Nath’s Top 5s for 2016

Nath sometimes writes for the site. This is one of those times.

So 2016 was a pretty shit year. We had Trump winning the US election, the UK voting to leave the EU (I voted remain) and we lost a huge amount of celebrities like David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Anton Yelchin, Prince and Muhammad Ali to name a few. I will look back on this year and think to myself “what the hell happened?”. I just hope it isn’t a sign of things to come. That being said, we still managed to see a load of great releases this year, including games, films and TV shows. Here are my top 5’s of this year. You know the rules, has to be something new I’ve discovered this year and no repeats from last year.

 

Apps

I have downloaded and used a fair few apps this year, whether it is on my Xbox One or my phone. I recently transitioned from a Sony Xperia Z3 Compact to a Samsung S7 Edge (was nearly sold the Note 7) so my app experiences on this device have been a lot better than they have been previously. Here is my top 5:

5. Marvel Contest of Champions
A very enjoyable fighting game based on the Marvel universe. As you progress through levels, you get the chance to unlock other Marvel characters and level them up. I think I ended up with Deadpool as my main fighting character which was very pleasing as the film had also been released recently too. All in all a very decent game, but it was short lived.

4. Star Wars Galaxy of Heroes
Again very similar to the above, however you get to choose a party of 5 and progress through levels, very similar to a turn based RPG. You get the chance to level up your characters and make stronger parties depending on the missions you face ahead. Again very enjoyable but short-lived.

3. Bleach Brave Souls
I had a bit of a Bleach resurgence this year mainly due to this app. This was bit more action-packed then the ones above, more like Bleach meets Dynasty Warriors. You play as characters from the Bleach world and play the main Hollow/Arrancar storyline and each character specialises in a certain area. I believe my top character here was Zaraki Kenpachi and he decimated everyone. I was straight up addicted to this game for a few months.

2. ePSXe
This is a Playstation emulator for PC and smartphone. I got this as I wanted to play games offline when I had no signal for data-based games. It also allowed me to replay Final Fantasy 7, Final Fantasy 9 and Crash Bandicoot this year. Soon I will play Final Fantasy 8 and Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver too. The controls are a bit clunky but it is truly a fantastic app.

1. Pokémon Go
Is anyone surprised by this? The most downloaded app of the year makes number 1 on my list of top 5 apps. I admit I was completely hooked by the game when I started because I wanted to be the very best like no one ever was. I had a strong team of hilariously named Pokemon and basically sought to try and be the best at the game. I even managed to get a copy before the UK release. However, it feels like the game was completely destroyed by it’s own popularity which is such a shame. I got as far as I could but then as soon as the hype wore off, I stopped playing it. I imagine I may take it up again if Gen 2 gets released, but that may be a way off yet. I just think they needed to do more with the game.

Image result for pokemon go

 

Songs

I won’t lie, this was the hardest to break down as I have been using Spotify for a year now and it would be interesting to see how much I have listened to now compared to last year. I would do albums but I mainly just listen to playlists and start listening to albums if the song piques my interest. Commiserations to many songs but mainly Bad Religion – 21st Century Boy and Hardcore Superstar – Touch the Sky. Here is my top 5:

5. Avatar – Let it Burn
Yay, Swedish Death Metal makes an appearance again for the 2nd year in a row. This is a fantastic song, a very interesting opening rift, with quite monotone gothic lyrics followed by a dark screaming chorus and a brilliant solo. I thoroughly enjoy listening to this song as I find it calming and exhilarating all at the same time.

4. Disturbed – The Sound of Silence
Yes I am a fan of my covers however this can’t really be regarded as a cover, this is a re-imagining. It is a truly haunting version of the original, one I have tried to learn how to play myself and attempt at singing but let’s face it, David Draiman has pretty unique voice and I can’t sing at all.

3. Parkway Drive – Wild Eyes
Now Parkway Drive sounds like an Indie Acoustic band that play light-hearted love songs. But they’re not, they are a metalcore band from Australia. This song opened up the world of Parkway Drive to me, I started listening to all the albums and started looking at tours as well. I picked this song because of it’s very unique opening riff and hard lyrics. “We built our dreams from the ashes of your nightmares” is a particular favourite.

2. Open Minded – Wazer Wifle
This is a song entirely about the famous Laser Rifle from the Fallout series. I was actually playing Fallout 4 when I first heard this song and I genuinely wanted it to be number 1 on this list but I just couldn’t. It is a song about a Fallout player obtaining a Wazer Wifle and the power that it wields. It is a fantastic song that I recommend every Fallout fan should listen to.

1. Ghost B.C. – Square Hammer
I know Ghost B.C. were number 1 last year but I heard this song at the end of October and it has been on repeat ever since. It is a bit more fast-paced than their other songs with a unique combination of an organ and a guitar playing in the introduction. Again satanic lyrics ensue, the song is asking if you want to swear before the devil that you’re on the same page. Again yes fairly satanic but don’t read too much into it. The song is a masterpiece from start to finish and the video that accompanies it is a wonderful work of art.

 

TV Shows

We currently live in a golden age of television. There are so many great TV shows available to watch at the moment and I do believe that there have been more great TV shows released this year than films. I am actually struggling to find the time to watch everything at the moment. I still haven’t been able to finish Luke Cage yet and it probably would make the top 5 if I had finished it. I’m also re-watching The Walking Dead with my girlfriend so she can get up to speed and we can watch the latest seasons together. Currently on the fantastic 3rd season, I know what’s going to happen but it is still great to watch. So here is my top 5 of TV shows this year, honourable mention to ” And Then There Were None”, a short drama based on Agatha Christie’s novel.

5. Sword Art Online
The only anime mention this year, this was a recommendation from Kii as I had finished my Bleach phase and needed something else to watch. This is a story of a newly released virtual reality MMORPG (VRMMORPG) where players are fully immersed in an RPG game. However, the creator of the game stopped the users from logging out and if they suffered in-game deaths or their VR gear was removed in real life, they would die. It is a brilliant show, one I would recommend to anyone, a mixture of thrills, action and love.

4. Narcos Season 2
The 2nd season only makes number 4 this year after last year’s triumph, not because it was a bad series though. It picks up where the last season ended with the Colombian police force trying to capture Pablo with the help of the US DEA. This season shows the decline of Pablo and the lengths that the police and his rivals were willing to go capture him. If you enjoyed the first season, then watch the second one, it is excellent and well worth watching.

3. Rick and Morty Seasons 1 and 2
I know this is a year old but thankfully Netflix has both seasons online at the moment. Season 3 will begin next year, hopefully in March, but I do wish I could watch it right this second. It follows the adventures of Rick and Morty, Rick who is a mad alcoholic scientist and Morty, his grandson who is shy and timid individual. The best way to describe this show is a mixture between Back to the Future, Futurama and South Park. I thoroughly enjoy Rick’s views on life as well his hilarious rants that shoot everyone down. Also the hilariousness of the crazy adventures they get themselves into are a massive highlight too. My particular favourite is “Get Schwifty” where an alien head is looking for a catchy song to enter the planet into an intergalactic music competition. If you haven’t seen this show then I’d recommend it heavily, probably one of the funniest animated cartoons I’ve seen in a long time.

2. Game of Thrones Season 6
Pretty much the season where George R. R. Martin got bored of some his characters and decided to kill a load of them off. It was a bit more fast-paced than last season, the wildfire explosion was a particular highlight, and so early on as well. We also got to see the end of Ramsey Bolton as well, probably more hated than Joffrey at this point. It is also fantastic to see Daenerys leave Mereen and head towards Westeros with the vast army and dragons in tow. Seems like we are in for a massive Season 7 with twists and turns along the way. It’s a shame though as season 7 may be the shortest season so far, but hopefully it will be crammed with more action-packed episodes.

1. Stranger Things
Wow, what a series this was. A Netflix original makes number 1 on the list for the 2nd year in a row and we are getting a 2nd season. Set in the 1980’s, the series starts with the mysterious disappearance of Will Byers and the sudden emergence of Eleven. This series had me gripped from the very start. I could’ve binged the whole series in a day, but I wanted to make the good times last. This trumps anything and everything I’ve watched this year. Truly gripping from the very start right up to the very end. I was on the edge of my seat trying to piece everything together as it transpired. I also tried looking for a Christmas Jumper with the letters below the fairy lights but couldn’t get my hands on a decent one. Season 2 is currently in production and I cannot wait to see it.

Image result for stranger things

 

Films

A pretty mixed year for films. Some absolutely brilliant titles and some big let downs as well. Let downs in the form of Batman Vs Superman and Suicide Squad. I think the DC Cinematic Universe needs to up their game a bit if they’re to compete with Marvel. There were some great movies released this year and some others that I watched that were released in the last few years. Interstellar and Straight Outta Compton were particular highlights. However here is my top 5 films for this year.

5. The Nice Guys
The comedic duo of Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling (who would’ve thought that) team up to find a pornstar who may or may not be dead. Ryan Gosling plays a drunk private eye and Russell Crowe plays an unethical hitman. They are basically the worst team imaginable but somehow end up working together pretty well. The film is smart and funny, a good film to put on a lazy Sunday afternoon if it’s raining outside. Maybe even if it’s sunny. I don’t like going outside.

4. Star Trek – Beyond
The 3rd installment of the invigorated Star Trek franchise. This film shows the destruction of the Enterprise and the lengths the crew were willing to go through in order to escape the planet they were marooned on. I admit it did take me a while to get into this one and it was a shame that there were none of the old enemies from the series in it, but then again you can’t keep recycling the old, you have to come up with something new every now and again and I though it was executed very well. I particularly enjoyed the “Sabotage” scene, even though it was a bit ridiculous. Not the best Star Trek film, but still very enjoyable.

3. Captain America Civil War
An all-out brawl between Marvel characters. Team Iron Man vs Team Cap. Just for the record I’m on the Captain’s side in this, it has caused some problems among my friends. It was also nice to see Black Panther introduced into the cinematic universe as I believe he is a fantastic superhero. Also nice to see Ant-Man, I hadn’t seen the film before I saw this and I watched it immediately afterwards. It was great to see the Avengers torn apart using manipulation instead of another super hero. I know the team has split up but the build up to the Infinity War series of films will be fantastic.

2. Doctor Strange
I have been describing this film as Inception mixed with The Matrix thrown in a large bucket of LSD. It is a brilliant film. Very beautiful to watch with great storyline that follows and a reluctant super hero to take up the responsibility of saving the world. I did like the way he makes the bargain at the end in order to save the world. A truly great addition to the Marvel Cinematic universe and hopefully will be of great use in the Infinity War that is coming up. It seems like Dr. Strange will make an appearance in the latest Thor installment too.

1. Deadpool
Is anyone surprised by this? The highest grossing R rated film of all time, and my number 1 film for the year as it came out in February and I’m still watching it and enjoying every second of it to this day. In fact I am actually watching it now whilst I write the article. Ryan Reynolds reprises the role from the X-Men Origins: Wolverine film, a film that has taken over 10 years to start production and what a character he is. Deadly, sick and hilarious. It had me in stitches throughout with Wade Wilson’s wit, the constant breaking of the 4th wall and the hilarious insults spurned out. The countdown of the bullets at the start were particularly great as well. I am thoroughly looking forward to the sequel. Thank goodness this was put into production, the only downside is that it won’t be part of the cinematic universe.

Image result for Deadpool

 

Video Games

The most important part of my review. The top 5 games of the year. This was a particularly hard list to compile as Games with Gold has been adding games to my collection each month, I played Dead Space again even though I had fully completed it before, I just couldn’t help myself. That being said there were a few games that I didn’t get round to playing still. I missed out on Overwatch, mainly because my TV isn’t any good for playing online. Also Final Fantasy XV has come out too late to place in the list and I’ve been told I may get it for Christmas. I would’ve included the Bioshock collection but I have played them before. Here is my top 5 games of the year.

5. The Wolf Among Us – Telltale Games
I know this game is 2 years old but this was the first time I played it, thanks to Games with Gold. You play Bigby Wolf also known as the Big Bad Wolf, the town sheriff who is trying to keep all the Fables in check when suddenly a murder tips everything on it’s head. This game is all choice based, where certain actions determine your fate during and at the end of the game. There are a lot of characters from Fables too, whether they are from Grimm’s fairy tale, nursery rhymes or other short stories. The story line throughout the game is fantastic, really gripping stuff, where I had to be certain I thought I was making the right choices and luckily for me I was.

Image result for the wolf among us

4. Far Cry Primal – Ubisoft
I said at the end of the review for that game that it would make my top 5 this year and I was right. It is a breathe of fresh air in the FPS genre, set in the primal era of man when we were establishing ourselves as a race. Lots of interesting side quests and a pretty decent main storyline consisting of two tribes that will do everything in their power to take you out and be the more dominant tribe. One tribe specialises in brute strength and the other uses fire to it’s fullest advantage. Also you can capture and kill many types of animal and have them as your companions. The real treat was having a pet Honey Badger, those things are hard to kill, the one I had took down a mammoth on it’s own. My particular favourite side quests were tracking the powerful beasts, especially the Blood Wolf, as he kept running away and I had to keep tracking him. Definitely worth playing through if you haven’t before.

Image result for far cry primal

3. Fallout 4 and DLC – Bethesda

I know this was released at the latter of last year but I only started playing it after Christmas and I still have it a year later. Bethesda seemed to have pulled out all the stops with this installment after Fallout 3 and I didn’t seem to get any bugs in it like everyone else had, maybe I just got lucky with the version I had. You start off being frozen during a nuclear war along with your wife/husband and your baby. Then some asshole named after a brand of corn flakes steals your baby and you wake up later and attempt to try and find him. The main storyline is pretty good along with four different endings to the game, however I felt some of the side quests were a lot better, but it was hard to pick a particular favourite. From the top of my head, The Secret of Cabot House and the Museum of Witchcraft were the most memorable.

Halfway through the year, some DLC became available for the game, Far Harbor and The Machinist. Far Harbor brings you a new massive area to discover along with three new factions: Far Harbor, The Synth Refuge and The Children of Atom, as well as a whole host of new enemies. This place is not for the faint-hearted, I waited a fair while before heading out there, my strongest character really struggled, even armed with the most super of super sledgehammers and lots of strength. Far Harbor is definitely worth downloading for Fallout 4.

The Machinist allows you to make and create robots from scratch or alter existing companions you already have. So altering Codsworth was aim number one with this add on, he is pretty handy as he is, but giving him a cannon on his arm and some tank legs just gives him an extra edge. The storyline for this DLC is pretty good and is set on the main Fallout 4 map, you are attempting to find out why robots have started killing humans on their own terms (I, Robot rip off). The story is not as good as the Far Harbor campaign, but the ability to create your own robots was what sold the DLC for me.

Image result for fallout 4

2. Gears of War 4 – The Coalition
The latest in the Gears of War series, jam packed with action from the get-go. It was nice to play a prequel into all the wars that took place throughout the Gears series, and being to see Dom again (prequel, he’s definitely dead). The gameplay is still the same but the ability to pick people up from behind the covers and vaulting over cover is great addition. I couldn’t care less for the DB enemies, but the new Locust that are in it are an interesting addition. We have lost the Boomers and the Wretches but I think we can live without them, and the addition of Pouncers and Snatchers are brilliant. Old man Marcus is brilliant to have back, still as battle hardened as he was in the original series.

Horde has somehow become more difficult though, as old horde you could place items where they were, however with this one, you need the money to buy them from the Fabricator and then you can place them where you want. I’ve only made it to level 30 on horde, mainly because playing online with some people sucks, not like the good old days with our team. Have to say though, playing online as zombie Dom is a bit unsettling.

Image result for gears of war 4

1. Doom – id Software
Is anyone surprised this made number 1? Probably the biggest Doom fanboy ever sitting right here (I downloaded original Doom and Doom 2 during the Black Friday sales) so it comes as no surprise that this makes number 1. I played it through a couple of times, attempting to get all the secrets and unlock all the hidden maps. I even tried Nightmare mode but I didn’t last very long. I think the term was got completely schooled comes to mind. It is a fantastic remake of the original (technically Doom 3 was but this is Doom revamped I think) and I think everyone needs to play it at some stage. The upgrades to certain monsters are brilliant, Pinkys are now super difficult to take down, especially if there are more than 1. Weapon modification has also been added, with each weapon offering 2 different types of mod, but you are only allowed to have one active. For example, the rocket launcher can either fire remotely (don’t see the point in that) or have homing rockets (much more effective). My favourite still to this day is the super shotgun, used throughout the older Doom games and will continue to use it in this one.

The multiplayer isn’t too bad either, team deathmatch being the favourite for me. If you are doing well during the match, you have the ability to morph into a demon. Sadly you can’t morph into the Cyberdemon, but the Baron of Hell isn’t too bad to morph into, apparently you can now choose the Cacodemon too and fly about the levels (only available in DLC). The only downside is that there is no news on whether there will be any continuation from this game and I think it deserves a sequel. Seeings as original Doom was set on Mars and Doom 2 is titled Hell on Earth, it would make sense to have New Doom 2 or Doom 5 (confusing I know) set on earth. Here’s hoping something is announced soon.

Image result for doom 2016

I hope you enjoyed my top 5 of 2016, there is plenty to look forward to next year, new Guardians of the Galaxy, Final Fantasy XV (I will get round to playing it) as well as all the sequels to the fantastic series we’ve had this year (hoping for Rick and Morty season 3).

Nath

MCM Comic Con London October 2016

This past weekend Adam & Ian headed off to Comic Con. Here’s what they thought!

Despite actually living in London, it still somehow takes me over an hour to actually get over to ExCel at Custom House and to Comic Con every time. However, once you hit the DLR stations (sometimes even before) you slowly start to see more and more people in cosplay or general geek finery, puzzling commuters in business suits but allowing me the biannual feeling of once again being among my people. Each year the show gets bigger, with seemingly thousands more people attending and sprawling out over ExCel and the surrounding area.

wp-1477917185403.jpg

London Comic Con is always rammed full of a huge variety of vendors selling a huge range of film and video game memorabilia, retro video games, beautiful and expensive figures, board games, replica weaponry, anime body pillows and comic books and manga. You could spend all weekend just wandering around the stalls and still wouldn’t see everything. You would also end up broke. As I always do.

wp-1477923023777.jpg

wp-1477923023784.jpg

There is always a tonne of cool props, vehicles and other interesting pop culture bits and pieces kicking around, like the excellent xenomorph pictured here and the tiny metal xenos around it.  We also checked out the various games demoing there, a big showing for JRPGs and anime-related games this year like Berserk and Dragonball Z Xenoverse 2, and some retro games. We both sucked at Diddy Kong Racing on the N64, with Ian being slightly less terrible but certainly not doing anything quite as prosaic as ‘winning’.

One of the main draws of Comic Con, and for me the most important section, is always the Comics Village, where a host of independent comic creators, writers and artists show off their wares. I always come away with a few of the comics that have caught my eye, and while I may not have been able to afford quite as many as I would have liked, I still picked up a couple. If you haven’t spent some time there before, I heartily recommend checking it out next time Comic Con rolls around.

As I’ve said, there were a lot of folk showing off their cosplays all over the place. This year there were a lot of Pokémon GO trainers, Overwatch characters, Harley Quinns of every conceivable flavour (though mostly the ‘Daddy’s Lil’ Monster’ variety) and unfortunately, quite a few Jared Leto Jokers, though I prefer to call that particular incarnation ‘The Junker’ (after one of the precious children from an episode of the fantastic Monster Factory). Here are some of my favourites though:

wp-1477923023821.jpg

wp-1477923023763.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On top of all of that there was even more focus on eSports than the previous times I’ve attended, as well some excellent guests and panels this year, in particular the wonderful Nolan North and Troy Baker. If you’ve never checked out London Comic Con, it rolls back around in May so be sure to check it out!

Adam

Adam’s Most Anticipated of 2016

Here is what Adam is most looking forward to in 2016, in no particular order (I don’t know why I picked that featured photo either).

Captain America: Civil War

Civil War

I’ve not exactly made it a secret that I’m a big fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or that I think Chris Evans makes a great Steve Rogers. As more details and the cast has been revealed for third Captain America film, a lot of people have labelled it as ‘Avengers 2.5’ as it seems 80% of the MCU is going to be in it. But from the first trailer that hit, the film’s focus definitely still seems to be on Cap and how he is seeing events. Also Iron Man is there. I don’t find hero Vs hero to be the most interesting plotline, but things don’t look quite as simple as that. Oh, and Black Panther looks really cool.

 

Finishing my PhD

For better or worse, this year I’ll be free of this terrible curse. Horrible life decision.

 

Rogue One

Rogue One

Ah genuine excitement for new Star Wars. How I’ve missed you. I loved The Force Awakens, and while I’m not overly enthused by some of the ideas floating around for the upcoming anthology films, more Star Wars while we wait for the numbered films should be a good thing (and means those films won’t be rushed). The first film set to be released in December is ‘Rogue One’, centered on the group of rebels who stole the plans for the first Death Star. And it has an excellent cast.

 

New Thrice Album

CUgUKXHWUAAU7be

Thrice are one of my favourite bands, with their 2005 album ‘Vheissu’ being one of my desert island discs. Remembering picking it up at lunch time at school 10 years ago makes me feel incredibly old. From their emo punk roots Thrice developed into a brilliant progressive band that is full of intelligent and inventive musical ideas. They announced they were going on a hiatus back in 2012, but unlike many bands who make the same decision they always said they weren’t breaking up, and they were just “taking a break from being a full-time band”. In 2015 they held up that promise, playing a smattering of festivals internationally, one of which was Hevy Fest in the UK which I was lucky enough to catch. Near the end of November they announced that there would be a new album in 2016, and I can’t wait.

 

New Every Time I Die Album

ETID

I have two ETID tattoos. I’m a reasonably big fan of theirs. Something that always inexplicably surprises me is that especially with heavy bands, I expect that eventually the formula will get repetitive or stale, and I’m always delighted when it doesn’t. With every album Every Time I Die have managed to surprise with how interesting and genre pushing their music is, while still retaining their core sound that drew me to them in the first place. Their last album ‘From Parts Unknown’ was a fast, vicious affair that managed to outdo it’s predecessors in terms of raw heaviness. Their awesome riffs and punishing drums are only equaled for me in the bestial vocals from Keith Buckley and his insightful, intelligent lyrics. Look up what ‘Moor‘ is about. Intense.

Anyway, in a recent podcast guitarist Jordan Buckley said that they were going into the studio early on this year, and I can’t wait. They were halfway through a tour of the UK in November before having to postpone the London shows, and they’ve been rescheduled to May/June next year. I have tickets to 3 shows in a row. If I die, know I died doing what I loved – being bludgeoned to death by a large bald man with face tattoos.

 

Daredevil Season 2

Daredevil

Netflix’s Daredevil series was great. A lot of people seemed to agree, which is why we’re getting a second series, probably in the first half of 2016. Joining the cast from season one are Élodie Yung as Electra and Jon Bernthal as Frank Castle AKA The Punisher. I don’t know how they’ll both figure in to the series, but I’m sure it will be good.

 

Luke Cage

Luke cage

I really enjoyed Mike Colter as Luke Cage in 2015’s Jessica Jones (a show I made my favourite TV show of the year), so I’m not particularly worried about the quality of the Luke Cage solo series. Netflix are doing a great job with these shows, and I can’t see Cage being any different. I imagine it will all debut at a similar sort of time of year that Jessica Jones did this year.

 

Writing More

This year I started playing around with writing some fiction, mostly in the form of short stories. I don’t pretend to be good at it, but I find it extremely cathartic and it’s great to get swept up in. Unfortunately my current hectic and stressful work life has meant this has had to go on the back burner, largely relegated to jotting down plot details and story ideas when they come to me, so I don’t forget them when I finish my PhD and I can dedicate the time and energy I’d like to to them. I’ll probably figure some way of sharing this stuff in due time, so watch this space. Maybe.

 

Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange

Last week we were treated to our first look at Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange, the Sorcerer Supreme from the upcoming film, due out in early November of 2016. I think he looks fantastic, continuing the grand tradition in the MCU of nailing a “real world” representation of a classic comic costume. Doctor Strange will be bringing the magical elements of the Marvel Universe more into focus as Phase 3 of the MCU continues (I know Scarlet Witch counts too, but they were fairly vague about her power set in Age of Ultron), making everything feel more full and complex. Little is known of the plot so far (good!) but with the always brilliant Cumberbatch being joined by Chiwetel Eijofor, Tilda Swindon, Mads Mikkelsen and Rachel McAdams it’s sure to be pretty good!

 

Uncharted 4

Uncharted 4

I’m looking forward to generally having a lot more time for gaming in 2016, even if that point is still a few months away. One game that has been pretty highly anticipated is the Playstation exclusive Uncharted 4, due out in mid-March. Naughty Dog make beautiful, cinematic games and the last installment Uncharted 3 on the PS3 was no exception. Neither was The Last of Us. So with a new console generation to take advantage of, the new Uncharted, with the subtitle ‘A Thief’s End’, already looks stunning from what has been shown so far. It seems to be being billed as Nathan Drake’s last adventure. We’ll see if that actually happens, but Nolan North returning as Drake is a welcome one, even if the now older Drake will be less quippy and more world-weary. I just hope there are fewer ‘oh no! the ledge is crumbling, press X to grab the one below, phew!’ moments. I also couldn’t care less about the multiplayer mode.

 

What are you looking forward to in 2016? Let us know!

Adam’s Top 5 Albums of 2015

Over the next couple of weeks we’re going to be sharing our top 5s of 2015, from everyone who writes here at The Lost Lighthouse. This time Adam goes through his favourite 5 albums of the year.

I’m taking a quick break from the depths of writing my PhD thesis to write about some of the things I actually cared about this year. This time it’s my favourite albums released in 2015. I spend a lot of time listening to music while I work (more soundtracks this year than normal, I’ll get to that later) so it was fairly difficult to narrow this list down!

5. If I Should Go Before You – City and Colour

city and colour

I’ve been a Dallas Green fan for a long time now. I have an Alexisonfire tattoo, that band being one of my very favourites (despite the whole ‘we’re back but not really’ thing this year) and Green’s voice is a large part of that. I think his vocals are one of the most unique in modern music, and he’s certainly one of if not my actual favourite singers. Green’s solo project has in it’s own right always been a love of mine too, its gut-wrenching and sombre songs cutting right to the core of the howling abyss where my emotions should probably be. His sophomore album Bring Me Your Love is one of my desert island discs, which I was very kindly given this year on vinyl for Christmas.

This year he and his band released their fifth studio album If I Should Go Before You (marvelously depressing album title), and it’s pretty good! I’d say it’s their best since Little Hell. It opens with the slow burning (if a little self indulgent) ‘Woman’, and threads through a series of blues tinged country-folk songs about love and death, without a skippable track on the record. The tracks that hit me the most are the confusingly titled ‘Mizzy C’ which has mind-blowingly good bluesy vocal work in the last chorus, the incredibly depressing titular track ‘If I Should Go Before You’ and the stripped down and ethereal closer ‘Blood’. The latter to me is the strongest track on the album, as it harkens back to the first couple of City and Colour albums. The last two or three haven’t hit me as hard as his earlier records, which is why this latest one only makes it to fifth on my list.

spotify:track:6RxUIgT3mi5DI078ehr4Xs

 

4. Shedding Skin – Ghostpoet

ghostpoet

I was first introduced to Ghostpoet a few years ago by a good friend of mine, whom I only share a slightly overlapping music taste with (the above being one of them) but he has an uncanny knack of recommending artists to be that I may not ordinarily come across but end up loving. I fell in love with ‘Survive This’, and when I saw Shedding Skin pop up on Spotify I gave it a listen straight away.

It’s a haunting, almost lackadaisical trip of an album that leans and sways and feels like it’s telling a story I haven’t quite figured out yet, relayed over late night drinks. Obaro Ejimiwe’s soft vocals laid over the thick, dense music makes for a really atmospheric experience. The track I enjoy the most is probably ‘The Pleasure in Pleather’, which just builds and builds while dripping with mood, but really the whole album is excellent.

spotify:track:6yq3uTojyNyiUnrdt6LvaF

 

3. Mad Max: Fury Road Soundtrack – Junkie XL

Fury Road soundtrack

I mentioned that I’ve listened to a lot of soundtracks this year, largely because music with vocals is distracting when I’m trying to work. This album is actually not a good example of music I can listen to while working, I tend to get more done listening to MCU soundtracks like Age of Ultron or Ant-Man (or more recently the excellent John Williams score for The Force Awakens). So while I may have ended up listening to those albums the most, Junkie XL’s score for the incredible Mad Max: Fury Road is probably the best and most enjoyable of the year for me.

Part of the enjoyment is obviously that it evokes the film it scores, which I think for many is one of the best genre films of the year (more on that in a couple of days with my top 5 films. Spoiler: Fury Road is one of them). But on the flip side, a big part of what made the film so good was the excellent score. Junkie XL’s soundtrack is thumping, claustrophobic and brooding, setting the mood for relentless action. For me the stand out track is ‘Storm is Coming’, again probably because it lays in the background of one of the best scenes of the movie, but it’s just a storming (forgive me), hugely atmospheric piece of music.

spotify:track:282LQZL1qpsR39VAQdDqjf

 

2. The Color Before the Sun – Coheed and Cambria

Coheed

 

Coheed are one of my favourite bands, certainly out of the ones who are actually still actively making music. Claudio Sanchez and company make hugely ambitious, progressive rock music that is inventive and fist-pumping in it’s intensity at the same time. For me, that’s enough. But on top of that, all of their albums up until now have formed part of a high-concept sci-fi story that I’m still trying to piece together. It helps that I finally understand the right order to follow in terms of the plot (not at all in order of release). This year’s The Color Before the Sun was the first album that Coheed have done that wasn’t part of this sprawling sci-fi concept work, eschewing it for a slightly poppier album lyrically dealing with various changes in Sanchez’s life.

The result of this shake up (which I enjoyed, but am glad that the moody and proggy sci-fi concept will return) is a more light-hearted affair that is admittedly more connected to reality and ultimately feels more personal. The album is more hopeful, despite lyrics like “nobody gives a fuck who you are” in ‘You’ve Got Spirit Kid’. The opener ‘Island’ is insanely uplifting, even if lyrically it sounds overwhelmed and panicked, and the closer ‘Peace to the Mountain’ is more pondering and accepting. ‘Atlas’ is definitely the strongest track on the album, a massively energetic and brutally honest song about Sanchez’s worries regarding missing his son when he’s away on tour. Great stuff.

spotify:track:4lzH2DViHTFroAL52ladbN

 

1. Grievances – Rolo Tomassi

Grievances

My favourite album of this year is also the heaviest by quite a long stretch. Rolo Tomassi are an insanely inventive mathcore band with jazz sensibilities. Fronted by Eva Spence and her brother James, the visceral vocals from the pair are combined with intricate timings and aggressive moody music. I usually manage to catch them on tour once or twice a year, and they are superb live.

This year’s Grievances is their most cohesive album to date, but that doesn’t make it any less experimental than their previous efforts. ‘Estranged’ opens up the album like someone grabbed you by the back of the head and just kept punching you for two and a half minutes, and others like ‘Stage Knives’ are face-melters too (and me and my buddy Chris instinctively air drum the immensely satisfying splash near the end of the song), while calm interludes or more reserved songs like ‘Opalescent’ serve as calms before the next storm. As good as the closing ‘All That Has Gone Before’ is (and Rolo Tomassi are excellent at huge atmospheric album closers), my favourite track on the album and favourite song of the year is the penultimate ‘Funereal’. It’s just a brilliant layered track with so many moving parts rammed into its five minutes that never feel crowded or like a different song entirely, building to a beautifully discordant climax.

spotify:track:4w7rSD2xd92cnzBHoZfNqt

 

Nathan’s Top 5s of the Year

Over the next couple of weeks we’re going to be sharing our top 5s of 2015, from everyone who writes here at The Lost Lighthouse. Here is Nathan’s Top 5 of everything he consumed this year.

So here it is my 5 top 5’s of the year. I have gone for Games, Apps, Songs, Films and TV Shows. I would’ve included comics but I haven’t read that many and I would’ve liked to have included albums too, but the app category will clarify why I haven’t. There will be a few honourable mentions too. I will note that some of the choices may not have been from this year, however they are films, songs or TV shows I have been introduced to this year. I have also split the games between apps and consoles as well.

 

App’s

5. Candy Crush – Soda Saga
I know a lot of you find this annoying because everyone plays it, but it is brilliantly addictive and keeps the mind going. Also has the added advantage of being offline which makes things useful when you’re in the middle of nowhere and want to play some games.

4. 9gag
If you haven’t been introduced to 9gag yet, I suggest you get on the website and you’ll never leave. The app version is a quick and handy way to see all the hilarious posts of the day. You will be forever entertained with 9gag.

3. Spotify
I have always shunned away from Spotify as I wasn’t a fan of paying monthly for music, however I got it for free with my phone contract and I have to say it is possibly the most used app on my phone. Mainly because I am driving everywhere but the new Discover feature is brilliant. Every week I get 30 tracks I may or may not have heard before. It actually turns out that all my top 5 songs are from Spotify Discover. I haven’t tried the Running feature yet though, because that involves running.

2. Monument Valley
The only paid app in this list, but my god is it worth it. This game (also available offline) is a puzzle based adventure game, where you have to traverse levels and move the environment around you in order to open up new paths and doors. It is absolutely brilliant and worth the price.

1.Fallout Shelter

fallout-shelter4
I think everyone played this game. I couldn’t put this game down for ages. My girlfriend had to pretty much give me her iPad so I could play it. What a way to keep you interested in Fallout 4 by giving you this little gem. Many of my friends have shown me their shelters and some of them are extremely impressive. Definitely my app of the year.

 

Songs
Honourable mention to August Turns Red – Wrecking Ball, love a hilarious metal cover of a pop song.

5. The Hunter – Slaves
Not my normal genre of music but there’s something very likeable about this song. It is Royal Blood meets Sex Pistols, with a bit of 90’s britpop thrown in. Truly brilliant if you’re angry and want something to sing a long to to get the anger out.

4. Rasputin – Turisas
I will say that I am a massive fan of a metal cover of a pop song. This is one of the many songs that appeared on my Spotify list this year. Turisas are a Finnish folk metal band (I never knew such a thing existed) and the cover of Boney M’s ‘Rasputin’ is brilliant. They’ve even thrown in an extra verse to be safe. Fantastic cover that everyone should listen to.

3. Drink – Alestorm
If you like Pirates and if you like drinking, this is the track for you. The song reminds me of a famous night out I had and every time it comes on I am reminded of that night. Guaranteed you will singing this loud and clearly when you have a few beers and rums down you and surrounded by good friends.

2. Sail – Devildriver
Another metal cover yes, but I feel that this song is the song that the original should’ve been. Sail originally by Awolnation is brilliant in itself, mixes a chilled out dance vibe with screaming lyrics. Devildriver took it and added guitars and heavier lyrics. You can’t hate the track, it is fantastic.

1.Cirice – Ghost


Now if you have heard of Ghost, you may be thinking good lord how can you listen to this. Ghost are a controversial band, with many songs about the devil and including satanic lyrics, however it seems like this is all an act (hopefully). Cirice is the song that first introduced me to Ghost and I have to say Meliora (the album) has managed to make its way into my desert island discs. I absolutely love this song and the album. Everyone should give it a listen, if you’re into that sort of thing.

 

TV Shows
Honourable mention to Kill La Kill, very good series and I’m sure it would’ve made the top 5 if I’d finished it.

5. Peep Show
I know the show just finished but I love Peep Show, nothing makes laugh out loud so hard than Peep Show. Odd-couple meets Britain. Mark and Jeremy would not be friends in real life yet they have struck this hilarious friendship together and their thoughts throughout the series are absolutely brilliant. The series ended quite weakly but it still didn’t stop it making my top 5.

4. Attack on Titan
The only anime in this list, but what a fantastic anime. Storyline is epic and it tugs your heart strings throughout and what an ending, literally cannot wait until the next series comes out. I did feel that the story jumped around a little too much but still, what a watch.

3. Sherlock
What? This is show is old. Yes I know it is but I’ve just started watching it this year and I really wish I hadn’t waited. What a brilliant series. Still trying to figure out my favourite episode from the whole saga. The Hounds of the Baskervilles? Maybe the one with Moriarty and the bombs? It’s a tough choice.

2. Game of Thrones
I’ll admit that this season of Game of Thrones has been a bit slow to start off with but still it doesn’t matter as it finished so strong with an incredible ending. Cannot wait for next year’s season to start *************************** (edit – Nathan said a bunch of spoilers) *********** Plus we’ll get to see what Bran has been up to, lazy bastard made no effort last season.

1.Narcos

Narcos
A Netflix original, but wow what a series. It follows the dealings of Pablo Escobar, the infamous Colombian drug dealer and the DEA agents trying to capture him. It is all based on true events which makes it brilliant and terrifying all at the same time. I enjoyed this show so much that I didn’t want to binge watch it, I wanted to make it last. Honestly stop any TV show you are watching and put this on instead.

 

Films

5. Blackfish
A documentary? Really? Yes, this does make the top 5. I  went to SeaWorld when I was younger, as well as Discovery Cove and thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. However since watching this film, I actually now feel ashamed that I went there. It is a very in-depth insight to the cruel world that the Killer Whales endure whilst performing and what can happen when things go wrong and let’s face it, they’re called Killer Whales for a reason. Also a film with such a huge message to cause a $15 million loss to such a large enterprise.

4. Big Hero 6
I adore this film. Pixar kind of meets anime in a way, but obviously the film isn’t as successful as Inside Out, but I believe it is better. It is a film about a boy and a robot that tries to help and heal people. It should be noted that the robot is shaped like a large marshmallow. A classic Pixar film, definitely worth a watch.

3. Avengers: Age of Ultron
Of course this was in my top 5 and the only Marvel film to make the list. I’m sure Ant-Man would be in here but I haven’t seen it yet. It was nice to see the Avengers really struggle to being with and then completely overcome everything against all odds. Also I thought the introduction of Vision was a nice touch. Can’t wait for phase 3 to be in full swing, looking forward to the next Captain America film especially.

2. The Lego Movie
Yes I know this film was released last year, but I only saw it in January and I have been watching it all year. Everything about this film is awesome. Love the voice acting, Will Arnett as Batman is brilliant, as well as Morgan Freeman, but I have to say that Liam Neeson’s character was absolutely hilarious. A chair as a weapon of choice is brilliant.

1. Mad Max: Fury Road

Fury Road
This is it, the number 1 film of the year and I bet I’m not alone with this choice. Star Wars probably would’ve been number 1, but again haven’t seen it yet and I do plan to, but this film is absolutely brilliant. Not too dialogue heavy but filled with a huge amount of action, hilariously modded cars and a brilliant man who only plays the guitar on top of a huge lorry cab. I did think this film would be rubbish as it was a remake of sorts, however I was wrong, so very wrong.

 

Games
Honourable mention to The Witcher 3, game of the year, I imagine it is fantastic, just not my cup of tea

5. Sunset Overdrive
Probably not the best release this year, but I really enjoyed this game. It was colourful and fun throughout the entire thing. Also grinding on rails to travel is brilliant, and the weapons you had were hilarious. What a great game, but maybe not worth the full price when it first came out.

4. Evolve
One of my games on my top 5 to look forward to at the start of the year and I was 100% right. Running around trying to capture a truly terrifying beast or even better, be the beast and destroy all who try to stop you. It is tons of fun and really worth playing.

3. Dragon Age: Inquisition
I really enjoyed this game. Didn’t enjoy it at first as I was just stuck doing sidequests but then the storyline really opened up. The sidequests were fantastic too, I really did try my best to take down every dragon I could get my dirty hands on, just a shame my tactic is going in head first and hoping that I would deal enough damage to take it out quickly. I was right once, the rest I was dragonmeat.

2. Batmam: Arkham Knight
This was my number 1 game I was looking forward to this year, but only made number 2 on the list? Yes that’s right but don’t get me wrong, this is probably the best Batman game created, probably easily one of the best games ever created. The storyline is brilliant, keeps you going throughout the entire game but the sidequests were just as good. Chasing Firefly around the city, to uncovering a serial killer’s lair and taking him down. Also you have the Batmobile, or Bat Tank, enough said really.

1. Metal Gear Solid V:The Phantom Pain

MGSV
This was a shock to me, bought this on a whim because I enjoy Metal Gear Solid games. I’m still playing this game now, wanting to conquer all the sidequests, collect all the weapons and invade everyone’s base. Also there’s something gratifying taking down tanks with bazookas whilst listening to “The Final Countdown”. However it may be the last proper Metal Gear Solid ever made. Hideo Kojima is no longer working with Konami. He has said he will continue to create games elsewhere, but that may be a while yet. However, congratulations to Metal Gear Solid V:The Phantom Pain, you are my game of the year.

 

Nath

The Lost Lighthouse Does Halloween

Check out some of the various lighthouse keepers with their half or whole assed Halloween costumes

 

NathThis year Nathan hosted a party in his new (ish) flat, going as Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Looks pretty good! He’s really nailed the look confused irritation Johnny Depp brought to the role.

 

 

 

 

 

 

wpid-2015-10-31-01.27.08.jpg.jpegAdam went as sort-of Mad Max from this year’s excellent Fury Road, heading along to a horror story anthology launch in a basement private club in East London. Because he is a pretentious parody of himself. This photo was taken later, full of whisky and hot wings.

 

 

 

 

GaryThis one is Gary as Rorschach from Watchmen, admittedly years ago and possibly not even at Halloween. But Gary doesn’t dress up very often, so whatever!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kit

 

 

And while this is a photo is a couple of years old, it is a fantastic (and actually horror relevant) zombie Spider-Man from Kit, from the Marvel Zombies comics. Looks pretty disgusting!

 

 

 

 

 

What did you dress up as this year? Let us know!

 

 

Vlog: Off-centre stylin’

My very first vlog! Yay! A little update on the upcoming changes to the channel and what that means for you awesome peeps.

Also we’re not sponsored by Sweatdrop Studios. I would be fucking screaming about it if we were.

I would have filmed it in landscape but it kept falling over. Shut up.