DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

You met me at a very strange time in my life...

Thursday, September 30, 2010

PlayStation® Game Runners Public Open Day


PlayStation® Game Runners Public Open Day

Matt Adcock

If you read the original info about PlayStation® Game Runners you'll be wondering when and where the public can get to try this cool new gaming experiecne...

I can now confirm that the date has been chosen, the place decided and the awesomeness cranked up...

Friday October 8th at Ely's Yard, The Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane, London, E1 will see things happen that you will not believe...

Following on from the announcement that BLOCKS has been chosen as the winning social game for the Game Runners project we are pleased to announce details of the public open day.

Anyone can drop in and try BLOCKS and take part in our competition. Please register your attendance online via our Facebook fan page or on event site between 12pm and 6.30pm.

We would love to hear your thoughts about BLOCKS via our Facebook fan page, we would also like to announce the Twitter hashtag #PlayStationGameRunners where we welcome your tweets on the day.

Throughout the afternoon an exciting live paint session will be conducted by End of the Line; a collective of skilled aerosol artists, designers, illustrators, photographers and producers who create breathtaking large scale commissions and conceptual designs. You can see them in action here.

ITINERARY:

Open play and live paint session 12pm to 5pm
Free play on small BLOCKS format @ 30 stations

Final tournament from 6.30pm
Groups of people in heats (heat 1 - groups of 8 people x 30 = 240 players, heat 2 - groups of 4 people x 30 = 120 players and heat 3 0 groups of 2 x 30 = 60 players)

Finals from 7.30
Knockout (32 players to 16 players to 8 players to 4 players to final top 2 players)

Event finishes at 8.30pm


NOTES:

Game Runners is an experimental project where PlayStation, members of the public and young people from diverse backgrounds have come together to create social games; PlayStation believe the best games are played as a group.

The project has been developed by PlayStation and Hide & Seek with a team of 8 initial Game Runners who PlayStation have picked to train as game designers to work together to make the games relevant to the public.


About Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Ltd


Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE), based in London, is responsible for the distribution, marketing and sales of PlayStation®3, PlayStation®2, PSP (PlayStation®Portable) and PlayStation®Network software and hardware in 99 territories across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Oceania. SCEE also develops, publishes, markets and distributes entertainment software for these formats, and manages the third party licensing programs for the formats in these territories. Since the launch of PlayStation 3 in November 2006, over 38 million units have been sold globally and continue to be sold at a record level. Maintaining its position as one of the most successful consumer electronic products in history, PlayStation 2 has sold over 146.1 million systems worldwide. Since its launch at the end of 2004, over 62.7 million PSPs have been sold globally, highlighting the importance of the portable entertainment market. With the huge increase in interest and accessibility of network applications and network gaming, over 52 million accounts have registered to PlayStation Network, the free-to-access interactive environment, and over 1 billion items have been downloaded.


More information about PlayStation products can be found at www.playstation.com .

PlayStation, the PlayStation logo and PSP are registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. PS3 is a trademark of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners.


"Kratos uses the new PlayStation Move..."

Monday, September 27, 2010

Film Challenge - Darkmatters vs The Guardian

Film Challenge - Darkmatters vs The Guardian

Matt Adcock

As part of the Guardian and Observer Film Season 2010, we're giving you a challenge: name the films referenced in our short video and you can win all 26 on DVD.




Good luck!

Need some clues? Find out what others are saying and join in the discussion about the hidden titles on the film blog. The full list of answers will be revealed on the Guardian Film blog on 25 October after the prize draw has closed.

"Keira loves The Guardian film challenge!"

Darkmatters Review: The Loved Ones


The Loved Ones (18)

Dir. Sean Byrne

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

“You've got 10 seconds to go or Daddy's gonna nail it to the chair…”

The Loved Ones is a delirious Aussie mash-up of various horror films that include Stephen King’s Carrie, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Prom Night – with maybe a dash of Mad Max thrown in by director Sean Byrne too.

I’ll state straight away that I’m not the biggest fan of ‘torture films’ but The Loved Ones brings a new dimension to dealing with rejection, being psychotically insane and the longing for true love that all small town teenagers probably feel at some time!? It’s a funny, nasty and eye-poppingly disturbed fairy tale that sees young hunky Brent Mitchell (Xavier ‘Road Kill’ Samuel) spurn the advances of the slightly odd Lola (Robin McLeavy).

Big.

Mistake.

The Loved Ones takes the high school prom to a new dark dimension that delivers a horror movie experience in the vein of ‘Drag me to Hell’ – just with less demons and more psycho nut job wannabe girlfriend – backed up with a power-tool packing father.

"she'll take your heart... literally!?"
Its tense stuff as the ‘who will survive and what will be left of them’ mantra kicks in hard. If you’re at all squeamish then you’ll want to give The Loved Ones a miss as it features drills to the head, injections to the neck, hammer blows and nails to the feet… And that’s just the dinner scene…
It works better than many of its schlocky horror kin due to having a delicious dark sense of humour and a great cast.

The Loved Ones is a rollercoaster screwball horror fest that will leave you breathless and quote possibly disturbed. Just be careful the next time somebody asks you out – saying ‘no’ could be murder…

"This secret blue love potion / cleaning product - just the job!"

The Loved Ones takes a claw hammer to your frontal lobe and beats you until you're dazed, confused and totally thrilled!

Darkmatters rating: öööööööö (8 seriously 'wrong' dates out of 10)

Darkmatters Review: Road Train

Road Train (18)

Directed By: Dean Francis

Cast: Xavier Samuel, Sophie Lowe, Bob Morley, Georgina Hai, David Argue

Reviewed By: Matt Adcock

The Australian outback can be an unforgiving place at the best of times. It’s worse if you have the demonic big brother of Spielberg’s Duel truck trying to ram you off the road and drag you to hell.

Road Train (Road Kill if you’re in the US) features a fearsome truck that is basically 18 wheeled death to any who cross its path… And this heavy weapon of a vehicle is driven by diabolic forces beyond the comprehension of your average bunch of cute teens – which is why it’s not really a surprise when a young, dumb but cute looking bunch of teens run afoul of the smoke spewing beast.

Meet Marcus (Xavier Samuel) and Craig (Bob Morley) – two mates who have some girl issues – you see Marcus’ girlfriend, Liz (Georgina Haig), couldn’t resist getting it on with Craig and although in theory the two dudes are cool, there is still tension. Throw Craig’s hot new girlfriend, Nina (Sophie Lowe), into the mix – the film starts with them going for it hammer and tongs in their tent – and you know that things might go a bit awry.

However when the massive Road Train rams the teen’s jeep deep in the middle of nowhere – their life and death struggle takes over from their sexual politics. One thing leads to another and before you can say “that’s not a good idea” the teens climb aboard the supposedly driverless Road Train… That’s when the bad things really start to happen.

"Did you turn off on 'we're all going to die lane?'"
This isn’t your average straight to DVD horror effort; Road Train is actually gorgeously shot and boasts some truly stunning vistas / visuals which just add to the surprisingly compelling peril-em-up plot. Be prepared for some nasty surprises that take the movie out of pure road thriller and into a disturbed reality that wouldn’t be out of place in films like Jeepers Creepers et al.
The main star of the film is the monstrous rig itself – forget its crazed psycho driver, this Road Train lorry is a horror icon in the making. There are some seriously grim secrets about the inner workings of this beast – and it packs a driver / vehicle connection not normally seen outside of Top Gear and The Stig…

Ok so the plot calls for the random horny teens to make highly stupid decisions but they do look good and some of the death scenes are nicely worked. You get the feel that the director is a little bit in love with his savage truck hero though and none of the human cast get anything like as much character development!?

Road Train is a fun thrill ride that will please horror fans and road movie lovers with strong stomachs alike. It might make you look twice in your rear view mirror next time a huge HGV pulls up behind you too!!

Darkmatters rating: ööööööö (7 bad mofo trucks out of 10)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Darkmatters Review: The Town


The Town (15)

Dir. Ben Affleck

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Even in Luton it’s not everyday that you see a speeding carload of nuns packing heavy-duty combat machine guns making a desperate getaway from hundreds of furious cops. But this is exactly the kick-ass sort of scene that The Town delivers – making it easily the best cops and robbers action thriller for some time.

If you’re looking for a quality heist-em-up then you might not necessarily think Ben Affleck is your ‘go to’ guy, but with The Town he follows up his excellent Gone Baby Gone with another superbly watchable film.

Affleck himself takes the lead role as Doug MacRay - the loveable ‘crook with a heart’ leader of a slick crew of bank robbers who are working their way through the armored-cars and financial targets of Boston. He’s on top form too, oozing stubbly charisma and scoring a genuine connection with viewers, perhaps Mr ‘plank’ Affleck is finally making amends for his earlier crimes against cinema such as Gigli or Pearl Harbour!? But it’s not just Ben who delivers here because The Town boasts a uniformly great cast including Rebecca Hall as Claire Keesey, the manager of one of the banks that Doug’s crew hit. Doug falls for her which leads to some very fraught situations as he begins to get torn between his heart and his loyalty to his friends.

Up against the bank robbers is hot shot FBI Special Agent Adam Frawley (Jon Hamm – who you’ll see again in next year’s hot tip ‘Sucker Punch’). He’s a good nemesis which makes the dangerous game of cat-and-mouse he plays with Affleck compelling viewing. Pete Postlethwaite also pops up as crime lord Fergus 'Fergie' Colm who may just hold dark secrets about Doug’s broken family.

The wild card in the mix is Doug's dangerous best friend Jeremy Renner (James Coughlin) – he’s a natural-born killer who likes to shoot first and worry about doing the time later. When Doug says: “We gotta do somethin'. I can't tell you what it is, you can never ask me about it after we're done, and we're gonna hurt some people.” James simply replies “Whose car we takin'?” He might be a thug but James is loyal to the crew and his sister is still in love with Doug which also complicates matters.

Take a trip to The Town for a full on, exciting, nerve shredding romp, packing some seriously cool shoot-outs which rival those of the crime epic Heat.

UNSEEN DELETED SCENE:

The crew from The Town are challenged to a 'heist-off' by the 'Takers' see review next week...

Darkmatters rating: ööööööööö (9 quality shootouts out of 10)

Darkmatters quick reference guide: Action 9 / Style 8 / Babes 7 / Comedy 6 / Horror 6 / Spiritual Enlightenment 3





Search Amazon.com for ben affleck

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Darkmatters Review: Tears for Sale


Tears for Sale (15)

Dir. Uroš Stojanoviæ

Reviewed by Matt Adcock


"Carlston za Ognjenku or a Serbian 'Amélie'?"

Tears for Sale is a phantasmagorical rom-com which does have elements of Jeunet's film but Uros Stojanovic brings a powerful new fantasy voice to the cinematic world.

We’re in World War I where a Serbian village is starved of men due to the war… We meet two feisty sisters - Ognjenka (Sonja Kolacaric) and Mala (Katarina Radivojevic). Their job are to be professional crying / sobbing providers who wail at funerals for money.

Things don’t look good when the last man in their village – the two sisters have to go on a quest to find and bring back some new men for the ladies. Oh and the spirit of their late grandmother (Olivera Katarina) haunts them – and will never be at peace until they complete their mission.

On their travels the girls find Iron Man Dragoljub (Nenad Jezdic) and his smooth dancer pal Arsa (Stefan Kapicic). Can these two men revive the village or might they actually fall in love with the sisters?

Tears for Sale is a fun romp stacked with crazy characters and situations from writer Aleksandar ‘A Serbian Film’ Radivojevic. But unlike that shock-em-up this film is funny and sexy with a very dark sense of humour.
"The girls on their mission for men"

Sonja Kolacaric and Katarina Radivojevic work well together – with sparky chemistry that makes this weird and wonderful fairy tale world that Terry Gilliam would be proud to call his own. It gets pretty saucy at points too (as I found out while watching this on a packed train!?).

The DVD looks excellent and the quality of the picturesque visuals are pin sharp. Everything about Tears for Sale is just the right side of the genius / madness divide.

Darkmatters rating: öööööööö (8 freaky Serbian scenarios out of 10)



Darkmatters hearts TUMBLE PS3 Move

Tumble PS3 (Move)

Developed by Supermassive Games

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

The first PlayStation Move game to give you a massive erection to play with…

Tumble is a building block game, where players use the funky new PS3 Move controllers to pick up, rotate and generally manipulate the various building materials in order to erect towers, blow them up with mines, puzzle the hell out of some dastardly challenges – all in stunning 3D HD (if you have the necessary TV).

Yep, building towers either against a target, an AI competitor or trying to beat a human adversary is much more fun than I thought it would be! Tumble uses the Move motion controller really well, it feels very natural and you’ll soon be stacking bricks like you’re a pro. Simply point at the block you want to pick up, use the trigger to grab and when you have it in the desired position - release it and hope that it doesn’t cascade off to oblivion…

"There she blows!!"

And here’s a thing – you can play Tumble no problem at all sitting down, which might not sound like a big deal but it is more than you can do if you choose to go the Xbox 360 route of Kinect which is a standing only experience.

Puzzling your way through the devious Tumble challenges begins very easy – e.g. build the tallest tower possible. But soon different materials come into play and so you’ll have to watch where you put that slippery ice block or the genius ‘stick to anything’ cubes.

As the traps become more SAW like you’ll find fans trying to blow your bricks over, swinging pendulums and beams, even antigravity areas or mirrors that bounce light.

Each puzzle comes with bronze, silver and gold targets for medals plus hidden bonus ones such as time challenges. It all makes for an excellent gaming experience. Especially fun if you choose to play through the levels cooperatively using a second motion controller, this led to some heated ‘discussion’ with my wife when we tried to work together.

For PS3 Movers with brains, Tumble is an excellent game – which will keep on giving for a long time. Buy it!!

Darkmatters rating: ööööööööö (9 falling blocks out of 10)

"Rumour has it that Emma Watson likes a tumble"

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Darkmatters Review: The Other Guys


The Other Guys (12a)

Dir. Adam McKay

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

When New York’s finest hero cops (Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne Johnson) have their careers and lives cut tragically yet stupidly short – who is there to step up and take on the high profile criminals? Well, how about The Other Guys – these are the humble desk jockeys such as Allen Gamble (Will Ferrell) who loves nothing better than paperwork and his permanently angry partner Terry Hoitz (Mark Wahlberg) – who has been desk bound since accidentally shooting NYC’s top baseball player.

So we have the latest mismatched buddy cop comedy and it has a fantastic pedigree being from the makers of Anchor Man, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby and Step Brothers. The writers pull no punches in this Dirty Harry on acid – highly comic tale, often venturing into risqué territory that will hopefully go over the head of the 12 years who can see this.

Prius driving, gentle cop Gamble is reluctant to make the jump into the high risk front line action, much to the disdain of his partner Hoitz who has all the moves but no opportunity to use them.

Steve Coogan turns up as David Ershon a slimy investor / main bad guy, who is planning an illicit scheme to somehow pay back billions he owes to some very shady characters. All manner of craziness ensues as the ‘other guys’ try to trace the missing cash and bust Ershon, and whilst the film delivers tons of funnies, it also has some nicely kick ass action to back it up.

"The old 'ball and chain' - if only!?"

Will Ferrell can’t help but be funny and he is great value here, Wahlberg has to play the straight man (albeit a very angry straight man) and the pairing works well with some likeable chemistry worked up between the two cops.

If you’ve seen the trailer – you’ll know that Ferrell is married to the smoking-hot Dr. Sheila Gamble (Eva Mendes) but treats her as if she was a plain ‘ball and chain’ other half. It’s a great gag that really works but for me the funniest scenes are the flashbacks to Gamble’s college career as a pimp named "Gator."

Add in Captain Gene Mauch (Michael Keaton) who keeps inadvertently quoting TLC songs and a show stopping argument about who would win in a fight between a lion and a tuna and you’ve got more than enough comedy genius to put The Other Guys on your ‘to see’ list.

UNSEEN DELETED SCENE:

The Other Guys get into a street battle with rival goofball cops - Bruce Willis and Tracey Morgan for COP OUT, the only way to find out who are the 'top dogs' is a laugh off... The COP OUT fellas take the honours...

Darkmatters rating: ööööööö (7 cases of police stupidity out of 10)

Darkmatters quick reference guide: Action 8 / Style 6 / Babes 8 / Comedy 9 / Horror 5 / Spiritual Enlightenment 0



Darkmatters faces The Horde

The Horde (18) or 'La Horde'

Dirs. Yannick Dahan and Benjamin Rocher

Reviewed by Matt Adcock.

"The Die Hard of Zombie flicks" says Empire magazine… Well that got me interested right from the off (Die Hard is still one of my top 5 films of all time and I’m partial to decent zombie films e.g. 28 Days / Weeks Later).

The French have been making some strong horror films recently (see Martyrs or Switchblade Romance)...

This is a full on zombie-em-up with added gangsters, hard ass cops and a gnarly ‘Assault On Precinct 13 meets Dawn Of The Dead’ feel. The Horde brings satisfying edge-of-your-seat, no-one is safe danger that sees the titular zombie ‘horde’ attacking a decaying tower block as Paris burns around them.

"The Jehovah's Witnesses massed sensing potential converts..."

The human menu of talent include Claude Perron (Amelie), Eriq Ebouaney (Thirst), Aurelien Récoing (Intimate Enemies) and Doudou Masta (MicMacs), as the gang of criminals and their cops nemesis’ but when the zombies turn up it becomes an uneasy alliance in order to survive.

The Horde (Momentum Pictures) hit the UK cinemas on 17th September and DVD this week (20th September) where it comes with Special Features including: ‘Making of’ featurette; ‘Rivoallan’; zombie concept art; storyboards; teaser trailer; Easter Egg – rehearsal of a scene.

Darkmatters rating: öööööööö (8 undead shoot-outs out of 10)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Darkmatters hearts PlayStation Game Runners

PlayStation Game Runners

Matt Adcock

PlayStation Game Runners is an experimental project where PlayStation, members of the public and young people from diverse backgrounds have come together to create social games; PlayStation believe the best games are played as a group.

The project has been developed by PlayStation and Hide & Seek with a team of 8 initial Game Runners who PlayStation have picked to train as game designers to work together to make the games relevant to the public.

There have been three games in development: Flags, BLOCKS & Hoops.

After a series of play tests to develop the games it was decided that the most popular was BLOCKS.

Now that BLOCKS has been announced as the winning game it will be put forward into development and the public will have the chance to check out the game on Friday October 8th in London during an open day where anyone can drop in and try BLOCKS followed by a competition in the evening.

For more information on PlayStation Game Runners and to get involved see http://www.facebook.com/playstationgamerunners - where fans are invited to comment on BLOCKS and support The Game Runners.

Quotes:

"Thanks to the community for voting for BLOCKS" says Carl Christopher-Ansari, Sponsorship Manager for SCEUK. "In all our personal plays and community sampling play testing we found BLOCKS to be an intense game of strategy and precision. BLOCKS is highly competitive and social. People really get their game face on to play this.

"I look forward to seeing BLOCKS going into full production for the live event. It will make for a visual spectacular and a great social night out as we will be playing with very tactile small and large Blocks. It will be an awesome challenge of brainpower and dexterity."

Alex Fleetwood, Director at Hide & Seek says: "Hide & Seek are thrilled to be a part of PlayStation Game Runners. Working with this inspirational group of young people to develop amazing new social games has pushed our creativity to the limit. BLOCKS is a worthy winner - it's an incredibly addictive battle of precision, movement and nerve, we can't get enough of it in the Hide & Seek studio... Niamh, Rodney and Haroon must be stoked! We're really looking forward to taking everything we've learnt from the process so far to help create an incredible event in October - it's going to be a heap of fun."

About BLOCKS:

BLOCKS is a three-dimensional game of strategy and precision movement.

Two opposing players take it in turns to place the blocks in a 2 x 2 tower. Every face of the block has a PlayStation symbol on it. When a player places a block the symbols on all touching faces
must match.

Here's the tricky bit: all the blocks are a little bit uneven, and so stacking a high tower gets harder and harder. The player who lets the tower topple, or who runs out of time to make a move, loses the game.

You'll need a logical mind and a steady hand to triumph!

About Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Ltd


Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE), based in London, is responsible for the distribution, marketing and sales of PlayStation®3, PlayStation®2, PSP (PlayStation®Portable) and PlayStation®Network software and hardware in 99 territories across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Oceania. SCEE also develops, publishes, markets and distributes entertainment software for these formats, and manages the third party licensing programs for the formats in these territories. Since the launch of PlayStation 3 in November 2006, over 38 million units have been sold globally and continue to be sold at a record level. Maintaining its position as one of the most successful consumer electronic products in history, PlayStation 2 has sold over 146.1 million systems worldwide. Since its launch at the end of 2004, over 62.7 million PSPs have been sold globally, highlighting the importance of the portable entertainment market. With the huge increase in interest and accessibility of network applications and network gaming, over 52 million accounts have registered to PlayStation Network, the free-to-access interactive environment, and over 1 billion items have been downloaded.


More information about PlayStation products can be found at http://www.playstation.com/.


PlayStation, the PlayStation logo and PSP are registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. PS3 is a trademark of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners.



Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Darkmatters: Top Gun PS3


Top Gun (PS3 Exclusive)

Developed by: Doublesix Games

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

On March 3, 1969 the United States Navy established an elite school for the top one percent of its pilots. Its purpose was to teach the lost art of aerial combat and to ensure that the handful of men who graduated were the best fighter pilots in the world. They succeeded. Today, the Navy calls it Fighter Weapons School. The flyers call it: TOP GUN.

Top Gun is a not just a film, it is a classic, genre defining classic that put Tony Scott on the map as a director and cemented the iconic status of Tom Cruise.

Now PS3 owners have the honour of enlisting in a virtual Fighter Weapons School, taking to the skies as call-sign ‘Maverick’ and shouting “I feel the need, the need for speed!” at their HD TV…
Are you good enough to be counted amongst the best of the best? It’s time to strap in and find out!


"This bogey's all over me..."

Top Gun is an arcade air combat game – don’t come here thinking that this is a hardcore flight simulator… This is a hardcore shoot-em-whilst-singing-along-to-the-official-soundtrack-em-up!! Homo-erotic volleyball games are not included…

Doublesix Games have gone ‘right into the danger zone’ with this one because if you mess with classics you mess with the massive devoted fan base (I’m one of them)… So the big question is – does it work?
In one way it really does – the basics of jumping into a jet, take to the skies and dogfight the living daylights out of enemies (first trainers such as the iconic Jester and Viper whilst at Top Gun), because those darn Russian MIGs are waiting to blow you out of the sky. The flying / aerial combat of the game works very well, it takes seconds to master the flying, and being an arcade game you get weapons that reload in flight and armour that mends itself!


"All the girls love a Top Gun!"

While playing – fans will be taken aback by the bastardised dialogue e.g. when Iceman somes over the radio saying “You two really are cowboys” and Maverick (you) should reply: “What's your problem, Kazanski?” – what happens here is you get Goose mumbling a half assed re-written version of your lines!? So when you’re expecting Iceman to follow up with: “You're everyone's problem. That's because every time you go up in the air, you're unsafe. I don't like you because you're dangerous.” You have to take matters into your own hands and shout over the rubbish that ‘Goose’ is responding to with: “That's right! Ice... man. I am dangerous.”
There are some really nice touches to the gameplay too such as CFI camera which allows you to track enemies as they turn and burn with the aim of getting a missile lock on your ass. You’ll soon be pulling things like ‘the gutsiest move I’ve ever seen man’ – if you do find yourself on the wrong end of a missile lock you do have counter measures which can be launched.

In addition to the main campaign, Top Gun also has a wicked ‘Horde’ mode where unending waves of enemies will come at you until you finally succumb to their bombardment.
There are even some multiplayer modes including aerial death matches and capture the flag, where sixteen players can take each other on. Good times!

Darkmatters rating: öööööööö (8 missile locks out of 10)

Top Gun shoots down other arcade flight sims like the much more expensive HAWX 2 and gives the classic Warhawk a run for its money. For me this might not be the ‘best of the best’ but it is a great fun blast “Great balls of fire!”

Start The Party PS3 Move

Start The Party: Move PS3

Developed by Sony

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

PlayStation Move launches this week in the UK (17th September) and there are some cool, varied games available right from the start. If you want Sporting fun – there’s SPORTS CHAMPIONS, if you want Kung Fu Craziness – there’s KUNG FU RIDER… But what if you just want to see yourself wielding a big sword, tennis racquet, hammer, pointer, fan, razor, helicopter!? That’s where you need Start The Party.

You know those parties you go to where nothing is really happening, there’s no way to break the ice with the cute girls/guys (delete as appropriate) and you really wish you could be jumping about spearing frantic fish like a caveman, showing your caring side by rescue birds from falling out of their nest or proving how brave you are by hunting for ghosts? Sony know how you feel and Start The Party brings all this and more as augmented reality transforms the PlayStation Move motion controller into everything from a helicopter to a flashlight.

Mini-games are the order of the day, if you remember the PS2 ‘EyeToy’ which was basically doing what the Kinnect will do when it launches in a couple of months – wave those hands suckers… sorry, here is what motion control is all about… Take one PlayStation Eye, synch the cool PlayStation Move controller and then take a photo of yourself, record your voice and take on your family and friends in more than 20 fun mini-games.

But are they fun? Some of those PS2 EyeToy games were a bit lame right, not having a controller is bit crap really – so can PlayStation Move bring the noise and make motion controlled mini-gaming fun??
Well – poke me up the backside with an augmented reality hand… Yes!!

Start The Party is an absolute blast, you get to see yourself onscreen at all times while playing, and the motion controller you’re holding appears as whatever device you need to complete the game… I tried Start The Party both solo (which is ok but can get a bit ‘samey’ pretty quick) then again with a crowd of young players at our church with the PS3 rigged up to a projector and big screen – and that is where it tore the roof off with everyone having a fantastic time!!

"you should see the face she makes when accidentally mashing one of the little birds with her fan!"

The list of games is fun and varied – chop flying fruit with a giant sword, brush the teeth of crocodile with a big toothbrush, shine your virtual torch at ghosts as they try and rush towards you, zap robots with a tazer, spear fish, blow birds, save citizens from dinosaurs with helicopters etc etc… Each game is quick to pick up, although there are brief tutorials for those who really need to told how to squash bugs with a tennis racquet…

Is Start The Party worth buying? Absolutely –if you want to try and beat high scores and put yourself on the world wide leaderboard step up. Mostly though this is a game you’ll put on and play with pals, it gets competitive, it gets messy and it’s brilliant fun!

Darkmatters rating: öööööööö (8 fun augmented realities out of 10)

Check our SPORTS CHAMPIONS MOVE review

Check our KUNG FU RIDER review

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Dead Rising 2 hits PS3 on 24th September

Fancy some virtual zombie slaughter?

Dead Rising 2 has you covered...

Several years have passed since Matt Adcock witnessed the Wilamette incident, and while the heroic Frank West was able to save America from a zombie apocalypse, the cause of zombification was not completely contained. This led to continued zombie outbreaks throughout the United States.

Dead Rising 2 shifts the action from the everyday world of mid-West America to the glitz and glamour of Fortune City, America's latest and greatest entertainment playground. People flock to Fortune City from around the globe to escape from reality and the chance to win big.

Enter former national Motocross champion, Chuck Greene. Before he hit the big time with a team and sponsorship behind him Chuck was forced to repair his own bikes, leaving him incredibly resourceful; a real handyman. A single father, Chuck dotes on his daughter Katey who, since the loss of her mother, he will do anything for.

With hundreds of zombies on screen at any one time, the original Dead Rising forced gamers to turn the everyday objects they found in the Mall into improvised weapons capable of fending off attacks. Dead Rising 2 promises to increase the carnage with even more zombies intent on feasting on human flesh and countless new objects with which Chuck can make the undead dead.

Check out this fun zombie killing video:

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Darkmatters Review: Resident Evil Afterlife



Resident Evil: Afterlife 3D (15)

Dir. Paul W.S. Anderson

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Paul W.S. Anderson is a cinematic legend, he makes films that critics generally hate but lots people go and see – from his joyriding debut ‘Shopping’ through the freaky space horror ‘Event Horizon’ and on to the ‘Resident Evil’ franchise, you can sense that he’s a guy who just likes to let rip with crowd pleasing pulp.

Resident Evil: Afterlife is the 4th film in the series ‘based on a computer game’ which tracks the adventures of Project Alice (Milla Jovovich – who is Anderson’s wife). Alice is a genetically enhanced heroine fighting the sinister Umbrella Corporation who have turned most of the world’s population into zombies thanks to the unscheduled escape of their bioweapon T-Virus. That’s about all you need to know in terms of plot as all four of the Resident Evil films have basically been very similar – slick improbable action as Alice shoots, chops and mashes hundreds of disposable zombie enemies, backed up by Umbrella Corp mercenaries and some freaky money shot ‘boss battles.’

Here we find Alice using an army of clones of herself to attack an Umbrella headquarters in a sequence that might the makers of The Matrix checking their copyright contracts. It looks amazing (especially in 3D) but we’ve seen this done before and better…

From then on Afterlife is a slog of reuniting the surviving cast from 2007’s Resident Evil: Extinction, running from and killing zombie, plus the obligatory boss battle against an giant axe wielding monstrosity who pops up with no back story (except that he was in RE4 and 5 games) simply to have an impressive but ultimately futile fight.

If you’re a fan of the Resident Evil games and films then Afterlife will push the right buttons, and send you home rejoicing in the fact that it is merely an ‘episode’ which has no conclusion – merely setting up the next film. Can take a wild guess if Alice can defeat Albert Wexler (Shawn Roberts), the evil Chairman of the Umbrella Corporation? I saw this with my Resident Evil virgin pal Matt Landsman who was left scratching his head at the plot – especially the supposed ‘bombshell’ ending credit scene.

"Miss Jovovich - nice to see you..."

All of the Resident Evil films have scored on average between 30 and 40% with critics so far and Afterlife is so very much a continuation of ‘if it isn’t broken, don’t bother changing it - just with added 3D’. But that’s unlikely to bother survival horror fans the world over who are you can almost hear quoting The Matrix’s Agent Smith by chorusing “Welcome back Mr Anderson, we’ve missed you”…

UNSEEN DELETED SCENE:

Alice comes out with her confused sexual feelings for Claire Redfield, Jill Valentine and Crystal (mirroring the feelings of the male audience members!) see below...

Darkmatters rating: öööööö (6 3D shootouts out of 10)

Darkmatters quick reference guide: Action 7 / Style 6 / Babes 8 / Comedy 5 / Horror 7 / Spiritual Enlightenment 3

Resident Evil Afterlife Babe-Off:
"Jill Valentine"

"Claire Redfield goes for the wet look with Milla"

"Crystal (Kacey Barnfield) ops for the black undies - zombies hate black undies!"


Thursday, September 09, 2010

Kung Fu Rider: Move PS3


Kung Fu Rider: Move PS3

Developed by Sony

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

The PlayStation Move is set to be a phenomenon – the iconic glowing balls on the ends of the comfy and cool Move Controllers enable a whole new set of control options for PS3 gamers. But controls are nothing without games to play and Kung Fu Rider brings office chairs and the Chinese Mafia in a fast-paced, arcade-action package to the PlayStation 3.

You fancy some comically off-the-wall in-game movement mechanics with the motion-control technology of the PlayStation Move system? If you’ve played or seen ‘PAIN’ on the PS3 then you might have some ideas as to just how far Sony are willing to go in terms of brining creative new experiences to gamers.

This is the tale of Toby and his lovely assistant Karin who together run a detective agency… So far so normal-ish, but then due to a case they are working on the two become targets for the mob and their only chance of escape is to take to the streets on their office chairs!?

"Erm, Street Fighter called - they want Chun Li back!?"

You come in here as either Toby or Karin and the Move controls are your way of ‘driving’ his or her office chair – accelerate by waggling the Move up and down, swing left and right to steer, flick upwards to jump… There is a lot of hidden depth in the controls, especially when you add in various button combinations which allow you to Kung Fu your enemies or limbo under cars.

Yep it’s a madcap chase game that will see you bouncing through the mean streets, kicking mafia goons out of the way as you speed past. Choosing from branching routes and taking in crazy stunts such as aerial grinding on railings or pulling off gravity defying jumps are the order of the day.

There will be a lot of trial and error as you learn a course (for anyone who has played games like SSX back in the day Kung Fu Rider evokes a similar sense of speed adrenaline).

There are a limited number of courses though and the learning curve can be unforgiving, plus if you’re not a gamers who can cope with repeatedly replaying areas trying to improve each time then you might find Kung Fu Rider a bit limiting. Sure there is fun to be had in the multiplayer co-op mode, or in comparing scores for bragging rights – there are online rankings too…

Kung Fu Rider is nutty game that is very nearly genius, a good game but also a flawed one. If it were £10 then I’d recommend it whole heartedly, but for a full price release it drops points because you only hit the sweet ‘Kung Fu’ zone every now and then which is a shame.

Darkmatters rating: ööööööö (7 speeding kung fu kicks out of 10)

Check our SPORTS CHAMPIONS MOVE review

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Sports Champions: Move PS3

Sports Champions: Move (PS3)

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

The era of Wii Sports comes to an abrupt, high-definition halt as Sony bring their ‘A’ game to the PlayStation 3 with their innovative MOVE controllers. Sports Champions brings six games: Archery, Beach Volleyball, Bocce, Disc Golf, Gladiator Duel, and Table Tennis to the package – which leaves plenty more to come and means that you can bet that there will be a Sports Champions 2 before too long…

Setting up the PlayStation Move is easy and – you stand in the designated area, calibrate the Move controller with a quick routine which goes shoulder, leg and waist (and soon becomes second nature). From then on you’re good to go and this time you are going to need all your reactions, skills and hand / eye coordination – no amount of arm flapping randomness will help you in Sports Champions.

Let’s look at each sport in my order of preference –

"Katy Perry takes on Britney in mortal combat"

Gladiator Duel
Gladiator Duel is brutal combat fun like nothing before, you can use either one PlayStation Move controller or two (but two is better as it feels more natural to wield both your shield and sword in each hand). From the second you step into the ring – as your chosen character (from a roster of players which looks like a sportified Street Fighter selection, with fast nimble chics with swords, heavy set rugby player types with hammers etc), your pulse begins to race as you realise that this is it – no pussying out now. You can dodge left and right with the move buttons, pull the trigger to raise your shield, power up special attacks, leap backwards, thrust, duck, slash, bash (with shield) and of course stab the living daylights out of your opponent in real time 1:1 awesomeness. It is slick and very very satisfying chopping chunks off your opponent’s health bar – two player bouts can get heated, and need some space! Quick thinking combatants can even ‘ring out’ your opponent or just be left with more health when the timer ticks down. It’s seriously addictive and all kinds of awesome,, one can only speculate at how superb this sort of control could be implemented into the next Elder Scrolls game – Bethesda are you listening!?! Which brings me to the next Sports Champions game – Archery (also a RPG staple form of attack).

Archery
Ever wanted to test your sharp shooting skills in your lounge? Robin Hood himself would be forgetting to go out and rob the rich if he’d had Sports Champions Archery to play as this is amazing. Shooting a series of targets, be they robotic zombies shuffling towards you, bags of money being tossed into the air or your more usual round targets with scoring zones. Playing this two PlayStation Move controllers is an absolute joy - reach over your shoulder to pull an arrow from your quiver, then draw the two apart like the bow and string. You’ll quickly pick up the basics but find tons of depth as you perfect your technique and pull off faster, more accurate shots. There are some great modes too try in multiplayer as well such as shooting rolling targets towards each other in an inverse tug of war… This is a show stopping title that will have Wii owners going green with envy.

Table tennis
This is another cracking Sports Champions event for PlayStation Move. If you’ve ever had a laugh playing ping pong, this demonstrates just how far the Move takes racquet sports (and whets the appetite for the coming Virtua Tennis 4). You hold the PlayStation Move controller exactly as you would a table tennis bat, twist your wrist to add spin, leap up to smash – it’s all good. It isn’t easy – as anyone who has tried the real table tennis knows that this isn’t merely a hit it as hard as you can game – but subtle art and high skills are called for. Two player mode is superb, and the tension of a long hard fought rally can be intense.

Disc golf
If you want real golf you can use Move with Tiger Woods PGS Tour 11, but in Sports Champions you get a crazy but fun version of golf where you throw Frisbees down a course – drive from the tee with a heavy long distance disk, chip onto the green with a mid weight ‘iron equivalent’ and then putt for the hole with your accurate short distance disc. It might sound a bit naff but it plays really well and could reignite a Frisbee craze. The discs fly as you’d want them to, arcing depending on how you tilt them – from left or right, up or down. Once you get the hang of this, you’ll find it incredibly hard to stop, and the satisfaction of pulling off an amazing recovery shot out of the rough is every as satisfying as when doing it with a club and ball. Sony must be high-fiving around the 19th hole because this makes the Frisbee event in Wii Sports Resort look very poor in comparison.

Bocce
If you’ve played boules, or lawn bowls then you’ll know what to expect. Throw the jack (the PlayStation Move controller gives you a great deal of control over your throw - with easy to add so that you can place your balls wherever you fancy). Then try and get your main game balls as near to the jack as possible – blasting your opponents out of the way in the process if you can. The more balls you have nearer than your opponent, the more points you score. It isn’t the most exciting game on the planet but it looks good and plays well.

Volleyball
Volleyball on Sports Champions is probably the least fun, unless perhaps you wear a bikini and film yourself playing it!? You know the drill, throw the bouncy ball up to serve, block, smash and pass your way to victory. Repeat… It works well enough but probably won’t be the event that you come back to as much as the others.


The PlayStation Move gets off to a quality start with Sports Champions and as the inferior Wii Sports has sold millions worldwide, if there is any justice or gamers with taste then this should too. Excellent gameplay, top notch HD graphics and seamless quality multiplayer challenges coupled with addictive gameplay make this a true champion amongst sports games.

Darkmatters rating: ööööööööö (9 glorious sporting victories out of 10)

Monday, September 06, 2010

Darkmatters Review: The Last Exorcism


The Last Exorcism (15)

Dir. Daniel Stamm

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

“If you are a Christian and you believe in God, then you have to believe also in demons...”

This is the interesting premise put forward by the reverend Cotton Marcus (Patrick Fabian) – a man of the cloth who has somewhat lost his faith but who continues to preach and conduct lucrative exorcisms.

We join rev Marcus as he employs a film crew to follow him on his ‘last exorcism’ where he will give them inside info about his sham tricks that he uses to scare punters. He chooses a letter at random from a farmer in backwater Louisiana where Louis Sweetzer (Louis Herthum), a serious fundamentalist Christian believes his 16 year old daughter Nell (Ashley Bell) is possessed by a demon.

Before reading the details of the letter, Cotton tells the film crew that there are several things that most suspected possessions have in common – often involving cattle mutilations, and sure enough that is the main thing that farmer Sweetzer talks of in his plea for help.

What follows is the documentary shot of the visit, the exorcism and some very freaky things that occur on the Sweetzer farm. Is Nell actually possessed? Might there be something else sinister going on that could lead a young girl to do strange, seemingly unexplainable acts? Why is her brother so hostile to the preacher and the film crew? What’s the deal with the local minister who hasn’t seen the Sweetzers for the last two years after they fell out?

The Last Exorcism plays it straight for most of the film, building up an engaging sense of wrongness and unease. The characters are well defined and if you’re of a nervous disposition, you might well find yourself getting very on edge as events escalate to the point where even the doubting reverend has to re-evaluate his faith.

"Nell wasn't very keen on being made to watch Hostel pt 2 again"

Unfortunately for viewers, there just aren’t enough pure scares to justify the hype that producer Eli ‘Hostel’ Roth has been working hard to build up. There is also the matter of a rushed and unsatisfying ending sequence that feels like it was ripped from an entirely different film and stitched unconvincingly onto this wannabe spook-em-up. So what starts as a promising battle of belief, ends with an oddball climax that left most of the audience – including my mate Simon – shaking their heads in disbelief at the stupidity we’d just witnessed.

If you’re after exorcism based cinematic thrills – the original Exorcist is still by far your best choice, and even the recent Exorcism of Emily Rose delivers more supernatural bang for your buck than The Last Exorcism.

UNSEEN DELETED SCENE:

The Last Exorcism's demon is challenged to a battle by the ones from Emily Rose, An American Haunting and The Exorcist etc. The last demon standing wins the rights to appear in the sequel

Darkmatters rating: öööööö (6 freaky occurances out of 10)

Darkmatters quick reference guide: Action 6 / Style 7 / Babes 5 / Comedy 5 / Horror 7 / Spiritual Enlightenment 7


Sunday, September 05, 2010

PlayStation Move: PS3



PlayStation Move: PS3

Sony

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

LINK TO NEW MOVE GAME REVIEWS HERE

Controlling video games is changing (again) – ok so Nintendo shook things up when they launched the Wii and arm flapping madness swept the world… Who’d have thought that people would embrace leaping up and down, bingo wings akimbo trying to bowl / putt / drive with nothing but a couple of wireless nun-chucks?

With roughly two Wii’s sold world wide for every one PS3, Sony have decided that enough is enough and have harnessed the power of glowing balls to engineer a fight back which bring high definition graphics and pin point accuracy to the party…

The big question is will ‘Wii’ like this motion control–based gaming from the game changing master creators at Sony?

I got the chance to play PlayStation Move, and report back to you so that you can decide whether to trade in your Wii and join the PlayStation 3 party on September 17 (in the UK).

So what exactly do you need to play PlayStation Move – well there are of two essential parts:

A Sony ‘PlayStation Eye’ camera and at least one wireless, ‘PlayStation Move’ controller which looks like a smooth curved black wand (think Nintendo Wiimote – just with a cool glowing ball at the top).

In addition to these you can add a second Move Controller which can add lots of benefits to your gameplay experience and a PlayStation Move ‘Navigation Controller’, which you use to move around as it had a thumb stick – and all the buttons you find on the left hand side of the standard SixAxis DualShock controller.

Picking up the new kit will set you back £44.91 (all prices taken from Amazon.co.uk) for a starter pack which has a PlayStation Move Controller, PlayStation Eye Camera and a Demo Disc. Adding another Move Controller is £29.99 and an optional Navigation Controller is £17.99 – which makes starting to MOVE a good deal cheaper than a ‘no controller option for Xbox 360 called Kinect’, more satisfying too but that’s another story…
If you’re a PS3 virgin you can get a very cool bundle which gives you the Move starter pack and a PS3 320gb for £284.

"the guys rock their Move..."
Getting Moving…
The good news is that it is very simple to set up PlayStation Move. Charge the controllers (via the PlayStation 3's USB ports or your computer’s USB ports if you fancy), connect the PlayStation Eye camera – either on the PS3 or on your TV, depending on how your room is positioned.

From then on simply load up your chosen Move compatible game and point the Move Controller at the camera, hit the couple of buttons and your Move control will come to ball glowing, throbbing life. The PlayStation Eye camera will recognise the controller and you’re away, you can use the Move controller to navigate menus by holding the trigger (yes the move has sexy triggers on the underside) which is also known as the ‘T button’. You can even use the move to control the XMB menus – hold the T button, move the menu choice up / down or left / right and hit the ‘move’ button to make a selection.

The bad new is, erm, well there isn’t any bad news to report as yet, with rock solid functionality, no loss of signal or tracking, impressive battery life, sleek and very comfy controllers – Sony have delivered a potential death blow to competitor motion control systems.

What is there to play?
Move-enabled games are hitting alongside the hardware in the shape of Sports Champions, Start the Party and Kung Fu Rider (click the title to read the Darkmatters reviews of these). There are also patches coming to make existing games such as EyePet, Heavy Rain, Hustle Kings, Flower and RUSE work with Move. Then there’s The Fight (street fighting brawler), Resident Evil 5: Gold Edition, The Shoot (light gun game), SingStar +Dance (free your inner dancer) and big hitters such as Little Big Planet 2 which is like having millions of different games in one box and Killzone 3, SOCOM 4 and MAG which will redefine shooters with Move controls!? This is the start of something very special, it’s time to get very very excited because the PS3 really does now ‘only do everything’!?


Do it - do it now!

I wasn’t expecting the love the PlayStation Move as much as I do. I’ve never been a Wii fan and like to play my games chilling on a sofa not waving my arms in front of a TV… that has changed and after some extended (very addictive) sessions on Sports Champions and Start The Party – I’m a convert.

Darkmatters rating: ööööööööö (9 amazing move-ments out of 10)

If the move was a woman - it would probably be:

"could you handle the curves?"

As a strange little critter from Madagascar once said: “I like to move it, move it!” and if you invest in PlayStation Move – I’m certain you will too!

Read more about the Move here: http://uk.playstation.com/

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