Sucker Punch Productions, the Seattle-based gaming developer, has a couple of successes in their win-loss column. But how does their smokey, next-gen offering shape up? Sucker Punch Productions, the Seattle-based gaming developer, has a couple of successes in their win-loss column. But how does their smokey, next-gen offering shape up?

REVIEW: 'inFamous: Second Son' Is Exhilarating, But Not The System Selling Game The PS4 Needs

Sucker Punch Productions, the Seattle-based gaming developer, has a couple of successes in their win-loss column. But how does their smokey, next-gen offering shape up?

Gamers, players, users — whatever you want to call them — they've all been clamoring for a next-gen game to embolden the PlayStation 4. Designed to show off the power of the new console, inFamous: Second Son carries the same burden of expectation as Mark Cerny's beloved baby. With the first two games (inFamous and inFamous 2) serving as moderate successes for the PlayStation 3, inFamous: Second Son features a new character, a new setting and an original standalone story. You're thrusted into the life of a rabble-rousing young rebel named Delsin Rowe who discovers (after a series of events) that his hands can conjure smoke and set the (open) world on fire. As a lover of graffiti, the Banksy-inspired Conduit manages to use his stenciled art to poke fun at the police state which takes place in a real-world Seattle setting.

Several years since the Cole MacGrath saga, Conduits have survived the events of New Marais and Empire City, which has forced the Department of Unified Protection into existence and into hunting those with special powers. Delsin (mo-capped and voiced by Troy Baker) and his police officer brother, Reggie, attempt to free Seattle from the vicious clutches of the DUP, led by Brooke Augustine. And while the game's plot doesn't offer anything new, it is mildly interesting and visually stunning. Something to point out is that it would have been great if some of the back stories of Second Son's supporting characters like Fetch and Eugene were a little more fleshed out. The game's unique art direction, which was led by Horia Dociu and his team, adds an element of realism to the open world adventure game. At night, Delsin's smoke and neon Conduit abilities look amazing thanks to the PlayStation 4's powerfully high polygon counts and flashy lighting effects.

Sucker Punch, which knows Seattle like the back of its collective hand, features nationally known and locally appreciated landmarks such as the Space Needle and the city's monorail. The cut scenes — which honestly grain a bit long in the tooth — don't jar the player from the gameplay. Also, traveling around the open world area of Seattle is fun as you can really get an Earthy feel for the area and the popular locations wherein. The DualShock 4 also helps the game to win by utilizing the small touchpad that allows Delsin to open heavy gates with a swipe of the finger. Karmic choices also return just like in previous entries in the series, which allows you to force Delsin in playing as a hero or as a villain. During our play through, we opted for the good guy route, which found Delsin's abilities more honed towards precision than utter destruction. Even when he deviates from main missions in favor of using art as a weapon, the player's graffiti choices will resonate throughout Seattle for good or bad, depending on you. With all the things that is going on in this government-controlled Seattle (fingerprint checkpoints, unmanned drones, wire taps), the third entry in the series largely comes across as a pretty picture with no concrete-honed point of view.

A major failing point in Second Son comes with the in-game camera. The enemies are many and can come from all angles, but the camera sometimes falters to pass through environmental objects that should have been transparent. Parkour, which is a staple in the inFamous franchise, sometimes makes Delsin's vertical movements impossible to follow. Wherein before Cole MacGrath was able to scale walls and leap from buildings with grace, there's so much focus on realism in Second Son that is skews the physics and finds Delsin looking like he's struggling to climb a tree. In addition to that, there are plenty of side missions, and while all are not mandatory, some of them are just boring and uninspired. Finding the hidden camera or follow the undercover DUP officer do little to flesh out the overall story of the government's control of Seattle, and don't add an extra level of fun to the overall experience. The last major bluster comes in the game's lack of variety in fighting. Second Son, instead of allowing players to show off their repertoire of upgraded moves, just forces you to fight an increasingly greater number of foes. While the boss fight manages to shake things up a bit, the allure of taking on Seattle's authority figures comes off a bit more lackluster and difficult than it needed to be.

The bottom line is that inFamous: Second Son is exhilarating and plays as a next-gen offering, but there's no extra oomph. Visually, the game works thanks to Horia Dociu and his team, which will certainly attract new and familiar gamers alike. But, the gameplay comes off as a standard-rate open-word action-adventure title; one where gamers must follow, find, and track in a checklist of missions. Some powers are unavailable to you no matter what karmic choice you play as, which means that Sucker Punch still paints the franchise too black and white, with little to no room for grey. Neither path you take differs the missions or mechanics when you go into a second play through. For all of the side missions to add weight to inFamous: Second Son, there's just not enough interesting things to do in Seattle to lure anyone but the most staunch completionists into its post-game exploration. The game feels really close to having another franchise hero like Nathan Drake, but the lack of a fully fleshed-out story, complicated camera work, and a mundane mission structure leave inFamous: Second Son as not the system-selling game the PlayStation 4 needs.

Don't believe us?! Well, just watch the trailer for yourself below:

inFamous: Second Son is a PlayStation 4 exclusive and is currently in stores now.

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Omar Epps Talks New Horror Film 'Trick,' His Vast Acting Roles And John Singleton's Genius

If you came of age in the ‘90s, Omar Epps may eternally be Quincy McCall playing Monica for her heart, or Malik Williams running to regain his full athletic scholarship, or high school student Q romancing a grown-ass nurse with her own apartment (I’m really stuck on that detail as an adult) and trying to avoid Bishop in project elevators. But over the last two decades, Epps has pretty consistently stayed on-screen - small and big - in roles that run the gamut from DJ to doctor, from ballplayer to police officer. He was even the Black person that gets killed in a horror movie in 1997’s Scream 2 (that franchise was thoroughly committed to maintaining slasher tropes). When Brooklyn native isn’t juggling multiple projects, he’s one-half of ‘90s Black couple goals with his wife of 13 years, Total’s Keisha (and she’s still fine). But I digress.

This Halloween, Epps returns to the slasher film subgenre in Trick, the first installment in a new horror franchise from director Patrick Lussier, whom Epps worked with on Scream 2 and Dracula 2000. Epps plays Mike Denver, a small-town detective fighting to stop a serial killer terrorizing the community every year — even though Denver already shot and killed him.

VIBE talked to Epps about the new movie (carefully, so as to not give it all away), choosing vastly different roles over the years, and predicting the future with John Singleton.


VIBE: Trick is kind of a full-circle moment for you; it’s been just over 20 years since you were in the last big slasher franchise, Scream. Now, you’re the one chasing the bad guy. There’s not that much we can say without giving the plot away, but talk about what attracted you to the movie and the character.

EPPS: For me, it all starts with the script. I thought it was really entertaining, I thought the role was fun, and obviously the chance to work with Patrick again. We have that trust factor there, I know he’s a really solid filmmaker. And I thought it was something unique, you know as it twists and turns you can’t really figure out what’s going to happen.

And this is one of the first new franchises in (the slasher movie) genre, which seems to be making a comeback.

We’re calling it “slasher noir”, so it’s a call back to that old school slasher movie, but a little more elevated in terms of the story and the plot. And it’s touching on some things I think that can make the mind wander in correlation to where we’re at as a society right now.

The killer’s motivations give you pause to think, for sure. In Scream, they got you up out of there pretty quickly (Epps laughs). Now, instead of being one of the “kids,” you’re the adult trying to solve the problem. You play a police officer who’s very grounded, very logical, so the idea of something paranormal and supernatural really disturbs him as he’s trying to put the pieces together. How did you place yourself in that headspace?

The keyword there is “grounded,” and that was both the challenge and the exciting part, for me, to play this character. He’s someone that, to your point, is logic-based, and he’s looking at everything from a linear point of view in that way. But as things progress, he’s basically someone who loses himself over this case; over trying to figure out what’s going on. I think part of the headspace is you have to be in the moment of that process versus having a  strategy to attack it. You have to be immersed in the moment. And again, working with Patrick, we have a shorthand, creatively, which allowed me to be malleable in that sense, and I think we pulled it off.

Later this year, you also have the movie 3022 coming, a sci-fi thriller that takes the “lost in space” theme further than usual with an extinction-level event that destroys the Earth and traps a crew of astronauts on a space station just...until.

I really love that project; I think it’s a powerful piece that every human being will be able to relate to because it touches on age-old questions: What would you do? Why are we here? It just hits on so many broad themes. And (director) John Suits, man, he did his thing with that. And I think the cast is magnificent. I’m really excited about that one.

We (Vibe and Vibe readers) think of you first as one of the core young Black actors of the ‘90s, but over the years you’ve done such a variety of work between both TV and movies. You’ve done medical dramas, you’ve done procedurals, you’ve done sci-fi, you’ve done rom-com, you even had a moment as a ‘90s video lead. You really don’t have a box, Omar, which is a beautiful thing as an actor, but how have you made your choices?

It’s been a combination of me making choices of things that I connect to, and the blessings that come down and opportunities that come my way. I think every artist is sort of a blank canvas, and no one’s in a box. You’d be surprised at how many actors can sing or rap or dance or how many musicians can act - we’re artists. I’m just thankful to — knock on wood — continue to get these opportunities, because the next path for me is writing, producing and directing.

You’ve dabbled in that a little bit already. Are you working on anything now?

Oh yeah, I’ve got a few things bubbling. I don’t want to jinx them, but we’ve definitely got some things in the works across all those fronts: as a writer, as a producer, as a director.

My favorite roles of yours are Q (Juice) because of nostalgia, and then Quincy McCall (Love & Basketball), but I really loved you as Dr. Eric Foreman (House). I thought you guys were brilliant as an ensemble. Do you have a favorite?

I honestly don’t. For me, they’re all pieces of a bigger mosaic; of a picture, when it’s all said and done, of what will be my career. But there’s nothing like your first, right? There’s nothing like that first experience. So with Juice, that movie and character will always hold a special place in my heart.

And it was such an iconic moment for the culture. When John Singleton passed, I wrote about his work, and how when Higher Learning came out (in 1995), critics said the various characters were too on the nose and stereotypical. But when you view the film from a 2019 lens, it’s almost prophetic. Have you thought about that?

That’s the thing; great storytellers all tap into that same zeitgeist of eternity in terms of the human story. And when you whittle that down to American culture or to Black culture, it’s just one of those genius things. When we were on set filming, we could feel that this was saying something bigger than our parts in it. Now, when you look back on it in 2019, it seems prophetic because it was. It’s not “seems,” it was. Look at where we are in society right now, it’s crazy, but I think that’s a testament to John Singleton and his genius.

So, you worked with Tupac in his seminal role, you worked with Singleton. Is there a person that you still want to work with that you haven’t yet, or is there a dream role that you haven’t had the opportunity to play yet?

I don’t necessarily have a dream role, although, I would love to play Frederick Douglas. But the person I want to work with is Spike Lee. I’ve never worked with him and I don’t know how that hasn’t happened. We were trying to do something a few years ago that didn’t come together, so I’m going to put that back out in the universe because I have to work with Spike.

'Trick' is now in theaters, on-demand, and on digital streaming platforms now. 3022 is expected to hit theaters, on-demand, and digital platforms on November 22nd.

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Halle Berry Is #TeamZoeKravitz As Catwoman For Upcoming 'Batman' Film

Earlier this month, it was announced that actress/musician Zoe Kravitz would step into the sleuthing role of Catwoman for Matt Reeves’ The Batman. Joining in on the chorus of people that are elated to see Kravitz in this role is fellow Catwoman Halle Berry.

The Oscar Award-winning actress took to Twitter to congratulate Kravitz on her new job, writing “Keep shining queen and welcome to the family!” Kravitz will star opposite Twilight’s Robert Pattinson who’ll play the Dark Knight.

Special shout-out to your new #CatWoman, the eternally graceful & extremely bad ass @ZoeKravitz. Keep shining Queen & welcome to the family! ♥️✨

— Halle Berry (@halleberry) October 17, 2019

In 2004, Berry starred as Catwoman in the film of the same name. Directed by Pitof, the movie also starred Alex Borstein, Benjamin Bratt, Frances Conroy, and Sharon Stone. Although the movie wasn't a box office success, Berry said it opened up a world of opportunities in Hollywood.

"Everybody around me said, 'Girl, don't do it. It's going to be the death of you. It's going to end your career.' But guess what I did? I followed my intuition and I did a movie called Catwoman and it bombed miserably," Berry said at 2004's Matrix Awards, per Glamour. "While it failed to most people, it wasn't a failure for me because I met so many interesting people that I wouldn't have met otherwise, I learned two forms of martial arts and I learned not what to do."

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A Tekashi 6ix9ine Documentary Series Is In The Works

Showtime is set to debut a new project about Tekashi 6ix9ine.  Supervillain, a three-part limited docuseries produced by Imagine Documentaries, Rolling Stone  and Lightbox, will explore the rise of the New York native.

“The bizarre and complicated rise of Tekashi 6six9ine is a story of our times,” said Vinnie Malhotra, EVP, Nonfiction Programming, Showtime Networks. “Beyond becoming one of the most notorious hip hop artists of this generation, his story speaks volumes of the impact of social media and manufactured celebrity in our society. We’re excited to be partnering with such heavy hitters in the world of music and documentary to bring Supervillain to life.”

The series is inspired by the Rolling Stone article, Tekashi 6ix9ine: The Rise and Fall of a Hip Hop Supervillain, released earlier in the year.

“Tekashi 6ix9ine is one of the most enigmatic music artists of a generation,” said Gus Wenner, President and COO of Rolling Stone. “Rolling Stone is thrilled to work with Showtime and our other partners to bring the gripping story of Tekashi’s meteoric rise to stardom and infamy to viewers around the world.”

Supervillain isn't the only Tekashi-inspired project on the way. Snapchat is working on a doc about the 23-year-old recording artist, and 50 Cent is reportedly producing a biopic about him.

Tekashi, whose birth name is Daniel Hernandez, testified against former gang affiliates in federal court last month in exchange for a lowered prison sentence.  Though it’s unclear when he will be freed, the “FeFe” rapper -- who was facing up to life in prison -- recently signed a record deal worth a reported $10 million.

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