Tom Chick

A new dawn rises in State of Decay 2

, | Game reviews

Night of the Living Dead invented zombies. So what if the word zombie comes from Haitian mythology? So what if the concept was inspired by the “vampires” in Richard Matheson’s Last Man on Earth? So what if the theme is a variation on the 1956 Invasion of the Body Snatchers? When George Romero gathered some buddies to make a no-budget amateur movie in Pittsburgh, thousands of miles from Hollywood, he invented a new mythology. But it wouldn’t be fully realized until Dawn of the Dead. Years later, with a budget for better production values, with a larger crew on a more conventional shoot, with better actors, better effects, better cinematography, a better set, better distribution, and better marketing, he realized a fuller expression of what he created in his first movie. They’re both classics. But Dawn of the Dead is a timeless work of genre filmmaking and mythology.

State of Decay 2 is to State of Decay what Dawn of the Dead is to Night of the Living Dead. Continue reading →

State of Decay 2: the first four

, | Game diaries

The first was during a misunderstanding with another group of survivors. Russell was one of the first four people in our group. He was our soldier. You could tell he was military, and not just because he had a badass sniper rifle and wore camo. You could tell because it said so on his character panel. When you do the tutorial, you pick a set of two starting characters and then the tutorial adds a doctor and a soldier, because it knows you’re going to need them. Russell was our soldier.

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Best thing you’ll see all week: Revenge

, | Movie reviews

Does cinema need an homage to the excesses of 70s rapesploitation? Because that’s precisely what first-time writer/director Coralie Fargeat has done in this formulaic throwback to utter trash like Last House on the Left, I Spit on Your Grave, and others I’d just as soon not name (Spanish horror director Adrian Bogliano is responsible for a particularly egregious one in 2004). Her debut movie, Revenge, suggests it’s time to make rapesploitation fun again.

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The absurd intricate Pax Renaissance recalls how money saved the world

, | Game reviews

If you play enough boardgames, you’ll pick up the shorthand to communicate the basics of any particular game. This one is worker placement with territory control, that one is a deck-builder with drafting, and the stuff in the back of the closet is a bunch of dudes-on-a-board Ameritrash nonsense. Of course, you need to mention the theme. Set collection in a medieval village, push-your-luck with elfs and dragons, screw-your-neighbor with spaceships, or points salad in ancient Rome.

You can’t do this with a Phil Eklund game. You just say “it’s a Phil Eklund game”. Continue reading →

Metal Gear Survive set to expire in 23 days

, | Game reviews

While I’m waiting for State of Decay 2 — checking my calendar, I see it’s 23 interminable days to go — I’ve got another zombie survival game to indulge my resource scavenging, survivor nurturing, and base-building needs. It even acknowledges the Metal Gear Solid V shaped hole in my heart. It doesn’t fill it, but it’s clearly trying to kick in a little dirt. I suppose I should appreciate the effort. Anything to make the next three weeks seem a little shorter.

Wait, what game are we talking about? Continue reading →

Ubisoft’s compromising photographs of Jake Gylenhaal continue to pay off

, | News

The movie adaptation of Ubisoft’s The Division has been in the notorious “troubled project” category for a while. But with today’s announcement that David Leitch is attached to direct, it pretty much moves into the “project” category. Leitch is a big deal these days, and officially attaching his name is a real vote of confidence. The co-director of John Wick went on to make Atomic Blonde, which got him the job directing Deadpool 2, which got him the job directing the Dwayne Johnson/Jason Statham Fast and Furious spin-off. Putting The Division at the end of that line-up is no mean feat. A movie based on The Division is now as likely as, say, a movie based on Prince of Persia or Assassin’s Creed.

However, Leitch has stressed that his main commitment is to the Fast and Furious spin-off. This means there’s still plenty of time for a Division movie to collapse. But the real mystery to me is Jake Gyllenhaal’s support. Did he not see Prince of Persia? He’s not only putting his name behind a Division movie as one of its stars, but he’s putting his money behind it as one of its producers. And according to whatever press release the Variety announcement is quoting, he’s determined to make sure it’s true to the source material:

Gyllenhaal and [Jessica] Chastain have been with the film project since its conception and have been persistent in making sure that it matches the tone of the video game, while also reaching audiences who appreciate the actors’ own past work.

No word on whether we can look forward to a Michael Fassbender Rabbids movie yet.

Far Cry 5 is more effective — and relevant — than it knows

, | Game reviews

I don’t hate the cultists in Far Cry 5 because they’ve brainwashed their followers, stockpiled firearms, bought up all the property, co-opted law enforcement agencies, dumped toxic waste into clean rivers, and installed a right-wing theocracy. Whatever. Cultists gonna cult. I hate them because they’re interrupting Ubisoft’s best open world since Far Cry 2.

I’ve come here to shoot, fish, drive around, blow shit up, and pet a mountain lion. I’m delighted with these parts of Far Cry 5. What a fantastic place to pursue happiness and bear arms, among this rogue’s gallery of people doing the same thing. But then I’m drugged and dragged into a mandatory cutscene.

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