Author - Jerry Paxton

Star Wars Battlefront 2: Official Starfighter Assault Gameplay Trailer

August 19, 2017 – Ready to jump into the cockpit of a speedy TIE Interceptor or nimble A-wing? In Star Wars Battlefront II’s new Starfighter Assault mode, players can live out their ultimate Star Wars fantasies by becoming an ace pilot in epic space battles set across authentic locations from all three cinematic Star Wars eras. Space combat has been vastly improved and expanded with superior controls, deeper customization and role-based team play featuring an all new class-based system.

Get a peek at the some of the iconic ships that players can pilot in intense, high stakes dogfights in the new Star Wars Battlefront II: Official Starfighter Assault Gameplay Trailer.

Also be sure to tune in to the EA Live Show at Gamescom streaming on EA.com on August 21 at 9:30am PDT/6:30pm CET to watch the Starfighter Assault live gameplay reveal. 24 players will face off in a swirling dogfight in the Fondor: Imperial Shipyard map, weaving around an Imperial Star Destroyer complete with speedy fighters, thundering bombers, distinct hero ships, and more.

For updates on Starfighter Assault and the new hero ships that will be revealed during Gamescom, head to the EA Star Wars blog.

SpellForce 3 Gets Cinematic Trailer and UK Collector’s Edition

Munich/Vienna, August 17th: Today THQ Nordic released an all-new CGI trailer for SpellForce 3, the real-time-strategy meets role-playing fantasy game launching this winter on PC. The trailer offers a recap of the events, narrated by voice actor Doug Cockle, leading up to the newest iteration in the franchise, while providing a glimpse of the battles to come. You can watch it here:

THQ Nordic also announced a limited collector’s edition for the game. Starting today, the SpellForce 3 Collector’s Edition can be pre-ordered for $129.99 in North America and €129,99 in Europe. The package will include the game, an exclusive artbook, the game’s official soundtrack, a Godstone amulet and an 8-inch figurine of Sentenza Noria, a seasoned commander and spymaster of the Royal Army that acts as the mentor for the player. The Collector’s Editon can be preordered now here.

SpellForce 3 returns to the roots of the SpellForce saga. Taking place before the acclaimed SpellForce: The Order of Dawn, players will unravel a deep and epic story in the SpellForce universe with over 30 hours of a single-player campaign, that is also playable in Coop. Additional multiplayer modes offer competitive battles for up to eight players. Create your own heroes, develop your skillset and build your own army to fight in legendary battles with gameplay that expertly blends the RTS and top-down RPG genres together.

SpellForce 3 is launching on December 7, 2017 on PC. For more information, please visit the official website, like the game on Facebook or follow THQ Nordic on Twitter.

Knott’s Berry Farm Announces First Dive Coaster on the West Coast

Buena Park, Calif. – Knott’s Berry Farm will welcome HangTime, a brand new steel rollercoaster – and the only dive coaster on the West Coast – to the theme park in the 2018 summer season. HangTime will tower 150 feet over the Boardwalk area, showcasing gravity-defying inversions, mid-air suspensions and twisting dive tracks.

HangTime will send riders up a vertical lift hill into a 15-story 96-degree drop – the steepest drop in California. The coaster’s train will come to a halt once the highest peak is reached, and will leave riders suspended at the crest for several seconds staring downward at a 60-degree angle, giving the illusion of a disappearing track. Then the train will suddenly descend in a beyond-vertical drop, through 2,198 feet of steel track and five gravity-defying inversions. HangTime will be only the second rollercoaster in the Western Hemisphere to feature a negative-g stall loop, which gives riders the sensation of floating.

“HangTime’s disappearing track creates a memorable illusion of the unknown as riders feel like they are hanging over a cliff, staring at the ground in nervous anticipation,” said Jon Storbeck, vice president and general manager, Knott’s Berry Farm. “People who crave that adrenaline rush will want to ride this coaster again and again. Introducing a coaster like HangTime firmly positions Knott’s Berry Farm as a must see attraction among Southern California theme parks, and we look forward to welcoming our guests to this new experience.”

HangTime’s ride structure itself will come to life and illuminate the Boardwalk area with colorful nighttime track chase lighting that will accompany the coaster train’s travels across the smooth steel track. The coaster continues Knott’s legacy in rollercoaster innovation and industry firsts; the park introduced the very first corkscrew inversion rollercoaster with Corkscrew, and the first flywheel launch coaster with Montezuma’s Revenge.

HangTime is manufactured by Gerstlauer Amusement Rides, GmbH, and is the company’s next-generation “infinity coaster” model.

Guests can experience an entire season of fun including the thrill of HangTime with a 2018 Knott’s Season Pass, on sale now at the best price of the year. A Regular Season Pass includes unlimited admission in 2018 to Knott’s Berry Farm with no blackout dates, and a Gold Season Pass includes unlimited admission in 2018 to both Knott’s Berry Farm and the newly expanded Knott’s Soak City Waterpark with no blackout dates. Regular passes are just $92 or nine easy payments of $10.22 and Gold Season Passes are $110 or nine payments of just $12.22. These offers end October 29, 2017. Applicable taxes and fees apply online. Payment plans are only available at knotts.com.

For more information about HangTime, Knott’s Berry Farm and Knott’s Season Passes, please visit knotts.com. Join the conversation about the newly announced dive coaster coming to Knott’s using #KnottsHangTime #KnottsBerryFarm.

Razer Thresher Ultimate for Xbox One Headset Review

During my visit to Razer’s E3 2017 suite, I got the chance to check out the new Thresher Ultimate wireless gaming surround sound headset. Playing the latest Capcom fighter on the PlayStation 4, I was very impressed with the clarity and rich sound the headphones provided. Flash forward to last week, and a box arrives at my door from Razer with the PC/Xbox One version of their Thresher Ultimate. So, I started the review process. I pulled everything out of the box and began inspecting it. The first thing I noticed about the Thresher Ultimate was that it is built rugged. Even though the headband and ear pads are made from super-soft material and designed for comfort, the structure and body of the Thresher Ultimate feels solid. Even the plastic parts on the Thresher Ultimate are dense and feel like they would withstand a fair amount of abuse.

The Razer Thresher Ultimate wireless surround gaming headset is capable of provided wireless sound either for your Xbox One game console or PC gaming rig. It accomplishes this via a sliding toggle switch that changes the inputs. But not so fast, on the back of the Thresher Ultimate base unit, you will find optical in and out ports, a mini-USB port, and a standard USB port. The audio inputs from your game console go through the optical in port on the base unit, but your PC connects to the base station by way of its mini-USB port. The extra full-sized USB port on the base unit is used for charging the Thresher Ultimate headphones. Razer has also included a nifty headphone stand which attaches to the Thresher Ultimate base unit, providing gamers with a sturdy and convenient place to rest their headphones when not in use. The front of the Thresher Ultimate base unit features a power button and that’s it. The design of the base unit is really attractive and it doesn’t cloud its surface with tons of buttons and controls.

The Razer Thresher Ultimate wireless surround gaming headset proper is also a sight to behold. Featuring some very well-designed lines and hefty build quality that, while not being so heavy as to weigh your head down, is strong enough to feel worth its price point. On the left ear cup of the Thresher Ultimate headset, you will find the retractable boom microphone, headset volume dial, mini-USB charging port, and power button. On the right ear cup, you’ll find the chat volume/mute dial (this doesn’t do much in PC mode, but is super helpful in Xbox One mode). The headphones feature a soft head band as well as an aluminum frame that hovers over the soft band and takes up a lot of the weight from the unit. I was able to wear the Thresher Ultimate for many hours of play without discomfort. Also helping this were the super-soft, memory foam ear pads that Razer has included on the Thresher Ultimate. These pads even have a “temple indent” which allows for more comfortable wear of glasses while playing.

I spent many hours of gaming while wearing the Razer Thresher Ultimate headphones, trying to split my time equally between Xbox One and PC game experiences. On the Xbox One, I delved into the post-apocalyptic universe of Fallout 4 as well as the zombie-killing, base-building opus known as Fortnite. Both of these yielded premium audio experiences, especially when I depressed the Dolby button on the top of the Thresher Ultimate base unit. This button enables the Dolby surround sound on the headphones, and ups the “Wow!” factor of the Thresher Ultimate even more. On my PC, I played some Total War: Warhammer, TES V: Skyrim, and Dead by Daylight. The Razer Thresher never disappointed me. I have even been using the headphones as a monitor and microphone for streaming game content on our YouTube channel, GamingShogunTV. The audio quality of the Razer Thresher Ultimate headphones is excellent, with some really crisp sound and a respectable amount of base thanks to the 50mm drivers built into the headphones.

Overall, the Razer Thresher Ultimate wireless surround gaming headset is a truly great way to enjoy the audio of your favorite Xbox One or PC games. It is well-built and puts out some seriously-crisp sound, all while being extremely comfortable to wear for hours on end. You can find the Razer Thresher Ultimate in two flavors: Xbox One/PC and PlayStation 4/PC, both of which are available starting on August 15, 2017 for $249.99.


Razer Thresher Ultimate Wireless Surround Gaming Headphones Review Score

(5 out of 5 stars)


 

Midsummer Scream 2017 Post-Mortem

Midsummer Scream 2017 has come and, unfortunately, gone for another year. This year’s event completely blew away their 2016 offering, which was already an amazing horror/Halloween convention. This year, the event saw even more panels, exhibitors, and mini-haunt experiences for guests to enjoy. Additionally, the screening room featured a number of horror shorts to view over the course of the weekend.

Knott’s Scary Farm announced the last year for Elvira to perform in the park as well as a revised Trick or Treat maze. Universal Studios went into more detail on their upcoming maze based on The Shining and some of their street zone areas. The Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor crew hosted a panel where they announced a new maze and featured “Chef” character. Also of note was the panel for Into the Black, an upcoming four-part haunted attraction experience from Larry Bones, owner of Boneyard Effects. The Hall of Shadows was back, bigger and better with way more haunted experiences to take in. Also of note was the sliding group known as the Decayed Brigade. Made up of former and current scare actors, the group performs cool acrobatic stunts by throwing their bodies against a smooth runway and sliding along the ground.

I also want to give a shout out to the Long Beach Convention Center which has, hands down, the best convention center food in Southern California. I have eaten at most of the big convention centers in this area and Long Beach sells custom sandwiches, gourmet coffee, and a lot more. We preferred to eat at their cafe instead of walking across the street to outside restaurants.

The biggest issue we experienced during our visit to Midsummer Scream was getting from the convention center to the main stage, which was located at the Long Beach Performing Arts Center. The walk in between was a bit of a chore, having attendees cross a narrow pedestrian bridge in a construction zone. The upside, of course, was getting to utilize the large house space of the Performing Arts Center, so it’s a trade-off. However, it is a shame there isn’t an internal walkway connecting the buildings.

Overall, Midsummer Scream was even better than last year’s offering, and it now marks the official start of the Halloween journalism season. The next upcoming event is ScareLA and then we begin preview events for the big haunted attractions out there. Stay-tuned for more!

Gallery

Halloween Horror Nights Announces Titans of Terror Maze and Tram Experience

Universal City, CA, August 7, 2017 – Universal Studios Hollywood unites four slasher film legends—Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, Leatherface and Chucky—in two all-new terrifying “Titans of Terror” experiences as part of this year’s “Halloween Horror Nights” event which kicks off Friday, September 15, 2017.

In the new “Titans of Terror” maze, guests will fall victim to the silver screen’s most deplorable killers whose affinity for bladed weapons redefined the horror movie genre as slasher films: Leatherface (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) wielding his iconic chainsaw, Jason Voorhees (Friday the 13th) brandishing his relentless machete, and Freddy Krueger (A Nightmare on Elm Street) swiping his trademark glove armed with razor blades. The new maze will be an assault on guests’ sensibilities as they descend into the forbidden realms of these horror icons.

Taking terror to an unspeakable level of bloodcurdling screams, the “Titans of Terror Tram Hosted by Chucky” will transport guests into a nightmare of carnage pitting guests against these four modern horror icons, this time led by infamous serial killer doll Chucky (Child’s Play franchise). With his faithful army of degenerate chainsaw-wielding Good Guy Dolls, Chucky will unleash havoc upon guests as they navigate a portion of the world-famous backlot.

Further “Terror Tram” encounters will include Jason Voorhees (Friday the 13th) at the Crystal Lake Motel where he slaughters newly arrived camp counselors; an ominous confrontation with Freddy Krueger (A Nightmare on Elm Street) who takes his ultimate revenge on the town of Springwood; and a final foray through the barn from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, where Leatherface and the Sawyer family butcher victims for their cannibal cuisine.

Unique to Universal Studios Hollywood, the “Terror Tram” enables “Halloween Horror Nights” guests to walk along an area of the famed movie and television studio, where such sets as the Psycho House and the Bates Motel from Alfred Hitchcock’s classic thriller, and Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds, are located.

“Halloween Horror Nights” at Universal Studios Hollywood brings together the sickest minds in horror to immerse guests in a living, breathing, three-dimensional world of terror. Featuring an all-new slate of unrivaled film production quality mazes and frightful scare zones, “Halloween Horror Nights” will taunt, terrorize and torment guests with spine-chilling haunted attractions as part of Southern California’s most extreme Halloween experience.

Updates on “Halloween Horror Nights” at Universal Studios Hollywood are available online at HalloweenHorrorNights.com/Hollywood and on Facebook at: “Halloween Horror Nights – Hollywood,” Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter at @HorrorNights as Creative Director John Murdy reveals a running chronicle of exclusive information. Watch videos on Halloween Horror Nights YouTube and join the conversation using #UniversalHHN.

Knott’s Scary Farm Midsummer Scream Panel Video

July 30, 2017 – Knott’s Scary Farm, the largest most haunting Halloween experience in Southern California, unveiled hair-raising news and details about its 45th season at the Midsummer Scream Halloween festival. Knott’s held an exclusive panel for fans featuring Scary Farm maze designer, Jon Cooke. Here’s what’s coming to Knott’s Scary Farm this season:

·         The lineup for this year will return with 13 haunted attractions and over 1,000 monsters lurking in the fog

·         For the first time in Scary Farm history, Fright Lane will also include Fast lane which will give guest priority access to all mazes and select rides

·         Elvira, the legendary Mistress of the Dark, returns for her final appearance at Knott’s Scary Farm in an all-new spellbinding nightly show

·         Returning darker and more twisted than ever step inside the Green Witch’s home by venturing through the blacked out building in Trick or Treat: Lights Out. Armed with only a faulty flashlight, face the terror of the Green Witch’s house completely in the dark. Featuring new state-of-the-art effects, unexpected scares and other eerie surprises, Trick-Or-Treat is back to terrorize like never before.

Knott’s Scary Farm will return from September 21 – October 31st. Tickets are now on sale at: https://www.knotts.com/tickets-passes/scary-farm

Knott’s Berry Farm, 8039 Beach Blvd. Buena Park, CA 90620

San Diego Comic-Con 2017 Photo Gallery

Here is our photo gallery from the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con – arguably the biggest comic book and pop culture convention in the world. Here are some of our images from in and around the San Diego Convention Center.

Photo Gallery

Star Wars The Black Series Luke & Rey – SDCC 2017 Exclusive Review

One of the coolest things about the San Diego Comic-Con is that exhibitors like Hasbro bring out some really neat exclusive toys for attendees to purchase. We got the chance to purchase a couple items while there, and wanted to bring you a quick rundown of them – starting with the Star Wars The Black Series Luke & Rey boxed set. This made a big splash at the convention as it is technically the first Star Wars The Last Jedi toy. Now, while Hasbro and Disney have announced that September 1, 2017 will see a huge release of Star Wars toys for the upcoming films, these exclusives were just for conventioneers to purchase and not available at retail yet.

Design / Sculpt

This character two-pack features Rey and Luke as they appear at the end of The Force Awakens and, if rumors are correct, right at the beginning of The Last Jedi. Both action figures feature detailed costumes and Luke even comes with a fabric cloak which, while being somewhat of a pain to tie around the character, is pretty nifty. One thing that I was hoping would be on the Luke figure was a lightsaber hook or holster. His belt has a non-functional pouch but nothing else of note. The Rey figure is a little more dynamic, featuring a holster for the pistol that the late smuggler Han Solo gave to her in The Force Awakens. Both character faces don’t look all that much like the actors who play them in the films, but the general idea of who they are is apparent. Rey’s hands are very detailed down to individual fingers, so be careful when making her grip the included accessories to not accidentally bend or tear them off. Each character features a large number of articulation points, so posing them into whatever scene you wish should not be too difficult.

Accessories

This is where the Luke Skywalker figure comes up a little short (and not just in the Stormtrooper sense of the adjective). Luke doesn’t come with any accessories other than his cloak. No weapon, nothing. Now, I would imagine that part of this is due to secrecy – if Luke wields a Jedi weapon (or any other implement) in the new film, it is a big movie moment and one they would not want spoiled in action figure form. Rey, on the other hand, comes with numerous accessories. She has her staff, Anakin’s/Luke’s/Rey’s lightsaber, and her pistol.

Rey’s staff comes with a loop that you can utilize to have the figure wear it around her torso, and the pistol is a very decent representation of the one in the movie – especially on such a small scale. Her lightsaber his also well-detailed, I just wish the blade was removable so that it was a bit more flexible in terms of designing a scene for the figures. Of course, this is great news for the kiddies out there as it is one less thing they can accidentally swallow or lose, so I definitely understand.

Overall

Hasbro’s Star Wars The Black Series Luke & Rey boxed set is a very cool collector’s piece for the upcoming Star Wars The Last Jedi. Both characters are present and come with some nice accessories. They are not perfect likenesses of the actors, but close enough for action figures in The Black Series lineup. They are currently available for various prices on places like eBay, but stay-tuned as the rumor mill is stating there will be new versions of these figures released on Star Wars toy day in September.

ScareLA 2017 Interview with Creator Lora Ivanova

We got the chance to ask Lora Ivanova, creator of the ScareLA Halloween/Horror convention, some questions about the upcoming event. ScareLA takes place on August 1 and 2, 2017 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Q) This will be the 5th annual ScareLA convention. How has this journey been for you? Describe how you got to this point.

A) From its inception, my vision was to create a first-of-its kind convention that would not only bring Halloween to the masses, but to provide fans with an opportunity to converge and share their passion while dressing up and being themselves. This has been an incredible journey that has taught us a lot and every year we aim to provide attendees with more immersive and interactive experiences.  Being the first-of-its kind convention, the ScareLA team is proud of see summer Halloween catch on fire and inspire our city’s scare fans to gather and create.

ScareLA Creator Lora Ivanova

Q) With ScareLA moving to the Los Angeles Convention Center, tell us what that means for attendees. Why was this a good move for the event?

A) ScareLA has exceeded our wildest expectations and has been growing so much every year that moving to a larger venue was part of its evolution. The LA Convention Center will allow us to expand the show’s foot print and will take the immersive aspect to the next level. We started in Downtown LA and ScareLA was always intended to exist in LA’s epicenter. We are thrilled to move back into the heart of the city, which is easy to get to from any point.

Q) What kind of things can we expect to see this year at the convention?

A) We’ve tailored this year’s show around our theme, ‘Monster’s Come Together’ with efforts focusing on creating experiences that will be enjoyed by monster of all ages while promoting tolerance and unity. We’ve created an entire city, Scarywood (measuring a record 60,000 sq.ft.) that will include a new and groundbreaking VR experience, ‘Flatline’, where participants can experience having a near death experience; an exclusive AR experience, ‘The Summoning’, where participants will explore the crime scene of occultist, Raphael Davidson; and, ‘ZTag Zombie Infection Arena’, which is a game where a group of four will decide how to protect a ‘safe zone’ in Los Angeles from zombies. These are just a few of the many that will be featured.

Monsters will also be able to enjoy experiences from upcoming Warner Bros. Film’s “IT” and Annabelle”, which will include a cinematic VR experience and spooky photo opportunity respectively. Dystopia Rising SoCal will be back with an amazing LARP experience and Rizo’s Scare House will bring its biggest haunt, a 3,600 sq.ft. of darkness on the outskirts of Scarywood. The creative team behind Universal Studio’s Halloween Horror Nights will also be back to give us a spooky preview of this year’s haunts.

On the educational front, we will offer monsters everything from makeup, set building, costuming and animatronics. Demos and seminars will including non-latex skeleton corpsing with Bill Ramsey; Zombie silicon prosthetics with “Skin Wars” favorite Kyle Vest; Jon Mario demonstrating out-of-kit effects such as cuts, burns, bruises and blood; and Warren Kong of Lightswitch will be presenting a free, 40-minute seminar called ‘Beyond the Strobe Light: A Marriage of Lighting and Scenic’ which will cover the use of colored light, UV paint and effects with lighting, monochromatics, and shadow play, as well as special games and workshops about Wonder Woman and Batman. These are only a few of the many monsters will be able to participate in.

For more in-depth information, monsters can visit: ScareLA.com

Q) Being that the LA Convention Center is so close to LA Live, is there any chance we will see LA Live restaurants offering discounts to attendees with ticket? Any deals in the works, perhaps?

A) In order to cultivate the atmosphere, we’ve focused our efforts into bringing back our themed food trucks, which have been very popular with attendees in the past. There will be a variety of fun and scary foods that will keep monsters up and running all day. For the first time, we will have a bar in the dark space that will also offer guests a wide variety of themed drinks to choose from.

Q) Horror and Halloween are huge industries, and there are very few events out there that cater specifically to this crowd. What do you think it is that draws people into horror and Halloween?

A) Halloween lends an opportunity to people to be themselves and express themselves freely. From the get go, part of our vision was to expand this opportunity by promoting tolerance and celebrating the wildest differences at the community level. Halloween is a holiday for the entire family and ScareLA will always be welcoming for fans of all ages.

Q) There are a huge number of haunted attractions (ranging in scale from home haunt to theme park haunt) to experience during the Halloween season. What are some of your favorites?

A) There are many that I enjoy and for several reasons. For instance, Reign of Terror Haunted House in Thousand Oaks who beats many of the professional attractions in both quality and design; Big Worm’s Sherwood Scare who donates their proceeds to charity; Wicked Lit who creates modern stage adaptations of classic horror literature; and Creep LA for being one the most surrealistic experiences.

Q) What is Lora Ivanova’s ideal Halloween like?

A) No Halloween is the same for me and I always like to experience different haunts. I make my own costumes and try to find something that inspires me. I haven’t decided yet what I’ll dress up as this year, but you can be sure it will be something original and interesting.

Q) And, finally, is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about ScareLA?

A) I’ve been inspired by the love of the community towards our event and I’d like to thank all of our volunteers and partners who shared their passion and helped the process unfold. Every little piece makes a difference and we are thankful for everything that we have accomplished and proud of tapping into an authentic energy that has helped us along the way.

We’d like to thank ScareLA, Lora Ivanova, and Supersonix Media for helping make this interview possible. Please check out the official ScareLA website for ticket purchasing information, schedule of events, and more!