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Halo: Reach PC Preview – Halo Week 2019 July 22, 2019

Posted by Maniac in Halo Week 2019, Reviews, Site Videos.
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We’re kicking off Halo Week 2019 with a highly anticipated preview of the first FPS Halo game to be released on PC in over ten years, Halo: Reach.

We were lucky enough to get an early hands-on preview of Halo: Reach on PC while at Halo: Outpost Discovery. Here are our thoughts about what we got to play (along with a little off-screen gameplay) straight from the show floor.

Halo: Reach is out now on the Xbox 360 and is currently backwards compatible with Xbox One. It is coming to the PC when it is ready.


Midsummer Fantasy Renaissance Faire 2019 Review July 17, 2019

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Every year, the Midsummer Fantasy Renaissance Faire is held at Warsaw Park in Ansonia, CT. The faire is not strictly meant to adhere to historical accuracy, but is heavily inspired by fantasy novels, movies and games. We’ve attended the faire nearly every year since we first heard about it in 2015, and this year was no different.

I already know the first question you have, “What did we think of the event?” In the nearly 45 minute review, we highlight every single thing about the show ranging from its story, the vendors, the stage acts, the food, and we even talk about the show’s grand finale! Check it out for yourselves below!

Special thanks to people at the Midsummer Fantasy Renaissance Faire including Daniel Greenwolf and Allie Notarile for providing us Press Passes this year. Hope to see you all at next year’s event!

Midsummer Fantasy Renaissance Faire Review Part 2 April 25, 2019

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We are two months away from the start of 2019’s Midsummer Fantasy Renaissance Faire which takes place every year at Warsaw Park in Ansonia, CT. After the faire concluded last year, we published the first part of our review with the intention to publish Part 2 prior to 2019’s event.

Performers Daniel Greenwolf and Wyck headlined a special one night only event on the final Saturday of the faire. They intended to perform a death-defying stunt that would push their skills to the limit and put their very lives on the line! How did it go? Watch the review and find out!

In case you missed Part 1, where we spoke about the majority of the faire’s events, food, storyline and vendors you can click right here to watch.

Midsummer Fantasy Renaissance Faire 2019 will take place in Warsaw Park, Ansonia the weekends of June 22nd, June 29th, and July 6th, 2019.

The Best Nintendo Switch Accessories January 31, 2019

Posted by Maniac in Reviews, Site Videos.
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Since the Nintendo Switch can function as both a home and portable game console, and many new players may have gotten a Switch in the post-Christmas shopping season, I thought the time was perfect to talk about some of the best accessories for the console. In this video, we’re going to review many of the Nintendo Switch’s accessories, why you should or shouldn’t get them, and where you should get them from.

There are a few ground rules to this list. First off we acknowledge that people will not use the console in Tablet (Portable) mode, and any accessories we list as being only useful for Tablet mode will be mentioned in the video. With that all said, let’s take a look at the best accessories for the Nintendo Switch!

Making a Pokemon at Build-A-Bear Review January 5, 2019

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A friend of mine and I decided to do some post-Christmas shopping last week to seek out any Boxing Day deals we could find. The mall we visited happened to be equipped with a Build-A-Bear Workshop, not something we would usually see in the malls we visited more often. If you’re not familiar with the store, this is a place where kids and families can go to make high-quality custom teddy bears. They’ll stuff them for you on site and you can dress them with all kinds of different clothes. At some point I vaguely remembered reading that Build-A-Bear was branching out into licensed toys, and they were now offering tons of exclusive custom stuffed animals you wouldn’t be able to get anywhere else. This included things from Nintendo (like Yoshi and Bowser), Star Wars, and even Pokémon. As a newfound Pokémon collector, I just had to see if this was still the case. I ventured into the store and was happy to see several different stuffed Pokémon on the shelves, ready to be given new homes. This specific store was having a buy one add a second for only $10 US sale, so I decided the time was right to go in and buy two. Hopefully, I thought, my girlfriend would like at least one of them.

The first question is always going to be which Pokémon do you pick? The store was stocked with plenty of plush Pikachu and Eevee, probably due to the recent release of the Pokémon Let’s Go games on the Nintendo Switch, but they also had Meowth, Charmander and Piplup in stock. Their official website also lists they sold other Pokémon including Squirtle and Jigglypuff, but I didn’t see any in the store at the time. One of the staff members told me they used to stock Bulbasaur, but those flew off the shelves so fast they couldn’t believe it and now fetch very high prices on the resale market.

I opted for an Eevee since I thought it had a lot of good accessory options and a Charmander since it was a central Pokémon in one of my favorite episodes of the original animated series.

After selecting the plush you wanted, you had the option to add a smell and/or a voice box to your stuffed animal. The smell options didn’t appeal to me personally so I didn’t go with it, but the option for a voice box certainly did. Unfortunately, my options for voices were limited. A lot of the custom sound options were sold out at the store we visited, and I didn’t see any Pokémon-specific sound options for sale. They had other options, like real animal sounds but I was hoping for a voice box that could produce a “Pika Pika!” or “Char!”. Heck I would have even taken a match to the 8-Bit Pokémon cry. There was a custom sound box option that allowed people to record any sound they wanted, and I’m sure I could have made a custom Pokémon sound with it, had I wanted to. However, I would have preferred to have an authentic sound taken either from the video game or animated series so I didn’t add a sound to my creation.

Once you have picked out your Pokémon and filled it with everything you wanted inside of it, the store managers will stuff it on site for you. Kids love this part, because it can be turned into a special experience where they jump around and make wishes before the toy is finished.

Part of the experience of creating any plush toy over at Build-A-Bear is to dress your toy up in different clothes. They had several Pokémon themed clothing options available including Poké Ball shirts, Pajamas with Pokémon logos, and since it was just after Christmas, a few limited edition holiday-themed capes and hoods. Everything offered was designed to fit the specific plush toys perfectly, with holes for arms, legs and even ears. I grabbed Pokémon pajamas for my Eevee that fit it like a glove and a green Christmas cape for my Charmander that also fit perfectly. They cost a little extra but the clothes are exclusive to Build-A-Bear, and totally worth getting.

I was a little disappointed by the full selection of Pokémon clothing at the particular Build-A-Bear I visited. There were a few clothing options I saw on their website that my store did not have on sale. This might have been due to the fact it was just after Christmas and most of the stock had already sold out (believe me I nearly got one of the last Christmas capes in the store) but if I had chosen a Meowth I would have loved to buy a Team Rocket outfit for it. The store didn’t have anything like that on the shelves. That said, since clothing was almost completely cross compatible, there was nothing stopping me from buying clothing for my Pokémon meant for different brands like Spider-Man or Star Wars.

Once the Pokémon were stuffed and dressed, it was time to ring them up. The clerk surprised me by telling me I would get an exclusive Pokémon TCG promo card for the specific Pokémon I purchased. The cards were wrapped in plastic and had a Build-A-Bear watermark on them (just like Toys R Us would watermark promo cards they gave out) that I’m sure added to their value in some way. The promo cards were game legal and totally free of charge, making the purchases that much sweeter.

The experience of building these Pokémon aside, the question you should be asking is how good a quality are the Pokémon you can create at Build-A-Bear? Having had the chance to sample Pokémon plush from many different manufacturers including Tomy and even the Pokémon Center, you may have to sit down before you read the next sentence. The Pokémon I made at Build-A-Bear are without a doubt the highest quality plush Pokémon I’ve ever owned. I know that’s a big statement but I’m prepared to back it up with a few ideas why I feel that way.

Perhaps it is because I could control how fluffy I wanted the plush to be, or that I could fully accessorize it’s insides (at an extra price) but I would put Build-a-Bear’s Charmander up against anything I could get at Nintendo NYC. I would offer a comparison to Pokémon plushies I could get at Pokémon Center stores…but I can’t due to the fact there aren’t any Pokémon Center stores in the United States.

The plushes also passed the girlfriend test. My girlfriend loved the Eevee I made for her and she says she would visit Build-A-Bear with me again in the future. Next time we could make something new together!

Hope you enjoyed this unusual kind of review. Have you all enjoyed your Holiday season? We’ve been preparing to come back with all-new content so stay tuned!

Date Nite – Into the Spider-Verse Review December 13, 2018

Posted by Maniac in Date Nite, Reviews, Site Videos.
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We’ve been covering the ongoing news about Spider-Man for the PS4 for some time now and that is because the game is really that great. Marvel Studios did not have a Spider-Man feature-film in theaters this year, but Sony Pictures Animation has. Into the Spider-Verse is a 3D animated film following the character of Miles Morales, a boy who gets the powers of Spider-Man at the same time his dimension collides with the Spider-Heroes of other universes.

Our host, Maniac, was unable to convince a single person he knew to accompany him to the film. Sony Pictures, it seems, has still left a bad taste in a lot of people’s mouths following The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Is this film worth watching? Was Sony able to produce a decent film? Do not worry, this review contains NO SPOILERS. Watch it and enjoy.

Halo: Fireteam Raven Review October 2, 2018

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Earlier this Summer, the latest game in the Halo saga was released at all Dave and Busters arcade restaurants across the United States. I’m talking of course about the arcade game, Halo: Fireteam Raven. Today, we will be reviewing it!

Halo: Fireteam Raven is an on-rail four-player light-gun arcade shoot-em-up! In it, you play one of four possible members of Fireteam Raven, an elite group of Orbital Drop Shock Troopers (ODSTs) who must survive on the Halo ring discovered by the crew of The Pillar of Autumn during the events of the first Halo game. What happened on other parts of the ring while Master Chief was fighting? Will Fireteam Raven cross paths with the Master Chief? Our policy against posting spoilers in our reviews forbid us from telling you!

Before the game starts, you’ll need to know a few things, especially if you play Halo games on Xbox Live. Halo Waypoint is the official website for the latest Halo news, but you can also use it for tracking your online Halo statistics. Now that Halo: Fireteam Raven has been released, the team responsible for making the game want its arcade players to be able to post their in-game statistics and compare them online. To record your Halo: Fireteam Raven statistics you’ll need to sign into your Xbox Live account on the website, select the Halo: Fireteam Raven Service Record tab and tell the site to generate a QR code. You will need that QR code on your Smartphone Screen before you play the game.

To start the game you can pick one of four possible positions you wish to aim from. In front of each of the player seats is a mounted light gun controller and a SmartPhone scanner. Take your Smartphone out of your pocket, load up the Halo Waypoint website, and pull up the QR code from the Fireteam Raven Service Record page. You’ll need to put your Smartphone face down on the code scanner before putting in your Power Up card to pay for the game to start. If everything went correctly, your GamerTag will appear on your character’s Heads-Up-Display when the game launches. The first time we played the game our stats did not link properly as we started to play but for some reason they incorrectly linked with a new player who started at another position. With no other alternative, we ended up switching our playing positions. Later plays on a different station at a different location gave us no issues signing in.

The game has six missions, with each mission averaging around twenty minutes of gameplay and cutscenes. Over the course of the game you’ll wield many of Halo’s iconic weapons including the Pistol, Assault Rifle, Needler, Plasma Pistol, Rocket Launcher, Shotgun and Plasma Rifle. Each active player can aim their weapon with an on-screen crosshair with a color that matches the character seat they chose. You can fire your main weapon with the trigger buttons. If you have a grenade it can be fired with the thumb buttons. Small arms have to be reloaded, but if the player takes control of a rocket launcher or turret they will not have to reload, and these sections are where the game really shines. We won’t spoil anything but we will say this, after completing the final level, make sure to look above for a nice little touch.

Before we talk about Fireteam Raven’s gameplay let’s talk about its technical specs. The game takes place during the events of Halo: Combat Evolved and uses high-resolution graphical assets from Halo: Reach and Halo: Anniversary to display to two enormous 2K screens. Technically, because the game makes use of two side-by-side 2K screens, the game’s completed image technically is in 4K. I can attest the framerate, while smooth most of the time, is not entirely smooth a hundred percent of the time. To compensate for these moments, the vertical sync will tear. However at no point did I ever notice input lag and my controller never went out of sync with the crosshairs on the screen.

Make no mistake, this is an arcade game and like all arcade games this game is a credit sucker. Regardless of how good your aim is, some damage you just won’t be able to miss. In fact, I was averaging spending around two and a half credits per level. If that might be a little too much for you, I recommend signing up your e-mail address for Dave and Buster’s Rewards. Rewards members occasionally receive e-mails for free gameplay credits with purchase. If you don’t want to do that, you can always consider going on a Wednesday when game prices are slashed in half. Regardless, Halo fans need to seek this game out as soon as possible. Just make sure to register your Xbox Live GamerTag with Halo Waypoint before you do because if you don’t, you’ll miss out on all the rewards playing the game will earn you.

What is probably the biggest shame is that the release of this game is as limited as it is. You can’t currently buy it on any PC or console, and many people do not have a Dave and Busters arcade/restaurant near them. That’s compounded by the factor that Microsoft has no major exclusive game coming to PC or Consoles this holiday season. Also the fact that it makes use of two screens can limit our experience if it ever is ported to home media. That all having been said if you’re a Halo fan or just a fan of good light-gun games you need to seek this game out right now.

Halo: Fireteam Raven is out now exclusively in Dave and Busters arcades.

Date Nite – Making of a Tomb Raider Review September 12, 2018

Posted by Maniac in Date Nite, Reviews, Site Videos.
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Tonight, Cinemark theaters across the US held a special one-night-only event and Maniac attended it. Making of a Tomb Raider was a special documentary in the same vein as shows like Ultimate Beastmaster and Ultimate Ninja Warrior. A professional athlete and base jumper was tasked to replicate some of the same challenges Lara Croft made famous in her classic games. People who attended the premiere were promised exclusive DLC that could be used in the full retail version of the game.

So how was the documentary? Was it worth the price of a full movie ticket? What did everyone else in the theater think of it? Were there any issues at the theater? Watch our exclusive review below and find out.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider is coming September 14th, 2018 for PC, Xbox One and PS4.

Midsummer Fantasy Renaissance Faire 2018 Review Part 1 July 10, 2018

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The Midsummer Fantasy Renaissance Faire 2018 just wrapped up this past Sunday. It has been held at the Warsaw Park in Ansonia, CT for several years now and we have been attending them for quite a while. Unlike other Renaissance Faires that pride themselves on historical accuracy, the MFRF draws its inspiration from J.R.R. Tolkien, Dungeons & Dragons, Final Fantasy, and even Pokémon.

We have previously reviewed MFRFs from 2015 and 2016. Upon popular request, we’re going to review this year’s event! Buckle in, because we’re going to be taking about almost every aspect of this year’s faire. That includes the event’s story, the acts, the food and the vendors! Enjoy!

Stay tuned for Part 2 where we talk about last Saturday night’s epic Fireworks Finale!

Justice League: Battle For Metropolis Review June 5, 2018

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I know what you guys are thinking, this is a website about gaming and video games, what am I doing reviewing a theme park ride…again. Well, relax because while this is a theme park ride, its origins date back to classic arcade games. That’s right, today we are going to review the new 3D dark ride Justice League: Battle for Metropolis!

Justice League: Battle for Metropolis is an interactive 3D dark ride found in Six Flags parks. We rode on the one currently at Six Flags: Great Adventure in Jackson, NJ. It is in the DC-themed area of the park near Batman: The Ride, The Dark Knight Coaster, and the upcoming ride Cyborg: Cyber Spin. Honestly, it’s in a perfect place. The area is made up to look exactly like it had in the Superfriends cartoon series, with the same fountain right out front.

I have heard of others opening at seven other Six Flags parks across the US, but we will specifically be reviewing the one in Six Flags Great Adventure. Great Adventure’s version of the ride does not include an appearance by Harley Quinn, who I heard appears in Six Flags Magic Mountain’s version. If the ride ever gets changed, or Great Adventure decides to add Harley Quinn, we will post an update to this review. With that all out of the way, let’s take a closer look at the ride itself!

The Ride Building

The ride’s theming was incredible for a Six Flags ride. The ride building looked exactly like the Hall of Justice first featured in the SuperFriends cartoon, a replica of Cincinatti’s Union Terminal. Inside the building held a queue line where banners hung from the walls, and the words written on each of the banners held an ideal by one of the Justice League’s members. At the end of the main entrance hall was a marble statue of three of the League’s founding members, Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman.

Inside the building, the ride’s preshow video begins to play and riders get a taste of what is at stake for the Justice League. Lex Luthor has teamed up with the Joker to bring down the Justice League once and for all. To do this, the Joker was planning to blanket the city with his trademark laughing gas. As the show shifts to the Justice League, we find out the Justice League has an antidote to their gas, and they were planning to administer it to a volunteer group of recruited citizens they need to watch their backs.

The preshow videos are animated using 3D character models, and the models are dubbed over with voice actors. I had a bit of a problem with the decision for the park to use 3D character models for the pre-show videos. It sure sounded like Six Flags was able to get the voices of actors like Mark Hamill and Kevin Conroy for the ride, because if they didn’t whoever they did get to do the voices sounded exactly like them. On the other hand, I felt a little conflicted about the 3D animation used for the preshows. It looked like they were going more for a Batman: Dark Tomorrow look than The Dark Knight or Batman: The Animated Series artistic style. For those of you unfamiliar with Batman: Dark Tomorrow, it was a terrible Batman game made for the Xbox and GameCube. Given the age of those consoles, I felt the 3D designs used in the ride were just too simple for me. This may have been done to better integrate the preshow’s art style into the style of the ride itself (since it is real-time 3D), but I would have loved to see a more complex and detailed 3D art style for the ride, like something out of Injustice 2.

Once you reach the end of the line and prepare to board your ride car, you receive a briefing by an animatronic Cyborg, who gives riders their final boarding instructions. He’s portrayed by an impressive animatronic with an appearance I absolutely adored. He doesn’t walk, but he can move his arms and his mouth is capable of fully lip syncing his dialog. Cyborg’s voice sounds like his voice in the early 2000s Teen Titans cartoon, but he isn’t bald. His on-ride appearance reminded me of his design from the Titans comics of the 1980s, which are still considered by many to be some of the best comics of the era. Feel free to give him a boo-yeah! before you leave.

The Ride

Justice League: Battle for Metropolis is an interactive 3D dark ride that feels a bit like a cross between Universal’s Spider-Man and Disney’s Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters rides. Each guest needs to grab a pair of 3D glasses before boarding. Each cart can carry a maximum of six riders. As the ride pulls out, the player is greeted by an announcement by Cyborg. He has a cure for the Joker gas, and a puff of smoke is released he says will make us immune to its effects. The ride car moves through the blue fog, and the fun begins.

We’re presented with an interactive 3D screen where Lex Luthor and his robotic drones begin attacking the Justice League. The riders are told to pull out the interactive blasters in front of them and defend the league. To make it easier to play, each player has a unique color beam, and the color you’re assigned is dependent on where you’re sitting in the ride car. Don’t worry, you’ll figure out very quickly which beam is yours. Any Lexbots successfully targeted will disintegrate, and the player who hit it will get a boost to their score.

I don’t want to say too much more about the ride’s story due to our site policy of avoiding spoilers during reviews. While the ride features a combination of 3D screens and live-action sets, we are fairly certain only the 3D screens are interactive. That means shooting at a certain very impressive animatronic villain will not improve your score. During the ride, you’ll be transported from setpieces like the exterior of the Hall of Justice, a Jokerized Star Labs, and the Metropolis underground. You’ll even battle alongside Justice League members like Batman, The Flash, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and Supergirl.

The ride ends with the riders receiving a combined final score, and a ranking of the top players, demoted by their picture. Impressive top scores will be rewarded with congratulations to denote how the scores matched up with their database of all-time players. When the ride concludes, the guests return their 3D glasses and exit through a small DC themed gift shop.


Whatever the ride uses to calculate your blaster’s fire angle expects its user to be firing from close to the hip. When I first attempted to fire my blaster, it took me a while to figure out which laser beam was mine. I then realized my beam was slightly off center because I had fully extended my arm to fire, when I pulled my arm back to fire closer from my chest, the beam effect lined up perfectly with the 3D screen.

We did have only one technical issue with the ride. On our first time riding it, the final sequence would not respond to our blasters for some reason. Our inability to defend ourselves from the onslaught of Lexbots didn’t effect the ride’s story but it did hurt our chances to get a decent high score. This might have been a minor technical issue early in the day, as I rode the ride two more times later in the day and all of the screens functioned properly.

Currently, this Six Flags puts HD televisions in the queue areas outside of major rides. Normally, screens like this are used to show preshow content for the ride and get the guest pumped up for what they were about to go on, but these televisions were being used to show commercials and cartoons on what was listed as a dedicated Six Flags Entertainment Network. It sure was odd to see videos unrelated to the ride shown in otherwise decently-themed ride queues like Green Lantern or Bizarro. Justice League: Battle for Metropolis thankfully didn’t do this when I rode on it, but we did see Six Flags Entertainment Network marked televisions on the outside of the ride that were turned off.

Final Thoughts

I left the ride feeling like I had visited the real-life Hall of Justice. Six Flags made it clear they had a lot of pride in Battle for Metropolis, and the ride was a lot of fun. A lot of money must have went into developing the ride at the highest quality possible, and it shows. The animatronics, software and effects hold up great. It’s a fun ride that leaves guests eager for a second or even third visit.

I’m not too worried about the ride’s current 3D keeping up with the times as the live-action sets look fantastic and the CGI on the 3D screens will probably be updated as time goes on. There are some damn good live-action set-pieces, real fire/smoke effects and realistically styled animatronics to blend in perfectly with the 3D screens. The 3D/live-action blend isn’t as seamless as Spider-Man, but the fact that it is interactive and has live action elements gives it a big leg up over rides like Toy Story: Midway Mania! In fact, having ridden both I would pick Justice League Battle for Metropolis over Toy Story Midway Mania as the better interactive 3D experience. We drove three and a half hours to visit Six Flags Great Adventure and ride this ride, and we were not disappointed in the slightest.

If you’ve never been to Six Flags Great Adventure, we made this little video about our day at the park and on the ride, enjoy.

In the future, it might be cool to see Great Adventure add Magic Mountain’s Harley Quinn cameo to the ride as an update, and if that happens we will be there. Until then, I recommend you check it out yourselves. If you are a comic fan, a gamer or just a fan of well-themed dark rides, give it a chance.