Even by the relatively low standards of movie tie-in games, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a weak entry. It makes a strong first impression with vibrant graphics in an open-world setting, but absolutely everything else about it is underwhelming, bland, or outright frustrating. Most of the problems are fundamental and extend from the game’s own lofty ambitions. An open-world setting demands that Spidey swing freely, which works just fine so long as he’s heading in a straight line.
Marvel Comics’ latest film adaptation, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, has been receiving rave reviews in the run up to its release this Friday. Gameloft’s universal iOS beat-‘em-up of the same name has a fair bit going for it, as well, with solid presentation and quite a bit of content, but ultimately doesn’t captivate over the long haul. Spreading a small number of game mechanics and levels as thin as possible muddles what could have been a pretty strong action affair.
So get this--according to Variety (via MacRumors), Aaron Sorkin, acclaimed for his work with The West Wing, The Social Network, and A Few Good Men, has submitted a screenplay to Sony based on Walter Isaacson's Steve Jobs biography. Sony tagged him as the screenwriter for the project back in may of 2012, and it looks as though he's finally wrapped up his draft.
Thor is one truly badass warrior, but even his trusty hammer, electrifying moves, and a gaggle of armored cohorts to summon into battle can't quite save his latest jaunt from feeling a bit rickety around the edges. On a visual level, Thor: The Dark World is certainly an attractive-looking top-down brawler, which sends you through beautiful 3D environments to smash up evildoers and demonic beasts. Unfortunately, pushy microtransactions and shaky combat break the spell early on.
Pacific Rim, Guillermo del Toro’s blockbuster paean to classic Japanese monster flicks, seems tailor made for a video game adaptation, and Reliance Games' workmanlike effort dutifully pits enormous robot mechs (called Jaegers) against monstrous kaiju in a series of Infinity Blade-esque duels. Unfortunately, control issues and an irritating progression approach make what should be a cool experience feel instead like a grind.
You'd think it would be a simple task to make a great game based on the latest Superman film, what with all its high-flying action and superhero awesomeness. Sadly, Man of Steel is a bland, repetitive, and weak (though ultimately competent) Infinity Blade knock-off, minus the exploration. You'll fight one Kryptonian after another, going through a Story Mode of loosely-connected scenes based on events from the movie, all while leveling up your skills along the way and watching a handful of neat comic-style cut-scenes that hint at the presence of a plot.
World War Z for iOS may not feature Brad Pitt or focus on specific events in the upcoming film adaptation of the bestselling novel, but it does create the ideal environment for drawing you into the apocalyptic world envisioned by author Max Brooks. Unlike most movie tie-ins, World War Z is more than interactive propaganda, and will please both fans eagerly awaiting the film and gamers looking for a solid mobile action shooter.
As it stands, 2013 isn't looking like a particularly stellar year for games based on the Aliens franchise. Alien vs. Predator: Evolution is not quite the high-profile disaster that Aliens: Colonial Marines was on other platforms, as it does a valiant job of creating a longer-form brawler for iPhone and iPad – but the game is sadly plagued with consistent crashes and occasionally infuriating mechanics. Somewhere under the problems, there may be a really enjoyable title here. But without some polish, Evolution will remain a mediocre allusion to a beloved old PC game.
"Are you sure it is a good day to Die Hard?" asks a terribly voiced Russian enemy as our hero perishes for the umpteenth time. The corny, self-aware line would almost make sense in the universe of Die Hard films, where cheesy one-liners are expected. But in the case of the A Good Day to Die Hard tie-in game for iPhone and iPad, it's just another example of an altogether laughable licensed title, one that's plagued with monotonous gameplay and horrid in-app purchase pandering.
Independent filmmaking is a rough business. Without the budget of a Hollywood studio, every bit of minutiae is left up to the creative minds behind the project, scraping together resources and equipment to get a finished product on-screen. But for one Los Angeles-based screenwriter and director, the limitations of a low-budget camera were actually an inspiration. Shooting a feature-length film on an iPad 2 may sound crazy, but it's part of what gives Standards of Living its indie charm.