gamesread – Coco Review


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Seize your moment.

Both figuratively and literally, Coco is Pixar’s most human film. The movie delivers a compelling story centered around memorable characters that feel alive — even as they’re taking a journey through the Land of the Dead. The animation is top-notch as well, which adds to Coco’s effectiveness in telling its story.

The central conflict in Coco revolves around aspiring musician Miguel (newcomer Anthony Gonzalez) gaining new insights about his family’s history and their relationship to music. Miguel’s hometown has a rich musical history, but his family views music as a curse. Instead of singing songs and playing instruments, Miguel must put all of his energy into the family shoe business, which he despises. Miguel’s search for musical independence away from his family is deeply engaging.


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Throughout his adventure, Miguel must come to grips with the knowledge that what he thinks he knows about his ancestors may be inaccurate. The pains of growing up and learning harsh truths are powerful obstacles for Miguel to confront in the Land of the Dead. Miguel’s quest is about so much more than music. The theme of family and its importance is integral to Coco’s story, and whenever Miguel loses site of its significance, things go horribly wrong.

Gonzalez is incredible as Miguel, displaying a wide range of skills for an actor so young. He manipulates his voice in multiple ways to convey sadness or joy, and it speaks to his transformative abilities as an entertainer. An example of this can be found when Miguel is playing his guitar and singing along with his favorite musician, Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt). As he sings, the longing in his voice for a life outside the confines of his hometown is palpable. His emotions come through with each note that he belts out. There’s not a single moment where his performance falters.

Miguel’s companion through most of his journey in the Land of the Dead is Hector, played by the talented Gael Garcia Bernal (Mozart in the Jungle). Like Gonzalez, Bernal is fantastic, as he deftly creates Coco’s most complex character. He’s equal parts charm and insecurity, but to delve deeper into why the character is so rich would be to invite spoilers. The Mexican actor gives a weight and distinction to Hector’s voice that makes him seem wiser than his years. For someone who doesn’t have a lot of experience in voice-over work, Bernal distinguishes himself here.

The directors made an interesting and successful creative decision to include the prevalent use of Spanish language without including subtitles. It’s used in just the right way, so the viewer won’t feel lost in the moment, and with enough context clues for the audience to understand what is happening even if they don’t know what is actually being said. It’s one of many effective ways that the filmmakers embrace and celebrate the movie’s Mexican roots.


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As fine as many of the voice actors are, none of this gorgeous tale would work so well if not for its stellar animation. Disney Animation and Pixar keep one-upping each other year after year: Disney’s Moana was dazzling, but Pixar’s Coco kicks it up several notches with character models that look almost too real. The way the orange glow of the candles at a cemetery casts shadows over the faces of people visiting their loved ones is simply exquisite. Every frame — from Miguel’s hometown to the Land of the Dead — is brilliantly realized. The fact that you can see every wrinkle that outlines Mama Coco’s face in particular highlights the level of depth the animators are able to create. It’s scary at times how good Coco looks.

The Verdict

Pixar’s journey to the Land of the Dead was an ambitious undertaking, even for a studio that’s produced some of the best-animated films of the past 20 years. But Coco wonderfully explores familial themes, identity, and learning what it means to grow up in a world that isn’t perfect. Miguel’s trip is a representation of what it means to grow up and learn the truths about how life works outside the safe confines of home. Hector, Miguel and even the slobbery dog Dante are all characters I won’t soon forget.

IN THIS ARTICLE


Disney·Pixar’s Coco


Releases November 22, 2017

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Animal Crossing Pocket Camp Cheats – The gamesread Show #328


We kick off this week’s show with some absurd stories of dealing with people in cell phone stores before shifting gears to some of the biggest recent news stories in the world of iOS gaming. We actually recorded this yesterday, so we weren’t able to talk about our iPhone X preorder experiences but we had a 50% success rate with Jared getting his in a few weeks. As far as games are concerned, the ones we hit on this week were Animal Crossing Pocket Camp [AU Soft Launch], ICEY [$2.99], FROST [$4.99], Blocky Farm [Free], and Squashy Bug [Free].

Don’t forget to shoot us emails with any questions, feedback, or anything else relevant or irrelevant to [email protected] We read ’em all, and love decoding messages written entirely in emoji. As always, you can listen to us with the links below… And if you like what you hear, please subscribe and/or drop us a review in iTunes. Much appreciated!

As a companion to this audio podcast, we also do a video version of the same show that is exclusive to Patreon which allows you to see us playing the games we’re talking about. Backers can view the most recent video episodes of the TouchArcade show by clicking here. Be sure you’re logged in to see the latest content. For everyone else who is curious, you can check out our public patreon posts to see older episodes of the video podcast. If you like what you see, consider becoming a TouchArcade Patreon backer.

 

iTunes Link: The TouchArcade Show
Stitcher: The TouchArcade Show via Stitcher Radio for Podcasts [Free]
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Direct Link: TouchArcadeShow-328.mp3, 71MB

Ship of Heroes: Hands on Character Creation Alpha Review – gamesread.com

Ship of Heroes: Hands on Character Creation Alpha Review - gamesread.com

The Ship of Heroes team has delivered yet another milestone, and yours truly had the chance to be right in the middle of it. Their first round of the alpha testing of the Ship of Heroes Character Creation Tool has completed, and screenshots of actual player created characters have been revealed. Including some of one of my own! 
 

Ship of Heroes: Hands on Character Creation Alpha Review - gamesread.com

“We opened up the CCT to a diverse group of supporters, and let them create original characters, using the three finished character models that we have in the game,” said Casey McGeever, CEO of Heroic Games.  “We’ve received over three hundred distinct suggestions, bug reports, and insights from this Alpha test – feedback we are happy to fold into our development schedule as we continue to push forward the efficient development of an outstanding, fun to play game.”

They released a preliminary beta testing report earlier today, and by all accounts, the testing went well. There were no reported technical issues, and I can personally confirm that I had no troubles with the creator at all. I was able to download, install and jump into it to start my first character within 10-15 minutes of receiving the link. It was tested on a wide array of devices and computer buillds, and across several different operating systems – all without a hitch. Which means, can I have a drum roll here, the devs are confident that they are on track for the scheduled beta launch at the end of 2018.
 

Ship of Heroes: Hands on Character Creation Alpha Review - gamesread.com

So how was it?

I was initially blown away when I opened it up and took a look at all the facial sliders. It has sliders for just about everything on the face, even things as interesting as setting the overall basic facial shapes like how heart-shaped, square or round the placement of the features. You can control the curve of the lips, the shape of the folds around the eyes, and fine tune multiple different areas of the nose. You add in a squint, a slanted smile, bulbous noses and ears, protuding brows or create a more elegant classic look. There are over 300 morphs that can be applied to each character, which allows for some impressive variation. I happily spent several hours just playing around with all of them, and of course, seeing a bunch of the powers that I'd never seen before didn't hurt either! My beloved Darkness!!
 

Ship of Heroes: Hands on Character Creation Alpha Review - gamesread.com

So let's crack open the hood and look inside. The first screen that pops up is the character archetype screen, followed by powers. I didn't expect to see a selection of powers! But the selection was really interesting, and of course, a large segment of time was taken up as I read through every powerset. 

Then you move into making the actual character's appearance. The face customization blew me away. I have seen a lot of comments about how the actual body needs more sliders, but aside from wanting to boost up my boob size, I was happy with what was there. Where I felt the creator is lacking are in the artistic additions. It is definitely shy on hairstyles and colors, eye colors, skin shades, and costume pieces. But at the same time, at this stage in the game's development, that's really to be expected. A rock solid foundation is what's needed at this point, the extra visuals can be added later – and the devs have already communicated their awareness of this and intention to add in more.

And to prove it, I will present some more shots of the first character I created.
 

gamesread – Recent DDOS Attacks and Compensation

Dear Albion Community,

In the first two weeks post launch, our servers had some performance issues, causing frequent reboots and some zones in the game being unavailable due to overcrowding. We have announced compensation for this here.

Unfortunately, on Saturday, August 5th, we had a short DDOS attack followed by an extortion attempt, which we of course did not comply with and immediately reported to the relevant law enforcement agencies.

This was followed by heavy DDOS attacks from Sunday, August 6th onwards. Properly defending against well-executed DDOS attacks is a very challenging task, and far harder than a quick Google search might suggest. In close collaboration with leading experts in the field, we are making significant progress. Recent attacks have impacted the server's performance, but generally were not successful in bringing it down. Our defenses are constantly being optimized and fine-tuned. Having said that, we are not in a position to give the "all clear" just yet.

To compensate players for the outages caused by the past days' DDOS attacks, we are awarding an additional 7 days of premium time to all characters that played with active premium any time between July 17th and August 11th (UTC time). This means that those premium characters who had also been affected by the server issues immediately post-launch will now get 14 days extra premium time in total.

The compensation will be given out during the daily maintenance tomorrow, August 12th.

The ongoing server attacks are extremely frustrating for all players. Tackling them is our utmost priority. We will certainly get them under control, and expect to make further progress of the coming days.

Some of you might be worried about the long-term impact of the server issues on the future of the game. Our philosophy here is quite simple: We have always believed and consistently communicated that Albion Online is a game with a long-term focus. We have been working on the game 5 years, with the goal that it shall be successful 5 or even 10 years down the road. What counts is the longstanding quality and longevity of the game, and not just riding the hype wave around release. While the release hype has of course taken a hit due to the attacks, in the long term, it won't matter, as the lasting success of a game is solely dependent on how good it is.

So, let's fix the current issues, and get on with it!

You will hear from us again once the DDOS attacks have been fully dealt with. Until then, you can follow the current server status here or by following our new Twitter account @AlbionService.

Your Albion Online Team

gamesread | Costume Design Contest 2017 – Player Voting Period

Vote for the grand prize winner of the Blade & Soul Costume Design Contest by August 7!

We received hundreds of phenomenal entries for the Blade & Soul Costume Design Contest, and as we expected picking the finalists was not easy! Staff from across multiple NCSOFT studios voted for their favorite designs, and the final eleven entries have been chosen for you to vote on.

Now it’s your turn! Head to the official forums to see the top 11 finalists and vote on the design you’d like to see become an actual costume in Blade & Soul. Be sure to cast your votes on your favorite designs this week, as voting will close on August 7 at 10am PDT.

All the finalists will be receiving Hongmoon Coin and the exclusive community events costume, Kindred Soul. Once the grand prize winner has been selected by the community vote, their design will be created into an in-game costume for everyone to wear within Blade & Soul.

 

Thank you to all artists who took the time to submit a costume! We’ll be uploading all qualified entries as a Facebook gallery after voting ends. We look forward to announcing this years’ Costume Design Contest winner on August 7 on www.bladeandsoul.com after the votes have been counted. 

gamesread – Clutch Baron Steal In League Match Is Almost Better Than Winning

Securing a Baron kill can often swing a game of League of Legends in either team’s favor. In today’s matches in the League Master Series in Taiwan, ahq e-Sports’ jungle player made a flashy play to take the advantage for himself.

In a best-of-three against Flash Wolves, ahq had lost their mid player and were trying to contest Baron Nashor, the large purple beast that grants a boost in power to whatever team manages to take it down.

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Waiting patiently in the bushes, jungle player Hsue “Mountain” Chao-Hong waited until the most opportune moment to strike. Taking advantage of Lee Sin’s mobility options and his Smite spell, Hsue zipped in and stole the Baron for his team.

Lee Sin is a very mobile champion, as he can both dash to enemies using his Q ability and to allies or wards using his W. Combining that with Flash, a universal spell that allows players to teleport a short distance, Hsue was able to dash in from afar, before Flash Wolves’ jungle player was able to use their own Smite to secure the Baron kill.

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Ahq would go on to lose the game to Flash Wolves, and the series closed out 2-1 in Flash Wolves’ favor. LMS matches are wrapped up for the day, but Europe and North America battle on in week four of the summer split throughout the weekend on the EU and NA LCS channels.

Lords of the Fallen 2 Director Sacked, Project Size Reduced – gamesread.com


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Don’t hold your breath.

Lords of the Fallen 2’s director has been let go, and the size of the sequel to 2014’s action RPG drastically reduced by developer CI Games.

“I was let go because of a reduction in team, in scope, in budget, in business approach,” Tomasz Gop told Eurogamer. 

“Almost two years I’ve been working on the sequel and I have not seen it leave the concept/vision stage. I was working on something I was really 100 per cent into and we were not producing the game.

“There came a time when Sniper [Ghost Warrior 3] was the most important thing for CI, the next big hit. It also might have been the reason why Lords was not progressing as fast. Of course it’s not uncommon knowledge that [SGW3] didn’t go exactly according to plan, especially if it goes for sales. And here we are.”

Sniper Ghost Warrior 3’s shortcomings, which included poor graphics, technical issues, and a lack of multiplayer at launch, have been put down to its overly ambitious scope.

“The market is really changing, because you see some major releases, the real blockbusters, doing great numbers, but then you have games that are called triple-A but in fact they’re not triple-A by today’s standards – maybe they were by three year’s ago standards – and they are suffering by not really selling as many units as anyone projected,” CI Games head Marek Tyminski told the site.

“Definitely Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 is one of them but there are several examples, even lately – without me telling you which games I’m talking about there are definitely several examples. So the market is changing, it’s consolidating among the largest releases.

“Considering that, I don’t see CI Games being able to, in the near future, raise even more the production budget and marketing budget and really being able to compete at that blockbuster level. But definitely the studio’s ambitions, and the people who are working for CI, we definitely want to make great games.”

Tyminski told Eurogamer that “a very small team” is currently working on the sequel.

Lords of the Fallen 2 was originally expected to launch this year; looks like we’ll be waiting a while to see it come to fruition, if it comes to fruition at all.

Lucy O’Brien is Games & Entertainment Editor at IGN’s Sydney office. Follow her on Twitter.

 


gamesread | E3 2017: Yakuza Kiwami Is The Generous HD Remake Yakuza Deserves


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This is how you do a remake.

A remake of the first Yakuza game, which was originally released in 2005 for PS2, Yakuza Kiwami is a generous package. In addition to rebuilding the entire game from scratch in the newer engine that was used for the 2015 prequel Yakuza 0, the story has also been expanded, giving fresh insight into the travails of stoic central hero Kazuma Kiryu.

It also creates a bigger role for fan-favorite antagonist Goro Majima, who now pops up in surprising and sometimes ludicrous locations throughout the game while disguised as a cop or even a gaudily dressed hostess to offer a challenging battle.

The combat has been upgraded too. Kiryu now has a selection of four fighting styles to play with, imported from Yakuza 0, bringing even more depth to what was already a well fleshed-out game. The violence is brutal and unflinching, as Kiryu stomps his opponents’ heads into the pavement or beats them with a bicycle, all performed with simple yet satisfying combo presses.

This is actually the third iteration of the original Yakuza, after an HD remaster for PS3 and Wii U in 2012/13. But on PS4, the mean streets of fictional Tokyo red light district Kamurocho (closely based on the real-life Kabukicho) are rebuilt and rendered in 1080p at 60fps. The game was already a visual spectacle in 2005, but on PS4 it looks fantastic, treading the line between lifelike facial expressions and stylized visual design.

The story follows gangster Kiryu as he spirals further into a dark underworld of crime and corruption, fighting (literally) to clear his name after falling foul of the powerful Tojo Clan and to protect a 9-year-old orphan girl named Haruka, who has been sucked in to the central drama. A masterclass in videogame storytelling, it presents an intriguing tale via dramatic cut scenes with a script and voice acting to rival the best in yakuza cinema. Nothing has been cut from the Japanese original, so you get the full experience.

Throw in an expanded selection of mini-games such as claw machines, roulette, batting centers, toy racecars, card games, karaoke and more, and you have a package that will keep you busy for quite some time – at least until the newer title Yakuza 6 arrives in the West in early 2018.

Daniel is Chief Editor at IGN Japan. He is nearly as good at karaoke as Kazuma Kiryu.


gamesread | Twilight Spirits Is Launching on Steam at the End of This Month

gamesread | Twilight Spirits Is Launching on Steam at the End of This Month

Twilight Spirits is NetEase Games' new action MORPG that will start open beta in China on June 29th. The game will be also available on Steam around the end of June, most likely on the same date the Chinese open beta starts. It's a shame that the Steam version doesn't support English language but the good thing is it doesn't block IP.

The game is all about simple but exciting combat and it won't have open world, raid, race, and character creation, but has instance-based gameplay and boss battles. And of course it has a good story. Games that are similar to Twilight Spirits are Vindictus and Dragon Nest.

Related: Twilight Spirits Chinese Open Beta Register & Download Guide

gamesread | Escape from Tarkov Announced Closed Beta Time

Russian developer Battlestate Games' realism-focused, story-driven FPS / MMO hybrid Escape from Tarkov will enter closed beta stage in July 2017. Players who pre-ordered the game will automatically get the access to play the CBT to take a look at the new features including a new map, weapon parts, new loot, economy rebalancing and the insurance system, etc.
 
Escape from Tarkov not just has realistic, hardcore gameplay but also stunning graphics. Watch the alpha gameplay video below.
 

 
New Gameplay Features in the Closed Beta:

  • Insurance – For a small amount of in game currency, players can insure weapons and equipment, increasing the chance of retaining it
  • Loot and Economy – The CBT will feature a new Merchant, new barter loot, medicines and additional useful items for players to buy, sell and trade. Economic balancing means items will be made available in marketplaces for barter and in loot drops based on their popularity and rarity within the economics system
  • Weapons – New weapon customization parts and ammunition types, along with the addition of the modern-classic MP5 submachine gun will offer players even more customizations in the game that prides itself on making thousands of weapon combos and upgrades possible
  • Locations – There will be a total of four locations available to play- Customs, Woods, Factory and Shoreline – all with different sizes and terrains. The Shoreline location will be newest and biggest map addition to the CBT.
  • General Chat – Chat channels will be available to all players online in the game, allowing players to share useful information and group up for raids.

gamesread | Escape from Tarkov Announced Closed Beta TimeThe game's storyline takes place in the Russian city of Tarkov, which has been sealed off by roadblocks and plunged into chaos as warfare rages between private military companies throughout the urban battlefield. Escape from Tarkov's Hazardous Environment Combat Simulator employs a number of custom system modules to create incredibly immersive gameplay and make players feel the reality of their surroundings. Combatants will be able to customize their weapons, creating nearly-limitless, though realistic, combinations of weapon features, while learning skills that can improve, or, in a new twist, degrade over time, depending on how much use they get from players.

gamesread | Escape from Tarkov Announced Closed Beta Time