Ghost Recon: Wildlands Beta Review

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Ghost Recon: Wildlands is currently live for a limited beta play-through before the full game goes live on March 7th and while the onset saw major server issues and lengthy maintenance delays, it seems, for most players, the beta is now in full swing.

Wildlands has you playing as a special forces soldier whose main aim is to wipe out a major Mexican drug cartel in future day Bolivia.  An open world game, Wildlands puts you at the drivers seat in a “choose your own adventure” kind of way as you decide how you and your team will go about taking out the cartel.

Before getting into any game play, your first task is to create your character.  The customization options gave me mixed feelings, offering a wide range of options on some items and no where near enough options on others.  As someone who – when given the chance to – plays as a female character, I have to give props to Ubisoft for the range of female faces offered to choose from.  While none are worthy of being recruited as a Victoria’s Secret model, the number of “nice looking” faces outnumber the swamp donkey ones, though the option to choose race and skin color is locked to each style.  There’s a small amount of face paints and scars to choose from and the tattoo’s add a gritty edge to your character.

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Outfits and accessories are fitting for the games genre and most allow for color and/or pattern changes to suit the look you’re going for.  Where Ubisoft dropped the ball in customization is hair options.  While I haven’t checked out those open for male characters, the females have seven options, all of which are sadly, very masculine.  From a stock standard bun to short cornrows to fully shaved to a tiny ponytail, all are rather disappointing and don’t seem to look that decent unless covered with a headset (see top image) or with a hat.  While i’m not asking for long Rapunzel hair, the argument of avoiding clipping is moot considering the hair assortment (long and short) sported by the NPC’s running around town.

Wildlands game play feels very smooth and while the controls took some time to get used to, everything from shooting to running and climbing were seamless, however driving felt very different to what has been found in similar games.  While controlling your vehicle is pretty much standard, I found not only did it take quite a lot of damage to completely total your vehicle but also, whatever you’re driving has the ability to literally climb mountains.

As if unaffected by the rocky and bushy landscape, the car I had stolen and literally drove over a cliffs edge was able to easily climb right back up to where it had fallen from.  Handy if you loose control or need to make a quick shortcut to get across to the other side of the map, but the feel of this goes against what we know and what we’d expect.

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Even flying a helicopter – something I always try and avoid – was very simple though trying to maintain a steady climb and decent push forward in a straight line felt fiddly and quite slow.

Environment interaction was more miss than hit.  As stated, the ability to drive up the side of a rocky mountain is odd and my helicopter wasn’t affected by the trees I steered it through.  The NPC’s wandering around manage to, for the most part, be quick enough to jump out of the way of my speeding and slightly out of control car but killing an NPC with a weapon can prove costly and have repercussions on a mission.

The missions open during the beta were pretty stock standard too but the ability to decide how you go about it was a nice addition.  While the main mission is always there, upon finding some intel at a rebel location, you can choose either scouting for more supplies, upgrades or another rebel base as you are never forced to play the main arc.

4 player co-op is also up and running for Wildlands and I had no issues hopping onto a live game with three randoms but relinquishing control to someone else can be frustrating and boring especially when you find yourself a passenger in a vehicle being driven from one side of the map to the other for a quick shoot and run mission.  I imagine playing with friends would be much more rewarding.

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For the most part, my time spent on the Ghost Recon: Wildlands beta was more positive than negative but the mission repetition can become mundane and to put it bluntly, was nothing really not seen before in games before (I am playing Metal Gear Solid V and the similarities are insane).  The open world environment is lush and vast and smooth game play will keep you going for a short while but with little to unlock or aim for (weapons and additions to your character), the steam behind Wildlands could run out quickly for players who have pretty much seen this all before.

Ghost Recon; Wildlands beta ends Monday Feb 27th will the full game launching Tuesday March 7th.

Jakks Pacific Joins the DC SuperHero Girl Line

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Warner Bros. Consumer Products, in partnership with DC Entertainment are expanding their DC Superhero Girl line to bring Wonder Woman and co to every household worldwide with a global expansion of the brand’s licensing and merchandising program.  The program has seen the line grow to more than 30 categories including toys, costumes, apparel, accessories, publishing and stationery with licenses granted to Funko, Crayola and Pez Candy among others.

Budget toy maker Jakks Pacific has been tapped by Warner Bros. Consumer Products to create a retail line for the DC Super Hero Girls universe and now Jakks seem to have come up with the goods with the first batch of good to be released under the multi-year global licencing deal, revealed for the upcoming 2017 NY Toy Fair.

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  • DC Toddler Dolls: Adorable toddler dolls each dressed in an iconic DC Super Hero outfit including, Wonder Woman, Batgirl and Supergirl – each doll has rooted hair and comes with accessories such as belts, cuffs, masks, headpieces and shoes.

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  • DC Super Hero Girls – Everyday Dress-Up: Girls can now master their super powers with the Everyday Dress-Up assortment. These two-piece outfits include key accessories like masks, headbands, headpieces or arm cuffs.

A line of capes with Wonder Woman, Kitana and Bumblebee, along with designer superhero face applique and temporary tattoo packs are also due for release.

But it’s the announcement of a new line of DC Superhero Girls dolls that have people talking!

The new line-up by Jakks Pacific will include four characters, each measuring a whopping 18″ with 14 points of articulation and will be exclusive to Toys ‘r’ Us with a price point of $34.99 each.  While Supergirl, Wonder Woman and Bumblebee will be fit out in designs very similar to their Mattel counterpart, Batgirl looks set to be given an overhaul, sporting a look very similar to her classically iconic Batgirl ’66 look.

Jakks Pacific will officially unveil all during NY Toy Fair and has stated these products are slated to hit US stores this fall.

Archie Goes Dark and Broody in Riverdale

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Archie Andrews (KJ Apa) and his father Fred  Andrews (Luke Perry)

There’s a sort of “you-know-what-you’re-getting” vibe when it comes to the world of Archie via the wildly popular classic comic strip with Archie and best friend Jughead continuously getting into mischief while Betty and Veronica bicker over the affections of the larrikin red head.  When it comes to the world of Archie Andrews in the new drama series Riverdale, what we get is the complete opposite of what we would expect.

The quiet and quaint town of Riverdale goes into a complete meltdown after the mysterious disappearance of local high school student Jason Blossom which forces the dark hidden hands of the townsfolk to slowly emerge.

The best way to think of Riverdale is Archie meets Dawson’s Creek meets Pretty Little Liars and it is this mix of shows that gives viewers a lot to take in within Riverdale’s opening episode.

Archie Andrews (KJ Apa) is struggling to find even ground for his promising football career and his wishful music career while trying to keep his woeful father Fred Andrews (Luke Perry) happy and his feelings for his music teacher Miss Grundy (Sarah Habel), with whom he had a summer fling with, hidden.  His best friend Betty Cooper (Lili Reinhart) has romance in her eyes for her read headed best friend but her uppity mother Alice Cooper (Mädchen Amick) is trying to stop Betty from venturing out at any cost.  Jughead Jones (Cole Sprouse) is a moody, brooding writer, taking notes about the mysterious disappearance that happened over the past summer while new girl in town Veronica Lodge (Camila Mendes) makes an impact right from her first meeting with the Riverdale gang before she locks lips with both Betty and Archie.

Splattered into this modern world of Archie, additional characters from the comic series including the flashy and gay Kevin Keller (Casey Cott), bitchy and privileged Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch)  and lead singer of high school band Josie and the Pussycats Josie McCoy (Ashleigh Murray) all appear to shake things up in the once peaceful town.

This fresh take on Archie, made for the modern era teen, is a rather swell surprise that will fit easily into the viewing habits of those watching PLL or fans of Gossip Girl and even the failed Melrose Place remake.  Secrets, lies, murder, scandals….it’s all going down in Riverdale.

Riverdale is currently streaming on Netflix Australia.

It’s Official: Josh Thomas’s Please Like Me is no More.

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It was the show that introduced comedian Josh Thomas into households worldwide, brought us Wade Briggs and the return of Aussie favorite Debra Lawrence to our screens and moved Home and Away familiars Charles Cottier and Jackson Gallagher into more mature acting roles – Please Like Me, sad to say, is not coming back.

Local Aussie comedy and favorite of ThePophub.com, Please Like Me, created, written by and starring Josh Thomas will not be coming back for a fifth season today in news confirmed by Josh via his official Facebook page.

The final episodes of season four, which aired in December last year, brought about some major changes for Thomas’s character and those around him including the shock suicide of his mother (Debra Lawrence) and the end of Tom (Thomas Ward) and Ella’s (Emily Barclay) relationship which eventually saw best friends Josh and Tom reunited in Josh’s million dollar inner-city apartment.

It was changes that would either lead into a empty canvas season five or close out the show with all loose ends tied – the latter, it seems, is what won out.

The show picked up steam and a mass of new followers when US based cable network Pivot joined forces with Thomas and the ABC to keep the show continuing into a second and third season before the network closed up with Please Like Me‘s fourth season moving to popular streaming service Hulu.

Please Like Me is also finding new audiences world wide as it is added the Netflix catalog of shows to stream.

ABC’s Good Game Cancelled After 10 Year Run

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Good Gae hosts Steven ‘bajo’ O’Donnell and Stephanie ‘Hex’ Bendixsen.

ABC’s long running video game review show Good Game has officially been axed after a successful ten year run on the network.

Announced earlier today (Tuesday Jan 31st), the decision seems to have come out of no where with fans expecting the show to resume as per normal for it’s eleventh year in mid February.  The shows spin-off – Good Game: Spawn Point airing on ABC ME – looks set to continue on, but it’s currently unclear in what format.

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The announcement via their Facebook page attributes the cancellation to that of ‘two of the key presenters perusing other opportunities’ and how audiences are choosing to obtain information about gaming.  The two hosts leaving are Stephanie ‘Hex’ Bendixson and Nich “Nichboy” Richardson.

Good Game’s other spin-offs including Good Game: Well Played which covers esports and Good Game: Pocket, a daily news and gameplay show will not be returning either.

The Great, The Good and The Bad of XCOM 2 on Consoles.

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Character customization gets an A+ in XCOM 2

Aliens have invaded Earth and under the guise of peace and unity – and with the help of some alien loving humans – are planning to overtake the human race.  It’s up to you, your crew on the Avenger and your soldiers to take them out and restore mankind.

XCOM 2 took just on seven months to hit consoles after its initial PC release and came onto the console gaming market with little to no fanfare.  No Call of Duty-esque midnight launches, no major pre-order exclusive deluxe collectors edition, it just suddenly appeared.  Perhaps that’s why it took me until now to discover the game?

As someone who had never delved into the world of strategy based games, I was heading into XCOM 2 with hesitation.  Strategy, turn based based games, to me, are cumbersome and frustrating and just…well….slow.  Such is not the case with XCOM 2.

Let’s take a look at the great, the good and the bad of XCOM 2.

THE GREAT:

The Character Pool/Character Creation: Almost a 10 out of 10.  It’s what actually drew me to the game in the first place.  The inclusions of everything from hair style and color, race, skin color, outfit and armor options, upper and lower face props, full name and nickname, tattoos and face paint, nationality, face type and accent (there’s even two male and two female Australian accents) make this one of the best in-game character creations seen to date (I’d love to see this type of customization within a first person shooter multiplayer type game!).  The only negatives I found within this section would be the mass of ‘less than attractive’ faces and the fact the armor you build later on into the game all but dispose any clothing you clad your soldier out with at the start of the game.

The characters you create via the character pool and then randomly fed to you from the onset and then, depending how you assigned them, can pop up either on your recruitment list or as VIP’s that need rescuing.  The only odd thing that I came across was any created soldiers set as the ‘psi operative’ never actually retained that class when recruited.

Character Familiarity: As it goes, by creating your team from scratch, you get a feel for your soldiers and become attached and build an intimacy with them.  Something that is grandly missing from most games.  Some players use friends and family members, me, I used characters from GI Joe and X-Men to build my team, and when those characters level up you feel proud and when you make a bad move and they are killed in action, you’re genuinely sad and annoyed.

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‘Dazzler’ finds things got a little close for comfort.  XCOM 2

Play Style and Speed: Offering a mix of standard objective turned based matches and limited move matches, the speed in which you play is surprisingly lightning fast though you do have a say in just how stretched out a mission can go.  Some missions have you trying to extract a VIP within 8 moves while others have no such limitations allowing you to spend more time setting up excellent ambushes and ensuring your team make it out alive.

The game play also offers a mix of above map viewing and 3rd person animation as the camera pans right into your soldiers when making an action that showcases off their look, style and props.

You Vs The UFO:  As you go about your way around the map, sporadically, a red UFO begins to hunt you down until it finally takes down your ship.  What ensues is easily one of the best missions in the game that sees your soldiers verse wave after wave of aliens until you can knock out their signal beacon and depending on the size of your recruited squad, can see you controlling upwards of 13 plus soldiers within the mission.

THE GOOD:

Unlocking Locations:  It took me about 5 attempts of playing and about an hour of reading before I fully understood how to go about the map and opening and connecting communications with other countries.  This part of the game goes hand in hand with building up your ship (called The Avenger) and if played right, can see you interlock the entire map before the Avatar project (the aliens secret plans) reaches its full potential.

The Avenger:  The task of clearing out rooms on your ship and fitting them with new useful rooms such as laboratories, power relays and communication outlets unite with how much you can do on the world map though working out what needs to be done and when (and with how many supplies needed to do so) can be frustrating.  Need to hit that glowing red alien base in New Australia?  First you’ll need to make contact with the region, but you’ll need to ensure you have enough communication outlets to do so and also enough power in the power relay to accomplish that.  Everything you do ties in with another item.

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The Enemy:  There’s a nice assortment of enemies you’ll encounter as you make your way across the globe.  From easy to pick off Advent soldiers to mind controlling sectoids to tongue grabbing vipers and a alien sphere called a gatekeeper, each one alters just how you’ll play the mission.

Overwatch:  Allowing your soldiers to sit on ‘overwatch’ and take an automatic pot shot at an enemy as they pass by their line of sight is that blessing in wolfs clothing that can either bring you to cheer in excitement or scream at your screen.  The hit rate on overwatch is laughable to say the least but when it does work, can help you move about your game with much more ease.

DLC: There are four DLC packs for XCOM 2, all of which add a great new element to the game.  The Resistance Warrior Pack includes new outfits (which can be difficult to find), head gear, armor and cammo plus a new recruit.  The Anarchy’s children pack includes over 100 new customization options from clothing to hair, armor cammo and props while Alien Hunters and Shen’s Last Gift introduce a new mission that unlocks new armor and a new class of soldier.

THE BAD:

Hit rate: Soldier X has a 98% chance to hit their target….yet misses.  I don’t full understand how those behind XCOM 2 set the hit rate ratio out but it’s a flaw that seems to have been around since the original XCOM.  Having your soldier face to face with an enemy, a 90% plus chance to hit and then a miss occurs causes literal outrage from players though to be fair, the hit rate for the enemy isn’t much better (though it does feel like it!). Training and upgrading your soldiers play no part in how well they hit their target either, only random weapon upgrades dropped by aliens (and offer a 15% advantage) come into effect.

The Ending:  Without spoiling, I was horribly let down by how XCOM 2 ended.  Countless hours spent cultivating my team (I only lost 4 soldiers in my most recent play through), numerous enemies killed off, the ridiculously testing final mission only to have the game offer a short end of game, mission successful video and BAM!  Roll credits.  I was left there wondering about my massive team and what happened to them?  What about the Avenger? Granted there’d be no more missions but the ending left me feeling cold and shut off from my team.

Replay-ability:  Having restarted the game numerous times, I quickly discovered that while your path may alter, the final aim remains the same and no matter how altered that path may be, you’ll still end up doing the same missions and unlocking the same territories, just in a different order.  XCOM 2 does offer up a multiplayer option, but i’m yet to find a single match open for play.

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Character Pool:  The Character pool itself sit’s in my ‘great’ section above but the lack of ability to share created soldiers with other players is somewhat odd and is why it also sits down here.  You have the option to import XCOM 2 developers into your game, but no option to share and showcase your marvelous creations with anyone not creative enough to create their own or with someone wanting to add  some fresh content is confusing.

Overall, for someone who had never delved into this type of gaming, I found XCOM 2 to be enthralling, challenging and rewarding, more-so than I ever thought possible.  While it can be a little buggy and the load times yawn inducing, there’s not too many flaws within the game.

XCOM 2 is available on PC and XBOX One and PS4 Consoles.

Best of 2016: TV Characters

Standing out is hard to do in a television land that is as wide and varied as it is today.  In most cases, it’s the lead who takes front and center and other times, it’s those side characters who just pull you in and make you love them.

From an actress and a single mother trying to balance work and home life to a brassy best friend who tells it like it is to a family keeping many secrets to an actress blurring the lines between acting and reality, check out my list of the 12 best TV Characters for 2016.

12: Doris (Ali Wong) – American Housewife [New Entry]

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Playing on her ‘non threatening Asian diversity’ within the snooty town of Westport, Doris (Ali Wong) has been able to share the dismissive views of best friend Katie (Katy Mixon) while also being able to mingle with the popular green-smoothie-drinking fit moms, who Katie literally hates.  Doris has no qualms about pushing her take-no-prisoners, hands on approach to parenting (which involves lots of yelling and eating strange meats in broth) onto Katie’s children.

11: Marcia Clark (Sarah Paulson) – American Crime Story [New Entry]

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Finding herself playing in the big league with the OJ Simpson trial, Marcia Clark (Sarah Paulson) found herself facing a giant brick wall right from the go.  From her personal dealings of a crumbling marriage and a nasty custody battle to how she dressed and did her hair for court, Clark, it seems was never going to win.  Thrust into the public eye, Paulson’s Clark offered up a deeper and thoughtful look into the most talked about woman of the time that was often overlooked for lesser, inessential topics.

10: The Morgans – Home and Away [New Entry]

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When Tori Morgan (Penny McNamee) first appeared in Summer Bay as the new doctor, none of us were prepared for the overloaded baggage she was hiding – her and her brothers (James Stewart, Jackson Heywood and Orpheus Pledger) were in witness protection.  Their parents killed by top dogs within a drug syndicate, their covers were blown, had no one they could trust and faced having to run again.  The Morgans added a major dash of drama to the bay that has been sorely missing since Charlotte’s (Erika Heynatz) murder last year.

9: Darryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) – The Walking Dead [Re-Entry from 2014]

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The confident, lone wolf we’ve all come to love has been through the wringer this season on The Walking Dead.  His lash out at Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) resulted in the death of good friend Glenn (Steven Yuen) and subsequently saw him taken into Negan’s custody, thrown into an isolation cell and tortured in an attempt to break him.  Holding onto the grief and guilt of Glenn’s death is the only thing keeping Darryl sane while being tortured.

8: Lyanna Mormont (Bella Ramsey) – Game of Thrones [New Entry]

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The pint sized warrior, the Lady of Bear Island Lyanna Mormont (Bella Ramsey) proved herself to be a formidable leader as she held the cards to back Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) and Sansa Starks’ (Sophie Turner) attack on Ramsey Bolton to reclaim Winterfell.  Her blistering speech to the bickering houses of Manderley, Glover and Cerwyn showed that while Jon may have finally killed Ramsey, Lyanna is the one who has become the people’s champ and a force to be reckoned with.

7: Bea Smith (Danielle Cormack) – Wentworth [New Entry]

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With all focus this past season on Joan (Pamela Rabe) entering Wentworth as a prisoner, the side story arc to this season featuring the blossoming romance between Bea (Danielle Cormack) and Allie (Kate Jenkinson) showed a more open yet vulnerable side to the prison top dog.  While the relationship was used to expose Bea’s weaknesses to both Joan and Kaz (Tammy Macintosh), this relationship ultimately proved to be Bea’s strength, believing Joan had given Allie an overdose, she sacrificed herself to put Joan behind bars for a very long time.

6: Agnes Mary Winstead (Kathy Bates) – American Horror Story: Roanoke [New Entry]

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While the premise for this latest season of American Horror Story was fantastic, the second half of the season became a total mess with one shinning mark – that of Agnes Mary Winstead (Kathy Bates) AKA – The Butcher.  Agnes’ became a victim of her own sudden rise to fame after My Roanoke Nightmare became a massive television hit and earned herself a Saturn Award best actress nomination.  After delving right into the role of The Butcher, Agnes was diagnosed with  schizoaffective disorder, unable to distinguish between fact and fiction and wholly embodied the woman with a penchant for meat cleavers.

5: Jamie Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) – Game of Thrones [New Entry]

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Season 6 of GoT was one full of loss for Jamie Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) as he mourned the death of his daughter Myrcella (Nell Tiger Free) and was removed from his position in the Kingsguard by his own son Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman) who, later on, also died taking his own life after his mother Cersei (Lena Headey) set alight half of Kings Landing.  Discovering that the woman he loves was responsible for the act that pushed Tommen to take his own life looks set to push Jamie into darker personal territory as he struggles with alliance next season.

4: Bonnie Winterbottom (Liza Weil) – How to get away with Murder [#8 in 2015]

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We’ve seen Bonnie (Liza Weil) fall back into old habits this past season of How to get Away With Murder as she continuously battled with boss Annalise (Viola Davis) over the treatment of Annalise’s former right hand man Frank (Charlie Weber) now on the run after his murderous past was fully revealed.  With Laurel (Lauren Velez) and Annalise trying to find Frank, Bonnie took it upon herself to track him down and try and coax him back after discovering he had killed her abusive father leading the two to spend a very intense and revealing night together.

3: Sam Fox (Pamela Adlon) – Better Things [New Entry]

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There’s no high glamour or Hollywood high life when it comes to Better Things‘ Sam Fox (Pamela Adlon).  She’s not a struggling actress but she’s also not readily recognized on the street by the everyday person.  She’s an actress and it’s her job and it’s this level of fame she attains while also a single mother to three girls, all of whom require a bulk of her attention to make it through each and every day, that makes Sam relatable.  Woman on the verge…..perhaps.  Woman trying to get a minute to have ‘dirty facetime’ with a recent hookup..seems to fit better when describing Sam Fox.

2: Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder) – Stranger Things [New Entry]

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Joyce Byers (in a defining comeback role for Winona Ryder) is a single mother, relatively poor and wanting answers regarding her missing son Will (Noah Schnapp).  Her less than affluent standing within the small town of Hawkins, Indiana has the locals not believing her son has gone missing, but despite her lack of influence within the town, she challenges each and every person – right up-to the Police Chief.

When she discovers she can communicate with her missing son through lights, Joyce finds a confidence and a voice to believe in what she is doing is actually real despite the constant knock downs from those telling her, her son is dead.

1: Quinn King (Constance Zimmer) – UnReal [#2 in 2015]

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Walking into season two of UnReal (and the new season of Everlasting) shouting the motto “MONEY, DICK, POWER!!” and ready to hand over the reigns of Everlasting to Rachel (Shiri Appleby) Quinn (Constance Zimmer) found herself not ready to let go when former boss Chet (Craig Bierko) returned to the fray looking to take control back of ‘his’ show. Quinn’s battle to maintain a hold on the show all came to a head in the fourth episode when she learns her father has died and only able to internalize her pain for a short while, Quinn literally opens the biggest can of whoop-ass ever seen.  No one, not even the studio office was saved from her scathing breakdown that saw her literally throw monitors across the room.

But Quinn is a quick one to recover.  She’s a smart ballsy woman who has this inane ability to see the knife coming before it hits her back and has a counter-attack already in play by the time that knife is on it’s way down.  By the end of the season, Quinn retained control of Everlasting and her Money, Dick, Power relationship with Rachel was as strong as it started out at seasons start.

 

Best of 2016: TV Shows

How does one pick just 12 TV shows to make a “best of” list without going insane?!  It’s a struggle I had last year and with an influx of impressive new shows, it doesn’t get any easier.  That said, I chained myself to my desk, a list was made, shows were culled and now here it is, my Best of 2016 TV Shows list.

12: American Crime Story Season 1 [New Entry]

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There was going to be no shock surprises with how this real life re-telling of the sensational OJ Simpson case ended yet somehow, we all watched with baited breath to see what was coming next.  What made this series so exciting to watch comes down to the genius casting and slick handling of how this story was told.  Sarah Paulson as lawyer Marcia Clark, Cuba Gooding Jnr as OJ Simpson and John Travolta as Robert Shapiro equaled perfect casting and played so well along the story telling that at times we flitted between feeling for Clark and her battle to win what should have been an open and shut case and Simpson who, while clearly guilty, was dealing with the possibility of losing everything his glorified sporting career had gotten him.  In the 90’s the OJ Simpson trial was must-watch TV and today, American Crime Story was also must-watch TV.

11: The Exorcist Season 1 [New Entry]

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It was a big effort for the supernatural show breathing new life into the timeless horror classic but with surprising plot twists, impressive special effects, strong story lines and the star power of Geena Davis, The Exorcist has managed to deliver a show worthy to sit among the Exorcist timeline.

10: Grace and Frankie Season 2 [#10 in 2015]

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It was a very strong and solid outing for the second season of this Netflix comedy starring Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin about two 60+ year old women facing life as singles after their husbands them them for each other..  Feeling much more confident in this outing, Grace (Fonda) and Frankie (Tomlin) deal with the fallout of Sol (Sam Waterston) and Roberts (Martin Sheen) relationship breakdown.  The topic of mortality was often seen throughout the season, especially towards the back end of the season in which a touching story line involving a long time friend suffering from terminal cancer decides to end things on her own terms.

9: American Housewife Season 1 [New Entry]

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This light-hearted comedy about a middle class family living a fish-out-of-water life in the rich Connecticut town of Westport hit many funny notes in its first outing.  A family based comedy at heart, topics of body image, fitting in and making the most out what life has handed to you featured heavily throughout the season all while never taking itself too seriously.  Katie Otto’s (Katy Mixon) friend time spent with  Doris (Ali Wong) make up a large portion of what makes this a great show to watch.

8: Australia’s Next Top Model Cycle 10 [New Entry]

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Celebrating 10 seasons, the model search reality show competition pulled out all stops from the addition of Megan Gale to the judging panel to an impressive line-up of worthy competitors to the guest list of world famous models (Elle McPherson and Miranda Kerr to name a few) that popped up along the way to offer some sound advice.  The photo shoots were more glamorous and the resulting photos even more stunning.   While the scoring system still remains the shows biggest downfall, this recent cycle proved why our version of this show remains one of the best in the world.

7: How to Get Away With Murder Season 3 [#4 in 2015]

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Another season, another murder, another set of flashbacks bringing us to a spine tingling revelation, surrounded by weekly court cases.  It’s a solid system that works for the legal/murder drama but season three changed things up by killing off one of the series main stars in a glorious and shocking mid season finale while tying in major events that had occurred throughout the first two seasons bringing everything together in one very neat package.

6: Wentworth Season 4 [#7 in 2015]

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Bringing Joan ‘The Freak’ Ferguson into the walls of Wentworth prison was not this season’s shining glory.  While it played out nicely over the season and created one heck of a finale, it was the Bea Smith (Danielle Cormack) and Allie Novak (Kate Jenkinson) romance that really spurred this season along.  The tender yet volatile relationship between the hard as nails ‘top dog’ and prison junkie was put to the test by both Joan and Kaz Proctor (Tammy Macintosh) that it ended up with such brutal heartache.

5: Better Things Season 1 [New Entry]

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Sam Fox (Pamela Adlon) is a working actress, mother to three daughters and a woman with not enough time on her hands.  Better Things had no big fanfare around it’s premiere, instead relying on very strong story telling revolving around the circle of motherhood and powerful performances from lead Adlon and her on-screen offspring (Hannah Alligood, Olivia Edward, and Mikey Madison).  There’s also a list of brilliant cameos from David Duchovny to Constance Zimmer to Julie Bowen and Lenny Kravitz.  If one needs to know more, just watch the season one finale titled “Only Women Bleed” where Sam comes across all kinds of obstacles just getting her three daughters dressed and ready for school before dealing with a very real and confronting personal situation involving her middle daughter Frankie.  It’s pretty much a perfect half hour of television.

4: The Walking Dead Season 7 [New Entry]

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Controversial choice considering the backlash from fans with the introduction of Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and the very graphic deaths of Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) and Glenn (Steven Yuen).  This season of TWD has once again split our survivors into multiple groups, each of which are discovering have all had the same dealings with the bat wielding pack leader.  From Ricks’ (Andrew Lincoln) submission to Negan to Darryl (Norman Reedus) playing prisoner to Carol (Melissa McBride) unsuccessfully going it on the road alone, the tension and raw emotion has never been higher.

3: Ink Master Season 8 – Peck Vs Nunez [New Entry]

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How to change up a slightly stale reality competition series without bringing back past fan favorite contestants over and over?  Do it the Ink Master way!  Pitting judges Oliver Peck and Chris Nunez against each other with hand picked teams of tattoo artists has breathed new life into this show, boasting a massive line up of contestants that were being eliminated from day dot.  The flash challenges have been more interesting, the tattooing more intense and the girl power all female alliance – never seen before on Ink Master – has proven to be one of the greatest alliances ever on the series and put two females (Ryan Ashley Malarkey and Kelly Doty) into the live finale.  Another season like this is highly recommended!

2: Stranger Things Season 1 [New Entry]

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Most of us were instantly drawn into this Netflix series just off the awesomely authentic 80’s synthesized opening theme.  It played so well into this tale of medical experiments, a missing child, a seriously creepy ‘underworld’ and a nameless little girl trying to survive – all set in the mid 1980’s.  The flash and meme worthy series (Barb anyone?!) offered up cover-ups and government conspiracies, utter scares and touching moments given by pretty much all over the main cast.

1: UnReal Season 2 [#2 in 2015]

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Always a sketchy move coming off a bumper first series but UnReal kept doing what it does best – offering up must-watch TV that is smartly written and skillfully acted.  Rachel (Shiri Appebey) goes fully fledged into girl power territory by becoming BFF’s with her boss Quinn (Constance Zimmer) after the breakup of her romance with season one bachelor Adam (Freddie Stroma) and makes the bold move to introduce Everlasting’s first ever black suitor in NFL quarterback Darius Beck (B.J Britt).  The perusing episodes throughout the season slam into us like a steamroller on steroids as Rachel and Quinn constantly butt heads and egos, both trying to take control of the show and climb up the Hollywood glass ladder.

 

Fallout 4 Mods Are Coming This Week So What Should You Download for PS4?

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Settlement ‘clean up’ mods are a must have for Fallout 4 camp builders.

Mods are finally coming for Fallout 4 on PS4!  Bethesda confirmed today (17/11) that an update patch for consoles that is due ‘later this week’ will contain the mods for PS4 consoles to go live.

 

Creative modders have been busy building mods for PS4 in the last two weeks since mods began appearing on Bethesda’s official website.  Even with the massive limitations imposed by Sony that specifically strip any form of real modding customization by not allowing anything that uses external assets or scripts, there are currently 151 mods (and that number is building daily) ready to go for users when mods finally go live this week.

So what mods should you download?  Check out my list of recommended ones below!

CLOTHING/PLAYER MODS

UCO: Unified Clothing Overhaul by AndrewCX. |  With the lack of external assets allowed in the game it means custom outfit pieces will never be available to PS4 users.  With this UCO mod, users will be able to  upgrade all armor/clothes/hats/helmets/bandanna’s and glasses, layer more armor pieces over more clothes and color swap the appearance of clothing/armor & raider power armor among other options.

UCO Pipboy Color Swap Enabler by AndrewCX. |  This mod enables users to change the color of their players pipboy by offering 59 different colors and patterns to use.  There are some special instructions to follow to ensure this mod works.

Ultimate Vault Attire by Guidion | This mod allows users to craft and mod vault jumpsuits, vault tech armor and scientist outfits.  Ballistic weave, vault numbers, legendary effects and suit linings can also be altered when crafting.

Waste Anchorage Hairstyle by TheRealElianora |  This will probably be the only ‘hair mod’ PS4 users will ever get.  This new hairstyle combines the “Waste Maiden” with the “Anchorage” hairstyle and is available for both genders.

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Elianora’s Companion Overhaul Mod is a must get mod!

The Companions Enhanced by The RealElianora | Players using this mod will see companions (Piper, Curie and Cait) enhanced with a new look and added buffs for their weapons.  An update for Mama Murphy is also included.

NPC Pipboys for PS4 by Batta0909 | Small mod that makes pipboys usable by companions and settlers.  They have no actual use and cannot be used by the player but adds to the overall effect if building settlements within a bunker/vault.

 SETTLEMENT MODS

Clean and Smooth Settlements by Okie1682| For those like me who have completed the game and are focusing on settlement building, Okie1682 is releasing his ‘clean and smooth’ settlement mods that basically strip the settlement of all debris and junk, tress and foliage, rebuilds broken benches and some buildings – basically, it leaves a blank canvas ready for building and the best bit, this mod should work on pre-existing game saves though Okie1682 has noted that buildings and items may appear to be floating in areas where the ground has been smoothed out on your game save but a it’s easy enough to scrap and rebuild.  So far, the following settlements cleaned up include:

Starlight Drive-in | Egret Tours Marina | Sanctuary Hills | Somerville Place | with more to come!

Settlement Resource Alignment by Race4it2 | This little mod improves resources for selected water pumps  (Water Purifier now 100 water units) , small generator (300 power) and tato plant (6 food) and increases the length of copper wiring from 500 to 5000.

GoodNeighbour Player Home by Tony1912 | This mod introduces a multi-level player home within the walls of GoodNeighbour.  Located Next to the Third Rail this ex apartment offers a workshop with all build functions plus power. There’s fast travel too and from this location. 4 Balconies,  no clutter – just move in and build!

Settlement Build Budget x10 by AndrewCX | A great mod that increases the build budget of all settlements to 10 times their default values.  The only downside is this mod will not work on save games and will only work on a new play through – which AndrewCX notes is down to modding restrictions placed by Sony.

Prisoner Shackles by mlucke | This fun mod takes the shackles used by the disciples in Nuka World and makes them available to your settlements.  Includes a prisoner mat that come with various poses, a craftable shock collar and cages.

Wild Plants and Alcohol for Settlements by 3lric | This mod brings in a massive selection of wild plants found in the commonwealth and make them available to transport into your settlements.  Includes plants like Wild Melon, Wild Mutfruit, Wild Tarberry and HubFlower along with a range of planters and a massive selection of craftable alcohol via the cooking stations.

CHEATS

Cheat Container by Vicyorus | A must for any player, the cheat container is a small tool box located outside each and every settlement and contains 60,000 units of each building component.  This, at the moment, does not re-spawn but there are load instructions on how to get these to refill.

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ArougueModder’s Oil Rig Player Home Mod

Workbench Anywhere by AndrewCX | This mod allows users the create a “Spawn Beacon – Workshop Workbench” that can be used like a grenade to spawn a workshop workbench anywhere in the game world.  This mod is heavily restricted though and only seems to work on locations that have been ‘cleared’ but will not form part of

Get All Perks by mttprc11 | As it states, unlocks all perks within the game and also includes a standard riffle with 9999 ammo, 9999 stimpacks and 99999 caps.  As it’s untested, author notes this may not work on existing game saves.

MISC

Oil Rig Player Home by ArogueModder | This massive structure will appear on your pipboy after installing as ‘oil rig’ and is a playable home with Workshop, Navmesh, Map Markers and a Vertibird Landing Pad.  ArogueModder notes that this will disable map boarders on your game.

Limited Minutemen Quests by Chucksteel | This much needed mod reduces the number of quests Preston can give you at once from three to one.  No new quest will be offered until the current one has been completed!

As noted above, mods are coming thick and fast and will change the way you play Fallout 4.  Are there any specific mods you are looking forward to?  Something that should be on this list?  Sound off in the comments section!

The Nintendo Classic Mini is here in Australia but Getting one isn’t that easy.

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The Nintendo Classic Console

The very retro and very anticipated Nintendo Classic Mini: Nintendo Entertainment System hit Australia this morning but good luck finding one for retail price as they are already at a sold out status.

Target Australia’s website are directing customers Nintendo’s Facebook page for more info about the sold out status (where customers are complaining some stores only had 10 consoles in stock for sale) while BigW Australia’s website has crashed due to overwhelming demand.

Customers were able to place pre-orders for the classic console from as early as July this year.

So now it’s sold out, the question begs is there another shipment?  The simple answer is YES but it’s a very open yes.  Nintendo have confirmed another shipment is due our way “sometime in early December” and that’s it.  No word on exactly when or how many units are coming our way or when we can start placing pre orders for the new console.

The retro inspired classic mini features 30 classic games from Bubble Bobble to Super Mario Brothers 1, 2 and 3 and Double Dragon 2 among a list full of fan favorites.

For those who can’t wait until the next shipment can always hit eBay where scalpers currently have their $99 classic console listed for as high as $1300!

UPDATE: Monday Nov 14th.

EB games Australia, it appears, are doing daily pre-order runs via their website for the insanely popular console.  Today’s first run saw the ‘undisclosed’ amount sold out within minutes and crashing their website leaving many many customers frustrated with the lack of preparation by the company.

  As of this post, EB’s website is noting another batch will be available for pre-order tomorrow from midday AEDT but as noted, there’s no disclosure about how many consoles are actually available for the pre-order.  For those trying to find those elusive extra controllers, EB have noted that they are still awaiting news of another shipment and that they have none currently available in stock.

In response to the backlash, EB released a statement noting for today’s pre-order, they had increased their server space to account for 30,000 people – twice as much as the norm and for tomorrow, they’ll double that again for 60,000 people.  The bottom of the statement reads “Stock for this item will be extremely limited”.