Best of 2017: TV Shows

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BETTER THINGS – Pictured: (L-R) Pamela Adlon as Pam, Olivia Edward as Duke). CR: Colleen Hayes/FX

The annual list is back again for another year – the list that only begins to take any real form or shape late in the year once the influx of shows, new and old, have made their way into our homes.

Last years list saw eight of the twelve classed as “new entries” and this year is no different with only two shows managing to hold onto a spot within the coveted top twelve.

That said, if the list went longer than the specific twelve, I don’t know where I could actually stop and find an appropriate cut meaning some shows such as The Walking Dead, American Housewife and Wentworth become glaringly absent.

Honorable Mention: Big Mouth Season 1 [New Entry] – Netflix Australia

Netflix’s new animated comedy Big Mouth is silly, disgusting, funny, shocking and rather awkward too – which is much like the tween characters featured in this outrageous ‘coming of age’ laugh fest.  Underneath all the gross-out jokes and masturbation references though lies a sweet friendship between Andrew (John Mulaney) and Nicky (Nick Kroll) as they both traverse the sweaty, pimply and smelly puberty years.

12: Schitt’s Creek Season 3 [New Entry] – Netflix Australia

Season Three has the Rose’s being contempt with life in Schitt’s Creek – Moira (Catherine O’Hara) has cemented her position on town council, Alexis (Annie Murphy) completes her high school education and David (Dan Levy) opens up his own ’boutique’ store.  Another fantastic season filled with gif worthy quotes.

11: How To Get Away With Murder Season 4 [#7 in 2016] – 7Flix

Laurel (Karla Souza) is trying to solve Wes’ (Alfred Enoch) murder while the rest of the scooby gang have moved, trying to rescue their fledgling legal careers after Annalise (Viola Davis) fired everyone including Bonnie (Liza Wiel).  The mid season finale with heavily pregnant (and bleeding) Laurel trapped in an elevator was one of the most horrifying and traumatizing scenes on television this season.

10: Playing House Season 3 [New Entry] – USA Network

Absent from last years list thanks to a year long absence (Thanks USA Network – wtf?!) Playing House’s third and sadly final season continued along with the shows much loved theme of two best friends being there for one another no matter the circumstance.  Emma’s (Jessica St.Clair) brush with breast cancer was highly emotional along with Maggie’s (Lennon Parham) attempt to dive back into the dating pool.  A wonderful comedy ending on a seriously hilarious high.

09: The Sinner [New Entry] – Netflix Australia – Netflix Australia

The ‘whydunit’ of the year became a surprise hit thanks to stellar performances by leads Jessica Biel and Bill Pullman and the power of word-of-mouth.  A graphic murder, memory loss, sickness and bad memories all play out over eight incredible episodes as we find out why Cora committed murder.

08: Orphan Black Season 5  [New Entry] – SBS

The final season of the sci-fi/clone drama saw the clones pulled apart in an attempt to finally put an end to the Dyad/Castor/Brightborn saga that has played out over the past four seasons.  A surprise return in favorite Delphine (Évelyne Brochu) made many fans happy while star Tatiana Maslany continued to shine in her ability to portray multiple, layered, characters.

07: Greys Anatomy Season 14 [New Entry] – 7Flix

In all honesty, it’s been some time since I have been ‘really’ excited about an episode of Grey’s but the series’ 14th season (currently on a mid season break) has seen a return to form with many characters and their multi-season story arcs all culminating into this fantastic season.  Owen’s (Kevin McKidd) long thought dead sister reappears, Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) wins the long mentioned Harper Avery award and the shows 300th episode brought glimpses of past favorites such as Christina (Sandra Oh), George (T.R Knight) and Izzy (Katherine Heigl) in the form of look-a-likes.

06: Star Trek Discovery Season 1 [New Entry] – Netflix Australia

It has been some time since a “Trek” series was on television (12 years to be precise) and the CBS All Access/Netflix outing is a sleek, flashy, violent and welcome addition to the franchise that, unlike previous Treks, sets its sights firmly on the theme of war against an uprising band of Klingons.  Discovery offers up a perfect mix of battle seriousness and somewhat-kooky characters that the Star Trek series has been known for.

05: Game of Thrones Season 7 [New Entry] – Showcase

Winter is coming, that’s for sure.  A gigantic season that brought about a tense meeting between Cersei (Lena Headey) and Daenerys (Emilia Clarke), the death of Littlefinger (Aiden Gillen), Arya (Maisie Williams) back home to Winterfell, the truth about Jon Snow’s (Kit Harrington) heritage and the white walkers to the north’s door.

04: Better Things Season 2 [#5 in 2016] – FX (USA)

The sixth episode of Better Things’ second season titled Eulogy might just be one of the best episodes of television aired this year and is why it sits number four on this list.  While Sam (Pamela Adlon) was actually quite annoying to watch in this series’ first half (I found her to be quite aggressive and selfish, especially when it came to dating) all that was wiped away with one single heartwarming (and affirming) episode in which Sam, frustrated with her children’s lack of interest in her acting career, forces them to perform a fake eulogy at her fake funeral.

This episode was also the last work for late actor Robert Michael Morris who passed in May this year – his scene with Sam in the bar truly encapsulated a heart weary man who missed out on the best years of his life with one single line “Nobody could be gay until I was too old to have any fun.”

03: Will & Grace Season 9 [New Entry] – STAN

It’s like there wasn’t almost a 20 year break between seasons.  That’s how good Will and Grace’s long wanted return to TV has been.  On point with cutting remarks on quips on current day politics, technology and pop culture, the gay old gang are proving they still have the goods they had many moons ago.

02: Big Little Lies [New Entry] – Showcase

A season that consisted of eight episodes that moved so slowly yet managed to tell so much with each and every episode, Big Little Lies featured an all-star cast including Nicole Kidman, Reece Witherspoon and Alexander Skarsgård and kept us guessing about the big “what happened” and “Whodunit” right up until the final moments.  Good news too – Season two is in the works with Kidman and Witherspoon back for more lies!

01: The Mick Seasons 1 and 2 [New Entry] – Fox8

Crass, rude, violent, bloody, crazy – there’s no one real word to describe The Mick to really hammer in just how un-sitcom this show is other than it’s funny as all get-out.  Saddled with looking after her sisters three children, hustler Mickey (Kaitlin Olson) finds herself adapting to sudden parenthood and living the high life in their mansion all the while trying to not loose her rough and tumble past.

I’ll just let the trailer show what i’m trying to say….

 

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Soul Calibur 6 Is Finally Coming in 2018

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Bandai Namco’s popular fighting series Soul Calibur is making a surprise return for a sixth outing due for release in 2018 with the game studio making the announcement during 2017 The Game Awards.

Soul Calibur’s last outing was in 2012 with Soul Calibur V (Playstation 3 and Xbox 360) so for fans, this news has been a long time coming and it’s just in time for the series 20th anniversary.

Watch the reveal trailer below:

Bandai Namco’s weapons-based fighting game series began life as an arcade game called Soul Edge in December 1995 before being ported to the original PlayStation in December 1996 with its sequel –  ‘Soul Calibur’ – releasing in mid-1998.

The 3D fighting game is known for its very smooth game play, crisp graphics and almost endless amount of character customization – all of which are sure to continue with next years Soul Calibur VI.

 

Netflix’s The Sinner is you new Binge Watch show for the Summer.

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Image Credit: USA/Netflix

We’re heading into that “TV lull” time of year where all our favorite weekly must-watch shows head into hiatus during the extended Christmas and New Years break and shows such as The Big Bang Theory and The Simpsons feel like they’re on for three hour stretches, seven days a week.

Thankfully, those with access to Netflix will be able to fill a small portion of the upcoming TV void with this years sleeper hit that has been sweeping social media with talks of praise it’s binge-worthiness.

The Sinner is an 8-episode series starring Jessica Biel (7th Heaven) as downtrodden mother Cora Tannetti who seems to be living a very plain and ordinary life with her husband Mason (Christopher Abbot) and their young son. It’s nothing too exciting but there’s something up with Cora and it feels as though she has succumbed to this monotonous life she is living and has basically checked out.  Moments of silent vacant stares and this need to escape the desperation that is her life.

This all leads her to commit a very public and graphic murder in an unprovoked and very shocking attack that while brief in its moment, is the driving force for the entire series.  The Sinner is not a whodunit but in fact a whydunit (if that is an actual word – and if a murder mystery can be a why and not a who!)

For you see, while we know Cora kills someone, she has no idea why she committed murder as she has no idea who the victim is or what came over her to commit such an act and in what should be an open and shut case for the local police, becomes an obsession for local detective Harry Ambrose (Bill Pullman) who believes that there may be a more dark and sinister reasoning to Cora’s crime.  With his help, the two begin to traverse the twisted and morbid memories of Cora’s strict religious upbringing and subsequent rebellion that led to the driving moment of the series.

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Image USA/Netflix

Pullman’s Ambrose leads the eight episodic series’ B story, a telling of his broken relationship with his wife Fay (Kathryn Erbe) and his unusual sexual fetish he explores with local dominatrix Sharon (Meredith Holzman).  While the sad and desperate detective usually plays well as a side story, Amrbose’s damaged relationship with Fay and Sharon don’t actually add anything to the main story and by the end of the series, never really comes to a conclusion or involve itself with Cora’s story line.

When it comes to the stars and their acting within The Sinner, Pullman plays sad lonely cop well with his long graying hair and department store suits.  His unnerving desperation to solve the answers to this case while trying to solve the problems of his marriage culminate in one particular scene where a garden hose cops the brunt of his meltdown.

Having been more known as Mrs.Timberlake for the better part of six years, Beil sheds all former glamour to play the bare faced, red eyed and prison jumpsuit clad Tannetti.  A kind of “where has this version of Beil been?” reaction ensues as the first episode closes.  Equally compelling is Nadia Alexander as Cora’s terminally ill younger sister Phoebe.  The guilt about her ailing health comes flying at Cora not only from her overtly religious mother but from Phoebe herself who uses her illness to manipulate Cora into situations she would have normally avoided.

For most of the series run, with each episode, there’s enough information coming in to keep us just on the edge of figuring out the entire plot but also stringing us back into a void of unknown and if there were ever an award for “best use of binge moments” then The Sinner would surely win for their perfectly timed end of episode cut off that literally leaves you begging for more.

The final two episodes is where everything hits us and while most is all revealed in episode seven, the supposed big shock reveal that happens in episode eight actually doesn’t hold the effect it perhaps was intended to.  Maybe because of who it involves or because even though we have most of the answers by that time, the episode still feels rushed as it tries to tie everything up.

For its binge-worthiness and stellar turn by Jessica Biel, The Sinner get’s an 8/10 from me.

The Sinner is now streaming on Netflix Australia

 

Dynasty Reboot Casts Their Alexis Carrington

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Image Credit: The CW

Since word began floating about of the CW networks plans to bring 80’s cult favorite soap Dynasty back to our screens, one of the biggest questions being asked was who will be playing the role of iconic character Alexis Carrington (played by Joan Collins in the original 80’s outing)

While the character was visibly absent from the reboot as it began, it had been confirmed that Alexis will be appearing towards the end of the series first season (which ties in with the original) with names including Heather Locklear, Laura Leighton, Elizabeth Hurley and Melinda Clarke all being thrown around as possible candidates to play Alexis.

Now, the CW network have found their Alexis Carrington and have let us all in on who nabbed the role which has gone to former Desperate Housewives star Nicollette Sherridan.

Alexis is the first wife of Blake Carrington and mother to Fallon and Steven. She will return unexpectedly to their world, challenging Blake’s marriage to Cristal, seeking to reunite with her children, and fighting to claim what is hers.

A modern re-imagining of the iconic prime-time soap, the series centers on the powerful Carrington family as they defend their throne against the Colbys, new rivals and threats, and even each other.

It stars Grant Show, Elizabeth Gillies, Nathalie Kelley, James Mackay, Sam Adegoke, Robert Christopher Riley, and Rafael de la Fuente, and Alan Dale.

Dynasty is available to Australian viewers on Netflix Australia.

 

The Block 2017 Heads to Auction

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Josh and Elyse are the hot tip to win The Block 2017. Image: Channel 9

It has been a season of highs, high drama, lows and low bank accounts for The Block 2017 and it’s contestants as the past 12 weeks have seen the five couples completely transform old, dilapidated houses into modern and spacious luxury family homes in the Melbourne suburb of Elsternwick.

With the homes transformed and the annual “open for inspection” done and dusted, there’s only two things left – auction order and the Block Auction which takes place this Saturday before airing Sunday night on channel 9 in what is expected to bring in major viewers for the network.

While the season has seen teams consisting of Josh and Elyse and Ronnie and Georgia virtually clean sweep the weekly room wins, who will win the Block auction isn’t going to be as crystal clear with viewers backing almost every team.

Jason and Sarah, who came scarily close to being booted off the show for poor fund management and failing to deliver their master suite on time have suddenly found themselves being touted as the ‘dark horse’ of the series with their end product featuring a massive wide open entry hallway, low maintenance and family friendly yard and winning stellar kitchen.

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Jason and Sarah are being touted as the ‘dark horse’ to take the auction win.  Image: Channel 9

But that’s not to say the other teams consisting of first time renovators Clint and Hannah or best mates Sticks and Wombat don’t have the chance to take the win either with both teams also claiming some wins and fans along the way.

How important will the auction order be in determining who could take the win and will the decision be made drama free?  Most are expecting Ronnie and Georgia to put up a strong fight for their auction placement preference with the experienced team being very vocal about their understanding of The Block being a ‘competition to win and not make friends’ and as seen in last years series which (as per the norm) saw the teams unable to compromise and determine their own auction order, host Scott Cam had to step in with a suggestion for fiery couple Julia and Sasha to take up the first auction only for them to blatantly refuse because their agent recommended going second.

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Ronnie & Georgia are expected to be harsh when it comes to auction placement. Image:Channel 9

The team that eventually went first – Will and Karlie were also the team to take out the win for that series.

The Block goes to auction in the series finale this Sunday from 7pm on Channel 9

X-Files Fever as Trailer for 11th Season Drops at New York ComicCon.

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Image: FOX

Even though five of the next ten episodes have been filmed for the eleventh season of The X-Files, the hugely anticipated trailer has been dropped at New York ComicCon bringing with it a look at the return of a long time series favorite and more information on Scully and Mulder’s ever elusive son William.

 

And speaking of William, during the trailer reveal panel at NYCC where Gillian Anderson, David Duchovny, Mitch Pileggi and series creator Chris Carter appeared, Carter said that they’d “Explore that relationship, the father-son-mother relationship” and “you’ll see more of William than you’ve seen in a long time.”

The trailer also revealed a possibly-not-so-dead Langley (from the Smoking Gunmen) though Carter was quick to only say that “Langley is in the show this season.”

To find out more about the upcoming season head over to Gizmodo to read the full NYCC panel article.

The 11th season of The X-Files is due in 2018

Eveything You Need to Know about the Will & Grace Revival

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Image: NBC

Since the news broke that NBC were two thumbs up for the Will & Grace revival, a slew of information has been streaming out about what to expect when the show returns for a brand new run in late September (Sept 29th on NBC to be precise).  From how THAT original finale plays out into this series to who’s back, who’s missing and who’s stopping by I’ve put everything you need to know about the Will & Grace finale into one single fabulous post!

The Revival:  Even before a single episode has aired of this new season, NBC have already confirmed the show will be back in 2018 for another 13 episode round.  This new season (officially classed as season 9) has already been extended from its originally announced 13 episodes to 16 while at present, season 10 is sitting at 13.

This revival came about thanks to that hilarious election themed mini-reunion episode with NBC taking note of the huge response from fans old and new and went about ordering a 10 episode season revival.

How will the original finale play into this return?:  The original finale that aired back in 2006 saw Will (Eric McCormack) and Grace (Debra Messing) parting ways for almost 20 years, with both characters married (Will to Vince played by Bobby Cannavale and Grace to Leo (Harry Connick, Jr) and each couple with a child.  The last scenes in that finale saw Will & Grace eventually reunite after their college aged children ended up living across from each other at the campus dorm.

Even though this return will be classed as the show’s 9th season and takes place only 11 years after the finale, the entire dissolution of the friendship and each couples kids will be ‘erased’ from the Will & Grace history. Talking to EW, co-creators Max Mutchnick and David Kohan said  ‘When the decision was made to bring the series back, we were like, well, we left them with kids, right?” And if they have children, then it has to be about them being parents, ‘cause presumably it would be a priority in their lives. And if it wasn’t a priority in their lives, then they’re still parents, they’re just bad parents, right? We frankly did not want to see them being either good parents or bad parents. We wanted them to be Will and Grace.”

The Core Cast:  The revival will see Will and Grace living together as the two did for the bulk of the series’ run with Jack (Sean Hayes) living across from them and Karen (Megan Mullally) still a rich boozy socialite living in her mansion.  Will is still working as a corporate lawyer, Grace remains an interior designer but with a bigger office and working with current day design technology along with ‘assistant’ Karen while Jack, who flitted from ‘acting’ to retail to student nurse to acting teacher during the shows original run will be back in his latter career teaching the ‘Jackting’ method of acting.

The Recurring Cast: Shelley Morrison who played Karen’s long suffering, viper tongued maid Rosario Salazar confirmed she won’t be back for the revival.  Morrison has now retired from acting, with the exception of a small appearance in the 2016 Will & Grace political themed mini episode.  Rosario won’t be forgotten on ignored with Mutchnick adding “The audience has come to know and love her — as we do — and we’re dealing with her as a character and we’re writing to it very specifically.”

Along with Rosario’s absence, the revival will touch on Grace’s mother Bobbi Adler played by the late Debbie Rynolds.

Confirmed to return are thee integral characters to the Will & Grace history – Harry Connick, Jr as Grace’s husband Leo, Bobby Cannavale as Will’s husband Vince and Minnie Driver as Karen’s British nemesis Lorraine Finster.  Noting that the 2006 finale is being wiped, how Leo and Vince fit into this revival is yet to be seen considering Will and Grace will be back living together.

No word yet on Leslie Jordan as Karen’s best friend/enemy number one Beverly Leslie, Blythe Danner as Will’s widowed mother Marilyn Truman or Tom Gallop and Leigh-Allyn Baker as game night friends Rob and Ellen.

Update Sept 18th:  Michael Angarano is a confirmation to return having filmed his scenes last week.  Angarano played Jack’s son Elliot for 12 episodes during the original run and is currently tapped for a single episode in season 9.

The Guest Stars:  From Madonna to Demi Moore, Cher and Britney Spears, the original series run never shied away from nabbing big named stars to appear on the show and this next season won’t be any different with the recent news that Glee’s Jane Lynch, Girls star Andrew Rannells and 2017 Tony Award winner Ben Platt have all signed on to guest star in season 9.

When and how to watch:  Will & Grace season 9 begins Thursday September 28th as part of NBC’s must-see-TV lineup at 9/8c in the states while here in Australia, the series begins on Friday the 29th on streaming service STAN

This post will be updated as news comes about for the sew season.

Why “Fight List” Will Be Your Next App Game Obsession.

Think you know your Ryan Reynolds movies?  What about a list of oil producing countries?  How many girls names starting with D can you think of?  These questions and many more can be found in your newest app obsession called Fight List!

Free to download on both android and apple devices, Fight List is an app game that pits you against your Facebook linked friends in a 5 round battle of wits that will not only push how quickly you can type answers but also how many answers you can get out to beat your opponent within the time limit.

With topics ranging from Boys Names Beginning with H to 25 Most Followed Instagram Accounts, Julia Roberts Movies to Astrological Star Signs there are enough topics to cover everyone’s knowledge base though some topics such as Four Suits in a Deck of Cards and Colors of the Rainbow are a little ridiculous in their restricted lists.

Basically, Fight List seems to be a mix of Scattergories and Family Feud.

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When presented with your topic, you’ll have a total of 50 seconds and every correct answer earns you one point with more obscure answers to the topic earning two or three points and boosting your round tally.  Also, don’t be too concerned if spelling (when trying to pump out answers) isn’t your forte as Fight List will generally pick up what it is you are trying to submit, assuming you have at least half the word correct (Fight List did pick up my ‘Kim Kerdichin’ as Kim Kardashian)

Outside of the game, one could easily rattle off a decent list of Owen Wilson movies but in a high pressure round of 50 seconds, that list quickly dwindles to the bare minimum and for those pressed for time (and answers), a quick press of the joker button will insert a correct answer at the cost of some coins from your stash which can then be topped up with a daily bonus or through in-app purchases.

The Nitty Gritty’s of the app –

*Turn based person vs person quiz

*Free to download with in-app purchases for coins

*Ads appear between each round – some can be ended early.

*Keep track of your play stats in stat tracker.

*Link your Facebook account to play against friends

*Questions range from current celebrity to general world knowledge

*Correct answers that come up as wrong can be submitted to developers to insert into the game by pressing on those missing answers at the end of the round.

Think you’ve got what it takes to beat your friends?  Fight List is available for free, to download from apple and google play.

*Please note, this is not a paid review of Fight List

The Great, The Good and The Bad of Call of Duty’s WWII MP Beta

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Call of Duty®: WWII Private Beta

After a spate of jet boosted, wall running, chain movement and space themed outings, Call of Duty is headed back into long gone territory, world war II style with the brand new boots on the ground Call of Duty: WWII.  A move that many CoD fans have been begging for since the series began to sway into more modern themes.

This past weekend saw PS4 users get exclusive early access to the Call of Duty: World War II Multiplayer beta allowing players to get a (restricted) hands on feel of the new game before it releases in early November.  Upon first impressions, the ground based warfare is a major welcome return to form for the first person shooter series that has been dangling a little too long in outer space though there are a few restrictions that may see those used to more freedom in customization struggle with the new game.

As of writing this, I am a little shy of hitting the 7 hour game play mark where 3 maps, a handful of game modes and heavily limited customization options are open within the beta.

Now it’s time to look at the great, the good and the bad of this Call of Duty WWII beta.

The Great:

War Mode.  It’s one of only a handful of games available to play in the beta and brings with it a familiar feel to those who played the recent Star Wars Battlefront which sees your team of 12 attack or defend multiple points in a chain, working together to either claim or hold back the enemy from progressing further.

As described by Activision:  Fight for control of a war-torn French village west of St. Lo, an important operation in the Allied push onward and out of the beachhead at Normandy. Allied and Axis forces clash for control of a strategic manor to secure a forward operating position. Bridge construction, ammo depot demolition and tank escorts are key strategic tasks in this do or die mission to dominate the enemy. Choose your equipment wisely – every decision can mean the difference between victory and defeat in this narrative-driven, objective-based multiplayer experience – a first for Call of Duty.”  

This beta only has one map open but it’s a great game mode and new addition to the series.

Play of the Game Highlight.  As featured in Overwatch, Call of Duty is doing away with ‘final kill cam’ which saw a sometimes boring or standard final kill be highlighted after the match has finished, and in its place, a play-of-the-game sort of sequence which showcases a worthy highlight from the match.  While it’s not as personal as Overwatch with it’s character highlight intro, the change finally gives players who pull off incredible plays their dues.

Game Play.  We were promised boots on the ground and deliver it Activision/Sledgehammer games have.  Cod WWII offers a very nice balance between the uber-boots on ground style seen in Modern Warfare Remastered and the ease of movement seen in something like Black Ops 3.  The knee slide had been replaced with a lunge, the sprint is limited but not in a incapacitating type of way while mounting ladders and climbing through windows and over things is very smooth, quick and not lumber-some.

Audio:  It feels as if a lot of work has been put into the sound aspect of the game with everything sounding hard and present and realistic.  From the gun shots to planes firing overhead to the sounds of the soldiers taking fire (or being set alight) it’s all pretty spiffy – the best bit though, the sounds of the hand grenades going off, pending how close you are to them can be terrifying!

The Good:

Maps.  Three maps are open for play in the beta and they are Pointe Du Hoc, Ardennes, and Gibraltar.  Pointe Du Hoc is a medium sized map that sees most game play occur within a maze of trenches surrounded by destroyed outposts and offers up a great mix of space for snipers and fast close combat for run-and-gunners.  Gibraltar is a multi level, medium sized map with three lanes of play that may allow those apt with quick sniping to take advantage of the height variance in the map depending on your spawn point while Ardennes is a snow covered map, once again medium in sized with interconnecting lanes that can favor both long shooters and those taking advantage of the connecting lanes in close combat.

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Pre-Game Lobby.  Call of Duty®: WWII Private Beta

The Pre-Game Lobby.  Looking like an old war photo, the entire play list of both teams are now featured in the pre-game lobby.  Here you get the opportunity to quickly go through each player, check their load out and get a close up view of their playable character.  It’s a nice new touch that Sledgehammer have brought in for players to showcase their customized character.

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Top Players Highlight in Call of Duty®: WWII Private Beta

Top Players Highlight.  Becoming a regular feature, the top players in the winning team are given their dues post match where, like past outings, actions can be performed such as ‘salute’, clap in ‘good job’ and wave in ‘Hey!’.  I’m assuming there’ll be more to unlock in the full game.

The Bad:

Customization.  Note, this section is severely restricted in the Beta and the customization options of your character are very limited.  From what’s on offer, we’re given a glimpse of a basic collection of pre-designed heads (in the beta, two are literally a re-color of each other) which are available for choosing (5 in the beta including three male and two female) and that is pretty much it.  I did stumble across a uniform section but it seems to have been locked for beta and now going back, cannot be found anymore.

Funnily enough, Sledgehammer have been quite open about their knowledge of how players react and engage to their own customized character but from what has been seen, i’m a little worried about the final product.  Here’s hoping, when the game drops, there’s more to be found in this section such as removable helmets, alternate uniforms and additional character building cosmetics.

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Character/Skin Selection in Call of Duty®: WWII Private Beta

Weapons and load outs.  My biggest gripe with Modern Warfare Remastered was the lack of load out options and weapon customization and it appears, Sledgehammer have taken no notice of the foul cries and have semi-replicated the load out system.  Perks are limited to a “Basic Training” feature that allows you one bonus load out option but they are muted and vary from “take a second primary weapon” or “collect ammo from fallen soldiers” effect.

Weapon attachments are of course in the game but the ability to run around with a powered automatic adorned with a scope, silencer, extra ammo and laser sight is a no no.  Pending on the division you choose to enlist in and the weapon picked, most weapons only offer two to three attachment options.

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Load outs in Call of Duty®: WWII Private Beta

Limited suppressors.  Just putting it out there but I have a very specific style of game play when it comes to the Call of Duty series and it seems Cod WWII may just force me to get out of old habits.  My CoD load outs have always consist of silent movement, no radar ping and a silencer attached on a weapon – it’s what works for me as a player but it seems within WWII, only one division is offering up the ability to add a suppressor AND from the looks of it, will only be attachable to an SMG……………eeek.

Overall, there are some welcome return to forms for this up-coming Call of Duty outing along with some concerns about where Sledgehammer are going to take the series.  To note, the beta currently has locked until launch

  • Headquarters – We’re testing the match-making of this all-new social experience, but access to this space will not be active during the Multiplayer Beta.
  • Supply Drops, and Loot – These customization features that add depth and personality to your soldier will not be included in the Multiplayer Beta.
  • Esports – Ranked Play, Game Battles, and our suite of competitive features will be accessible when we release in November.
  • Additional content not in the Private Multiplayer Beta includes: full progression, remaining maps and modes, additional War Mode maps, and the full armory of weapons, scorestreaks, Basic Training, and equipment.

Also, there have been some players having issues with timing out and forcing an app close during this beta, but I can say I have had no issues to date.  There has been no delay in finding a match or being kicked out of one.  There may be an issue with bullet recognition but that may be a lag/beta issue.

The beta re-opens agains on September 1 to Monday, September 4 for both PS4 and XBox users with Call of Duty: WWII launching on Nov. 3, 2017.

 

 

Rally Your Troops in XCOM 2’s Propaganda Center.

xcom2

The first part of XCOM 2’s major expansion of War of the Chosen went live today as the games Propaganda Center is now available to download for PC/Steam users.

The XCOM 2: War of the Chosen Propaganda Center contains the Photo booth application where players create their own propaganda posters using a variety of backgrounds, filters and soldier poses featuring your favorite XCOM troops.  This free standalone app for Steam users will give players a sample of the propaganda posters available to create in the upcoming expansion.

These posters actually provide your squad with morale boosts that have an affect on gameplay.

Features
Photobooth: Use dozens of customizations like backgrounds, filters, poses, and more to design, customize, and share images of your troops with the world.
Character Pool: Import your customized soldiers from XCOM 2 into the Propaganda Center to use them in the Photobooth. Prepare for your next campaign by creating an entirely new squad and importing the pool into XCOM 2: War of the Chosen.
Impact the world: Access your creations with the click of a button for quick and easy sharing.

The Propaganda Center is available now on Steam and will be part of the expansion download for console users on August 29th. September 12th.  To check out some of what can be created, hit the #Xcom2 tag on twitter!

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