REVIEW - CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER
Guess who saw an early screening of Winter Soldier and had his mind completely blown away. This guy.
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I grew up a Marvel kid. I was mostly into Spider-Man and the X-Men universe. For some reason, the more straight-laced heroes like Iron-Man and Captain America were too boring and goody-goody for my super edgy 10-year-old tastes. I eventually got more into Image Comics and random other indie stuff, but I’d always go back to Marvel just to see what was up.
Then Iron-Man came out in theaters. It took a character I’d previously thought of as boring and turned him into a lovable, cocky, smart-ass version of Bruce Wayne. Then Captain America: The First Avenger was announced. Was it possible that Cap on screen could be more interesting than the corny whitebread Cap I remember from the 90’s?
Sort of.
Captain America was an alright movie (aside from the distractingly weird Skinny Steve Rogers), but it felt too montage-y — like they were trying to pack in too much. I’ve seen it about 5 times and still don’t remember most of what happens in the third act. That’s where my brain just switches off and I just stop caring.
But then Avengers (a.k.a. the greatest superhero movie of all time. Fight me.) came out followed by the trailers for Winter Soldier making it look all intense and epic, like Marvel’s version of Dark Knight Rises. And that’s basically what it is, but better.
The first bit of the film is just one giant awesome espionage scene on a ship that plays out like a stealth action game. Then some serious shit goes down, peeps can’t be trusted, and Cap and friends set out to right wrongs by punching faces and blowing things up.
Without spoiling anything, I can say that the choreography of not just the hand-to-hand combat, but the action sequences as a whole, are easily the best of any Marvel movie to date. The camera zooms and spins between Falcon dodging bullets in the sky, cars exploding into the air, Cap taking on swarms of dudes on the ground, and then there’s Nick Fury and Black Widow espionage stuff. It’s SO. DAMN. GOOD!
I feel like Chris Evans plays a way better Steve Rogers this time around. He has more of the character to work with. He misses his past, he feels betrayed by the government that he strove so hard to fight for in the first film, and he’s at a point where there’s really no one he can trust.
Anthony Mackie does as much as he can with the role. His character, Falcon, is introduced as a stand-up guy that Steve views as a trustworthyfellow soldier. He eventually becomes the only person he can turn to and is reduced to little more than a really cool device for action scenes and spouting the occasional campy one-liner while a majority of the real talking is left to the grown-ups. To be fair, he plays the role with all the enthusiasm and charm necessary to make the character likeable and it would have been tough to cram in some ridiculous backstory with all the other craziness going on.
Scarlett Johansson definitely takes the Black Widow character to a new level compared to previous films. She’s sort of a hit-or-miss actress for me, but she nailed it this time around. She displays a bad-ass tough chick confidence, but does a terrific job at adding a layer of sadness and vulnerability behind it all.
As for the Winter Soldier, Sebastian Stan freaking KILLS it. He’s menacing as shit and commands each scene he’s in with a vicious and lethal presence. The dude wears a mask covering his mouth for most of the film and has to do most of the acting with his eyes which is way harder than it sounds. I’ve already seen a crazy amount of fangirl swooning on Tumblr about his “OMG poor brainwashed sad guy I want to save” performance, so expect more once the film actually releases. A weird part of me kind of wants to see who gets fangirl’d on harder: Tom Hiddleston as Loki or Sebastian Stan as Winter Soldier. Chicks love tragic-ass bad boys.
What i love is how the whole scope of the film escalates from small-team-of-agents-on-a-boat to holy-shit-everyone-is-bad-everyone-will-die-this-is-epic-as-shit by the end of the second act; the repercussions of which will definitely be felt by the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to a crazy degree. It will definitely be interesting to see how Captain America: The Winter Soldier will impact the next few films as well as the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. series.
All in all, Captain America: The Winter Soldier brings a well-balanced mix of action, intrigue, rich character moments, and is complete with all the fanboy inside winks and nods you’d expect from a Marvel film (and a pitch-perfect Pulp Fiction reference for Samuel L. Jackson fans). This film is leaps and bounds greater than the first Captain America and is on the same level as Avengers. If anything, this will definitely get you pumped for Phase 2.

REVIEW - CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER

Guess who saw an early screening of Winter Soldier and had his mind completely blown away. This guy.

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The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds Impressions
Hey gang.
Just picked up my copy of The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds the other day and I’ve been managing time between crazy holiday hours at my day job and sleep to play this title. Not much time to write a full review, and I’m not too sure if I will since everyone else in the gaming world already has, but here are my impressions of the title.
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Off the bat, it’s weird seeing Link not in Wind Waker form. Maybe it’s just me, but it took a bit of getting used to seeing our hero back in a smoother 3D form.
Definitely gives off a nostalgic trip by revisiting the old land of Hyrule that existed in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, but it has enough new spark to it to give the old land an amazing fresh breath of air.
I’m really loving how the puzzles in A Link Between Worlds are actually making me feel somewhat dumb in some parts of the game. The nostalgia aspect makes me believe I was a smarter child than I am an adult gamer, being I can’t figure out half of any dungeons out without looking a guide up on Game FAQs.
The graphics are awesome and the 3D looks pretty great. It’s terrific to see an updated/old school Hyrule.
Tons of new characters and the ability to visit dungeons in any order at all makes this title a huge expansion from previous reiterations. Definitely loving this new range provided by producer Eiji Aonuma.
The 2D Link/merge mechanism works well in this title. Innovative, though Nintendo seems to love making a bunch of their older characters flat pieces of paper. The ability to merge into walls as a flat Link doesn’t feel off from the game at all and makes me hopeful for a 2D Link addition to future Smash Bros. games.
This is 1992 in 2013 and it feels as great as it sounds.
Looking to finish this title in the next two weeks. Super happy with this newest addition to the 3DS' awesome catalog.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds Impressions

Hey gang.

Just picked up my copy of The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds the other day and I’ve been managing time between crazy holiday hours at my day job and sleep to play this title. Not much time to write a full review, and I’m not too sure if I will since everyone else in the gaming world already has, but here are my impressions of the title.

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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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Heavyweights: A Terribly Underrated 90’s Film
I’m reluctant to co-sign such a critically mediocre film…
So Heavyweights of those movies that everyone remembers from when they were a child, but never really went back and rewatched to see if it was as great as remembered. Honestly, I had no desire to watch this film again — I saw an episode of the Mega64 podcast (I forget the specific episode) in which Rocco Botte described how great the Blu-ray of Heavyweights was. So me, being a firm believer of the Mega64 crew, purchased it, and holy shit did I soon find out how right Rocco was.
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For those of you who are unfamiliar with Heavyweights or simply just don’t remember it: Heavyweights was a live-action Disney movie released in 1995, following the success of other live-action Disney films, The Mighty Ducks and Cool Runnings. The movie is about a group of fat kids who are sent to fat camp for one summer, only to deal with the wrath of a psychotic excercise-obssessed camp instructor who literally degrades kids and deprives them of food in order to shoot a successful infomercial. The film stars Ben Stiller in one of his greatest roles ever, a young Kenan Thompson, Tim Blake Nelson, as well as featuring a role for Judd Apatow himself.
Without trying to overhype this at all: this film is pure gold on so many levels. 
First off, this is Judd Apatow's first film produced and written by himself. Yes, the Judd Apatow of Apatow Productions, responsible for The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Knocked Up, Superbad, and numerous other Seth Rogen-related movies. The significance of his name being attached to Heavyweights? Heavyweights was a Disney movie.
So it’s fairly obvious that Disney has a ton of guidelines for releasing a film, especially guidelines involving language and kid-friendliness. Judd Apatow is a raunchy man in comedy, no doubt, but his genius work is tremendously fun to watch, and Heavyweights was absolutely nothing short of an underrated brilliant piece of 90’s family-film. The Blu-ray definitely shines light on that, as it’s very clear: Judd Apatow created Heavyweights the exact way he intended it to be. 
Apatow didn’t pull ANY punches here with his script. There is some lewd and raunchy shit in this movie. So much in fact, that Disney had to cut a LOT of this movie out and the plot doesn’t actually make total sense. I’m talking 30 minutes worth of footage was cut, with 30+ deleted scenes packed in the Blu-ray edition. The theatrical release of the film is 97 minutes in total, with scenes seeming to skip around at major plot points.
You can totally tell Judd Apatow was funded money by Disney to create his movie, then Apatow just turned it in to Disney to release and Disney replied with a “What the fuck do you think we’re letting kids see here?,” and ended up cutting a lot of the major plot out. That’s in addition to dick jokes, Kenan calling a rival camp a bunch of “jerkoffs,” a sex scene (not graphic), and a bunch of other scenes.
Specifically, the most interesting scene cut is the quick dialogue exchange between Ben Stiller's character and one of the kids in the camp, in which Ben Stiller asks “Who’s Seymour Butts?,” and the kid replies with “No one’s seen more butts than you, Uncle Tony!" The original line was kept in the film, but it was overdubbed in the theatrical release. You can clearly see Stiller’s character mouthing a different name when saying “Seymour Butts.” That’s because Apatow originally wrote in the name “Peter Fitz,” for Stiller’s character to ask “Who’s Peter Fitz?,” and the kid to reply, “Any Peter fits if you push hard enough!” But Disney dubbed over that because it was so not-Disney.
I’m not saying this film is absolutely flawless, because it’s not. At all. What I am saying is Heavyweights is better than you remember it being as a child, and the Blu-ray will shine some light on the movie actually being a better movie than originally released.
Of course, not a lot of people give that much of a shit over this Disney title, being that it’s an iffy 90’s film a lot of people forgot about, but those of you who remember might enjoy the Blu-ray surprises it’s packed with. Being able to see the original intent of Heavyweights is totally worth it.

Heavyweights: A Terribly Underrated 90’s Film

I’m reluctant to co-sign such a critically mediocre film…

So Heavyweights of those movies that everyone remembers from when they were a child, but never really went back and rewatched to see if it was as great as remembered. Honestly, I had no desire to watch this film again — I saw an episode of the Mega64 podcast (I forget the specific episode) in which Rocco Botte described how great the Blu-ray of Heavyweights was. So me, being a firm believer of the Mega64 crew, purchased it, and holy shit did I soon find out how right Rocco was.

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Samurai Jack #1 - The Albotas Review
Genndy Tartakovsky's Samurai Jack is officially back, but in a new medium it seems, as IDW has recently published the debut comic book series revolving around the legendary character. The incredibly acclaimed animated show never resolved anything after its cancellation in season 4, which left fans to kind of just sit around on the Internet, awaiting news for the feature length film Tartakovsky has been promising for years, or some form of a season 5 Cartoon Network would miraculously greenlight.
It sucks, but alas, fans of the show have something new and tangible to look forward to thanks to publisher IDW: a beautiful comic book written by Jim Zub and drawn by Andy Suriano, which holds the core of the show on its flimsy-paged back.
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Immediately, the comic book begins with Jack crossing the desert to find an old hermit for some wisdom on how to undue evil Aku’s future terror. He kicks off a quest to search for the Threads of Time to reconstruct the Rope of Eons, which hopefully will bring him back to his former time where he can finally stop Aku. Along the way, we’ve got bright colors, a big gladiator battle, and what honestly seems like a long lost episode of the original animated Samurai Jack.

[+] AWESOME
This baby is authentic. I mean that. Samurai Jack #1 honestly feels like Genndy Tartakovsky created this comic book himself. Jim Zub did a fine job of crafting a story in an extremely familiar fashion, for both fans and newcomers to enjoy. That’s a great thing, as not once while reading this book do you feel like this is a cash grab from IDW to tap into nostalgic 20-somethings. It’s funny when it needs to be and action-packed when it gets down to it. Zub got Jack spot on, giving the character bluntly spoken lines and a wooden personality.
If you have any doubt in the artwork, just know that artist Andy Suriano worked on the actual show as a character designer. This guy knows what he’s doing. The comic certainly bears the feeling and atmosphere the show carried, with the use of vivid colors and crazy unique characters. Suriano adds his own style to the mix as well, thankfully.
It’s more Samurai Jack. New stories involving one of the coolest heroes in animation. How cool is that!

[-] NOT AWESOME
It’s a bit short. It definitely sets up a story everyone wants to hear more of, but the action and pacing is pretty fast.


FINAL THOUGHTS
I mean, come on dude. You really gotta doubt this? This is exactly the calling everyone has been waiting for regarding a legendary animated series. Jim Zub and Andy Suriano have created a solid introduction to Samurai Jack in comics. If you’re a fan, you’ve got no excuse not to pick this up. Newcomers will definitely jump on board to await anxiously for the story to unravel.
VERDICT: Really? Buy this shit.

Samurai Jack #1 - The Albotas Review

Genndy Tartakovsky's Samurai Jack is officially back, but in a new medium it seems, as IDW has recently published the debut comic book series revolving around the legendary character. The incredibly acclaimed animated show never resolved anything after its cancellation in season 4, which left fans to kind of just sit around on the Internet, awaiting news for the feature length film Tartakovsky has been promising for years, or some form of a season 5 Cartoon Network would miraculously greenlight.

It sucks, but alas, fans of the show have something new and tangible to look forward to thanks to publisher IDW: a beautiful comic book written by Jim Zub and drawn by Andy Suriano, which holds the core of the show on its flimsy-paged back.

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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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The End of the Fucking World, by Charles Forsman - The Albotas Review
The End of the Fucking World was originally a 16 part minicomic series created by Charles Forsman, owner of the small press company known as Oily Comics. The minis were sold at $1 a pop and quickly rose to the top of many lists in 2012, creating huge buzz over blogs as one of the best comics of the year, according to The Comics Journal and Comic Book Resources. Fantagraphics did a great deed for collecting these minis into one softcover book for all who couldn’t find a physical copy.
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Fantagraphics$20, 176 pages, black & white, 5″ x 6.5″, softcover
This year, the series is nominated for an Ignatz award in the “Outstanding Minicomic,” category, specifically for it’s 16th issue. I’m a bit late to the scene with this breathtaking title from Chuck Forsman, but damn do I feel like The End of the Fucking World will be talked about for an extensive amount of time. Forsman has illustrated a seriously dark comic in which two angst-filled teenagers are doing terrible things. If you want a glipse of how dark this comic is, just take a look at that bold statement that is the title of the book and stare at the intense tint of red on the cover. This kind of story is a void of comic book I don’t see often.
TEotFW revolves around two teens, named James and Alyssa, going on a road trip away from their parents and venturing into an awful journey of nothingness. Each chapter is told from a different perspective, with James and Alyssa alternating points of view between each part of the story. We’ll get a look at James’ view on Alyssa and his personal upbringing, while Alyssa will show readers how much she blindingly falls for James.

Through each chapter, we find James giving off more and more confirmation that he’s a young sociopath who is aiding in ruining Alyssa’s young life. His chapter starts off detailing his first affair with murdering animals at the age of 13, punching his father out and stealing his car at 17, and within a few more chapters, venturing further into sociopathic nature, revealing his troubling thoughts and murderous urges he tries restraining.
Alyssa’s views of the world are about the same as James, except more angst filled and less of an evident disorder. It could be Alyssa’s combination of young love with James, as well as James’ influence on her to accept doing horrible things in her life. She’s masked with fear throughout the book, while James is comfortable, knowledgable there’s something wrong with his way of thinking, yet never comprehending what exactly he is yearning to feel for.

All the adults featured in the book seem to represent an aggressive force of authority for the kids to run from and attempt to exploit. They break into a professor’s house who is on vacation and live together for a bit, experiencing what their lives could be if they could sustain a place with each other. The plot gathers momentum as the professor comes home early and James slits the man’s throat, showing Alyssa proof of him being a Satanist and a terrible person — more terrible than James may think he is, which is reason it was justifiable to actually murder in both of the kids’ eyes.
It is then that the story becomes deeper than what’s revealed on the angsty teenage surface. It’s a story that explores psychopathy. It explores teenage rebellion against authority and a need for love and understanding. The dark, simplistic style of drawing from Charles Forsman is that of Charles Schulz, injected with a syringe of impurity. The creepy illustrations and the quickly escalated momentum of problems in The End Of The Fucking World is absolutely insane. It’s gritty and clearly conveyed as crazy. The discomforting, disturbing story is a unique comic book nothing short of fantastic.

The End of the Fucking World, by Charles Forsman - The Albotas Review

The End of the Fucking World was originally a 16 part minicomic series created by Charles Forsman, owner of the small press company known as Oily Comics. The minis were sold at $1 a pop and quickly rose to the top of many lists in 2012, creating huge buzz over blogs as one of the best comics of the year, according to The Comics Journal and Comic Book ResourcesFantagraphics did a great deed for collecting these minis into one softcover book for all who couldn’t find a physical copy.

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The highly anticipated, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., premiered on Tuesday night to many mixed feelings from critics and fans alike. The show was screened to an amazing 11.9 million television viewers, which isn’t surprising considering the massive amount of hype the show has garnered since The Avengers blew up box offices. Its director, Joss Whedon, has done nothing but gather attention toward this show, showing it off as a cool new television series to correspond the aftermath of the first Avengers movie, and introduce a new cast of heroes who handle the smaller stuff the big guys, like Hulk and Captain America, don’t.
Joss Whedon, his brother Jed Whedon, and Jed’s wife Maurissa Tancharoen, all worked together to craft a television show of minor spy action and X-Files type dilemmas. The show takes place in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, brings back Agent Colson, and is sure to gather even more momentum by its second episode. But overall, the pilot was just…okay.
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AWESOME [+]
Clark Gregg is back as Agent Phil Coulson. It’s great to see an already known character of the Marvel universe bringing some familiarity to the new show.
The fighting, when it happened, was fun to watch. The gadgets included in the show were interesting. It’s a wondrous setup for a world of secret agent possibilities Whedon is prepping us up for.
As much as the show seemed like it would drag, it kept things amusing. Corny jokes included, I didn’t once think of turning off Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
I mean, more live-action Marvel on a weekly basis. How cool is that!
NOT AWESOME [-]
This show feels totally 90’s. I feel like everyone is dismissing this with a “that’s just Joss Whedon, haven’t you seen Buffy?,” attitude, but I can’t accept that. Whedon in the 90’s is different from post-Avengers-with-a-billion-dollar-budget-Whedon.
Not as smart as it could have been. Corny jokes aside, the pilot was extremely simplistic and used words like “gamma,” “New York incident ” and “The Hulk,” to grab the attention of those wanting something bigger than what was presented. This is an extremely small-scale squad of government agents dealing with a world of superheroes. They won’t be dealing with Captain America and Thor every episode, and I don’t think that’s going to happen any time soon.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was absolutely always shown with Coulson’s character being pretty much resurrected after have dying in The Avengers film. There is no plausible reason why Coulson is back in the show and no in-depth answer was really given. It was kind of shunned. Hopefully it’s answered soon?
VERDICT
Truth is, this is more like the Bourne trilogy mixed with feelings of X-Files than it is anything related to Marvel’s Avengers film. That’s not a bad thing, but it’s also not what a huge chunk of the audience was expecting. There’s not much we can expect right now with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and as much as I’d love to watch S.H.I.E.L.D. agents try to recapture Spider-Man’s alien symbiote suit (wouldn’t happen due to license issues), or the agency attempting to stop a b-lister villain from killing innocent civilians (I’m pretty sure license issues are a key part to this show being not a total nerdgasm at the moment), I think the show is leaning toward original story arcs and characters if anything at all.
While the pilot wasn’t exactly the strongest, it’s also just a setup for each character involved and how things will run from here on out. Hopefully it pulls itself together by episode three so we can get a true feel for the show.

The highly anticipated, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., premiered on Tuesday night to many mixed feelings from critics and fans alike. The show was screened to an amazing 11.9 million television viewers, which isn’t surprising considering the massive amount of hype the show has garnered since The Avengers blew up box offices. Its director, Joss Whedon, has done nothing but gather attention toward this show, showing it off as a cool new television series to correspond the aftermath of the first Avengers movie, and introduce a new cast of heroes who handle the smaller stuff the big guys, like Hulk and Captain America, don’t.

Joss Whedon, his brother Jed Whedon, and Jed’s wife Maurissa Tancharoen, all worked together to craft a television show of minor spy action and X-Files type dilemmas. The show takes place in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, brings back Agent Colson, and is sure to gather even more momentum by its second episode. But overall, the pilot was just…okay.

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‘Insidious: Chapter 2' - The Albotas Review
Opening to the box office tune of $40.3 million, Insidious: Chapter 2 picks up immediately where the first film left off, but does it surpass its predecessor, or is it just more of the same?
Minor spoilers ahead.
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AWESOME
A different kind of ghost story. The first Insidious was so well-received because it had an intriguing spin on the ghost story genre. Insidious: Chapter 2 takes you deeper into The Further and the story surrounding the ghosts that haunt the Lambert family.
Ghostly time travel. At the end of the first Insidious, Josh Lambert went into a spirit world called The Further to retrieve the enslave soul of his comatose son, but something else came back in his place. In Insidious 2, we get to watch Josh’s lost spirit travel through time and revisit some of the cooler scares from Insidious, but this time, we get to see what was going on in the spirit realm side of things. Although scarce, these time travel scenes were perfectly executed and totally seemed planned since before the first film even started shooting - never once did they seem half-assed or forced.
Danielle Bisutti. She’s the actress who plays the mother of Parker Crane, the film’s main baddie possessing the dad. Her character doesn’t even have a name (seriously, she’s listed as Mother of Parker Crane in the IMDB credits),  but she rocked the hell out of every scene she was in and played the perfect mix of creepy and batshit insane. The only problem was, she’s so much of a babe that I was too busy admiring her gorgeous blue eyes to be scared. Let’s just say she could haunt my house any day of the week.
NOT AWESOME
Super derivative. Every single door in this movie creeks. If you see a closeup of a main character standing in a long hallway, you can totally expect to see a ghost walk across the hall. Pianos play themselves, stuff moves on its own, and creepy voices are heard on baby monitors. The first film definitely had me on the edge of my seat way more. This just felt like generic, paint-by-number horror scenes playing out.
The comic relief. Remember those nerdy ghost hunter dudes from Insidious 1? Yeah, the movie was pretty much all downhill once they were introduced. This time around it’s the same case, only they show up pretty early on. While they occasionally earn a decent chuckle or two, their overly forced geeky quirks are unbearable for the most part. Example: when trying to decide which of them should go down a creepy basement stairway first, they play a game of Hunter, Ninja, Bear - it’s like Rock, Paper, Scissors, but, you know, geeky and quirky. It’s also from a really old Fed-Ex commercial.
Too much happening at once. So, you have the typical family haunting story, but there’s also this creepy Shining thing going on with the possessed dad, then the grandmother goes on her own adventure with the paranormal investigator dudes, meanwhile, the real dad’s spirit is wandering around in ghost world being all sad and playing the piano. It jumps around between plots throughout the movie and you can tell the writers really tried to cram a lot of story elements into to 106 minutes.
Pretty much everyone makes the worst decisions. ”Oh, you want me, a frail old man, to try and sedate a man possessed by the ghost of a serial killer? Sure, no problem. You guys stay in this van parked at the end of a long driveway. I doubt he’ll come at me with a knife or anything.” Okay, horror movies are known for having characters make terrible decisions. It gives ethnic people a reason to yell at the screen. But horror film making has come a long way and we deserve smarter main characters to root for. This isn’t a slasher flick where we just want gore and sweet kills, this is the story of a family going through a traumatic event. It’s hard to sympathize when the wife is a subservient ass-head who lets her husband convince her that all the weird shit going on is just her imagination. Honey, did you see the first movie? You were in it and you know damn well that shit wasn’t your imagination. Also, there’s seriously a part when the grandma and investigators find a room filled with maybe 20 or more corpses of murder victims and instead of calling the cops, they root through a chest of old newspaper clippings to learn more about the ghosts.
VERDICT
While I definitely enjoyed Insidious: Chapter 2, it was nowhere on par with the scope of originality in the first film which had way more at stake emotionally since it was about a family scared of losing their child. There were some good cheap jump scares and really creepy atmospheric stuff, but most of the focus was on the story which was part of a balancing act between plot and scares. Sadly, the scares fell short and you’ve probably already seen most of them in every other haunted house movie.
If you want to see a scary movie with a good plot, good scares, and Patrick Wilson, go see The Conjuring.

Insidious: Chapter 2' - The Albotas Review

Opening to the box office tune of $40.3 million, Insidious: Chapter 2 picks up immediately where the first film left off, but does it surpass its predecessor, or is it just more of the same?

Minor spoilers ahead.

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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.
[[MORE]]
[+] 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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Indie Game: The Movie Special Edition - The Albotas Review
I’m a little late on the Special Edition of Indie Game: The Movie, but apparently there’s still a handful of people out there that don’t know this exists. So right off the bat I’m letting it be known: you need to know this exists. It’s really incredible.
[[MORE]]
[+] AWESOME
This bad boy’s got 100+ minutes of footage. That’s a generous amount of extra minutes added on to this already superb documentary film.
All extra footage brings even more incredible emotion to Indie Game: The Movie.
We’ve got epilogues for Phil Fish, Edmund McMillen and Tommy Refenes, a look into Braid’s art with David Hellman, an explanation of Spelunky's level generator, and so much more.
The infamous Phil Fish “hates Japanese games,” footage is shown, including his reaction and side of the story.
Deleted scenes and insider stories are also added.
There’s also some awesome ‘Team Meat Commentary,’ added.
The special edition is only $5 for those who already own the base movie. This is actually advertised as DLC, which may be the first time I’ve heard that term for a movie.
$15 for both the original film and the DLC.
Only $5 for the bonus features by themselves if you have the base app (the original film), or just spend $5 for the special editon by itself.
[-] NOT AWESOME
Eh…there really is none?
I mean, you can see I don’t really have any beefs with this Special Edition version of Indie Game: The Movie. It’s practically the perfect package. If you’ve seen the original movie, I definitely recommend paying the extra money to watch these special features. The 100+ extra minutes of footage make it worth it. Hell, the Team Meat Commentary alone makes this package worth the purchase.

Indie Game: The Movie Special Edition - The Albotas Review


I’m a little late on the Special Edition of Indie Game: The Movie, but apparently there’s still a handful of people out there that don’t know this exists. So right off the bat I’m letting it be known: you need to know this exists. It’s really incredible.

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Indie Comic Roundup: Ignatz Nominees, Collider, Autoptic
Here’s a new weekly segment I’m going to be publishing every Monday. As some of you may already know, I own a site called Drawn Words in which I review indie comic books on a weekly (or biweekly, often) basis. I don’t cover news on the site and I don’t really have an outlet for it, so I figured I could do it here on Albotas. For you guys.
<3
Every week I plan on dropping a bunch of links dealing with underground, lesser-known, or smaller published comic books and graphic novels that you may or may not already heard of. I’ll be dropping links to my own reviews, other news sources, videos, free webcomics to read, and more. Hit the jump for this week’s random assortment.
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The Ignatz Award nominees have been announced for this year’s SPX. I’ve heard of almost all of them but I can’t say I’ve read a lot of them. I have heard tremendous things on most of them. Spandexless has a post that links back to all of the books and a couple of their own reviews of a few titles.
I actually did a review the other day of Michael DeForge's Very Casual, which is currently nominated for an Ignatz Award in the category of "Outstanding Anthology or Collection." I also reviewed Eat More Bikes by Nathan Bulmer that is nominated for "Promising New Talent."
Before SPX, there was Autoptic. This festival happened this weekend in Minneapolis. Comics Reporter posted this terrific round-up of different blog entries, videos, and photos of the event in case you missed out.
DC's Vertigo imprint (Not indie enough? Too bad.) released two comics that have caught my eye recently: Colliderby Simon Oliver (The Exterminators) and Robbi Rodriguez, and Trilliumby Jeff Lemire (Animal Man, Underwater Welder). 
Trillium has a phenomenal first issue. Fully utilizes the comic book medium and format as much as possible. If you can pick that up right now, I highly suggest it. It’s only $2.99.
Collider is a pretty comic, but not much has happened as of yet. If you did buy issue one though, Vertigo is changing the name. Maybe it’ll be worth a bit of cash in the future? It’s also running for $2.99 if you’re looking to jump on a new series. 
I got to take a look at a book published by Fantagraphics called New School, illustrated by Dash Shaw (review). I also read a collection called Monarch Monkey by artist Doug De Rocher (review).
Pay-what-you-want for this comic by Box Brown called Chubby Chasers. I talked about it on Drawn Words (review).
Read this excerpt from artist Ted May and his comic, New Life, taken from Men’s Feelings No. 1. There’s shit in it!
Congressman John Lewis sat on the Colbert Report to speak on his graphic novel, March: Book One, published by Top Shelf Comix. Funny, inspirational stuff.
And that’s what I’ve got for this week. If you’d like to drop any comics by me for reviewing, for me to talk about, or ANY news tips whatsoever for me to post, let me know and email me at cortez (at) albotas (dat) com or kevin (at) drawnwords (dat) com.
-@gorillashit/Kevin Cortez

Indie Comic Roundup: Ignatz Nominees, Collider, Autoptic

Here’s a new weekly segment I’m going to be publishing every Monday. As some of you may already know, I own a site called Drawn Words in which I review indie comic books on a weekly (or biweekly, often) basis. I don’t cover news on the site and I don’t really have an outlet for it, so I figured I could do it here on Albotas. For you guys.

<3

Every week I plan on dropping a bunch of links dealing with underground, lesser-known, or smaller published comic books and graphic novels that you may or may not already heard of. I’ll be dropping links to my own reviews, other news sources, videos, free webcomics to read, and more. Hit the jump for this week’s random assortment.

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&#8216;Jobs' Reviewed By Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak

I felt bad for many people I know well who were portrayed wrongly in their interactions with Jobs and the company. The movie ends pretty much where the great Jobs finally found product success (the iPod) and changed so many of our lives. I&#8217;m grateful to Steve for his excellence in the i-era, and his contribution to my own life of enjoying great products, but this movie portrays him having had those skills in earlier times.

Read the rest over on Gizmodo.

Jobs' Reviewed By Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak

I felt bad for many people I know well who were portrayed wrongly in their interactions with Jobs and the company. The movie ends pretty much where the great Jobs finally found product success (the iPod) and changed so many of our lives. I’m grateful to Steve for his excellence in the i-era, and his contribution to my own life of enjoying great products, but this movie portrays him having had those skills in earlier times.

Read the rest over on Gizmodo.

An Infinite Punch to My Wallet: Thoughts on &#8216;Infinity&#8217; #1
Outside of Guardians of the Galaxy and Hawkeye, I haven&#8217;t subscribed to a Marvel comic book, ever. Now, I&#8217;ve read plenty and I&#8217;m a big collector of old backissues, but most Marvel comics don&#8217;t appeal much to me. The vast universe of Marvel characters and heroes are just too expansive, and it&#8217;s too much cash to maintain watching my favorite heroes duke it out with my favorite villains on a regular basis, especially if those battles are insignificant and just filler for major stuff, so I consistently pay attention to huge crossovers and events that actually effect continuity.
So here comes Infinity, Mavel's big huge crossover event that's been hyped since February saw Free Comic Book Day. The massive crossover is supposed to involve the entire Marvel universe and revolves around one of my favorite Marvel characters, Thanos, and his attack on Earth.
Infinity finally debuted yesterday and I visited my local comic book shop to spend $4.99 on this lengthy(ish) comic. While I found it entertaining, here&#8217;s some thoughts on the comic as a whole:
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Thoughts.
$4.99 for the issues of the six-issue mini-series. $30, but not including the New Avengers/Avengers tie-ins. The Infinity checklist in the back of the first issue says the main story will tie-in with six issues of the Avengers and three from New Avengers. That&#8217;s $80+ of following this story, overall. As much as I&#8217;d like to, I just can&#8217;t do that.
There&#8217;s also 15+ other titles this mini-series will (or should fully) tie-in with, such as Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America, Nova, and Fearless Defenders. Again, as much as I&#8217;d like to, fuck no, that&#8217;s too much money.
The first issue&#8217;s story by Hickman was terrific. Over the span of 48-pages, the story unfolded two separate point of views: those Avengers who will fight The Builders, and the side from Thanos' minions and their diabolical plans to invade Earth.
I don&#8217;t know who The Builders are.
I don&#8217;t understand what the Illuminati were doing in the beginning of the comic book, but it&#8217;s pretty clear I should have been reading the prologue story-arcs that premiered beforehand. Upsetting I have to look this up&#8230;
If this affects the entire Marvel universe and Earth as a whole, why are there a handful of X-Men and other heroes featured in this single issue if the event really only revolves around the Avengers?
Why the fuck is Hawkeye involved with such a grand plot and what is he going to do against a galactic threat when he&#8217;s currently too busy kicking Russian mafia ass in his own solo title?
I don&#8217;t know who the Spaceknights are, but their role in this story didn&#8217;t throw me off.
I really loved seeing the Inhumans and Black Bolt being a huge part of this plot unfolding.
On the opposite end, when the Inhumans weren&#8217;t featured, the Avengers were, and they were really only shown being confused as to what was happening a majority of the comic.
The Outrider and most of Thanos' dark minions were enjoyable to read and see presented.
I don&#8217;t know who Captain Universe is.
What is Captain America going to do in space that Iron Man can&#8217;t do better? Why would you send Captain America into space to fight a galactic threat?
I don&#8217;t know who Ex Nihilo is.
Jim Cheung drawing Thanos smiling is creepy, dark, and absolutely sent chills down my spine in excitement for the next issue.
I don&#8217;t know who Smasher is.
Cheung designing the alien creatures and otherworldly beings also were top-notch.
 I really hope I know what&#8217;s going on by issue #2.
The first issue needs to set up a LOT of opportunities for many other backstories involving other characters, but it needs to be more concise as a main series. The main series teased enough for me to become excited, but I don&#8217;t think I&#8217;d ever want to follow the other tie-ins. As a kick-off to a major event involving multiple characters, titles, and perhaps continuity Infinity #1 has a lot of its plate. It introduced a setup, though I&#8217;m not quite sure the direction it&#8217;s headed in currently. Surely though, this should all make more sense by the next issue&#8230;right?
Shouts to Reddit user julia-sets for this awesome post to get me up to speed for Infinity and pretty much reminding me how dumb I am for trying to get into this crossover event without reading Avengers first.

An Infinite Punch to My Wallet: Thoughts on ‘Infinity’ #1

Outside of Guardians of the Galaxy and HawkeyeI haven’t subscribed to a Marvel comic book, ever. Now, I’ve read plenty and I’m a big collector of old backissues, but most Marvel comics don’t appeal much to me. The vast universe of Marvel characters and heroes are just too expansive, and it’s too much cash to maintain watching my favorite heroes duke it out with my favorite villains on a regular basis, especially if those battles are insignificant and just filler for major stuff, so I consistently pay attention to huge crossovers and events that actually effect continuity.

So here comes Infinity, Mavel's big huge crossover event that's been hyped since February saw Free Comic Book Day. The massive crossover is supposed to involve the entire Marvel universe and revolves around one of my favorite Marvel characters, Thanos, and his attack on Earth.

Infinity finally debuted yesterday and I visited my local comic book shop to spend $4.99 on this lengthy(ish) comic. While I found it entertaining, here’s some thoughts on the comic as a whole:

Read More

The Last Of Us - The Albotas Review
In a post-apocalyptic future, 20 years after cordyceps brain infection (CBI), a fungal virus, has mutated most of humanity into blood-crazed corpses, a young girl named Ellie is immune and her blood could be mankind&#8217;s last hope. You play as Joel, the reluctant hero tasked with escorting Ellie safely to the hands of the Fireflies, an anti-militia group fighting against tyrannical military oppression. Naughty Dog combines stealth action and survival horror to weave what is quite possibly the greatest narrative use of video games.
[+] AWESOME
Stealth scenarios that can be tackled countless ways. No two playthroughs are ever the same.
Upgrade and resource management management akin to survival horror games of yore. You&#8217;ll need to strategically calculate the use of every disposable weapon and make every bullet count if you want to survive.
A realistically unique take on the tired zombie apocalypse cliché.
Captivating characters, cinematic gameplay sequences and set pieces, and intense emotional situations come together with perfect voice acting and expressive animations to tell one of the greatest stories ever told in video games.
Exploration pays off. There&#8217;s nothing more sucky than scouring every nook and cranny of a video game and not being rewarded with a damn thing. The gorgeously designed areas of The Last of Us are filled with hidden doors, items, and weapons to be scavenged, secret bonus items like comic books and Firefly Pendants, and journal entries that help shape the game&#8217;s world and backstory.
The most thought provoking video game ending in recent memory. You&#8217;ll be thinking about it for at least a few hours after the credits have rolled and you&#8217;ve turned your PS3 off.
[X] NOT AWESOME
Not much enemy variety. There&#8217;s only 3 different kinds of infected (the kind that can see you, the kind that can&#8217;t, and the big kind), and the human enemies all pretty much feel the same.
More weapon variety would have been nice, but it&#8217;s the apocalypse, so it kind of makes sense not to have rocket launchers and grenades all over the place.
Aside from the combat, progressing through the game feels as though it&#8217;s on rails at times. Fortunately, once you realize The Last Of Us is less about choices and more about experiencing and living out the main character&#8217;s story, you&#8217;ll more than likely not even care.
VERDICT
If you own a PlayStation 3, enjoy top notch storytelling and production values, and possess the mental capacity to view video games as art, you absolutely must play this game. Years from now, The Last Of Us will be cited as a pivotal role in changing the shape of gaming as a storytelling medium. Also, easily one of, if not THE, greatest video game ending of all time. If you were a gamer back in the PS1 days and remember dreaming up what the cinematic future of video games would be like, this is it. 
To sum The Last of Us up in one word: Important.

The Last Of Us - The Albotas Review

In a post-apocalyptic future, 20 years after cordyceps brain infection (CBI), a fungal virus, has mutated most of humanity into blood-crazed corpses, a young girl named Ellie is immune and her blood could be mankind’s last hope. You play as Joel, the reluctant hero tasked with escorting Ellie safely to the hands of the Fireflies, an anti-militia group fighting against tyrannical military oppression. Naughty Dog combines stealth action and survival horror to weave what is quite possibly the greatest narrative use of video games.

[+] AWESOME

  • Stealth scenarios that can be tackled countless ways. No two playthroughs are ever the same.
  • Upgrade and resource management management akin to survival horror games of yore. You’ll need to strategically calculate the use of every disposable weapon and make every bullet count if you want to survive.
  • A realistically unique take on the tired zombie apocalypse cliché.
  • Captivating characters, cinematic gameplay sequences and set pieces, and intense emotional situations come together with perfect voice acting and expressive animations to tell one of the greatest stories ever told in video games.
  • Exploration pays off. There’s nothing more sucky than scouring every nook and cranny of a video game and not being rewarded with a damn thing. The gorgeously designed areas of The Last of Us are filled with hidden doors, items, and weapons to be scavenged, secret bonus items like comic books and Firefly Pendants, and journal entries that help shape the game’s world and backstory.
  • The most thought provoking video game ending in recent memory. You’ll be thinking about it for at least a few hours after the credits have rolled and you’ve turned your PS3 off.

[X] NOT AWESOME

  • Not much enemy variety. There’s only 3 different kinds of infected (the kind that can see you, the kind that can’t, and the big kind), and the human enemies all pretty much feel the same.
  • More weapon variety would have been nice, but it’s the apocalypse, so it kind of makes sense not to have rocket launchers and grenades all over the place.
  • Aside from the combat, progressing through the game feels as though it’s on rails at times. Fortunately, once you realize The Last Of Us is less about choices and more about experiencing and living out the main character’s story, you’ll more than likely not even care.

VERDICT

If you own a PlayStation 3, enjoy top notch storytelling and production values, and possess the mental capacity to view video games as art, you absolutely must play this game. Years from now, The Last Of Us will be cited as a pivotal role in changing the shape of gaming as a storytelling medium. Also, easily one of, if not THE, greatest video game ending of all time. If you were a gamer back in the PS1 days and remember dreaming up what the cinematic future of video games would be like, this is it. 

To sum The Last of Us up in one word: Important.

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