Kotobukiya Justice League vs. Avengers ARTFX+

So. Much. Win.

So. Much. Win.

Kotobukiya’s Justice League ‘New 52’ ARTFX+ statues have been quite a little passion project for me. With a new character released each month, Kotobukiya has seen much success with their DC ARTFX+ line. As I come close to the end with only 2 left to collect, I was happy to find out, thanks to their amazing SDCC 2013 showing, that Kotobukiya has been hard at work on their Marvel ARTFX+ statues. Based off the ‘Marvel Now’ appearance, you’ll be excited to know that the full line-up of The Avengers is coming in 2014. But if you could only collect one or the other, which would it be?

This is going to look so good when finished!

This is going to look so good when finished!

It’s worth noting that Justice League have 7 members compared to The Avengers 6, so if numbers are an issue, there you go. Let’s talk design, and The Avengers seem to have that won judging from the art that the statues will be based off. Being in much more dynamic poses, it certainly helps with the quality of the display. As for the Justice League, I have nothing against the poses but they are pretty basic. Yet it works for the characters in question.

Kotobukiya are a Japanese company, and because of that, the Justice League have a slight Asian influence to their face sculpt. That’s something I really like, having a company giving their own small stamp on a commonly known design. Looking at the few Avengers sculpts available, the Asian influence is hard to make out. The Hulk has quite similar to the one from the movie, and maybe because they’re unpainted, but Black Widow and Captain America both seem very American.

Loving this Hulk.

Loving this Hulk.

The paint application on Hulk is jaw-dropping too. All of the Justice League had a unique metallic paint used for their costumes, and it really helps them pop from the shelf. So as Hulk is the only painted example we have, judging from that, it seems as if Kotobukiya is going down a more realistic and rustic paint application, rather than the mirror sheen of the Justice League. Of course, I’m hopeful we can expect the same metallic paint on Iron Man, Thor’s armour pieces and Captain America’s shield.

Black Widow

Black Widow

Then there’s the price, the deciding factor for a lot of people. Kotobukiya’s Justice League retailed from anywhere between £30 – £40. Due to the inclusion of weapons, more dynamic poses and the size of the Hulk, I expected The Avengers to retail between £40 – £50, much like their Star Wars ARTFX+ statues. I hope I’m wrong however and they go for the same price as Justice League.

Captain America

Captain America

Kotobukiya’s Justice League ‘New 52’ ARTFX+ statues are out now, with Wonder Woman due any day now and Cyborg due out in August. From the dates on the Avengers, it seems they are starting the line with Hulk in April 2014, and Black Widow in May. Expect a statue each month from then, with the full release details probably being given at Toy Fair 2014 at the start of next year. Keep on collecting!

The expression is great!

The expression is great!

-ast

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Pacific Rim Collectable Figures/ Statues

As with most summer blockbusters, a slew of collectible merchandise is available for anyone who would like to show their love for the movie. The exact same goes for Pacific Rim, both NECA and Sideshow Collectables are hard at work to deliver some truly eye-catching pieces for fans. From small, affordable and highly articulated figures to large, extremely detailed, yet high cost statues. All dates are subject to change.

NECA – Pacific Rim – Series 1

pr neca 1

Included in NECA’s first series of figures is lead Jaeger, Gipsy Danger as well as China’s Crimson Typhoon Jaeger. To fight these guys, we also have the Kaiju, Knifehead. Both the Jaegers are about 8″ with some great articulation for endless posing options. The articulation on the Kaiju is limited though, so please bear that in mind. None of them come with accessories either, which is a real shame. Out now.

NECA – Pacific Rim – Series 2

Only to be fully revealed this coming weekend at SDCC, we know its coming and what will populate Series 2. A battle damaged Gipsy Danger with sword accessory, Australian Jaeger, Striker Eureka and lastly is another Kaiju, Leatherback, responsible for one of the best fight scenes in the movie in my opinion. Be on the lookout for pictures of Series 2 next weekend from SDCC, and let’s hope NECA give Leatherback better articulation than Knifehead. Out August.

NECA – Pacific Rim – 18″ Gipsy Danger

pr neca 18

Continuing with their successful large-scale figures, NECA will be bringing Gipsy Danger to 18″ scale, with better paint work, articulation, light-up features and an included sword accessory. More details will be shared during SDCC, as well as more pictures of the product. Out September.

Sideshow – Pacific Rim – Knifehead Statue

pr sideshow_knifehead_2

Sideshow Collectables are responsible for some beautiful pieces, crafting statues with the best detail you’ll ever see. The price of $379.99 may seem steep, but the quality is there. Sideshow is also said to be working on a Gipsy Danger of their own as well as a Striker Eureka statue too. Those however are yet to be officially unveiled. Out 2014.

-ast

 

Coming Soon – Pacific Rim Weekend

pacificrim

In celebration to the release of the highly anticipated Pacific Rim, I’m going to be holding a little Pacific Rim Weekend on my blog here. Kicking things off tomorrow will be my review of the movie, after having experienced it in IMAX 3D. Then over the course of the rest of the weekend, I’ll be posting other articles about possible sequels, all the collectables you’ll be able to pick up in the coming months and possibly a review on the official game, despite how poor it may look.

Due to the unpredictability of the post, I’m unsure if I’ll receive my copy of Pacific Rim: Tales from Year Zero graphic novel in time. Rest assured, the prequel graphic novel will be read and reviewed as soon as it arrives. I’ll let you know if it’s worth a read and whether or not it adds to the experience of seeing the movie.

Greatest. Poster. Ever.

Greatest. Poster. Ever.

Like me, I hope you’ll be finding time to see the movie this weekend, It’s looking fantastic. Be sure to follow my posts to not miss anything this weekend, and thank you for reading.

-ast

George A. Romero of the Dead

A look back at some of the good, bad and ugly zombie movies made by the Godfather of Zombies himself, George A. Romero.

Those glasses are magic, I swear.

Those glasses are magic, I swear.

So after watching World War Z (Review Here), I found myself looking back at some of my favourite zombie movies, most of which come from the mind of the one and only George A. Romero. He has currently done 6 movies in his ‘Dead’ series, but which is my favourite and what should come next?

Night of the Living Dead (1968) – About a small group of people trying to survive the night in a farmhouse, Night of the Living Dead started it all. Being in black & white and seen by many to be the first zombie movie (it wasn’t), 45 years later it’s still an extremely creepy movie with a great atmosphere. Despite being black & white it’s actually quite graphic too and can end up leaving a lot to the imagination of the viewer, a very effective technique.

Dawn of the Dead (1978) – No doubt to be one of the most recognized zombie movies ever made, Dawn of the Dead is a lot of people’s favourite of the bunch, but not quite mine. Feeding the fantasy of everyone on earth, being let loose on an empty shopping centre, it’s no surprise so many people enjoy this movie. About 4 survivors taking refuge in an enclosed shopping centre, making it more like home with each passing week, it shares a similar premise to Night of the Living Dead, but with a different backdrop.

Day of the Dead (1985) – Now this is my favourite zombie movie. Ever. The zombie effects by Tom Savini had been perfected from his work on Dawn of the Dead and just the overall tone of the film was much darker in my mind. About the increasing tension between a group of scientists and military personnel seeking refuge in an underground mine, turned into a make-shift lab, Day of the Dead focuses more the threat we have on each other. From the opening scene in the street to the zombie infested mines of the end of the movie, this movie is full of memorable sequences.

Land of the Dead (2005) – After a 20 year wait, George A. Romero sides with a major studio to bring another zombie movie to the big screen. With a bigger budget, George was able to create the zombie movie he had always wanted to. Unfortunately, the studio had a say in a lot of what happened in the film. What we got to see was glimpse of what George really wanted to achieve. Feeling very Hollywood, the movie is about the conflict between the rich and poor in a walled off city that houses the remaining human population, that we eventually see fall victim to the zombies.

Diary of the Dead (2007) – Trying something new, Diary of the Dead adopted the use of the found footage angle. Set against the backdrop of the initial outbreak of the zombie infection, we follow a group of film students as they travel home, documenting what they see. It was a fascinating concept and one I found myself very excited for. Whilst being a decent movie, I feel we needed more zombie hordes and gore for it to feel more like a George A. Romero zombie movie.

Survival of the Dead (2009) – A sequel to Diary of the Dead, sharing some characters for the first time in the George A. Romero ‘Dead’ series, we follow a group of National Guardsmen as they seek out an Island taken over by a family that have been chaining up zombie friends/ family awaiting a miracle cure. This is by far the weakest of the bunch, I found little entertaining about it, only the fact that it was a George A. Romero zombie movie.

Seventh Movie of the Dead (????) – Let’s all face it, George A. Romero isn’t getting any younger. At the age of 73, does he want to be doing this for as long as he lives? All I ask, as do many fans, is that he does one more movie, his big send off. One that goes out with a bang. Large hordes, plenty of gore and likable characters is all I ask for. Of course the chances of this happening are slim at the moment, as there is little to no news of any movement towards another George A. Romero zombie movie. Also, like rumoured for Survival of the Dead before being canned, it should just be called ‘of the Dead’.

To this day, it’s impossible to think of a zombie movie without thinking of one made by George A. Romero. He deserves a chance to bring the pinnacle of zombie movies to the big screen once again, and I sure hope he gets that chance.

-ast

Top 5 Games of 2013, so far…

I must admit, when making a list of all the games I’ve played this year so far, I had no idea how difficult a task it would be to only pick 5. It’ll be interesting to see if any of these 5 games make it into the top 10 games list at the end of the year, with next-gen just around the corner. Some of the games listed, you may not have played yet and hopefully this list will encourage you to pick it up. To make it on this list, the games had to be memorable, an experience I wanted to go through again. As a package, everything had to be at least enjoyable, that includes any multiplayer or co-op mode. Finally, all games had to be worth the price of admission, every penny you spend on the game had to feel like it was well spent on a quality product.

1. The Last of Us – It really is this good, I promise you. The story was nothing short of one of the best experiences I’ve ever had with games. Characters I cared for, situations I cringed at, A.I. that was fun to play against and a conclusion that leaves me more than curious to see where Naughty Dog may go in the future with the franchise or DLC. Then there’s the multiplayer, and once again, it’s amazing. The focus on survival, crafting and limited ammo makes the multiplayer feel unlike anything you’ve ever played. Each life is just as precious as the next. After putting over 15 hours into it, I can’t wait to see it expand with more modes and maps through DLC.

2. Bioshock Infinite – I remember playing the original Bioshock like it was yesterday, I played through that game numerous times. Unfortunately, Bioshock Infinite didn’t capture the magic of Rapture for me. That’s not so say it’s a bad game however, quite the opposite actually. This game shown gamers that the main driving force of the game doesn’t have to be the playable character, but it can be a companion character. Elizabeth was the best friend we always wanted, come the end of the game, all we care about is the safety of her character. That’s great story telling and writing if I ever saw it.

3. Tomb Raider – Never talk about a game exceeding expectations until you’ve played Tomb Raider. This game shocked me with its brutality, yet drew me in with the development of Lara Croft as a character. A simple explorer, turned true survivalist. From her first kill, to losing some of her closest friends, we see a side of Lara Croft that I want to see more of. Multiplayer is perhaps a little more average in comparison to the single player, but when your setting traps, zip lining across maps and hunting down your friends, it can be a lot of fun.

4. Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon – For the price of admission, you’ll find it hard to get better value than this. When most shooters seem to focus on the realism and Russian enemies, the idea of playing a cyber commando and dragons shooting lasers out their eyes is a pleasant one. As it turns out, it was. For a 1/4 of the price of a retail game, you got just as much content. Funny, over-the-top, great soundtrack, fantastic art style, it’s the game every fan of movies from the 80’s has to play. Now if only we could see a sequel or full a Far Cry game in this style, Ubisoft would be on to a winner.

5. Metro: Last Light – If you wanted to play a survival horror, first-person shooter with a captivating story, then Metro: Last Light has you covered. Graphics that will push your PC to its limits, stealth gameplay that feels satisfying yet violent, Metro as a franchise is heading to the right direction. Improving upon its predecessor in every way, I’m interested in where they may go with the series next. There’s always that rumoured cut multiplayer content they may want to expand into a game, or maybe try to tell some stories from different view points. Nether the less, with Deep Silver now own the publishing rights to Metro, we may see more, sooner than you think.

Honourable Mentions – Dead Space 3, God of War: Ascension, State of Decay, Crysis 3 and Injustice: God Among Us.

-ast

State of Decay – Sandbox Mode and 500,000+ Downloads

It hit the spot.

It hit the spot.

Big congratulations are needed as Undead Labs have achieved over 500,000 downloads for their open-world, zombie survival game, State of Decay. If this is evident to anything, it’s that the zombie sub-genre of games is not overdone, just needing a new direction. That direction being a focus on survival and not mowing them down with enough ammo to sustain an army. With these kinds of sales, it’s no surprise that Undead Labs is hard at work on patches for the game to make it more stable, but more interesting, they’re also working on additional content.

We all know, including Undead Labs themselves that a co-op mode would do more than sweeten the deal. These kind of survival games crave he ability to have a friend accompany you as you walk, run and drive through the zombie infested map. Unfortunately, this is something that will take time and will not be coming to the game anytime soon, the developers themselves have confirmed that.

On the positive side though, they have confirmed something that will be coming to the game within the next couple of months. Sandbox Mode. In this mode the story quests are deactivated and your one and only objective is to survive for as long as you can. Also confirmed is that some additional mechanics will be introduced within this mode, however no light has been shed on what they may be. For me, maybe some additional activities to keep you busy around the map or the inclusion of being able to have your home base at any of the available destinations on the map.

Unfortunately, we’re still in the dark as to whether or not this Sandbox Mode will arrive as paid DLC, free DLC or in a free update. We do know that achievements will be attached to it, but usually that means it’s a form of DLC, and usually paid DLC at that. Drop the extra achievements and let everyone who has bought the game, experience the new mode, that’s what I say. Either way, well done Undead Labs, I look forward to future products from you.

-ast

Coming Soon – The Last of Us and Man of Steel

Hopefully tomorrow, I’ll be posting my first impressions with The Last of Us. That’s hoping it actually arrives a day early. It’s looking fantastic and all the perfect review scores out there got me even more excited to play another masterpiece from Naughty Dog.

Then on Friday, you should see a review for Man of Steel as I’m off to see it at IMAX! Something I cannot wait to see and experience. I’m a big fan of everyone involved, from the writers, director and actors. Early talk from people lucky enough to see the movie has been positive, so it seems we may see Superman get all the love and attention his fellow DC friend has seen in recent years, Batman.

Be sure to follow my posts to not miss anything new. Thank you for reading.