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Why I’m Not Excited About Halo Infinite

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Halo: The Master Chief Collection

I should be really excited about the upcoming release of Halo: Infinite. After all, I’m a day one fan of the long running franchise. Bungie Studios Halo: Combat Evolved, the first groundbreaking entry into the series is the reason I purchased the original Xbox. There was no Xbox Live yet so my friends and I would take turns hosting LAN parties. Yes, we would literally lug our big heavy tube televisions over to each other’s houses, because flat screens were still outrageously expensive. One weekend night each month we would go to war with each other. Crammed into the same room with beer fueled trash talking mayhem. More than once wives or girlfriends would come in and tell us to stop yelling. It was glorious, and those remain my best gaming memories to this day.

Halo 2

Halo 2 was the sole reason I signed up for high-speed internet for the first time. Not work, not YouTube, but Halo 2. I still remember creating my Xbox Live account, and not using it for any game other than Halo 2 for months. My same group of buddies that I had the LAN parties with formed a clan in game. We had a blast teaming up for Big Team Battle, and Minor/Major Clan Matches. Most of us embraced this new advance in gaming technology. We talked about how nice it was to just walk to our Xboxes instead of loading all our stuff into our vehicles and driving across town. One of our buddies however didn’t take to online gaming. He said for him it was much more fun when we were all together in person. He enjoyed it when it was just our group facing off against each other. He didn’t like that we were inviting the whole world into what to him felt like our private hangout. Most of us chided him for being “old fashioned”, some in the group encouraged him to give it more time. Nothing would change his mind though, and that was the last time most of us spoke to him. I think he felt like the odd man out, and just withdrew from us altogether. I didn’t agree with him at the time, but as I’ve looked back over the years. I have realized he was right.

In fact, most of us didn’t see each other in person much after we started gaming online. Halo and gaming were what we had in common. The “ties that bound us” if you will. So, by extension wives, girlfriends, and kids that had formed their own friendships through the group also gradually lost those connections as well.

As Halo 2 aged and most of us turned to different games the group just kind of faded away. Without that real world connection as a foundation playing games online together just wasn’t enough. By the time Halo 3 released the clan was no more. I had made new “online only” friends and played with them on a regular basis.

 Halo 3

Halo 3 is a masterpiece and considered by many to be the greatest installment in the franchise. An example is this 2019 Halo ranking put together by PC Gamer. I did have tons of fun playing it. The campaign is awesome, and so is the multiplayer. However, this was the first time I started to feel like something was missing. Like the characters and story were starting to get a bit stale. So, when Master Chief and Cortana appeared to perish in the ending cinematic. I said to myself, good that’s the perfect way to end the trilogy.

Halo 3 ODST

Then along came Halo 3 ODST. I remember being kind of like “what?” When the game was announced. However, I must admit it turned out to be a pleasant surprise. We got to experience the Halo universe through the eyes of someone other than Spartan 117 or The Arbiter, and that was kind of neat. Not as cool as Halo’s 1-3, but a good game. After I played it, I thought it was a nice caveat to the trilogy, and a way to put a bow on it.

Halo Reach

When Halo Reach launched, and it was clear it was about the fall of the UNSC planet Reach. I was immediately intrigued. I enjoyed the campaign a lot and played through it more than once. It was cool to play as Noble Six and with an entire squad of Spartans. The multiplayer was also very well done.

On March 31st, 2012, Bungie officially handed over the Halo IP to 343 Industries a Microsoft owned studio. You can get more background on the transition from this article from Gamespot. According to this article from RepublicWorld.Com Bungie had plans as early as 2007 to step away from Halo. Bungie didn’t want to be tied to one franchise and wanted to be free to make other games.

Halo 4

Halo 4 was 343 Studios first entry into the franchise. Surprise! Master Chief and Cortana aren’t dead. They survived somehow in cheesy soap opera fashion. The story was loosely based on Halo novels that a lot of people hadn’t read. So, most players had no idea who the Didact and The Librarian were. Or, why they were important characters to the Halo Universe and lore. All the average joe Halo player knew is that they were Forerunners. As far as Prometheans and all the references to Forerunner technology? They were just thrown at players with little in game explanation. The multiplayer was fun. I played a fair amount of it. I enjoyed the remake of the classic Blood Gulch map dubbed Ragnarök in Halo 4. Overall though this game and the lazy storytelling to go with it only further reinforced my opinion that these characters were getting tired. It was time for them to be put to bed. During the latter parts of the story when Cortana started experiencing rampancy. Which you can find a detailed explanation of here in the Halopedia I braced myself for a bad story for the next sequel, and boy did 343 deliver.

Halo 5

Halo 5 launched along with a massive marketing campaign from Microsoft. The story? Big surprise Cortana is evil! Wow didn’t see that coming! Master Chief has also been branded as a villain by the UNSC and is being hunted by a new character Spartan Locke. It’s just bad. That’s all I can say. The story is so poorly written that I can’t even remember the ending. Don’t just take my word for it. Check out this article from Cinemablend where 343 admits they screwed the pooch. The multiplayer? Just horrible. Everything from the change in art style to the Spartans IV’s jumping and high fiving each other like frat boys before matches. I hardly played Halo 5. Never touched the campaign after completing it and played less than an hour of the multiplayer.

Halo Infinite

When Halo Infinite was announced I literally cringed. When the first screenshots were released, and the internet scoffed at their poor quality I wanted to cry. 343 has since released updated screenshots that do look way better.

There’s a grappling hook in the game now. Ummm, ok. Given the fact that the multiplayer is free I’ll check it out. I have really low expectations from 343. IGN reported on November 5, the contents of Halo Infinite’s Battle Pass. You can see it here. That’s right. Halo has a Battle Pass now.

Halo Infinite is due to release December 8th. I won’t be buying it, or signing up for Xbox GamePass again for it. I just feel like this franchise has had a good run. Its best days are far behind it. Let these characters that are so beloved to many of us rest. There are other games to make, and other stories to be told.

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PlayStation Plus December Releases!

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PlayStation Plus membership is a recurring subscription fee taken automatically until cancellation. Subscription is required for online multiplayer. While a PlayStation Plus member there are additional features. Once joined you get exclusive access and member discounts that are the best deals on select games, add-ons, pre-orders, and more from the Playstation Store, Members can enjoy extra savings on top of regular PS Store promotional prices, early access to demos, beta trials, pre-orders, and other exclusive rewards and offers reserved for the PS Plus family.

Online multiplayer allows you to unlock the full potential of your games and lead your team to glory, ride into battle with your squad or go on breath-taking adventures with trusted allies. PS Plus online multiplayer opens new worlds in your favorite games, lets you play online with friends and compete in online tournaments, and is your invitation to join a global community of online gamers.

Per PlayStation’s blog, the PlayStation Plus lineup sees you battling through bright fantasy universes and grim worlds shattered by zealous foes. It asks you to play the hero or see yourself become the villain. You haven’t long to wait in deciding to lose yourself to the looter-slasher hybrid of Godfall, the careful combat of Mortal Shell, or play badly in Lego DC Super-Villains: all games will be available on Tuesday, December 7 until Monday, January 3.

PlayStation Plus members will have until Monday, January 3 to add those titles, plus three bonus PS VR games to their game library.

While you are a PlayStation Plus member, every month you will get to enjoy free monthly games. December’s releases include:

  • Godfall: Challenger Edition | PS5 & PS4

    Godfall is a looter-slasher set in a bright fantasy universe filled with heroic knights and arcane magic. Embark on an adventure in a fantasy action RPG that utilizes high-impact third-person melee combat to engage players as they hunt for loot, don legendary armor sets, and defeat vicious enemies. The Challenger Edition focuses on three unique modes: Lightbringer, Dreamstones, and the Ascended Tower of Trials. All three are endgame-level content, but you’ll be immediately equipped with a spread of deadly weapons and skill points, letting you team up with up to two other players* in co-op. Perfect your build and smash your enemies. Challenger Edition’s endgame co-op is compatible with all upgraded editions of Godfall & supports cross-gen play. Godfall: Challenger Edition players can upgrade at any time to the Deluxe Edition gaining access to both Godfall and Fire & Darkness campaigns.

  • Lego DC Super-Villains | PS4

    It’s good to be bad… Embark on an all-new DC Lego adventure by becoming the best villain the universe has seen. Players will create and play as an all-new super-villain throughout the game, unleashing mischievous antics and wreaking havoc in an action-packed story. Set in an open world experience within the DC universe, the Justice League has disappeared, leaving Earth’s protection to their counterparts, who have proclaimed themselves as the ‘Justice Syndicate’. It’s up to you and a crazy group of misfits to uncover the intentions of Earth’s new, strange, wannabe superheroes. Joined by renowned DC Super-Villains: The Joker, Harley Quinn, and countless others from the Injustice League, players will set out on an epic adventure.

  • Mortal Shell | PS4

    Mortal Shell is a ruthless and deep single-player action RPG that tests your sanity and resilience in a shattered world. As the remains of humanity wither and rot, zealous foes fester in the ruins. They spare no mercy, with survival demanding superior awareness, precision, and instincts. Track down hidden sanctums of devout followers and discover your true purpose.

    PS VR games**

    Continuing from last month and as part of PS VR’s 5th anniversary, three bonus PS VR titles are still available to add to your game library. Survive the horrors aboard a procedurally generated spaceship in The Persistence, tackle zombies in The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners and showcase your sword skills in roguelike Until You Fall. These three games are available until Monday, January 3.

  • The Persistence | PS VR**

    The Persistence challenges you to survive aboard a doomed deep space colony starship in the year 2521. Stranded, malfunctioning, and caught in the inexorable pull of a black hole, “The Persistence” is overrun with a crew mutated into horrific & murderous aberrations. It’s down to you, a clone of security officer Zimri Eder, to make your way deeper in the decks of The Persistence to repair the systems and prevent the ship from being torn apart. Gather resources, upgrade abilities and fabricate an arsenal of weapons in this brutal sci-fi horror roguelike.

  • The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners – Standard Edition | PS VR**

    Face all the horrors that the living and the dead can offer in this new VR adventure in The Walking Dead universe. Travel through the ruins of walker infested New Orleans as you fight, sneak, scavenge, and survive each day unraveling a city-wide mystery within the iconic quarters. Encounter desperate factions and lone survivors who could befriend or foe. Whether you help others or take what you want by force, every choice you make has consequences. What kind of survivor will you be for the people of NOLA?

  • Until You Fall | PS VR**

    Fantasy and synthwave collide in this physically active PS VR sword fighting game. Grow stronger as you battle through an awesome neon environment and strike down magic-infused monstrosities in this hack-and-slash roguelite. Move your arms and body to the synthwave soundtrack as you attack, block, cast spells, and dodge your way deeper into the heart of a neon fantasy world filled with magic-infused monsters. Equip yourself with a variety of gameplay-altering weapons as you continue to gain strength and strike down the monstrosities that lurk throughout this mystifying world.

    Last chance to download November’s PlayStation Plus games

    PlayStation Plus members, this is your reminder to add Knockout City, First Class Trouble, and Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning to your game library. All three titles will leave PlayStation Plus on Monday, December 6.

Check out Gamactica Portals for other PlayStation-related news.

 

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Movies & TV

Chucky New Series on Syfy!

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Everyone in our and past generations should know who Charles Lee Ray is, known as Chucky! Chucky is a fictional character and the main antagonist of the Child’s Play slasher film franchise. Chucky is portrayed as a vicious serial killer who, as he bleeds out from a gunshot wound, transfers his soul into a “Good Guy” doll and continuously tries to transfer it to a human body. The character has become one of the most recognizable horror icons and has been referenced numerous times.

Backstory

Charles Lee Ray was born on May 1st, 1958, in Hackensack, New Jersey. In 1965 when Charles was 7-years-old, after he returned home from trick-or-treating during Halloween, he decided to pick up an apple that he received and noticed a razor blade stuck inside of it. He bit into it regardless and smiled after the razor blade cut into his mouth causing it to bleed. During Charles’ eighth birthday party, he used a mallet to knock the piñata to the ground but continued to aggressively smash it even after it had fallen. He overheard the news of a serial killer on the loose on the radio and delighted in plunging a knife into his birthday cake.

Later that night, an assailant broke into his home and stabbed his father Peter to death right in front of him. His mother Elizabeth attempted to hide in a closet with him, however, when the intruder found them, he was surprised to see that Charles had stabbed his mother to death, claiming to have “helped”. The impressed killer gave Ray the advice of covering his tracks before leaving. After his parents’ deaths, Charles was placed in the Burlington County home for wayward boys. In 1972 when Charles was 14, he was known for playing with the smaller children, particularly a boy named Eddie Caputo who would become his future accomplice. One day after tracking mud through the hallway he was yelled at by the Janitor, Charles slit the man’s throat and cut off his hand so he could present him to the children as “Captain Hook” while playing Peter Pan. When the police came Charles decided to run away, leaving the Janitor’s severed hand behind as a gift for Eddie before fleeing into the night.

At some point in the 1980s, Charles picks up a woman named Delilah and a red-headed woman from a nightclub and takes them back to a hotel. As the two-woman start making out with each other, Charles takes out a knife and holds it over the red-headed woman. Instead of being afraid, the woman tells him to stab her, Ray then spares her and stabs Delilah instead. Charles invites the redhead to finish her off as she takes the knife and starts stabbing Delilah. After killing her together, the couple starts kissing passionately on the bed where the redhead tells Charles her name is Tiffany before suggesting Charles “should be Chucky” and he, in turn, suggests she should be blonde. Chucky and Tiffany left Hackensack in 1987 after killing a man selling his car and driving out of town in it. Chucky and Tiffany moved to Chicago in 1988 and settled in their new apartment by ordering pizza and killing the delivery boy. Eventually, tensions rose between them when Tiffany found out Chucky was killing people without her, leading to an argument that ended with Chucky storming out.

Child’s Play creator Don Mancini created a TV series, that was recently released. Chucky made his return to television on the October 12, 2021, premiere of Chucky, the sequel to Cult of Chucky. In this TV series, Chucky encounters 14-year old middle school student Jake Wheeler at a yard sale with his intentions to use him for his personal art projects. A younger version of Chucky as a human also appeared in flashback scenes which were portrayed by David Kohlsmith and Tyler Barish. The series went over so well they have already renewed it for a Season 2. You can read more about the upcoming new season here.

Everyone should know Rule No. 1: Always check for batteries in your killer toys. Chucky has busted out of the mint condition packaging to embark on another murderous rampage in his very first TV series. Created by the screenwriter behind the iconic Child’s Play franchise, Don Mancini, the show enjoyed its concurrent season premiere on SYFY and USA on Tuesday night.

“I think it’s so important to keep Chucky as a practical puppet effect, partly because it’s important for the actors to have something to respond to onset … I also think it’s important that Chucky have the feel of a doll, of a puppet. He should be a little bit herky-jerky,” Mancini mentioned.

The show takes place in Hackensack, New Jersey, the hometown of Charles Lee Ray (the remorseless criminal who transferred his soul into the body of a Good Guy doll via an archaic voodoo ritual all the way back in 1988). When the red-haired doll we all know and fear turns up at a local yard sale, the sleepy American hamlet is plunged into utter chaos. Naturally, Brad Dourif is back to voice the hack-and-slash character, who was brought to life with the old-school puppetry methods utilized in the earlier films.

Chucky is the most murderous Good Guy Doll around and has found somebody new to play with. In Chucky, the new USA Network and SYFY series, the serial-killer possessed doll have found a new “owner,” a teen named Jake Webber (Zackary Arthur). However, Jake is not the first person to have encountered Chucky, and the series premiere alludes to Chucky’s first “owner,” Andy Barclay. Andy first appeared in the first 1988 Child’s Play and went on to face off with Chucky in several sequels. After a vintage Chucky doll turns up at a suburban yard sale, an idyllic American town is thrown into chaos as a series of horrifying murders begin to expose the town’s hypocrisies and secrets.

Where is Andy during the events of the Chucky series? Andy is presumably still on his anti-Chucky crusade, and he calls Jake to warn him about Good Guy dolls. We know that Vincent will appear in the series, so it probably bodes well for Jake that he’ll have a seasoned doll-killer in his corner. Now, if only Andy were able to kill Chucky and make it stick…

Andy (played by Alex Vincent in most of the films and in the series) made his debut as a 6-year-old in Child’s Play, when he’s gifted a Good Guy doll for his birthday. Unfortunately, as is so often the case, that Good Guy doll has been possessed by the spirit of a serial killer, the notorious Charles Lee Ray. After gruesomely murdering several people in Andy’s life, Chucky attempts to transfer his soul into Andy so that he can be a real boy. However, Andy, his mother Karen (Catherine Hicks), and detective Mike Norris (Chris Sarandon) are able to defeat the doll.

If you missed it, don’t worry — the season opener (clocking in at just over 46 minutes) is currently available to stream on the official SYFY app at no extra cost. The app itself is free to download, and viewers can either connect to their cable subscribers to access the full content or sign up for an NBCUniversal profile and use up to three free credits.

In the next episode, S1 Episode 8, Andy Barclay (Alex Vincent) takes a trip to visit the Wheelers in hopes of finally putting a stop to Chucky but is confronted by an eery Junior Wheeler (Teo Briones). Meanwhile, Jake Wheeler (Zackary Arthur) and Lexy Cross (Alyvia Alyn Lind) try to piece together the meaning behind Chucky’s motives until they get an expected visit from an old friend.

To read more amazing stories like this one, check out Gamactica Portals

 

 

 

 

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Movies & TV

See – An Underrated Dystopia With a Story To Tell

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Every once in a while, a show comes out that surprises me. At first glance, Apple TV’s See sounds a bit… strange, and it seems to be largely flying under the radar with its first 2 seasons. It’s about what happens when the world loses sight, and how the world adapts to this change. It’s a very interesting concept, but it’s one of those ideas that is far enough out there that you need good performances from the cast to make it actually work. That is where See truly shines IMO, even if some of the characters are VERY over the top. The cast does an excellent job of bringing these characters to life in a believable way, even if the world itself is a bit unbelievable at times.

The main characters that we follow are:

– Baba Voss (Jason Mamoa) – The main protagonist and adoptive father of the twins.
– Maghra (Hera Hilmar) – Baba’s wife and mother to the twins.
– Haniwa (Nesta Cooper) & Kofun (Archie Madekwe) – The twins that we watch grow up over the first 3 episodes.
– Queen Kane (Sylvia Hoeks) – Queen of Paya and main antagonist of Season 1.
– Tamacti Jun (Christian Camargo) – The Witchfinder General, the leader of the Queen’s army who hunt’s and kills any witches that they find (Anyone with sight).
– Edo Voss (Dave Bautista) – Main Antagonist of Season 2, General of the Trivantian Army and Baba’s brother.
– Jerlamorel (Joshua Henry) – The twins’ biological father, who is sighted, and is trying to have as many sighted children as possible.

Overall, the cast does a pretty incredible job with bringing these characters to life. Jason Mamoa leans into the protective father role and does a great job telling that story. His relationship with his wife is believable and real, and both do a great job of feeding off of each other’s energy. That paired with Nesta Cooper and Archie Madekwe as Haniwa and Kofun, and the core of this show puts on a great performance.

Baba Voss (Jason Mamoa) and Maghra (Hera Hilmar). Source – IMDB

The first season takes us through the journey to reunite the Twins with their father, with the Witchfinders in pursuit. There are a ton of setpiece battles, exciting chases, and surprises along the way. There is also some political intrigue mixed in with how Queen Kane is handling a potential uprising, which is highlighted by a stellar (if over the top) performance by Sylvia Hoeks. She balances terrifying and crazy near perfect and has some truly chilling moments as the Mad Queen.

The Mad Queen Kane. Source – IMDB

We also follow the pilgrimage of sorts that the Twins go through to find their biological father throughout the season. This sets up a confrontation at the end about what kind of world they should live in… Do they embrace the sight, or do they continue to live among the blind, hiding what they can do? Personally, I think they handled this well, and they really pushed hard into setting up for season 2.

Overall, 2 seasons in this is a really good show. The world seems like a bit of a stretch at times, but it’s not so far out there that it breaks immersion. The characters are engaging, and the story is fantastic. If you have some time, and an Apple TV+ Subscription, I can’t recommend See enough.

What are your thoughts on the show? Comment below and let me know!

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