Injustice: Gods Among Us ‘Ultimate Edition’ (PS4, 2013)

With the release of Injustice 2 looming, I thought now would be as good a time as any to finally play the first game’s single-player story mode.

I’ve had a soft spot for Injustice ever since it first came out. I like NetherRealm‘s current output, with the engine they debuted with 2011’s Mortal Kombat reboot being easy for fighting game novices like me to get to grips with, and Injustice throwing some silly gimmicks into the mix to boot. Industry pros weren’t fans of the interactive environments, but I thought they were a nice addition, befitting the game’s superhero theme – and the core fighting system was still satisfying and deep.

Me and my pals have sunk countless hours into the game’s multiplayer, but I had never made time for the story mode until now.

The five-ish hour yarn is a fun, dimension hopping superhero romp that didn’t quite hit as hard as the studio’s Mortal Kombat stories, but was still leaps and bounds ahead of most of its genre contemporaries. It does have an evil Superman as the antagonist however, so at least that’s something fresh as far as recent blockbuster movie/TV offerings go.

The mode sees you switching to a new character every four or five fights, meaning you’ll have the basic tactics for half the roster down by the time you finish. The frequent swaps mean the story is rarely dull and no one outstays their welcome. There aren’t many twists and turns outside of the opening cinematic, but it’s a decently put together story considering the number of characters involved.

It’s worth noting that I played the ULTIMATE EDITION(!) which is a PS4 remaster of the PS3/X360 original. It is unfortunately far from perfect, as cutscenes are rife with slow down and video artefacting, and in general the game looks very blurry and rough around the edges. Thankfully, the in-game action runs beautifully, with responsive controls, detailed, destructible environments, and characters that come with a bevy of additional costumes.

Despite its many gimmicks, Injustice: Gods Among Us is still a rock solid fighting game with tonnes of single player game options and huge amounts of multiplayer value. Playing it as a primer for the sequel has me excited for what next week holds.

Resident Evil 7: Biohazard (PS4, 2017)

The closing hours of Resident Evil 7 make for one of the most disheartening final acts in any game I’ve played recently. It meant that my lasting impression before I sat down to write this review was pretty negative. But, looking back on the experience as a whole, this was still a satisfying reboot of the Resident Evil series – one that showed it still has potential to tell a mostly compelling story. Moreover; the gameplay was arguably the best it’s ever been, delivering a tight survival horror experience that melded old and new genre philosophies.

Venturing into the realm of first person horror, which has massively come into vogue since Resident Evil 6, RE7 takes a number of cues from its genre peers. The gorgeously rendered, meticulously detailed household hallways feel akin to P.T. The emphasis on running and hiding in some sections is reminiscent of Outlast and Amnesia.

However, most importantly, this game’s biggest influence is its own history. Gameplay involves intensive inventory management, lots of scares as you duck and weave through tight corridors, picking your battles wisely due to tough ammo restrictions, and simple yet rewarding puzzles. It’s the classic Resident Evil formula, with the insane plot reigned back and all the modern bells, whistles and quality of life improvements you’d expect from a big release in 2017.

Me and the lads played through Resident Evil 7 in full. Watch here:

The plot is set in the same universe as all previous RE games, but largely unrelated bar some late game teases and nods. Wandering around a creepy mansion (see? Classic Resident Evil!), protagonist Ethan must find his girlfriend, rescue her from the monstrous Baker family, and escape in one piece. It’s refreshingly small-scale and focused – especially early on. No grander conspiracy, no world-endagering evil – it’s a claustrophobic horror with elements of Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Saw, The Blair Witch Project and other horror staples.

Where it goes off the rails is the aforementioned final act. Things get, well, a little too Resident Evil-y for me. While certain elements of RE’s past are welcomed back, some aren’t. The creepy, small-scale plot is sacrificed for goofy boss battles and set pieces that feel like the exact type of thing the first half of the game was successfully getting away from. The plot peaks far too soon, limping across the finish line with a needless final hour and boss battles that wouldn’t be out of place in a forgotten PS2 era spinoff in this long running series.

Setbacks aside, Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is still a reassuring return to form for the series. The locations are beautifully realized in their disgusting details, the gameplay is tight and satisfying, and the plot at least has signs of getting away from the series’ bloated past, even if it lazily falls back on tired tropes on the home stretch. Resident Evil 7 is a must own for survival horror fans, and one of the most enjoyable games of 2017 so far.

Sami Callihan, Jake Crist and Dave Crist vs. Shane Strickland, Dezmond Xavier and Lio Rush (WrestleCircus, 31-April-17)

Watch this match here.

This was the exact kind of match that a lot of people hate but I have a great amount of time for.

These guys did ten million moves, tonnes of innovative stuff, some of which was innovative to the point of being overly-cute, and everyone got their shit in. There was no real rhyme or reason, in the sense I couldn’t recall who had taken what moves or what the throughline was supposed to be (there probably wasn’t one) but everyone was doing cool stuff so I didn’t care.

Lio Rush in particular looked incredible, with some spots that were obvious homages to classic Low-Ki trademarks, usually with a small twist to make them his own.

For such a young promotion, WrestleCircus already has a tremendous group of regulars, who were loud and engaged like a peak-PWG or top level UK indie crowd. The venue seems cool, and everything I’ve seen from them has a red hot atmosphere.

The main drawback here was the production which, frankly, sucked. The camera guys were completely unable to keep up with the early crowd-brawling, and even some of the early in-ring stuff – several spots were missed early on, enough that I could easily see people tapping out on this a few minutes in. They had two stationary hardcams, which were fine, so I suppose the editor(s) also deserve a slap on the wrist for neglecting to use them when the ringside crew was fumbling. Likewise, the commentary was total low-level indie noise and the promotion (like many others) would do well to offer alternate, commentary-free audio tracks on their video-on-demand service.

If you’re not into mile-a-minute move fests, avoid this like the plague. If you are easily bothered by shoddy production, you might want to give this a miss. If you like crazy move-a-thons, this is a treat of a freebie, featuring some of indie wrestling’s current hottest names.

Mafia 3 (PS4, 2016)

Here’s a video review I produced last year.

It was a format I was toying around with a lot in 2016, and hope to revisit in the future. I enjoy editing but it is a tiring process, especially on a budget — you might be able to tell this isn’t made with elite level tech or software.

Regardless, I like how it came out and hope to get back to video reviews soon.

Bray Wyatt vs. Randy Orton (WWE, Payback 2017)

Watch this match here. (Sub required, $9.99 monthly)

This was bad and it was never-fucking-ending.

It was a ‘House of Horrors’ match, which is the latest attempt to parlay Wyatt’s character into something other than plain old rasslin’ matches. Ironically, his plain old rasslin’ matches with The Shield and Daniel Bryan are some of his most highly regarded battles, unlike his reviled ‘spectacles’ such as the ‘Ring of Fire’ match with Kane, the compound brawl with The New Day, and Wrestlemania 33’s embarrassing spooky-slideshow, also featuring Orton.

There’s a certain pretentiousness that permeates everything WWE does with Wyatt, like they think there’s a depth or cleverness there that might break through to ‘casual’ audiences. The video package for this match had a whisper-y cover of ‘Ring a Ring o’ Roses;’ akin to Hollywood’s current obsession with breathy covers of kids’ songs for their trailers. I feel like they expect a prime-time Emmy for this.

The match was divided into two segments; a pre-taped vignette in a creepy Blair Witch-like house, and then a brawl in the arena.

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The haunted house section was entirely based on editing and theatrics. There was spooky music, frequent camera cuts, an abundance of colourful lighting, all the clichéd haunted house imagery you would imagine and, scariest of all, they added THUD sound effects to every single punch either man threw. There really wasn’t much actual brawling – if you expected this to at least be a violent, prop-heavy backstage fight, you were wrong.

This basically served as the ‘heat’ of the match, with Wyatt having the jump on Orton as they went room to room. When Orton tried to fire back, Bray would bail.

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It’s WWE, so of course the whole affair was too campy to take seriously but, and this was the real failing of the match, they played it 100% serious.

As more time passes, and more people try and imitate it, you come to realise how on-point Matt Hardy’s wacky ‘short films’ were. They didn’t turn around TNA business, but they knew exactly what they were and they reinvigorated his career.

Because WWE is so unwilling to laugh at itself, and so cocksure about the ‘genius’ of the Bray Wyatt character, they doomed this match before it ever started.

Wyatt crushed Orton with a dirty-ass refrigerator and stole his limo (oh yeah, Randy Orton showed up in a limo, in slacks, with no shirt on) to end the first segment of the match. The crowd loudly booed as the commentators tried to act completely serious and recount what they just saw.


After the Seth Rollins vs. Samoa Joe match, Wyatt returned to yet more booes. He then did his FULL ENTRANCE. I was begging for this to be a one-move/quick pinfall deal once he hit the ring, but no joy. When the lights came up at the conclusion of Wyatt’s drawn-out saunter, Orton was already in the ring. They brawled for another five excruciating minutes. Orton was in control before the Singh brothers and Jinder Mahal interfered, allowing Bray to get an utterly meaningless win.


I went into this match sick-to-death of Bray, and very unimpressed with Orton’s level of effort since January. I came out of the match pretty sympathetic to both, as there was nothing they could do to save this. Both guys at least tried their best to show intensity in the house brawl, and it came across, but it was such a doomed segment that it didn’t matter.

I’d love to be the contrarian and say this was actually a lot of fun, but even in this era of endless hot takes, that would be too disingenuous.

This was absolutely painful to watch.