Serious Sam 4 (PC) REVIEW – Seriously Fun

The Serious Sam series is anything but — that’s the joke. It’s ridiculous, slightly absurd, and just a touch to the left or right of being truly great. It’s a franchise that tries to throw as much as it can at a player and gives them just enough equipment to get out of the situation by the skin of their teeth. For those scratching their brains, trying to remember if they’ve ever played one of these before, you’ll remember it as soon as that first horde of guys with bombs for hands comes screaming toward you in Serious Sam 4. It’s even scarier when they harmonize.

No one is showing up here for the story. As someone who has played every main title in the series, I figured this had to be some sort of alternate reality or reboot, but it turns out we’re just in a prequel. Other than this giving the developers, Croteam, the chance to play with some different characters, there isn’t too much to note. The world has been overrun by an evil alien dictator and the player is going to take control of Sam Stone to make sure he and his team can make them pay. Fire guns. Kill the aliens. Have fun. It couldn’t be simpler.

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Talking Splats: An Interview About Insect in Films

“Let me get this straight,” I say bluntly, my excitement getting the better of me. “You do insects, not spiders. Does this mean we can’t talk about Eight Legged Freaks or Arachnophobia?”

“That’s correct! Entomology is the study of insects specifically,” the man with the Ph.D tells me. “Though I do like talking about spiders and other arachnids, I am by no means an arachnologist.” The shifting in his chair suggests he saw the disappointment in my face, so he reassures me. “I generally think all invertebrates are pretty cool, since they’re so structurally different from mammals and other organisms that have a backbone.”

I met this man online through some friends. At first, I thought he was another gaming nerd like myself, just one that happened to hold the world record speedrun time for StarTropics on the NES. After a long conversation about videogames and superhero movies, I also discovered he was an entomologist by degree. It hit me that I should have realized this, given his online handle: BugDoctor. He asks we not use his real name, due to concerns about interviews like this hurting his academic career, so that’s what I’ll call him.

To see where our interests met further, I proposed we do an interview to discuss his specific field and how it was portrayed in science fiction movies. I had critically important questions like, “What is your favorite bug?” and “Why would someone have a favorite bug?”

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WWE 2K Battlegrounds (PS4) REVIEW – Goofy, Flawed Fun

Back when I was eight and bashing my TMNT and wrestling action figures together for fun, WWE 2K Battlegrounds would have been the type of game to keep me entertained for weeks on end. It may not sound like that, but that’s praise I’m offering, even if I think the game still has a list of problems.

In lieu of another traditional WWE 2K entry for the franchise, fans were offered an arcade-style brawler, reminiscent of the WWE All Stars game. This doesn’t feel like a replacement as much as something that was supposed to accompany a larger title after seeing its art style, simpler concepts, and lower price. In that respect, I find it enjoyable, but I wish I had more good things to say about it.

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Despite past promises, Marvel’s Avengers is severely lacking in accessibility options

The strength of Marvel’s Avengers is its incredible single-player story about a team ripped apart and brought back together, told mostly through the perspective of a teenage girl whose greatest power may be her hope. But I was underwhelmed by the game’s beta, which lacked severely in its accessibility arsenal and offered very little assistance with basic gameplay obstacles. As a legally blind gamer, this was a particularly rough battlefield in many spots. The issues caused by my albinism don’t just mean that I have trouble seeing objects and text, but that issues like depth perception and light sensitivity come into play when the colored lasers start flying.

I held on to some spare hope — not just that the full game would pull me in more, but that it would offer expanded accessibility options and assistive features beyond the lackluster display in the beta. Now that I’ve seen it, I realize I can’t save the day as an Avenger, because the team that made the game isn’t there to support me.

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Small details you missed in The Boys season 2

Season one of The Boys made quite the splash, bringing Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson’s comic to life on the small screen in suitably visceral style. The series isn’t following the books closely, but so far, it’s managed to capture the irreverence and overall tone of the source material quite well overall, satisfying longtime readers while drawing in a whole new group of fans along the way. Season two is now upon us, and it looks to try and outshine The Boys’ first offering by upping the sheer insanity of events in a world populated by less-than-admirable superheroes as the rich story continues to unfold.

With eight new episodes and a slew of fresh scenes to comb through, this season promises to be a packed ride with references and nods that are easy to miss or just might not stand out after a single viewing. Carefully threaded in are links back to comics storylines, potential foreshadowing, and a love of pop culture that helps lighten the mood in spots, with details big and small that will keep viewers glued to the show. Here’s a look at all the small details you missed in The Boys season 2.

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Or, watch the video based on my article…

 

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The history of DC’s Icicle explained

DC Comics has the market cornered on ice-themed villains, with memorable rogues like Killer Frost, Mr. Freeze, and Captain Cold having made sizable impressions on the page and screen alike. As fans enjoy an ever-larger number of TV shows and movies rooted in the DC canon, their exposure to these frostbitten bad guys increases as well. Oftentimes, these villains, like all comic characters, are changed to fit the medium, the modern era, and the tastes of an audience unfamiliar with their comic counterparts. So it goes with classic DC bad guy Icicle.

Really, though, Icicle already has an intriguing past — even if it is a bit more brief than other, higher-profile DC villains. He might not be widely-known, but Icicle only needs the right writing to flourish in a new setting. More than just an ice-themed baddie (thankfully sans cold puns), Icicle’s story contains a whole lot of cruelty and drama for writers to work with. Recently, his status has grown much higher than ever before in the wake of his appearances on The Flash, Young Justice, and Stargirl. Curious to learn more about this icy ne’er-do-well? This is the story of Icicle.

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Identifying as a Marginalized Gender in Cosplay in 2020

Many people enjoy dressing up to some degree. Whether it is for a formal dinner, Halloween, Renaissance fairs, or conventions, we find joy in wearing something nice, different, in tribute to an iconic figure. People wear costumes to imitate their favorite video game, comic book, or television character, some even going so far as to embrace the role itself—becoming them. Nobuyuki Takahashi created a word for this back in 1983, coining the term “cosplay,” and few foresaw the practice growing into the booming hobby it is today.

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Random Acts of Violence REVIEW – An Entertaining But Not Brilliant Slasher

The title for this movie is slightly misleading, as the plot explains why most of the murders are taking place, leaving me with my first of many questions about Random Acts of Violence. I went into the film knowing very little about the plot, just wanting a horror story that might be a bit fun and different, but I wasn’t expecting it to try to shine light on the debate of violence in the media, without telling me how to think about it.

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Marvel’s Avengers: Assemble for Accessibility

The aim of most games is to make its player feel like the hero, congratulating them in their victorious moments. The opening to the beta for Marvel’s Avengers this past weekend left me feeling powerful and righteous -— strangely as Thor, one of my least favorite characters — swatting away enemies easily, standing tall in the face of chaos, and hearing the thonk Mjölnir made everytime it connected. I was a champion of the people.This prideful success was felt most in the single-player story-heavy sections, while the odd War Table missions designed for multiplayer felt more like busy work that left me weak and off my mark. The latter was in part due to the game’s chaotic battlefields and the lack of options to rein in the disorderly combat for many players. For me, it’s the lack of accessibility that stands out.

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Mortal Kombat: A Villainous Aftermath

Shang Tsung is telling me about his plan to bring Queen Sindel back from the dead. It’s a risky move coming from anyone, but the idea feels worse coming from the notoriously evil sorcerer, who’s powerful enough to sell and execute it well. Our rag-tag team needs the backup to do this if we’re going to save everyone and set the timeline right. And Shang Tsung is so good at his presentation; he’s thought about this a lot and his voice is so familiar.

Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa will always be Shang Tsung to most Mortal Kombat fans. Since NetherRealm Studios facilitated the prestigious actor’s return for Mortal Kombat 11, it made sense to give him a starring role in the game’s Aftermath DLC. Fans get plenty of the original fighter here and an opportunity to play him like never before.

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