levels similar to gaming in the early 90’s, and giving it to the consumer with a fresh, yet familiar new feeling.
In the case of Gunman Clive, Bertil Hörbergs (who worked on the Bionic Commando reboot), has given iOS and 3DS gamers an artsy sidescroller game for older gamers to appreciate and newer players to gaze upon wondrously. 

AWESOME
The sepia art style is pretty and makes you feel as if you’re walking through a sketch. It’s minimal, yet it works very well.
Gunman Clive really taps into the nostalgia factor here, taking direct inspiration from old-school sidescrollers titles like Mega Man.
Leaping from platform to platform and instantly dying is never frustrating, but actually a fun experience thanks to instant respawning.
Learning to play the game takes very little time. This is an easy title to pick up and play.
Different characters offers chances to play the title over, offering multiple experiences.
It’s only two fucking dollars.
NOT AWESOME
Hour worth of playtime. 
It’s only $2. I’m not really upset here…
The fantastic sepia art style that Gunman Clive boasts gives it a unique repackaging of an old-school 90’s game. Think of this game as a western Mega Man, in which you’ll play the role of a cowboy (or Cliveman’s beau that offers different control abilities, as well as an unlockable character when you beat the game once) strategically shooting enemies, while also avoiding instant death-traps, jumping from platform to platform, and fighting tough bosses through each level. Along the way, you’ll pick up different brief weapon abilities (three-way shooter, rockets, etc.) that aid in fighting pesky enemy cowboys and flying birds.
What really makes this game challenging is the fact that there are no checkpoints on any level, meaning you’ll eventually learn simple platform movement patterns, as well as what lies ahead of your path after each death you experience. That’s not a bad thing either — Gunman Clive does it in such a way where you really do learn from your mistakes. Every death you tally up returns your main character to the very start of the short stage in an instant, as to not make this experience especially frustrating.
This game definitely deserves a couple of play-throughs. Though Gunman Clive may be a bit brief, it’s got a beautiful looking style, and the game offers multiple options for re-playing the title. The title fantastic, and for a measly $2, you’ve got nothing to lose.
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Gunman Clive: A Worthy Bang for your Small Buck

The concept of indie-gaming really just turns me on in today’s game market. A tiny team or sole person creates a video game with a small budget, releases it, and the creator(s) waits for people to find it and dig through the game, leaving a player with the feeling of wanting more from the content’s source, or just similar titles. A big part of indie-gaming is also tapping into the nostalgia feeling, bringing back difficultly into levels similar to gaming in the early 90’s, and giving it to the consumer with a fresh, yet familiar new feeling.

In the case of Gunman Clive, Bertil Hörbergs (who worked on the Bionic Commando reboot), has given iOS and 3DS gamers an artsy sidescroller game for older gamers to appreciate and newer players to gaze upon wondrously

AWESOME

  • The sepia art style is pretty and makes you feel as if you’re walking through a sketch. It’s minimal, yet it works very well.
  • Gunman Clive really taps into the nostalgia factor here, taking direct inspiration from old-school sidescrollers titles like Mega Man.
  • Leaping from platform to platform and instantly dying is never frustrating, but actually a fun experience thanks to instant respawning.
  • Learning to play the game takes very little time. This is an easy title to pick up and play.
  • Different characters offers chances to play the title over, offering multiple experiences.
  • It’s only two fucking dollars.

NOT AWESOME

  • Hour worth of playtime. 
  • It’s only $2. I’m not really upset here…

The fantastic sepia art style that Gunman Clive boasts gives it a unique repackaging of an old-school 90’s game. Think of this game as a western Mega Man, in which you’ll play the role of a cowboy (or Cliveman’s beau that offers different control abilities, as well as an unlockable character when you beat the game once) strategically shooting enemies, while also avoiding instant death-traps, jumping from platform to platform, and fighting tough bosses through each level. Along the way, you’ll pick up different brief weapon abilities (three-way shooter, rockets, etc.) that aid in fighting pesky enemy cowboys and flying birds.

What really makes this game challenging is the fact that there are no checkpoints on any level, meaning you’ll eventually learn simple platform movement patterns, as well as what lies ahead of your path after each death you experience. That’s not a bad thing either — Gunman Clive does it in such a way where you really do learn from your mistakes. Every death you tally up returns your main character to the very start of the short stage in an instant, as to not make this experience especially frustrating.

This game definitely deserves a couple of play-throughs. Though Gunman Clive may be a bit brief, it’s got a beautiful looking style, and the game offers multiple options for re-playing the title. The title fantastic, and for a measly $2, you’ve got nothing to lose.

Follow Albotas on Twitter | Like Albotas on Facebook
Critics Consensus: Aliens: Colonial Marines
Today saw the release of the Aliens title everyone has been waiting for since forever. I’m not too sure why so many people were excited for Aliens: Colonial Marines at all, considering the previous entries published by Sega weren’t so great, plus the title just looks like another generic space marine video game. But hey, it had a sweet ass collector’s edition release and it has the title “Aliens,” in it, so I guess that was enough to intrigue the lot of gamers.
Reviews came out and I think it’s safe to say that critics didn’t really have a mixed message here, as most major gaming sites have pretty much bashed this game to bits. ”It’s empty and nostalgic, meticulous and dated. More importantly, it’s hands-off. Like a museum, Colonial Marines is at its best when you’re admiring the view. The moment you attempt to reach out to interact you’re met with a barrier, reminding you that you’re there to look, not to touch.” - Hollander Cooper, GamesRadar
"The problem lies with the aliens themselves; they’re not smart enough to hunt in packs or take you by surprise, they just wilfully hurl themselves in front of your short, controlled bursts. There’s never a feeling of being outwitted or outmanoeuvred, just outraged that you’ve sat down to take on some deadly xenos in one of sci-fi’s most iconic settings and somehow ended up in the equivalent of a clunky, coin-operated shooting gallery." - Tristan Ogilvie, IGN 
“Take away the Aliens license, and you’ve got a shooter that has no reason to exist.” - Jeff Cork, GameInformer
“Unlike the movies, which relied on atmosphere, ominous sounds, and sharp surprises to frighten the bejeezus out of you, the life of these space marines is far more Doom-like. Xenomorphs in the story campaign don’t stalk you — they just lunge, which negates what made them so scary in the first place. Replace them with velociraptors, zombies, or demons, and you’d have essentially the same game.” - Chuck Osborn, Official Xbox Magazine
“If Gearbox’s quality scale has Borderlands 2 at one end and Duke Nukem at the other, Colonial Marines sits somewhere in the middle.” - Leon Hurley, Official PlayStation Magazine UK
“Aliens: Colonial Marines famously considers itself the canonical sequel to Aliens, but the quality of its campaign reduces such a claim to little more than arrogant posturing, as this bumbling fan fiction dares compare itself to one of the most respected science fiction horror films of the 20th century. It barely deserves a comparison with Battlefield Earth. Clocking in at just under five hours, and containing very little in the way of actual story, Colonial Marines quickly establishes itself as nowhere near notable enough to be the ‘true sequel’ it claims to be.” - Jim Sterling, Destructoid
Bottom line: Don’t fucking play this game. It’s generic, the A.I. is absolutely retarded, the graphics are acceptable at best, and it’s got an extremely short campaign experience that ends with a terribly anti-climatic ending. The only thing Colonial Marines has going for it is its use of “Aliens,” in its title, which should be the only reason why anyone would glance at this in the first place. Fans of the series may overcome a nostalgic feeling for the franchise, but it’s safe to say this isn’t even worthy of a thought.
Oh, and it should also be noted that EGM has the sole positive review I’ve seen of this title.
"All things considered, Colonial Marines is a consistently solid, occasionally spectacular shooter that does more than enough to honor the Alien name. It was going to be a tough task from the onset, but despite a ton of potential pitfalls for the talented team at Gearbox, they’ve gone a long way toward reminding us that, for folks who love the craft of building great games, the best challenges only seem impossible. Like most successful license-based games, Aliens: Colonial Marines is much more than a loving homage; it serves as one of the most robust story-driven co-op experiences to date. The concept definitely has room to grow, but as maiden voyages go, Colonial Marines is a clear winner.” - Brandon Justice, EGM
Okay, Brandon. Okay.

Critics Consensus: Aliens: Colonial Marines

Today saw the release of the Aliens title everyone has been waiting for since forever. I’m not too sure why so many people were excited for Aliens: Colonial Marines at all, considering the previous entries published by Sega weren’t so great, plus the title just looks like another generic space marine video game. But hey, it had a sweet ass collector’s edition release and it has the title “Aliens,” in it, so I guess that was enough to intrigue the lot of gamers.

Reviews came out and I think it’s safe to say that critics didn’t really have a mixed message here, as most major gaming sites have pretty much bashed this game to bits. 

It’s empty and nostalgic, meticulous and dated. More importantly, it’s hands-off. Like a museum, Colonial Marines is at its best when you’re admiring the view. The moment you attempt to reach out to interact you’re met with a barrier, reminding you that you’re there to look, not to touch.” - Hollander Cooper, GamesRadar

"The problem lies with the aliens themselves; they’re not smart enough to hunt in packs or take you by surprise, they just wilfully hurl themselves in front of your short, controlled bursts. There’s never a feeling of being outwitted or outmanoeuvred, just outraged that you’ve sat down to take on some deadly xenos in one of sci-fi’s most iconic settings and somehow ended up in the equivalent of a clunky, coin-operated shooting gallery." - Tristan Ogilvie, IGN 

Take away the Aliens license, and you’ve got a shooter that has no reason to exist.” - Jeff Cork, GameInformer

Unlike the movies, which relied on atmosphere, ominous sounds, and sharp surprises to frighten the bejeezus out of you, the life of these space marines is far more Doom-like. Xenomorphs in the story campaign don’t stalk you — they just lunge, which negates what made them so scary in the first place. Replace them with velociraptors, zombies, or demons, and you’d have essentially the same game.” - Chuck Osborn, Official Xbox Magazine

If Gearbox’s quality scale has Borderlands 2 at one end and Duke Nukem at the other, Colonial Marines sits somewhere in the middle.” - Leon Hurley, Official PlayStation Magazine UK

Aliens: Colonial Marines famously considers itself the canonical sequel to Aliens, but the quality of its campaign reduces such a claim to little more than arrogant posturing, as this bumbling fan fiction dares compare itself to one of the most respected science fiction horror films of the 20th century. It barely deserves a comparison with Battlefield EarthClocking in at just under five hours, and containing very little in the way of actual story, Colonial Marines quickly establishes itself as nowhere near notable enough to be the ‘true sequel’ it claims to be.” - Jim Sterling, Destructoid

Bottom line: Don’t fucking play this game. It’s generic, the A.I. is absolutely retarded, the graphics are acceptable at best, and it’s got an extremely short campaign experience that ends with a terribly anti-climatic ending. The only thing Colonial Marines has going for it is its use of “Aliens,” in its title, which should be the only reason why anyone would glance at this in the first place. Fans of the series may overcome a nostalgic feeling for the franchise, but it’s safe to say this isn’t even worthy of a thought.

Oh, and it should also be noted that EGM has the sole positive review I’ve seen of this title.

"All things considered, Colonial Marines is a consistently solid, occasionally spectacular shooter that does more than enough to honor the Alien name. It was going to be a tough task from the onset, but despite a ton of potential pitfalls for the talented team at Gearbox, they’ve gone a long way toward reminding us that, for folks who love the craft of building great games, the best challenges only seem impossible. Like most successful license-based games, Aliens: Colonial Marines is much more than a loving homage; it serves as one of the most robust story-driven co-op experiences to date. The concept definitely has room to grow, but as maiden voyages go, Colonial Marines is a clear winner.” - Brandon Justice, EGM


Okay, Brandon. Okay.

New Song from Electronic/Future-Pop Upstart CHVRCHES

Glasgow band CHVRCHES has been making waves with their popular "The Mother We Share" and now brings us a song which has the possibility to eclipse that single. “Recover” features more of that killer synth sound with fantastic vocal work by front-woman Lauren Mayberry.
This song comes with news of a 5 track EP out 3/26/13 in the US. They are also currently working on their debut album.
When was the last time a band made such an impact from just singles and EPs?
Check It: More Music on AlbotasBuy It: The Mother We Share single

New Song from Electronic/Future-Pop Upstart CHVRCHES

Glasgow band CHVRCHES has been making waves with their popular "The Mother We Share" and now brings us a song which has the possibility to eclipse that single. “Recover” features more of that killer synth sound with fantastic vocal work by front-woman Lauren Mayberry.

This song comes with news of a 5 track EP out 3/26/13 in the US. They are also currently working on their debut album.

When was the last time a band made such an impact from just singles and EPs?

Check It: More Music on Albotas
Buy It: The Mother We Share single

Albotas Review: Misko Mini Series

Wood is becoming more and more popular in the world of designer toys. Nathan Jurevicius and Kidrobot recently released their own wood toys, the Misko Mini Series. Jurevicius’ heritage is Lithuanian. The culture, like most, uses the owl as a symbol of wisdom. But it goes a bit beyond most Western uses of the symbol - lots of schools and learning institutions have owl statues located throughout the buildings. Now you can have your own 2.5” piece of Lithuania on your toy shelf. Hit the link for our review and some photos of the Misko Mini Series.

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Albotas Review: Happy Labbit Mini Series

There’s something about Kidrobot and bunnies that just works. New Dunnies every year, Labbits smorkin’ and non. Kidrobot and Frank Kozik recently released a series of Mini Labbits that contains Labbits of all sorts of bright colors with various accessories. Hit the link for Albotas’ review of the Kidrobot x Kozik Happy Labbit toys.

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Late-Ass Review: Fez

When I first saw footage of Fez, I said, “This is going to be the Braid of 2009.” When it wasn’t released a year later, I said, “It’ll be the Braid of 2010.” Yet another year later I said, “Uhh…” So is Fez the Braid of 2012? Pretty much. Fez is a hippocampus-shaking adventure through two and a half dimensions - a Rubick’s Cube molded into a platformer. But it’s not without its problems.

Amazing graphics and sound, very fun gameplay

 Completionist’s nightmare, frustrating navigation

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