Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Warner Bros Blogger Event*

*Originally posted on 7bitarcade.com

Entertainment giants Warner Brothers recently opened their London studio doors to a select group of bloggers and budding gaming journalists to showcase their latest games, movies and apps. 7Bit sent me down from the lofty heights of our Midlands Division to have a peek and report back on my findings.


Brought to you via Apple's AppStore, Warner have produced several apps based on their recent and upcoming films. Showcased on an iPad 2, I was shown the app for the Harry Potter films. Essentially, the freemium app is a bunch of bonus content with the likes of behind-the-scenes videos and photos as well as some trivia. There was also extra paid-for-content that, rather surprisingly, wasn’t unlocked for me to view.

I was allowed to play about with the app for a bit, but I found loading times on the videos and even photos quite lengthy and the content quite lacklustre. It’s the kind of stuff I would expect to see on a special features disc. There were some other branded apps on show, but these were carbon copies of the Harry Potter app and very little extra to talk about.


I think the most surprising element of the event was the selection of films on show, of which there was only one of note, Yogi Bear. We were allowed to watch a segment approximately five minutes long from the start of the film. It seemed your typical child friendly affair, lots of slapstick humour and some good CGI-FMV integration. I didn’t see enough of the film to review it, but adult fans of the original cartoon will probably want to give it a miss. The actors don’t seem to be have been trained on acting with characters who aren’t really there and deliver quite a poor experience, while the humour is aimed directly at kids with little or no adult fun included. On the plus side, the active 3D glasses and TV it was shown on looked fantastic.


On show for the gaming side of things we had Batman: Arkham City, Lego Harry Potter Years 5-7 and Lord of the Rings War in the North (all of which are now in shops and ready for purchase)

Batman: Arkham City

Rocksteady’s sequel to the massive success that was Batman: Arkham Asylum, B:AC sees the B-Man entering a newly cordoned off section of Gotham. The premise is simple, all the supervillians and their idiot cronies (plus a few political prisoners) have been banged up and Batman has to keep the peace. Fans of the first game, and Batman in general, are going to LOVE this game. Absolutely everything you liked about B:AA has been improved upon in some way or another.

Top of that list is the Riddler trophies, of which there are now 400. Each one could be simple to solve or require some pinpoint control to obtain the reward. There’s also a reason to finish them this time (bar gamerscore) as Nigma has kidnapped civilians and will kill them unless Bats gets his detective on.

Lego Harry Potter: Years 5-7

I have been a fan of the Lego games since Lego Star Wars and have played almost every iteration released since then. It’s fair to say I know my way around the Travellers Tales franchise quite well. So much so that I managed to sneak the preview code into ‘free play’ mode (rather than the story mode everyone else was getting shown) without alarm bells being triggered. All the regular functions return with the same button set up that is tried and true. There are a few new powers introduced to show the progression in the young students skills and a few new characters from the books but the rest is largely unchanged. Indeed, even the old problems still exist. One major downfall of the series has been the inability of player two being able to unlock progression achievements/trophies with player one. Fans of the series will like it, everyone else won’t. But I think Warner Bros and Travellers Tales know that already.

Lord of the Rings: War in the North

Previous LotR games have been fairly poor. While setting an interactive experience in a world as rich as Tolkiens’ Middle Earth is always an attractive proposition - in reality its been quite difficult for the developers that have had the cojones to try.

For this iteration, Snowblind Studios have the reins (which is quite exciting for me as I was a massive Baldurs Gate Dark Alliance fan)and have decided to opt for a completely non-canon story. The first thing you notice is the age rating, receiving a 15 from the BBFC. That makes it the most adult themed LotR game to date, a fact that is translated to the screen from the off with bloody battle effects.

Gameplay sees you controlling one of three protagonists (a human, a dwarf or an elf) either offline with AI or online with two others. I think this will be the key to the enjoyment of a game that is otherwise another one button hack em up. The combination of skills across the roles should provide some tactical elements against particular foes.

The problem with the latter two games is they won’t be able to hold their own against the mass of heavyweight titles being released in the run up to Christmas. Still, at least they’ll be cheap in the January sales.

The drop in event came to an end for me around two after arrival, as by then I felt I had seen everything on offer. It’s a shame there wasn’t more there. Even so - in the gaming world anyway - there is some great stuff coming out of Warner in Q4 this year.

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