Watchmen: Episode 8 Recap / Review

This review contains spoilers for Watchmen episode 8, "A God Walks Into Abar." To refresh your memory of where we left off, check out our recap of Watchmen episode 7. Once you've watched, check out all the Doctor Manhattan teases in Watchmen up to this point, plus our ending explainer on that Watchmen episode 8 post-credits scene.


The reveal at the end of Watchmen episode 7, “An Almost Religious Awe,” feels like it shouldn’t have worked. It does. The idea that Cal (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) was secretly Dr. Manhattan, unbeknownst even to him, came, quite fittingly, out of the blue — albeit placing us perfectly in his disoriented perspective.Fortunately, the show didn’t make us wait long to get reoriented. With his relative omniscience now restored in episode 8, the former Jon Osterman’s story finally comes to light. Previously, the official title had been listed as “A God Walks Into a Bar,” but in the episode, its last two words are collapsed on-screen — the official title thus revealed as “A God Walks Into Abar,” a spoiler hiding in plain sight all season — as Manhattan walks right up to Angela Abar (Regina King) in Saigon in 2009. The episode, like the last two before it, skips back and forth in time to reveal a secret history, but its meticulous, clear-eyed editing and direction (by Henk Van Eeghen and Nicole Kassell respectively) results in an intense, emotionally charged hour of television that feels like a minor miracle, well and truly portraying the way Manhattan might perceive time. Most pertinently, it feels like the episode Damon Lindelof’s career has been building to.LoadingIn Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen, Dr. Manhattan was the deconstructive focal point for godlike beings like Superman, and their relationship to humankind (the way Miracleman explored violent superhero fantasy in Moore’s run on the character a few years prior). In the Watchmen comic, Manhattan’s aloofness and his disconnect from society were central to the plot — how, the book wonders, would a superpowered deity even view humanity? How would he go from apathy to benevolence? And though he was seen having multiple romantic relationships, the question of how a being such as him could even come to love another person was left unexplored.HBO’s successor series zeroes in on that narrative gap. It gets into the weeds of how a Superman — Cal Abar, seemingly named for both Kal-El (DC’s Superman) and 1977 blaxploitation film Abar: The First Black Superman — would even navigate an idea as deeply human as falling in love. How would a saviour, so aloof from humanity as to abandon it, truly become a part of it?The fourth issue of the comic, “The Watchmaker,” has been an adequate structural template thus far for moments like Angela overlapping, drugged-induced flashbacks. In the comic, Manhattan speaks of perceiving moments in time, past and present, simultaneously — not unlike the pages of a comic book, which can be flipped through in any order, revealing cause and effect as the reader sees fit. Film & television don’t usually work that way. You can rewind and fast-forward, but you can’t view more than one image — one moment — at a time. You can’t tilt and turn the pages in your hand, and view past and present simultaneously if you want. Even Angela’s flashbacks in episodes 6 and 7 are rooted in a present moment, according to the story’s chronology; Lost, which Lindelof co-created, worked the same way. Episode 8, however, upends that structural norm.As Manhattan tells his story to Angela in 2009, the episode skips back in time to his creation of life on Europa and, subsequently, further back to the childhood that inspired it (a childhood where kind people helped him flee the Nazis). These flashbacks establish a language with which we’re already familiar, drawing us into a montage of the past using details and voiceover rooted in the present: the bar in Saigon.HBO's Watchmen: Season 1 GalleryThe first time it skips forward, to the morgue, where Angela presents Manhattan with a way to disguise his appearance, the transition is quite traditional. The camera moves downward in the bar, into darkness, as the new scene opens two weeks from “now.” It plays out like any other scene, establishing the new present. Its shots linger, so its beats can land. It unfurls slowly and meticulously, the way any other chronological events in the series might. That is, until it cuts jarringly back to the bar a few weeks prior, and to Manhattan and Angela discussing these morbid events that have not yet come to pass — only they have. We just saw them transpire. Not through hints or premonitions, or details inserted in the edit so as to merely hint at the future — the way, say, Looking Glass recalled traumatic details of his past in episode 5 — but through a future scene playing out in its entirety. From the standpoint of the story, there is no longer one, singular “now.” No one moment in time from which the story is told.The next time the episode flashes forward from the bar, it does, in fact, use the language of a flashback (or in this case, a “flash forward”). Manhattan tells Angela: “Right now, you’re asking me where I am,” before we cut to a closeup of Angela doing just that. These little details and closeups yank us into the new scene, before it begins to play out like the “present” once more. Manhattan and Angela’s fight unfolds in its entirety. The episode moves forward from there, to Manhattan visiting Adrian Veidt (Jeremy Irons) in Antarctica — like a sequel about sad old men trying to find new purpose — who presents Manhattan with the device to suppress his memories. When Manhattan looks down at the device in his hands, the point-of-view shot from which we see it occurs even later, bringing us into the scene in which Angela helps him insert it into his head. Before she does, the episode returns once more to the bar in Saigon, as Manhattan and Angela discuss the aforementioned scene — which then appears once more, before the episode returns to what we, the audience, have perceived as the “present” for the last eight weeks: the events transpiring in Tulsa in 2019.The cut between Manhattan looking down at his hand in Antarctica and seeing the device in his hand in a POV shot days later in Saigon is key to understanding the cinematic sleight of hand. It isn’t just a rhythmic bit of continuity editing to bring us into a new scene. It is, for all intents and purposes, the exact way Manhattan would perceive that moment — or perhaps “those moments” would be more accurate. To Manhattan, this plurality of perception is a singular continuum, and the way the episode slides between moments, collapsing them, expanding them, re-shaping their narrative roots and their relationship to one another, helps situate us in various moments of time, all at once.Of course, this mind-melding structure would be for naught were it not for the story it tells. The episode uses only its first 40 minutes to build the entire romantic history of Manhattan and Angela from the ground up, answering a lifetime’s worth of questions so that the remaining screen time can be dedicated to the 2019 plot. In these 40 minutes, Manhattan strides into the bar as a god — his defaced mural from last week re-appears, its devil horns replaced with a halo and an enormous penis — but engages in the most human of conversations: a flirtatious courtship. He does so with knowledge of not only the impending romance, but of impending tragedy. Knowing how most of it will play out makes him a deity, but his decade-long blind-spot, an inability to know how this romance will unfold, makes him achingly human. However, it’s this very humanity — this sense of risk, of powerlessness, of normalcy — he seems to yearn for. A sense of equal-ness in a relationship, something he hasn’t had since Janey Slater in 1959.LoadingThe way director Kassell and writers Lindelof and Jeff Jensen tell Manhattan’s story taps in to that very humanity. It’s odd, and even risky, that such an action-heavy show with so many rich alt-history details should tell this tale almost entirely in closeup. However, it evokes the sublime series finale of Lindelof’s sci-fi masterpiece The Leftovers, in which entire scenes play out as seated conversations, and the frame is filled with nothing but the faces of Carrie Coon and Justin Theroux. The long-lensed closeups on Angela, as employed by Kassell, are revelatory; they allow her to speak some of her truths, and allow us to gauge the truths she’s hiding, in her moments of silence. We, like Manhattan, already know what the future holds (at least in part). We know the honesty of his predictions, about him and Angela falling in love, moving to Tulsa and adopting children, but what we’re left to perceive, and experience, is the trepidation with which Angela walks that path.In addition to Angela’s future, we’re armed with the knowledge of her past — the violence that took her family, and the isolation that followed — and so we know what lies beneath Regina King’s hardened, uniformed exterior. The tension, and even the excitement in the bar scene, comes from watching King peel back these layers, so skillfully and vulnerably as to make this knowledge of past and future feel irrelevant. We know where it all leads — after all, the 2009 setting is a flashback relative to the main plot — but King’s eyes, which see parts of herself reflected back to her in Manhattan’s words, keep us grounded in the “present.” Regardless of anything else, any conspiracies in Tulsa or any approaching danger, each moment of close-up feels like the “now.” It feels like getting to know Angela, her desires, her insecurities, most intimately — after last week’s reveal, this trip into her past is the most honest we’ve seen her — and it feels like falling in love with her.But what of Dr. Manhattan? The episode is told through his eyes, and we don’t actually see his face until halfway through the episode (when he finally takes the form of Yahya Abdul-Mateen II). Therein lies yet another cheeky directorial sleight of hand. Obscuring Manhattan’s face feels a bit goofy at first — that’s hardly a complaint; Watchmen has historically been more pulp than prestige, despite the latter being conferred upon it — although it certainly helps tether us to the image of Cal, and Cal alone, as Dr. Manhattan. What we’re witnessing in “A God Walks Into Abar” is certainly the present for Manhattan, and so we experience it as he does (from the closeups of Regina King to the Antarctic rendezvous) but the moment that finally brings us back into 2019 is Angela holding the memory-suppressant. The episode is as much the “now” for Manhattan as it is a flashback for Angela, and so everything we see of Manhattan in Saigon plays with that visual language.We don’t see Jon Osterman’s face, because it isn’t the face Angela fell in love with; it may not even be a face she remembers. Though what is revealed to us about Manhattan before he took Cal’s form are his details — the kind of details that would draw Angela into a Nostalgia trip if this were episode 6 or 7. We see Manhattan’s shape. We see his chin, peeking out from behind his mask. We see the knot of his tie, and the collar of his suit. We see his hands as he speaks; they’re gentle, but firm. They’re the kind of hands you could be seduced by, or fall in love with, painted so vividly and delicately by Kassell.LoadingAbdul-Mateen II’s performance is key. As an upright Manhattan, walking around in 2009 and 2019, the stiffness of his arms and the curiosity with which he looks at every detail make him feel like he’s still learning how to be human; his knowledge, while vast, keeps him constantly at odds with human wisdom and experience. Though in the moments he’s seated opposite Angela, that stiffness in his arms seems to fade. His hands move more fluidly; he feels most human when he’s with her.The entire episode feels like an update on Lost’s “The Constant,” in which the consciousness of Desmond (Henry Ian Cusick) travels temporarily through time, and he can only free himself from this paradox by making contact with his ex-girlfriend Penny (Sonya Walger), who grounds him in the present. Only in this case, the simultaneous existence of Manhattan’s consciousness is a permanent fixture, and Angela grounds him not only in the present, but across multiple points in time. She’s there when he loses his memory. She was presumably there when he woke up as “Cal.” And she’s there when he comes back.When Manhattan returns to consciousness in 2019, he continues to take the face of Calvin Jelani. There’s no real logistical reason for this — maybe he’s still coming out of his daze; it doesn’t matter — but it works dramatically, keeping us tethered to his and Angela’s story.He claimed to be in love with her before they met, but that evening, Angela planted the seed of a specific human experience that would go on to define him. She questioned whether he’ll ever have “the moment;” the jolt of realizing that what you feel for someone — the deep yearning, the gratitude, the comfort, and the electricity — is love. How can this superpowered deity truly feel love, one wonders, if he never fell in love in the first place?Watchmen: All the Comic Book References in the HBO SeriesOf course, for Dr. Manhattan, even this linear question falls under the purview of the chicken-and-egg paradox, which keeps rearing its head during the episode. He did fall in love, albeit on the last day he and Angela were together, when she decided to wage war on the Seventh Kavalry to protect him, despite knowing it would end in tragedy. He had, therefore, already fallen in love before they met — and since he perceives all of time at once, he was falling in love with her at every moment.Was this causality, or a self-fulfilling prophecy? Did Manhattan already know he was in love — presumably sometime after the events of the comic, when the future was no longer blocked from him — or did he eventually fall in love, and therefore come to know it in the past? Like Angela tipping off Will (Louis Gossett Jr.) about Cyclops a decade in the past (using Manhattan as a conduit, no less), there is no defined point of origin for this story. It’s like the mysterious compass in Lost, given from Richard Alpert (Nestor Carbonell) to John Locke (Terry O’Quinn) in 2007, and subsequently given by a time-travelling Locke to a younger Alpert in 1954; the compass was, therefore, never physically created in the world of the show. It existed only as a creation of the people writing it.Instead of this irksome physical paradox, Watchmen’s is an emotional one. Events were set in motion as determined by the way the story, perhaps, needed to unfold. Perhaps things played out the way they did because Manhattan knew that, at some point, the Seventh Kavalry would attempt to re-create or imbibe his powers. And so, Tulsa became the center of events, so as to expose festering white supremacy as it becomes an existential threat. Or perhaps he knew Lady Trieu would build her clock in Tulsa — or perhaps his presence brought her there in the first place. Perhaps his goal was Angela discovering the inherited traumas of her past; perhaps that past, Hooded Justice, is the reason Angela was involved at all. Or, perhaps it was both.Perhaps everything converges at Tulsa for the simple reason that Damon Lindelof read a Ta-Nehisi Coates article on reparations and the buried history of the Black Wall Street Massacre, and he wanted to un-bury it. It doesn’t matter. The causality of what brought Manhattan to Tulsa is irrelevant, when the details of his journey — his romance with Angela, his sending Veidt to Europa as a gift so he could be worshipped — while cyclical and foreknown, still came from instincts and emotions that made him more human.Watchmen TV Show Cast and CharactersIt’s that very humanity on display in the episode’s final moments, in which Sister Night and Dr. Manhattan — a woman defined by the death of loved ones, who jumped headfirst into a romance she knew was doomed; a man who knew all and saw all, but took the plunge towards the one thing he could not see; two characters who should have been at odds, as one’s destruction in Vietnam led to the death of the other’s parents — fend off the Seventh Kavalry together. They do so in slow-motion, scored by operatic strings, angelic voices and heavy guitar riffs — some of Reznor and Ross’ finest work — in a scene rooted, visually and musically, in the overwhelming power of love. All this, despite knowing it would end in tragedy. The way all relationships do, as Manhattan reminds her.Their own little thermodynamic miracle.As we enter the final episode of Watchmen, the burning questions all remain, but their answers are within reach. Where is Dr. Manhattan now? (Is he dead, or merely captured?) Where is Looking Glass, who we haven’t seen in three whole episodes? Where is Ozymandias, after that post-credit scene hinting at his escape? How, if at all, does a god taking the form of a black man intersect with white supremacists coveting his power — a microcosm of the show’s political premise? What are the consequences of this god abandoning his creations because he’s unsatisfied with their devotion? How will the idea of Manhattan passing on his powers factor in to the finale? What crashed down on the Clarks’ farm, and what the hell is Lady Trieu’s clock tower?Whatever form the story takes, one thing is clear: the emotional pieces to this puzzle are all perfectly shaped. We know what drives each character intimately — Angela Abar, Laurie Blake, Looking Glass, Lady Trieu, Dr. Manhattan, Will, and Ozymandias — and so we’ll know what the picture looks and feels like as soon as it snaps into place.

Verdict

Watchmen’s penultimate episode is a thermodynamic miracle. An expertly crafted piece of television that positions us in past and present simultaneously, while exploring what makes Dr. Manhattan human — and therefore, what makes the rest of us. A story of doomed romance, of sacrifice, and of what it feels like to remember falling in love.

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Esports Stadium Arlington to open with FACEIT’s ECS Season 6 Finals

Esports Stadium Arlington will open on Thanksgiving Weekend on November 24-25th with none other than FACEIT Esports Championship Series Season 6 Finals.

The stadium, located in the heart of the city’s entertainment district, is a $10 million, 100,000 square foot dedicated esports facility purpose built with esports competition in mind. The stadium was designed by Populous, an award-winning architectural firm and will feature a “Competition Showroom” with a 85ft LED wall with an immersive sound and theatrical lighting system.

The studio will also feature a dedicated Observer Room, Caster Studio, Data Center and Control Room. The dedicated “Team Area” will include 8 “Team Rooms” for private discussion and practice as well as a player lounge and dedicated rooms for media, staff and talents. 

Esports Stadium Arlington, the largest gaming and esports events facility in North America, celebrates its grand opening with FACEIT’s Esports Championship Series Season 6 Finals, a $750,000 prize pool Counter Strike tournament. The ECS Season 6 Finals are scheduled to coincide with Thanksgiving Weekend on November 24-25, offering esports and CS:GO enthusiasts a new fan experience to complement the iconic football festivities of the season.

“Arlington is always on the forefront of economic development trends and opportunities,” said Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams. “With Esports Stadium Arlington, we have positioned ourselves as both a national and international leader in the emerging esports industry. I can’t wait for people to see this state-of-the-art facility, the largest and most flexible esports stadium in the country. The opportunity to provide jobs combined with growing tourism is phenomenal.”

The arena will have a baptism of fire with FACEIT’s $750,000 tournament headed straight to the arena for the opening. “There was never a doubt that we would want to bring the action and excitement of ECS Season 6 to the Esports Stadium Arlington,” said Michele Attisani, CBO and Co-Founder of FACEIT. “Already the largest esports venue in the United States, it’s also extraordinarily innovative and we felt that no other arena could offer the electric combination of fan, team and production resources found at the Esports Stadium Arlington.”

The Esports Championship Series, founded by FACEIT and supported by YouTube, will conclude its sixth season with a four-day Finals event that will see the world’s top Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) teams compete for the title of ECS Champions and the grand prize of $250,000 USD, the largest piece of the $750,000 USD prize pool for Season 6.   

“There was never a doubt that we would want to bring the action and excitement of ECS Season 6 to the Esports Stadium Arlington,” said Michele Attisani, CBO and co-founder of FACEIT. “Already the largest esports venue in the United States, it’s also extraordinarily innovative and we felt that no other arena could offer the electric combination of fan, team and production resources found at the Esports Stadium Arlington.”

Upon Esports Stadium Arlington’s grand opening, fans will be able to purchase esports apparel and merchandise in the dedicated retail store called “ES Shop”.

Gamers will also be able to play in recreational LAN’s or local tournaments, watch Twitch streams on the giant LED screen and enjoy food and drinks via the community building gaming center, “ES Play.”

“We are extremely excited to have partnered with an amazing city such as Arlington that shares our vision of building a foundation for growth in the competitive gaming ecosystem. By working with FACEIT to host the ECS Season 6 Finals as our inaugural event, we will be able to show the world that our facility truly is one of a kind.” says Jonathon Oudthone, President of NGAGE Esports.

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UK Gaming Tours – Three UK Esports Seasons

The UK Gaming Tours is the name given to a new esports tournament for UK competitors. Focusing on CS:GO for the first three seasons beginning 2017, the aim is to add stability to the UK CS:GO community, as well as bring in new audiences to esports.

The first season is set to kick off with five 32-team qualification rounds, with the first starting on the 6th January, and the last on the 10th. The top two from each qualify to the inaugural season, alongside six invited teams. That season will kick itself off a week after the final qualifier, taking place on the Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of each week from the 17th January to the 16th February. Games are to be broadcast in sets of two.

The Finals are to be held at an unusual venue for an esports event. The Centre:MK is where the event will be held, over the 11th and 12th March. This is where the top four teams who qualified from the league will compete for £10,000. This won’t just be the finals, as there will also be a gaming exhibition on new technologies and games, as well as education towards attendees about career paths in esports and the benefits of a healthy gaming lifestyle.

Ben Bagg is the CEO of Pop-up Esports Limited, the company behind the UK Gaming Tours. He has a wealth of experience in esports, especially in the UK, as one of the two people behind CAZ Esports. CAZ is an organisation that has had significant success in the UK, as they were crowned winners of season one of Multiplay’s UK Masters.

When asked about the intentions of the tournament, Bagg told us: “We intend to take esports from its insular events where only gamers and esports enthusiasts attend, straight to the mainstream, so ideally we want to help grow the UK scene by introducing new entrants, whether they be aspiring pro gamers or team owners, or just new fans.

“On top of this we want to help create more consistency to the UK scene as it is now, by offering more leagues and events for them to attend, we hope that by having less down time teams will stay together longer rather than the grass is greener approach.”

He also let slip more about how the tournament is to be run. With the three seasons already announced, the ‘Tour’ part of the name lends itself to the plan to run the event in different ‘mainstream’ locations. With the first being in Centre:MK, other venues would most likely be shopping centres to attract the usually non-esports audience. For the end of 2017, the plan is to also host a fourth, ‘mini major’ event, where the top teams from the previous three events will compete to be the Tour Champion, with a prize-pool of “around £20,000”.

As to why the first event finals are to be hosted in Milton Keynes, it’s down to location. “When the business plan was first created we entered into an Entrepreneur award program by a Midlands accountancy firm”, Bagg noted. “We managed to get into the finals of this event where I did a speech on our plans in front of 450 people (scary as hell). As we gained a lot of local Midland PR we decided to keep it as central as possible. It is also relative to where most of the directors live for ease of access.”

More information and mailing list is available from their website.

Esports Insider says: An interesting development for the UK esports scene here, as a new player emerges. With the promise of regular seasons and cash prizes for teams, stability could finally come into play for what is a volatile scene at present. This would also, potentially, work alongside the leagues put together by ESL and Multiplay to keep it all tied together.

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Games Inbox: Do you want Alien Isolation 2?

The Monday Inbox asks where are the parents in Persona 5, as one reader pays tribute to Edge magazine’s Jason Brookes.

To join in with the discussions yourself email [email protected]

PLEASE NOTE: As usual, GameCentral will only have a minimal service over Christmas and the New Year, although we will be running various end of the year (and decade) features and a preview of 2020. We always like to include Reader’s Features as well though, so if you’ve been meaning to write one but haven’t now would be a great time to send one in for us to use this month.

 

Special sequel
I’ve read with interest that Alien Isolation on Switch is a very good port, which is not something I would’ve expected but good on them. I don’t have a Switch, so it’s irrelevant to me in that sense, but I did read GC’s review with interest and while I could accept most of their points I still love the game.

I agree the story was weak, but I have no problem with the length of the game as I thought it kept the tension up brilliantly and there were a lot of good twists towards the end, especially the bit around the fusion reactor. It’s such an amazing looking game, not just from a technical perspective but because it looks so like the movie, including, as GC points out, the lighting and even the style of lens flare.

I would love to see the same team create a sequel, or at least work on something similar, but I think a lot of them have moved on now, either within the company or elsewhere. It’s such a shame. I’m sure lots of people have those special games that they think are badly underrated and nobody else seems to love and that for me is Alien Isolation. If there was an announcement of a sequel on PlayStation 5 I would take up religion on the spot. But somehow I don’t think that’s going to happen.
Shonuff

 

Industry legend
Just seen the sad news about Jason Brookes, the editor of Edge magazine in the ‘90s passing away, very sad news. I bought Edge during the ‘90s and have been a subscriber since 2002, and just got the latest Edge mag
in the past week.

Here is the article where I learned about his passing. Rest in peace.
Andrew J.

 

No end in sight
Half-Life: Alyx is all very well but as many have already pointed out, if you don’t have a VR headset and a beefy PC it might as well not exist. Which means it doesn’t exist for me. I also see nothing to suggest that Valve will ever go back to making normal video games in general or Half-Life 3 specifically. This, and the other unannounced games, all seem to be to promote their new VR headset and nothing more. I’m pretty sure that if it didn’t exist they wouldn’t have made another Half-Life at all.

My question is whether they will try to provide any kind of closure with Alyx or if it will just be a side story that doesn’t really change anything. My reading of what’s been revealed so far is that it’s going to involve time travel and Alyx will attempt to change the ending of Half-Life 2: Episode Two. I doubt that will bring an end to whole storyline but my guess would be that it would remove the cliffhanger and then if they want to make a Half-Life 3 they can do it without so much baggage.

I bet they don’t though. It’ll be Half-Life: Barney or something if they do any more and, like Shenmue, we’ll never see the end of the story.
Ryan Door

 

E-mail your comments to: [email protected]

 

Fourth time round
There’s been a lot of talk about disappointment with Shenmue 3 since it came out, with a fair number of fans saying they’re fine with it and a significant number saying they’re not. I’ve no idea what the actual breakdown is between satisfied and unsatisfied but at the end of the day the only question that matters is would you back Shenmue 4 on Kickstarter?

I assume most fans would still buy Shenmue 4 if it somehow got completed and came out, but that would’ve never happened last time without all the backing so will you do the same again? It’s especially important this time because I’d assume there’d be less outside investors given they now know it’s never going to be a big seller.

For me I’d have to say… I don’t think I would. I paid for above the price of a new game for the first campaign and still haven’t got my physical bonuses for that. Plus, while the game is pretty much what was promised I just didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought it would. I’d play the fourth one but at this point I think it’s mostly out of wanting a sense of completion rather than genuine anticipation. Be careful what you wish for and all that…
Coop

 

Welcomingly obscure
Are you planning, per chance, a review of the Japanese role-playing game Romancing SaGa 3? As far as I am aware it has just recently been released in the West for the first time. After the release of Seiken Densetsu 3 in the form of Collection Of Mana, I am hoping more Square Enix classics will come to the Switch platform.

Personally, I am hoping for games like Star Ocean, Treasure Hunter G, Bahamut Lagoon, and Treasure Of The Rudras to get translated and released.
Sheel

GC: It came out a month ago now, but we have no plans to review it. Star Ocean First Departure R was released on PlayStation 4 and Switch last week though.

 

Partially interactive entertainment
RE: Julian’s letter about Life Is Strange 2 and narrative-based games. Whilst reading his letter, a particular game sprung to mind that seems likely to fit his preference: Erica on PlayStation 4. I can’t recall if GC reviewed this one or not.

Erica is filmed entirely with real actors, with you making choices (either dialogue or actions) to determine the narrative. It’s akin to the Choose Your Own Adventure books of yesteryear that I loved as a child, and very much like Bandersnatch. I have played through several times now, with scenes playing out very differently (or even not at all!) depending on your actions. Although the choices are timed, this is mostly generous – Julian’s comments on having the controller on his lap for the majority definitely fit with this.

The story itself is part murder mystery/part sci-fi but I won’t share any more to avoid spoilers. It only cost me around a tenner on the PlayStation store, and I have easily gotten the same value as you would from any movie.

I truly believe Julian and his wife would enjoy Erica and I hope they have as much fun ‘playing’ as I have.
Gavin Donaldson
PS: Currently playing through The Outer Worlds and absolutely loving it!

 

Resell value
RE: Game bargains. I suppose you could say Xbox Game Pass for a quid for seven years, or whatever the current offer is, is a bit of a bargain. But I think Zelda: Link’s Awakening, which I got for £39.85, was quite bargain-licious. But then I sold it off to CeX when I was done with it for £32!

So eight quid for a highly praised Switch game. Not bad my precious, not bad.
big boy bent

 

Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here

 

Where are the parents?
I was watching YouTube the other day and came across one about Persona 5. And it made me think again about something I had always taken for granted: the parents of the protagonist. Now, his canonical name is Ren so I’ll be referring to him as such from now on.

Of course, I’ve been playing this series since the smash hit third instalment and parents have always been absent – more so than even Charlie Brown/Peanuts cartoons. Any parental figures are surrogates like Uncle Dojima, Sojiro, or Miss Kawakami – and yes, you are disgusting if you date her! Freud called, he needs to discuss your Oedipus complex with you!

Yet, Ren is no orphan. He gets in trouble for hitting Japanese Dominic Cummings, his parents presumably don’t believe him, wash their hands of him and send him to live with – not even a relative, but a ‘friend of the family’. Who Ren has never met before. Huh.

Now, okay – we just need them out of the picture for the sake of the story. But, as far as we know they never make any effort to check up on him throughout the entire year of his probation! No phone calls, texts not even so much as the occasional, ‘Waah, waah! Waah, waah, waah, waah!’

And then at the end of the game we’re supposed to just go back to these… well, total a-holes? Ren, buddy, you should tell them where they can go. Sojiro, Futaba, your teacher along with all the rest have been more of a family. Sojiro would obviously allow him to stay, Ren has proven reliable enough to help around at the coffee shop – so he wouldn’t even be a burden.

The video I watched concluded by saying that he hoped this would be addressed in the upcoming Persona 5 Royal. Because, at the moment, that Ren’s parents have no involvement is saying far too much about them. And all of it is bad. Either we get the odd text from them, more explanation as to why they just packed him off, why they haven’t stuck up for him if not and if they have, we need to see how they have. Otherwise, you should get the option to tell those jerks to go to hell.

This is actually quite a close-to-home issue for me, so I am a bit worked up over it.
DMR

 

Inbox also-rans
The biggest bargain we had came too late for the Hot Topic. The Mrs cleaned up this year at her workplace Christmas Party this weekend, which featured a raffle. She won a Nintendo Switch Lite with a copy of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe! A Nintendo Switch for $0.00; bargain!
Commodore Fan

Quick heads up for PlayStation 4 players who fancy a new theme, there’s a fantastic Tetris Effect dynamic one free on the store now. Visually very similar to the excellent Rez Singularity one, all neon colours and sparkliness with a full trancey/chilled out song from the game. Easily one of the better ones I’ve seen on offer, especially for nowt.
Lost-Sock-

 

This week’s Hot Topic
With the PlayStation 1 celebrating its 25th anniversary this month, the subject for this weekend’s Inbox asks you about your fondest memories of Sony’s first console.

Did you own a PS1 when it first came out and why did you choose it over the alternatives? What was the first game you played on it and what did you think of it? Do you remember the marketing and general buzz over the new console and how did that affect your view of it?

What do you think of the PS1 looking back on it now? Which are you favourite games for it and how well do you think they stand up today?

E-mail your comments to: [email protected]

 

The small print
New Inbox updates appear every weekday morning, with special Hot Topic Inboxes at the weekend. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length.

You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word 4Player viewer features at any time, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.

You can also leave your comments below and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter.

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PS5 release update and PlayStation 5 price news coming this date?

Fans waiting on PS5 release news may have to keep themselves busy for another few months.

According to the latest rumours, Sony will not be announcing a PlayStation 5 update during the remainder of 2019.

But time is running out for when the big reveal can happen, especially when you consider that November 2020 is the expected release date for the console.

So how long is left until gamers find out about Sony’s PS5 successor?

According to recent online reports, the new PS5 reveal will be happening in February 2020.

To be exact, Sony is planning to reveal the future of PlayStation gaming on February 12.

That means there are still a few months to wait until we find out vital information, like price and design.

Fans have now seen plenty of dev kits but these V-shaped boxes won’t be the consoles that will be hitting shelves.

As always, leaks regarding big tech announcements have to be treated with some caution.

But a recent one shared online has been backed up somewhat by the fact it also predicted a State of Play event before the end of the year and that TLOU2 would be released in May 2020.

This might have still been a lucky guess but it does give the idea of a Sony reveal in February 2020 more backing.

Sony recently announced its plans to hold a new State of Play event later this month, focused on PS4 games.

There won’t be any news regarding the PlayStation 5 console but that doesn’t mean it won’t be worth watching.

We could still be hearing about games coming to the PS5 in the years to the come, with cross-generational titles being planned.

Assasin’s Creed Ragnarok is reportedly one of them, while others like The Last of Us Part 2 expected to follow.

The new Sony State of Play is being held on December 10 and will include plenty of news for PlayStation fans.

A statement from Sony confirms: “The year is almost over, but we’ve got one more State of Play to share with you! It airs Tuesday, 10th December at 2pm GMT / 3pm CET, and you can watch live on Twitch, YouTube and Facebook.

“We’ve got around 20 minutes of new game reveals, release date announcements, new gameplay footage, PlayStation Worldwide Studios updates, and more.

“And it probably bears repeating: Don’t expect any updates related to our next-gen plans in this episode.

“You can watch live on Twitch, YouTube and Facebook, as usual. Can’t wait to see what you think.”

The Last of Us Part 2 was expected to make up a big part of this upcoming event, however, it’s unclear how the recent delay in launch date may have affected Sony’s plans.

One game which is expected to be part of the upcoming State of Play is Capcom’s Resident Evil 3 Remake, which was leaked earlier this month.

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Should Capture the Flag replace Domination in the Call of Duty League?

The Call of Duty League is set to begin in a month and a half, but many feel Call of Duty: Modern Warfare isn’t ready for competitive play. Not only does the game feature some bugs, but the spawns in certain game modes are simply atrocious. Hardpoint and Domination, the two respawn CDL modes, are currently a running joke in online professional scrimmages. Spawns and gameplay ultimately aren’t meeting expectations. However, in the latest update, Capture the Flag was introduced to private matches. The consensus is CTF has much better spawns and plays great for competitive. So, the question is, should Capture the Flag replace Domination?

Capture the Flag making a case for the CDL

Hardpoint is and will remain the premier respawn game mode in Call of Duty esports. While Modern Warfare‘s version has experienced some turbulence so far, it isn’t leaving the game mode rotation.

That leaves Domination, which hasn’t been a competitive game mode since Call of Duty: Ghosts. When the Call of Duty League announced it would be the third game mode alongside Hardpoint and Search and Destroy, many fans weren’t pleased.

Currently, in Modern Warfare, Domination plays extremely slowly and the spawns are illogical. On nearly every map there are players spawning on the enemy’s flag, which takes all of the skill out of the mode.

Capture the Flag, on the other hand, makes much more sense. The spawns are still iffy at best, but many pros claim they are more understandable than in Domination. Also, the game mode plays much faster than Domination.

Ctf is actually pretty good in this game. Spawns make sense.

CTF > Dom.

CTF plays way better than Dom. Spawns are still a lil fucked don’t expect that to change but at least I won’t have to play professional peak a boo

We saw a departure for CTF last year for Black Ops 4, which featured Control as the third game mode. However, CTF has been in nearly every competitive rule set since the early days of Call of Duty. The professionals are calling for the mode to make a return in Modern Warfare.

@Mutineers and @TorontoUltra are currently scrimming Capture The Flag, could we see it replacing Domination?

Also note that Bance is playing with the starting roster in place of Luckyy

WATCH: http://twitch.tv/Skyz 

View image on Twitter

While this decision shouldn’t be made hastily, Activision and the CDL need to take a serious look at replacing Domination with Capture the Flag. The Call of Duty League kicks off Jan. 24 with the launch weekend in Minnesota.

Do you think Capture the Flag should be in the CDL? Let us know, and keep up with Daily Esports for all of your Modern Warfare coverage.

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Pokémon Sword & Shield: Leon Has Awesome Fashion

Pokémon Sword & Shield introduced gamers to many new faces — Marnie, Bede, Hop, Team Yell… each one bringing something fresh and interesting to the series. But, none of these characters were as intriguing as the unbeatable Champion, Leon. Not only is he the undeniable savior of Galar, he is objectively the most stylish character you’ll encounter during your Gym Challenge adventure.

Where do we even begin when analyzing such a well-dressed figure? Should we begin with his hat, designed to look like a king’s crown? What about those spotless white leggings, augmented by spotless white shorts? While these certainly kick things up a notch, they are not the reason he is a fashion icon. No, Leon’s fashion statement is made solely with two bold choices — a flowing cape and wild facial hair.

Just look at that cape. It’s an absolute masterpiece. Leon’s choice of crimson is a perfect match for his purple hair, a color decision further accented by the lovely fur trim of the cloak. He has also chosen to stitch on the logos of all his sponsors, a decision that not only elevates his fashion sense to new heights, but also lets the world know he is a force to be reckoned with. Who else have you encountered in Galar with that many sponsors?

Follow the crimson cape up to his purple hair. From there, you’ll surely notice his wonderful… mutton chops? Sleek, clean, and stylish, these check-marks perfectly contour Leon’s chiseled face. We can only image how much work goes into maintaining these beauties. Importantly, the contrast between his black beard and purple hair is on clear display at all times, only adding to his mystique — is his hair dyed purple, or is his beard dyed black? The world may never know.

These two features make Leon a fashion icon in the world of Galar. Whether or not he was the Champion wouldn’t matter. Anyone dressed this boldly is sure to turn heads. Perhaps his wild fashion is also a battle tactic. By dazzling his opponents with his impeccable attire, they simply cannot focus on the battle at hand. Well played, Leon, well played.

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The definitive esports guide to Gamescom 2017

August is well underway and that means we are getting ever closer to this year’s Gamescom! It’s not just game announcements to get excited about – there is a considerable esports presence to anticipate too.

First things first though – here’s a quick overview of what you need to know about this year’s event:

What is it?

Some are calling it ‘Europe’s biggest gaming event’, and in some ways it functions as Europe’s answer to Los Angeles’ E3. Providing a melting pot of gaming related stalls, shops and shows, the annual arena always delivers on hype as the epicentre of epic new game announcements and groundbreaking industry news.

When is it?

The show proper opens on the 22nd of August for the press and the 23rd for the public. Live streams and announcements will begin rolling out from the 20th, so keep your eyes peeled if you don’t want to miss out on any of the action. The event comes to a close after Saturday the 26th.

Where is it?

At the Koelnmesse, the international trade fair and exhibition centre in Cologne, Germany.

 Now for the important question – what esports presence can we expect to see at the event?

ESL brings esports to Gamescom 2017

Gamescom’s Hall 9 will play host to the ESL Arena once again, and ESL promises more action than ever. With the tantalising statement that they will offer “the largest esports production the world’s biggest gaming convention has ever seen”, ESL will utilise more than 5,000 square metres of exhibition space to the 350,000 fans expected to attend over the course of this year’s event.

The main focus will be on the two Esports Stages that will be set up for live competitions. Fans will also want to head down to the Esports Zone, which offers terrific features for the community, including live demos, giveaways, meet and greets and signing sessions with pro players and teams. Across the setups, there’s a mix of classic and new titles to pander to the Gamescom crowd, including latest hot topic PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS (PUBG), which has sparked debate at the ESI camp over its potential as an esport. ESL has also announced a massive $350,000 (£268,000) PUBG tournament for eighty of the top players internationally that is already grabbing headlines. The other games on offer include perennial favourites League of Legends and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, as well as a genre-diverse medley of action with Blade & Soul, CROSSFIRE, FIFA 17, Project CARS and Rainbow Six: Siege.

For those attendees who aren’t content watching the pros fight for tournament success, the nearby ESL Playground will host community competitions for games such as FIFA 17, Rocket League and Clash Royale. Even those that fancy a go at virtual reality esports can sign up for a showdown on The Unspoken, the spell-slinging Oculus title making waves in the VR Challenger League. There’s community bonuses on offer here, too, including meet and greets with ESL personalities, raffles, community meetings and workshops.

Twitch will also have their own presence adjacent to ESL, with a prominent stage show, a special “creative stage”, and H1Z1 kiosks that feature alongside Twitch’s own meet and greet zone with popular creators. Limited edition Twitch merchandise will also be on offer.

Competition overview

Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege | Pro League Season 2 Finals | Main Stage, 25-26 Aug

The best eight best teams from Latin America, North America and Europe will battle it out for a $237,500 (£182,000) total prize pool, with playoffs on Friday and the finals on Saturday.

LoL, CS:GO and FIFA | ESL Meisterschaft Finals | Alternate Stage, 25 Aug

Germany’s top teams and players in League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and FIFA 17 can prove themselves worthy by winning the most prestigious national title and a chunk of the combined €60,000 (£54,400) prize pool.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive | paysafecard Beat the Legends Vol. III | Alternate Stage, 25 Aug

Sixteen top Counter-Strike: Global Offensive amateur teams will have the chance to prove themselves next to two of the world’s best, bodyy and apEX from G2 Esports, the current Pro League CS:GO Season 5 champions.

Crossfire | Crossfire Stars European Finals | Alternate Stage, 24 Aug

ESL and Smilegate Europe team up to bring Europe’s top 4 teams together for a $20,800 (£16,000) prize pool and the precious slot at the Crossfire Grand Finals in Shanghai, China.

Project CARS | World Final | Main Stage, 23 Aug

The top five teams from the SMS-R Championship Series battle it out for a €5,000 (£4,530) prize pool, on top of the €15,000 that the teams have already secured over the course of the season.

Blade & Soul | European Regional Championship | Main Stage, 24 Aug

Eight teams will compete for the title of EU Champion and the prestige of representing their region at the Blade & Soul World Championship 2017 September in South Korea.

Esports Insider says: With a jam-packed schedule of esports entertainment, there’s plenty to whet the appetite ahead of the latest Gamescom extravaganza. But if that’s not enough, Esports Insider Content Exec Ollie Ring will be around too, so drop him a line at [email protected] and make sure to say hello!

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AD+D will bring new thinking to live esports events

Attention Seekers and Done + Dusted are teaming up to deliver competitive gaming events for the masses via new joint venture; AD+D

The aim is to bring the live grand event expertise of Done + Dusted to esports; the firm, founded in 2000, has put on events for the likes of Katy Perry, U2, and the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. It was also involved in the opening and closing ceremonies at London 2012.

Attention Seekers will bring the gaming element to the table; the video game content agency is also well versed in producing video in an online and live format. The joint venture will be based in Santa Monica, California despite both companies being themselves based in London. The pair have worked together successfully on a number of occasions in the past.

It will help to raise the profile of live esports events with a focus on consumer experience, whilst also bringing inventiveness and new thinking to the format.

Phil Tucker, Attention Seekers CEO, said: “Through the vast experience of AD+D we are able to go big and go bold when dialing up the reach of Live moments in the video games calendar.

“In the games industry we are seeing the most exciting changes for years, due to the emergence of gaming as a live spectator sport. Now it is time for it to take on a bigger stage by showcasing gaming in revolutionary new formats, in compelling environments, and broadcast over live television, as well as online. We look forward to working in partnership with the games industry to define that live agenda.”

Done + Dusted CEO Simon Pizey added: “We are delighted to head into a very exciting area of the live video business via a partnership with Attention Seekers, who bring huge experience of the gaming industry to the table.”

Esports Insider says: Two great companies joining up to share their expertise should make for some great live esports events. Done + Dusted’s repertoire makes for impressive reading and we look forward to seeing what this joint venture churns out.

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