Tag Archives: Assassins Creed

Character Unlock: E3 2017 Part Four – Ubisoft

As day three of E3 starts up and the guys have managed to get a few hours kip… it’s time for the Ubisoft conference.

As tiredness and hay fever appear to be getting the better of the boys, join them in going through the developer’s advert-fest for 2017.

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Character Unlock: War, Death, Fury and Gaming Funks

The seals have been broken and the armies of Heaven, Hell and Earth are locked in a battle to decide the fate of all eternity. Answering the call, your hosts John Miller and Andrew Brooker are here to make sense of the chaos that has ravaged the Earth.

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2017 in Review: January

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“Daddy’s gotta go to work.”

2017 has begun – and with it, my challenge to see a film a day for the duration of the year. 365 films before New Year’s Day 2018 should at least be a half decent way to watch a bunch of films that I either haven’t seen for ages or wouldn’t usually watch.

I tried and failed miserably last year, but I’m determined to make a decent go of it this time and so far, it is going pretty well. Months like this one would make it impossible to just list all the films I saw, there’s no way I can write that amount of film titles and make it interesting; so let’s try it this way.


expendablesWeek One

2017 started with a bang. We waited up for the fireworks and we watched a film. By 2am on the first day of the year film one, The Expendables, was in the bag. With a bunch of new films out that day, including Assassin’s Creed and A Monster Calls, my count was climbing nicely with, I shit you not, seven films done by the end of the day.

The rest of the week wasn’t that successful, but it honestly didn’t need to be. I had done a week’s worth of films on day one so everything from here was a bonus. A pair of Ted films and the end of The Expendables trilogy paved the way for us to start the next series on our pile of shame: The Fast and The Furious. We got through five of those movies in week one, dotted around shit sci-fi with Kill Command, a ghastly “horror” film in The Lesson and a surprisingly fun action revenge flick in I Am Wrath.

The first few days of the challenge ended with the surprisingly fun The Wolverine and the bloody awful Sisters. I’ve definitely had worse weeks.


avengersWeek Two

Back to work after the Christmas break meant no more cramming films during the day. But a new phenomenon was showing it’s head in our house. As well as the animated movies, my kid is wanting to watch the Marvel Cinematic Universe films. She’s been asking for ages to watch Avengers Assemble, so I let her. And she loved them. Now she’s going through a load of the films in the MCU, with varying degrees of success, and enjoying them for the most part. She asks for them, I add them to my count. Win-win.

A couple of Oscar-bait films with the ghastly La La Land and Manchester by the Sea early on before we finished off the last two Fast and Furious entries. A fun popcorn horror flick in the form of the silly The Windmill Massacre, followed by the cut to pieces waste of space The Bye-Bye Man. Topping them off with the umpteenth viewing of Rob Zombie’s 31.

The week ended with more preparation for upcoming sequels with the final cut of Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner. What a way to end the week.


xxx-return-of-xander-cageWeek Three

We have a pile of blu-rays stacked up next to the TV. It’s our pile of shame. I vowed to have it cleared by the end of January and dammit that’s what I’m trying to do. This week was all about a shit film or two at the cinema – xXx 3 the worst culprit – and banging through these films I keep buying but not watching.

In Bruges, V for Vendetta, La Femme Nikita and Captain America: Civil War filled our week nights nicely this week. With our own Nikita’s comic book film love spreading to asking for Spider-Man films, I’m starting to regret letting her watch them. But I can’t help it, I love the look of amazement on her face when she watches them. As shit as some of these films are; more for the list. Finally managed to find time to rewatch the awesome Krampus too.

A pretty productive seven days that ended with a triple-bill at the local Odeon. A family trip to see Sing, followed by Jackie and Lion that evening.


ghost in the shellWeek Four

Now things are getting complicated. It’s the first big game release of the year and I’m dying to play it. I now have to figure a way to balance playing Resident Evil VII with film watching this week. I’ve watched plenty so I’ve got some wiggle room, but this is where I got complacent last year. So a balancing act it has to be.

But a ton of MCU films in the evenings means that once the kid is in bed, it’s guilt-free xbox time! I’ve racked up an unbelievable number of films in the last few weeks, but it’s not over for January yet. For the first time in years I sat down and watched the classic Ghost in the Shell, a film that never stops being good. For the first time I watched it with the English dub and the voice work actually did more to persuade me that Scarlett Johansson will be worth watching in the remake.

This week also saw the Oscars nominations released, which gave me an enormous list of films to source and watch before the awards in a few weeks’ time. In a roundabout way, this led to chat about documentaries, which led to me rewatching (and the wife watching for the first time) last year’s Zero Days and the thoroughly depressing, life ruining 13th.

Cinema trips felt limited this week though. Although I finally got to see the outstanding Hacksaw Ridge and the thoroughly crap Denial; they were both overshadowed by last film I saw this month, the brilliant Moonlight – a film whose review I start writing the second I’m done with this.

Overall, a solid month. Saw some amazing movies and some real dross. But my count is looking good and healthy.

One month down, eleven to go.

Films seen this month: 60

Current count, as of 31st January: 60 of 365.

Character Unlock: The Great Switcheroo

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It’s business as usual this week as Character Unlock forgets the specials… Forgets the films… And forgets to do any form of planning.

In the latest episode of the video game-centric podcast, hosts John Miller and Andrew Brooker thank their lucky stars that the big conference detailing Nintendo’s latest console, the Switch, happened because otherwise they would have nothing to talk about. Shambolic as ever, the lads pick apart Nintendo’s new machine, the games that are/aren’t coming with it and the extra gubbins you need to buy just to make it worth owning. The guys wax lyrical on whether or not it’s worth picking one up at launch and whether the possibility of a new Xbox this year (that totally isn’t racist) is the better option when it comes to who gets their money.

In other news, there’s an attempt to tackle the cancellation of Platinum Games/Microsoft exclusive JRPG Scalebound’s cancellation and the closing of a studio near and dear to Brooker’s heart.

Also this week: John finally gets his hands on Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate; Brooker tries desperately to finish even one game from his pile of shame; and both prefer Madden to real life football at the moment. Such are the lives of these boring-ass gamers.

Join us again in two weeks so the guys can share stories of acting like frightened children after the release of Resident Evil VII.

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Character Unlock: The Assassin’s Pod

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So begins 2017, the year that will almost certainly end with our hosts ruining the podcast completely because they refuse to stop talking about their big games once they come out. Wondering how much time the lads can actually spend talking about Mass Effect and Horizon: Zero Dawn? Stick with us this year and find out.

But back to the present; with the Failed Critics guys having a well deserved week off (have you heard their stuff from the back end of the year? We’re surprised Owen is still standing) we have decided to fill in the film flavoured hole that they’ve left this week. What better way to do that with rolling in an Assassin’s Creed special that ends with us chatting about (and spoiling) the latest video-game adaptation?

Fresh from their New Years Eve hangovers, hosts John Miller and Andrew Brooker return to dissect the decade old stealth series and have invited Failed Critics regular and Assassin’s Creed super fan Brian Plank into our dark and dingy gaming basement to help us talk about the franchise that has moulded Ubisoft’s gaming model for nearly ten years.

Come spend some time with us as the boys enlighten you about their history with the Creed. What’s John’s favourite game in the series? Who is Brooker’s top Assassin? Is Brian a secret (American) psychopath? All this and more in our epic special.

Join us in a fortnight when we will… well, we don’t know. Join us in two weeks when there will be a podcast. About something. Shambolic as ever.

In the mean time, come find us on Twitter or Facebook (both @CharacterUnlock) and join in the conversation.

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Assassin’s Creed

“Your blood isn’t yours. It belongs to the creed.”

This is going to be tough. Video game adaptations come and go, mostly in a haze of their own dusty farts as they are tossed on the rubbish pile never to be talked of again. Those of us that love both films and games tend to watch them pass by with yet another feeling of bitter disappointment, as yet more of those games we love are mistreated and bastardised in the worst ways imaginable for the sake of a few multiplex dollars.

After last year’s blandly inoffensive but annoying Warcraft adaptation, Macbeth director Justin Kurzel found himself with the hopes of game lovers everywhere pinned to his part sci-fi, part historical action film, Assassin’s Creed.

This is especially true when it came to me, a self-confessed Assassin’s Creed super-fan who has adored the game franchise since it first appeared in 2007.

A convicted murderer sentenced to death, Callum Lynch (Michael Fassbender) wakes up from his apparent execution a prisoner of the Abstergo foundation, the modern day incarnation of the ancient Templar order. Forced into the Animus, a machine that allows a person to relive the memories of their ancestors, Lynch finds himself in 1492, living the life of his Assassin forefather Aguilar de Nerha, the last known protector of an artefact dating back to the origin of mankind with the power to control free will: The Apple of Eden.

As his sessions within the Animus continue, Callum finds himself becoming an Assassin. His memories and his ancestor’s skills bleed through to his present day self allowing him to harness the training Aguilar has both inside and outside of the machine. Under the guise of this program, being secretly run by Dr. Sophia Rikkin (Marion Cotillard) under the guidance of her father, Alan (Jeremy Irons), Abstergo is holding dozens more ancestors like Lynch as a collection of failed experiments, that they hope they have seen the end of now the Spanish assassin’s relative has arrived in their lab. Little do the Templars know that the captive brotherhood is not only plotting their escape from the facility, but planning to stop Lynch’s travels to the past from succeeding.

Between early reports that the film was badly balanced between the historical and futuristic scenes (not completely unlike the games, to be frank) and reading some poor early reviews, my expectations were severely lowered in the months leading up to this latest game-to-film release.

Maybe that helped the film a little.

There was never going to be any denying the prowess of everyone involved in the making of this movie, Kurzel and his composer brother Jed set almost every scene beautifully. Justin brings a veteran director’s gaze to a property that previously would have been handed over to a nobody just to churn out a film hoping to make back a few quid on the game they’d licensed – or worse, handed it to Uwe Boll. It’s a game series deserving of a quality helmer and I think it got that in Justin Kurzel. Aside from a bizarre choice in music for the film’s opening shots in Inquisition era Spain, his brother’s score does a magnificent job of elevating the direction to epic heights. At least, for the second half of the movie.

The opening hour feels like it’s dragging far more often than it feels well paced. A boring slog introducing elements – that need explaining to those in the cinema not savvy with the world so many of us have invested years of our lives in – almost kills the film dead in its tracks. It’s worth noting I saw the film with someone with absolutely no idea about about the game series, who said something very similar. And while that information dump and the very cool looking new Animus are appreciated, it came dangerously close to sending me to sleep. A glacial opening to set the scene and tone is all well and good, but this went on far too long and the closing fifty minutes worked very hard to send me out with a positive outlook on the film. And, for the record, I did walk out with a positive outlook.

Fassbender’s performance as the convicted murderer and his Assassin ancestor is a load of fun to watch. Any stunt double work is well hidden as his parkour moments and hand-to-hand combat are well filmed and excellent to behold. Excluding an absolutely mental moment as the film tries to convince us that Callum is losing his marbles as he breaks into song, his character was convincing and entertaining. Whether or not you think Mr Fassbender is stepping down a level or two to be in a video game movie, he still does a grand job.

Similarly, Marion Cotillard does sterling work as the scientist out to do good things with her time. Her, and her chemistry with Lynch, are very good and again, feels like she’s giving it her all in a film that wouldn’t necessarily deserve it. Sadly, Jeremy Irons and fellow inmate Michael K. Williams seem to be phoning in their performances; showing little to no care for what they are doing.

Overall, I did enjoy my time with Callum, Aguilar and Assassin’s Creed. But it’s not without its troubles. The aforementioned pacing issues and glaring problems with some music choices are at the top of a list that also includes a lack of care and attention to the source material; admittedly something only fans would see, but you made this for us, so treat us with a little respect.

A slightly above average film that I really enjoyed, but star power and fan service doesn’t make a great film without a little more substance. I would imagine someone with no familiarity with the games would get very little from this film, as pretty as it is.

Keep your eyes peeled on the Failed Critics and Character Unlock feeds in the coming week as we dissect Assassin’s Creed as a franchise before we review the film.

Character Unlock: The Horror… The Horror!

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As the nights draw in and the temperature drops, as the sweet cupboard fills up and the pumpkins are carved, it can only mean one thing… Halloween is just around the corner.

What better way to celebrate than giving knocking on people doors and stealing lollipops from small children a miss for a night and spending a bit of time comparing our favourite (and least favourite) scary games? John “The Madman” Miller and Andrew “Axe Murderer” Brooker are joined by their first guest, The X-Cast host and podcast veteran “Spooky” Tony Black (who managed to leave the podcast this week with an enormous list of must-play games). Together, the trio take on the first week of decent news since Character Unlock began and dig into what they’ve been playing since we last heard from them.

Our latest episode tackles the new Nintendo Switch announcement as the guys ponder the future of the console maker and try to decide whether or not their new console is worth spending money on. We talk about Red Dead Redemption 2, the game guaranteed to be the biggest release of whatever year it gets delayed to. And super fans Tony and Brooker forget they’re not on a film podcast and dissect the latest Assassin’s Creed movie trailer.

A plethora of newer releases get the What We’ve Been Playing treatment as Battlefield 1, No Man’s Sky and Gears of War 4 are all analysed within an inch of their lives as John falls in love with the World War 1 shooter, Tony gushes over futuristic management game and Brooker loves, but gets really angry, over the latest in the Gears franchise.

As the boys go through their good and bad horror game lists, it becomes apparent that they all needed to expand their scary game horizons a little bit and needed advice from listeners and followers to get a feel for what games they need to be playing – or hiding from.

Join us in a couple of weeks when our hosts ignore everything else and hope to still have listeners after they do a Call of Duty retrospective.

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Failed Critics Podcast: Nice Matte

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Hello listeners, what’s your boggle? We wouldn’t normally try to conjure up the image of a painted wall with the episode title, but we were somewhat shambolic this week, even by our own standards. With host Steve Norman suffering from agonising tooth ache during much of the recording, Owen Hughes and guests Andrew Brooker and Tony Black ran amok.

A new round of the quiz kicked the show off, pitting Steve against Brooker and Tony, with Owen in the quizmaster’s chair, before the group discussed the potential Fantastic Four sequel and latest Assassins Creed trailer. As ever, What We’ve Been Watching followed, as Owen revisited 90’s classic Demolition Man, Brooker spread the love for recently cancelled sitcom Undateable, and Tony returned to Superman.. er… Returns.

Only two new releases made their way onto the podcast. Brutal thriller Green Room was the main feature, but as penance for not seeing anything at all in the last seven days, Steve still attempted to review The Angry Birds Movie without having watched a single second of it. Luckily Brooker had seen it and was able to clarify a few minor points!

Before we leave you, we have just one request. No, it isn’t that you should review us on iTunes, especially not after this week’s shambles! But instead, if you’re on Facebook, sling us a quick vote in New Media Europe’s Best UK Podcast Award 2016, for which we have been nominated. One click of a check-box is all that’s required and will help us out enormously. Thank you! http://newmediaeurope.com/2016/nmeu-awards-2016-stage-1/

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