SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
By Sean Radican, PWTorch columnist
THE PULL LIST (VOL. 11)
”The Pull List” is a feature column that will take a look at a mix of the most noteworthy topics in wrestling, comics, books, Movies & TV Blu-Ray releases, and video games along with reviews and commentary in each category.
2016 MOTY TOP 10 LIST
This is a running list of the top 10 matches of 2016 ranked at ****1/2 or higher. This list is based on what I’ve seen so far and I will be updating the list as I catch up on my wrestling viewing for this year. I will eventually make a separate post of my entire 2016 MOTY list and keep it updated regularly. I will also update the top 10 list in this column…
(1) IWGP Hvt. Champion Kazuchika Okada vs. Tomohiro Ishii, NJPW, “G1 Climax 26: Night 13,” Aug. 6, 2016. (*****)
(2) IWGP IC Champion & CMLL Liga Elite World Champion Michael Elgin vs. Kenny Omega, NJPW, “G1 Climax 26: Night 8,” July 30, 2016. (*****)
(3) Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Sami Zayn, NXT, “NXT Takeover: Dallas,” April 1, 2016. (*****)
(4) IWGP Hvt. Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kazuchika Okada, NJPW, “Wrestle Kingdom 10,” Jan. 4, 2016. (*****)
(5) Will Ospreay vs. Zack Sabre Jr., EVOLVE, “EVOLVE 58,” April 1, 2016. (*****)
(6) Will Ospreay vs. Ricochet in a Block B 2016 BOSJ XII match, NJPW, “BOSJ XIII: Day 6,” May 27, 2016. (****3/4)
(7) IWGP IC Champion Kenny Omega vs. Michael Elgin, NJPW, “Dominion,” June 19, 2016. (****3/4)
(8) IWGP IC Champion & CMLL Lige Elite World Champion Michael Elgin vs. Tetsuya Naito, NJPW, “G1 Climax 26: Night 4,” July 24, 2016. (****3/4)
(9) Chris Hero vs. Tommy End, Progress Wrestling, “SSS 16: Day 2,” May 30, 2016 (****3/4)
(10) Will Ospreay vs. Shane Strickland in a 2016 16 Carat Gold First Round match, WXW, “2016 16 Carat Gold: Night 1,” March 11, 2016. (****3/4)
Superkick Party is a new game that’s available as an app on iPhone and Android devices from The Young Bucks. It only costs $1.99 and I hadn’t heard Matt and Nick Jackson were involved in releasing a game for mobile devices, so I was really excited when this game came out last week.
The game features Matt and Nick guarding their merch stand. You have to let fans go by them to buy merch. As the fans go buy, you’re merch money goes up depending on how much money each fans spends. The game is a side scrolling game, so fans come from the left and right to buy merch, but you have to use Matt and Nick to superkick the masked villains that are trying to steal their merch stand.
The game gets hard at time when the speed of the fans and villains coming at you picks up. If you accidentally kick a fan, you don’t get merch money, so it’s key to try to keep an eye on the patterns coming from both sides of the screen.
I could only get up to around $1,700 in merch money, which is a good half hour for The Young Bucks on most nights. I’ve seen some people get much higher, as I’ve seen some scores at over $10,000 and I even saw one score at $27,000.
Overall Thoughts: (9.0) – This is a really fun game that will keep you coming back for more. As soon as you hit your high score in merch money, you’re going to want to try to beat it right away. Superkicking away with Matt and Nick is a blast, especially when the villains come in waves. The game is a heck of a challenge at times, so I’m really impressed with some of the high scores I’ve seen people share online. I definitely am looking forward to buying this game and I’ve been told DLC and more characters are in the works. I highly recommend downloading Superkick Party onto your mobile device ASAP. It’s a blast to play!
Superkick Party is available to purchase as an app on iPhone and Android.
For this review, I played the PS4 version of the game.
“Batman – The Telltale Series” is the latest choose your own adventure release from Telltale. I have only played The Walking Dead releases from Telltale in the past, so I was excited to see how their take on Batman turned out. I’ve been a little behind in the past when it comes to getting started on Telltale releases, which come out in episodes. “Batman – The Telltale Series” is scheduled to have five episodes.
The Batman series from Telltale is off to a good start with “Realm of Shadows.” The thing that is tough about these releases when playing them as each episode comes out instead of binge playing them once all the episodes have been released is waiting for another episode to be released. I’ve always binged played the releases from Telltale games, so at the end of “Realm of Shadows,” I was ready to jump into the next episode right away.
The first episode is very much a Bruce Wayne episode and not so much a Batman episode. Bruce Wayne is voiced by Troy Baker, who does a good job bringing the character to life. In fact, all of the voice acting was good, which is promising for the rest of the series.
Wayne wants to make Gotham a better place and he’s hitched his wagon to Harvey Dent to be the next mayor of Gotham. Right away you’re pressed into make tough choices as Wayne. You have to carefully select dialog when Carmine Falcone, a crime boos, shows up to Dent’s party. Dent clearly wants Wayne to play nice with Falcone. Dent isn’t popular on his own, but with Wayne’s backing, he’s got a shot to win the election.
There’s an early exchange between Wayne and Falcone that’s gripping because you’re constantly thinking of the impact your words for Falcone will have on Dent. I decided to play things in the middle taking some shots at Falcone’s bravado by choosing to toss the chalk back at him when he wanted Wayne to chalk his pool cue for him during the early stages of the game. How you interact with Falcone at the party for Dent will impact the rest of the episode. The game makes it clear your reputation is on the line based on how you treat him.
Playing as Wayne and not Batman works for this game. Batman is a character that doesn’t have a hard time making tough decisions, but his public face, Bruce Wayne, really does have to consider the consequences of his words in actions.
Playing as Batman is this game is a lot of fun as well. I’m not a huge fan of the quick time event (QTE) combat system, but it works in the Telltale games. I’d love some good old fashioned hand-to-hand combat with Batman in this game, but the QTE’s are fine given that this game very much feels like you’re playing a comic or an animated movie.
The game allows you to choose the color of Batman’s tech at the beginning, which is a cool feature, especially when you navigate his massive operating system in the Bat Cave. This version of Batman is early in his career, so there’s some leeway with the choices you are given to how Wayne speaks to different characters he interacts with. He can aloof, self-centered, brooding, or hopeful.
I really enjoy when Telltale allows you to take control of a character and interact with the environment and the best parts of the game are when you are allowed to interact with the environment as Batman. I loved using the Cowl to create a holographic representation to solve what had happened at a crime scene. Later in the game, you plan a big attack on a bunch of villains using the Cowl. It’s a blast to set this up, but to execute it in real time, you have to go back to the QTE combat system.
Overall Thoughts: (8.0) – The game is a little slow when you play at Wayne, but that’s because playing as Batman and using the Cowl is so much fun. I don’t want to give anything away, but the game definitely picks up and builds to a really fun conclusion.
By the time episode 1 was over, I badly wanted to get started on episode 2 to find out where the story is headed next. I got about three hours or so of gameplay out of the first episode and I would expect the rest of the episodes in the series to run around the same amount of time. “Realm of Shadows” is a quality first chapter in what looks to be a really fun five episode ride. Thumbs up!
Note: Telltale games offers episodes of “Batman – The Telltale Series” individually, but given my experience with the quality and my level of enjoyment that I’ve come to expect from Telltale releases, I recommend picking up a season pass for this series to save some money.
”Realm of Shadows,” the first episode in “Batman – The Telltale Series,” is currently available through the Xbox One, PS4, and PC online stores via single chapter purchase or a flat price for a season pass for all five episodes at a discount. This game will also be made available as a physical release in stores in the future where videogames are sold.
NEW MOVIE BLU-RAY RELEASE
“Scooby Doo and WWE: Curse of the Speed Demon” (Blu-Ray, DVD, & Digital HD combo pack)
“Scooby Doo and WWE: Curse of the Speed Demon” features the Scooby Doo cast and WWE wrestlers in the latest tie-in between Scooby Doo and WWE. This is a new original movie and it was released straight to DVD this week. The movie is unrated, but is clearly aimed at children. There’s a lot of cartoon violence and a villain named Inferno.
None of the characters in the movie get seriously hurt, but there are a lot of car crashes and explosions throughout the course of the main feature. If your child is comfortable with cartoon violence, they will probably be fine watching this movie. I would say this movie is for kids age 7 or older.
This is a fun movie to watch, but it definitely is a movie made for younger children. It features several WWE wrestlers voicing their own characters. The list of wrestlers lending their voices to this movie includes The Undertaker, Dusty Rhodes, Vince McMahon, Stephanie McMahon, Triple H, Paige, The Miz, and several others.
Michael Cole announces the races, which feature WWE wrestlers driving jacked up cards that reflect their personalities. Kofi Kingston serves on a sideline reporter of sorts that is able to follow the race on a drone to report on the action up close and personal. The mashup of Undertaker and Dusty Rhodes in the legends car is a real hoot during the early stages of the movie. Of course, Triple H and Stephanie drive the corporate car, which as a giant WWE logo on the hood.
The mystery for Scooby Doo and the gang to solve is figuring out the true identity of Inferno, who is a mysterious demon that keeps interfering in their races. During the first race, Inferno takes out Undertaker and Dusty Rhode’s legends car and Dusty is put on the shelf after the crash.
Scooby Doo and Shaggy become Undertaker’s co-pilots in a beefed up version of the food truck they were operating at the track thanks to Fred’s mechanical wizardry. The rest of the movie features Undertaker gunning for revenge on Inferno and he had a ton of lines in the movie. Fred, Daphne, and Velma don’t play a huge role in the movie, but as usual, as the movie goes on Velma begins to figure out clues about the identity of inferno.
The wrestlers in the movie deliver their standard catch phrases and do their usual mannerisms. When The Miz fights Inferno at one point during the movie, his theme music plays. Michael Cole did a good job bringing enthusiasm to role as announcer during the race. I think young children will enjoy Kofi Kingston’s animated sideline reporting role as well.
It was fun to see Dusty Rhodes in cartoon form alongside his sons Goldust and Stardust. Dusty did lines for the movie before passing away last year. It was fun to hear his voice again, but also a sad reminder that he’s gone. The movie did pay tribute to Rhodes at the end, which was a nice touch.
Overall Thoughts: (7.5) – This is a movie for kids and I enjoyed it for what it was. The Undertaker did a good job with his voice acting. I was surprised he got so many lines, but his character was nicely represented in this movie. The mystery is kind of easy to figure out if you pay attention to the results of the races, but kids will enjoy seeing the villains get their comeuppance in the end.
You can purchase the “Scooby Doo and WWE: Curse of the Speed Demon” Blu-ray, DVD, & Digital HD combo pack at most retail and online outlets.
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