10 Things We Want From Avengers: Infinity War

Don’t let us down, Thanos.

With its release date bumped from May to April 27, the countdown to Avengers: Infinity War has jumped ahead by a full week. Now, with promotional material pouring out from every nook and cranny, it’s time to to start taking a good, hard look at what we hope this movie actually pulls off–both for the immediate fight against Thanos, and as fuel for the future of the MCU.

We already know five out of six Infinity Stone locations, and the missing Soul Stone’s whereabouts will almost certainly be revealed before Infinity War’s conclusion. We’ve broken down every scene in the latest trailer, and we know from the newest poster that Peter Dinklage is in Infinity War. We’ve noted where every hero is leading into the movie, and wondered whether Hawkeye and Ant-Man are in it at all. And we’ve figured out the best order in which to catch up on all the MCU movies.

In other words, we’re prepared. Now here’s what we want from Avengers: Infinity War when it hits theaters April 27.

10. Avengers, Reassembled

Since Civil War, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes have been struggling with the whole teamwork-and-unity thing. Though the bridges between Iron Man and Captain America aren’t completely torched (Steve sent Tony a burner phone to reach him in case of emergency, after all), they’re definitely still smoldering.

If Infinity War intends on getting the band back together, it’s going to need to do some genuine emotional legwork to make the severed halves of the team reunite–especially since Bucky Barnes, the catalyst for most of the Civil War conflict, is still an active member of Steve’s team, he and Tony are going to need to have a real chat about where they stand–and where they want to go from here. That’s a conversation that’s going to need more than just a quick phone call about the pending apocalypse.

9. The Soul Stone, Explained

The Soul Stone–the last of the six cosmic Infinity Stones to be revealed in the MCU–is still completely MIA. With the pressure of Thanos mounting and the other stones all present and accounted for, hunting down and exploring the power of the Soul Stone will have to be one of the biggest and most poignant plot threads for Infinity War to explore.

In the comics, the Soul Stone can be used to literally imprison human souls, stripping them from their mortal vessels and locking them away in an alternate dimension. Hopefully something equally as terrifying and massive is in the works for its on-screen counterpart.

8. At Least One Mantle-Passing

It’s pretty likely that Infinity War will represent the end of the line for one or more of the MCU’s biggest name heroes. But that doesn’t actually have to be a tragic thing.

Over the last ten years, we’ve been introduced to a whole roster of up-and-comers who would be perfectly suited to take over the reigns for an A-Lister like Tony Stark or Steve Rogers. With any luck, Infinity War will give some heroes a chance to peacefully transition their mantles (you know, without dying–this is a list of hopes not a list of fears) to successors, making way for the next phase of solo films.

7. Bucky and Natasha, Sitting in a Tree

Over in the comics, Black Widow and the Winter Soldier have an on-again-off-again romance that forms one gigantic throughline for their respective characters. And, honestly, what would you expect? It’s not every day that two formerly brainwashed/heavily indoctrinated Soviet super spies find each other after coming in from the cold.

The MCU’s incarnations of these characters don’t quite jive as well as they do on the page, but that hasn’t stopped Natasha from insinuating that she and Bucky have a history together, even beyond the fateful, almost deadly encounter she discussed in The Winter Soldier. A split second “Don’t you recognize me?” tossed out mid-fight in Civil War has ignited all sorts of possibilities about their shared past ready for exploration–and with Bucky finally freed of Hydra’s mind control and Natasha’s all-but-confirmed solo Black Widow movie on the way, the two of them fighting side by side in earnest would be a perfect stepping stone to kick off that story.

6. Resolution for Loki

Loki’s connection to both the Avengers and the Infinity Stones has been something the MCU has played with since the very first Avengers movie all the way back in 2011, where he served as the central villain. Since then, however, the God of Mischief has been all over the board, from reluctant ally to outright anti-hero and back again. His most recent outing in Thor: Ragnarok really upped the sympathy angle as he and his adoptive brother, Thor, apparently buried the hatchet (at least for now) in the wake of Asgard’s destruction.

But now that Thanos is well and truly coming, Loki’s position in the MCU is about to be tested in a major way. Infinity War is going to need to prove once and for all where Loki’s loyalties lie, or end his story all together.

5. Cosmic Consequences

Infinity War will be the first real collision between the space-based Guardians of the Galaxy and the rest of the MCU’s heroes. And though they’ve fought off alien invasions and dealt with Asgardians, the Avengers are going to have to seriously reconfigure the way they operate and think about their position in the “bigger picture” after everything is through.

In a perfect world, Infinity War will pave the way for further collaboration between the Avengers and the Guardians, as well as open some doors for more of Marvel’s cosmic cast to start making live action appearances. Thor, specifically, having recently lost his home planet, could stand to have his horizons broadened for future films.

4. Nomad

The name “Nomad” has been tossed around for this incarnation of Steve Rogers since the Infinity War promotional campaign really started, and for good reason. Back in the comics, when Captain America became disillusioned with his mantle and fell out of touch with the “American dream,” he (melodramatically) cast his shield and costume aside in favor of a new one: Nomad, the man without a country.

It’s not hard to draw parallels between that comics moment and Steve’s status as a fugitive post-Civil War, yet Infinity War marketing has yet to refer to him as anything other than good ol’ Captain America. We’re holding out hope for a Nomad name drop at least once, even if it’s just an Easter Egg.

3. Shuri vs. The World

Black Panther break-out and fan favorite Shuri is Wakanda’s chief engineer and the smartest person in the MCU, meaning she’ll no doubt have plenty of perspectives for the Avenger’s other brainy heroes. A meeting between Shuri and Tony Stark, Peter Parker, and Bruce Banner would plant the seeds for some incredible new inventions down the line–and maybe some beautiful new friendships to help build the shared universe space out even more.

Also, let’s face it: Stark Industries could definitely use someone like her on the research and development front. But that won’t happen unless they actually sit down and talk at least once.

2. Vision and Wanda’s Romance

After a jumpstart in Civil War and some hard-to-miss scenes in the Infinity War trailer, it’s a pretty safe bet that we’re on the cusp of seeing Vision and Wanda become a couple in earnest. But, if that is the road things head down, there are some things we’ll definitely want to see.

Over in the comics, Vision and Wanda’s romance is, uh, complicated–something you might be able to guess considering one of them is a reality-warping metahuman and the other is a sentient robot who may or may not be powered by some sort of cosmic energy. However, despite the complication and the mess, Vision and Wanda did manage to “have” (again: a witch and a robot–we’re not really talking a traditional birth here) two children–Billy Kaplan and Tommy Shepherd, who would go on to be core members of the Young Avengers.

On-screen, Wanda and Vision differ pretty greatly from their comics selves, but a genuine stab at developing their love relationship opens all sorts of doors to be explored in later movies.

1. Atlantis

One of the major components of the Infinity comics storyline revolves around the underwater kingdom of Atlantis, home of Namor the Submariner. Obviously, unless something seriously secretive has been brewing behind the scenes in Infinity War, expecting a Namor cameo is probably too high a hope. However, the movie would provide a great vehicle to start seeding the introduction of Atlantis into the MCU–maybe in time for Namor to make an appearance in Black Panther 2.

After all, the MCU oriented “Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout” ride at Disneyland California includes some mysterious but prominently displayed Atlantean artifacts (in so many words, the plaque reads specifically that they were “collected from the bottom of the ocean on Earth”). It would be a shame for those designs to never get a proper on-screen placement.

Fortnite Servers Having Issues On PS4, Xbox One, And PC, But Epic Is Working On It

If you’re having a bit of a rough time playing Fortnite on PS4, PC, and Xbox One, it’s because the game is going through a spell of login, matchmaking, and social connection issues, according to the game’s official Twitter page. These began as a result of a big influx of new players and, in response, developer Epic Games has scaled up to accommodate the new traffic.

Epic has since said login and matchmaking services have recovered, but is monitoring the situation to ensure full recovery. The troubles aren’t completely remedied as of yet, based on reports from players, but it’s expected that things will smooth fully out soon.

The new influx of players could be due to the launch of the Fortnite Mobile test. Invites for the portable version of the game have gone out on to iOS users. Epic has promised the mobile version delivers the full Battle Royale experience with cross-play.

It could also be because there’s a greater interest in the game as a result of the recent stream in which rapper Drake played Fortnite with Twitch streamer Ninja. The stream proved to be incredibly popular, reaching more than 600,000 concurrent viewers at one point. This smashes the previous record of 400,000 for an individual stream. Drake revealed that he played Fortnite a lot while in the studio.

Tomb Raider Review: The New Lara Croft Is Here To Stay

The new Tomb Raider is a pretty good action movie and a better than average video game adaptation, with a stunning performance from Oscar winner Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft. What really elevates it, though, are a couple of extremely specific story and design decisions that set it apart from all its contemporaries, from Indiana Jones and Uncharted to past Tomb Raider games and movies.

To say exactly where the story goes that makes Tomb Raider so unique would be a spoiler, but let’s just say it stays surprisingly grounded.

That’s a word you can apply to more or less the whole movie. Much of the action is heightened to unbelievable proportions, though no more so than in the 2013 Tomb Raider game, which was widely praised for its “gritty realism.” The movie is a direct adaptation of that game, and it more than does it justice, even surpassing it in many ways.

Like the 2013 game (which itself was a major series reboot), the 2018 Tomb Raider movie follows a younger, less experienced Lara Croft in an origin story that sees her transforming by necessity into the skilled adventurer who gamers know and love. The film does a great job providing plausible explanations for Lara’s many talents; as a young bicycle courier and amateur MMA fighter in London, Lara has the reflexes and athleticism she’ll later use to scale rock walls and parkour her way through ancient tombs. And Vikander totally sells every punch, leap, and plunge, her amazingly chiseled muscles flexing and straining impressively throughout the movie.

Lara’s father, Lord Richard Croft (Dominic West), has been missing for several years when we catch up with her in the movie. But she hasn’t yet signed the papers that would give her control of his vast business empire and wealthy estate, out of a combination of determined independence and a stubborn refusal to admit he really isn’t coming back. When she discovers new clues to where he disappeared to, she pawns what little she has (to a very funny Nick Frost) and hurls herself headlong in search of him.

That means heading to coastal Asia, where she tracks down (a little too easily, but whatever) the same boat that her dad chartered seven years earlier. She convinces the captain, Lu Ren (the underused but great Daniel Wu), to take her to the dangerous Devil’s Sea, where her father’s been stranded alongside the ruthless mercenary Mathias Vogel (the perfectly despicable Walton Goggins).

Tomb Raider suffers slightly from trying to cram too much in. It’s stuffed full of action sequences, at least one of which probably should have been cut (the early chase scene where some kids rob her, maybe?). There’s a cold open featuring her dad’s voiceover explaining the mythology of the deadly Japanese goddess Himiko as maps and etchings scroll by on the screen, a tedious info dump that, incredibly, is then repeated later in the film when she uncovers all his research. And while the movie spends plenty of time establishing Lara as a character, it spends considerably less on the villain, Vogel, who remains fairly two-dimensional despite some quick lines about wanting to get off the island and see his family again.

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Any empathy you might have felt for Vogel is derailed when he compares Lara to his daughters while being extremely creepy toward her. Thankfully, Lara is never explicitly threatened with sexual violence in this movie, which you might consider an improvement from some of the game’s more ambiguous scenes. On the other hand, when a lone young woman is being hunted and restrained by multiple beefy, exclusively male bad guys, the implication–the possibility it might happen, despite it being unstated–remains. Some viewers might find it disappointing that Tomb Raider doesn’t totally overcome that subtext, while others will simply consider it realistic.

But even when this movie threatens to sink in some areas, Vikander buoys the whole thing up admirably. The Ex Machina and The Danish Girl actress clearly put an incredible amount of physical work into making this character believable. It paid off in action scenes that feel just possible enough, even when they verge on unbelievable. Many of these, including a harrowing trip down river rapids toward a towering waterfall, are ripped straight from the game, to which the movie owes a great deal. Seeing them play out onscreen is fun for game fans, but they’re not done simply for the sake of lip service, and non-gaming moviegoers should be just as engrossed.

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Vikander also brings her considerable emotional range to the role, lending Lara the right amounts of vulnerability and raw feeling when required. Her ability to switch from a young woman who misses her father to a stealthy bow-wielding killing machine–and back again, multiple times–is impressive.

Her general skepticism, too, plays a huge part in grounding this movie in reality. She finds it just as implausible as you or I would that an ancient Queen of Death is going to spring out of her tomb and murder everyone on the planet; Lara isn’t there to stop the curse, but to find and/or rescue her father, who she believes is at least partially insane for believing Himiko poses a real threat to the world. That aspect of her character pays off effectively by the movie’s end, and it’s one of the things that most sets this incarnation of Tomb Raider apart.

Maybe the weirdest thing about this movie–good or bad–is how closely it follows the plot of one predecessor in the “archaeological adventure” genre, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. In each movie, a reluctant, skeptical adventurer uses their missing father’s research to track him down, inadvertently delivering that research directly into the hands of ruthless foes. They then must temporarily team up with said enemies to ensure their father’s safety, using the research to pass a series of booby-trapped trials and reach a mythical something-or-other deep in the bowels of a long lost temple.

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Tomb Raider holds up well on its own–and next to the 2013 game on which it’s based–but understandably, it can’t really compare with the classic movie it copies most heavily. This juxtaposition winds up especially unfavorable for Tomb Raider when you realize that unlike Indiana Jones, Lara Croft has no iconic (or even recognizable) theme music. This movie has plenty of fist pump moments, but you’ll eventually realize they’re not as impactful without that memorable “dun-dun-dun-duhhh!”

Nevertheless, Tomb Raider is a great video game adaptation and a decent action movie on its own, elevated by smart story choices and a winning performance from Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft. Here’s hoping she’s down for a sequel.

The Good The Bad
Alicia Vikander is fantastic as Lara Croft Lack of iconic music
Movie stays surprisingly grounded Some characters could be better fleshed out
Action and fight scenes are well done Too many info dump scenes
The right amount of game references and homage

Attack on Titan 2 Review: Colossal Action

Far from being a mere video game adaptation of the anime, Attack on Titan 2 stands strongly as a character-driven action-RPG in its own right, with rewarding combat that feels fluid and fast and a story that’s equal parts charming and shocking. While it shares many similarities with the first game in the series, Attack on Titan: Wings of Freedom, the sequel feels like a better package overall with a cleaner visual style and tighter combat. Despite its story taking some time to really dig its anchors in, it gets there and then some, entrancing you all the way until the closing of the final chapter.

Based on the second season of the popular anime series, the story puts you at the center of the conflict between humanity and Titans–a race of giant, people-eating humanoids that one day appeared out of thin air, wiping out a large percentage of the population. Forced to seek a new life behind three huge walls built to keep the Titans out, humanity tried to rebuild, but the Titans managed to find a way through. Faced with extinction, it’s up to you and the rest of the military to stop them.

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After creating a character–who, if you choose a woman, will still be weirdly referred to as “our man” by the game’s narrator–the game opens with you joining the military cadets and becoming a part of the 104th Cadet Corps. The first few hours cover the same ground as Wings of Freedom, putting you through military training and effectively re-living the events of the first game, albeit in a more condensed setting. Also, each character is voiced in Japanese, so you’ll rely on subtitles to keep on top of things.

The plot closely follows the anime, so fans are already familiar with what’s going on. But it’s a story that will pull you in, hard, though not without its fair share of melodrama. While much of the early game feels a little dragged down by some excessive exposition, you come to appreciate those sequences later on, particularly as characters you grow to like face death in shocking ways. Not that the game is overly violent–although the Bloodborne-esque spatter from killing a Titan is pretty messy–it’s more that the characters grow on you over time. Watching them struggle through the Titan invasion becomes less of a drudge and more an emotional rollercoaster.

The game is made up of numerous large combat areas and some smaller, peaceful hubs where you can go about your daily life: upgrading weapons, buying materials, and maintaining friendships that grant you different equippable skills that can upgrade your stats. While not all that interesting visually, the hub areas serve as a good bookend between each battle, as well as a chance to debrief with the other characters about the last mission and your next moves.

The larger, more-open combat zones, which vary from green valleys and large towns to snowy, abandoned villages and giant forests, are far more interesting to move through. A big part of what makes the movement so vital and exciting is your omni-directional mobility gear, or ODM for short. The ODM gear fires anchors into a distant object like a house, a tree or even a Titan, and with the help of two side-loaded gas canisters, thrusts you along the ground and up into the air. It can get a little janky; sometimes you’ll catch the underside of a roof or hit a cliff face that’ll halt your momentum. But more often than not, gliding through buildings or between giant trees feels effortlessly satisfying.

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Similarly great is the combat, which manages to feel faster and better paced than it did in Wings of Freedom. Titans can only be taken down by slicing out the nape of their necks. You have to fire your anchors into any one of five spots on a Titan you can lock onto, circle around it in mid-air, and then launch at it, swinging your blades wildly. It can feel a little clumsy at first, but within an hour I was dodging attacks in the air and flinging between Titans like it was nothing. The rapid switching of targets and close calls while maneuvering between enemies during a fight never loses its allure, only getting more intense as the story builds.

The Titans themselves are the true stars here. With their ridiculous grins, ambling movements and saggy butts, they look amazingly creepy. On higher difficulty levels, the Titans become faster and more aggressive. Their limbs flail impishly as they freely counter your attacks, flick off ODM anchors like they’re swatting flies, and pick fellow Scouts out of the air. Moments like this amp up the intensity tenfold, especially when you’re caught between responding to an urgent request for help or going to the aid of someone who’s been grabbed by a Titan. It’s hard not to feel the pressure in the moment, and it’s great.

Despite its slow start, Attack on Titan 2 offers exciting gameplay along with a deep and intriguing plot that, melodrama aside, tugs on the heart strings. It’s well-paced and offers some impressive spaces to move through. The unique combination of the movement and combat mechanics combines with a gripping story to make Attack on Titan 2 one of the more surprising releases of the year.

Avengers Infinity War Trailer #2 Breakdown!

Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War official trailer #2 had us all racing to get tickets! Thanos is on a mission to collect all the Infinity Stones with help from the Black Order. Check out our breakdown to find out what you may have missed from the new trailer, including comic Easter eggs!

Space Adventure Game Outer Wilds Is Back With New Publisher, Release Date

If you’ve been following the crowd-funding and -investing platform Fig, you might remember the campaign for Outer Wilds. The game raised $126,000 back in September 2015, but it had been in development long before that. However, since its successful campaign, developer Mobius Digital has been pretty quiet. However, Mobius announced today that it has secured a publisher, Annapurna Interactive, and that the game will launch on PC and “additional platforms” this year.

Outer Wilds is a gorgeous-looking adventure game that is set in an open-world solar system “stuck in a time loop.” What that means, exactly, is unclear, but you can see from the announcement trailer that there’ll be a lot of spaceflight, action, exploration, and campfires.

It’s easy to compare it to No Man’s Sky, but Mobius makes a point of differentiating it in important ways. Specifically, Outer Wilds is not procedurally generated–the solar system is large, but it’s “hand-crafted,” according to a press release.

“The planets of Outer Wilds are packed with hidden locations that change with the passage of time,” the press release states. “Players can visit an underground city before it’s swallowed by sand, or explore the surface of a planet as it crumbles beneath their feet. They also have access to a variety of unique gadgets that help them probe their surroundings, track down mysterious signals, decipher ancient alien writing, and roast the perfect marshmallow.”

Annapurna is best known as the publisher for a variety of cool indie games, from What Remains of Edith Finch to Gorogoa. The addition of Annapurna has allowed Mobius to finally announce a release window for the game, as well. Outer Wilds is currently slated for launch in 2018 on PC and other, currently unannounced platforms.

Nintendo Labo: Here’s What An Eight-Year-Old Thinks

If you’re looking forward to the impending release of Nintendo Labo, then you’ve probably already read all about Nintendo’s innovative cardboard model/game hybrid. First announced in January this year, the Switch exclusive has an initially baffling concept where you have to build objects out of cardboard in the real world, and then use those paper creations to interact with the console and its detachable Joy-Cons in a series of mini-games. In GameSpot’s last hands-on with Labo, editor Kevin Knezevic found himself enamored with the whole concept, saying: “Labo’s mini-games are secondary to the actual act of assembling its peripherals, and the appeal of the title stems not from the software itself, but from witnessing the surprising things your humble cardboard creations can do.” Other early impressions of Labo have been similarly positive.

But here’s the thing with those early impressions: they’re all from the perspective of adults. Nintendo Labo, despite the increasing finesse required for some of its more complex cardboard builds, is in many ways aimed at kids, and it’s initial appeal (hey, let’s make things out of paper) certainly has a more junior tilt to it. So instead of presenting you with yet another view of Labo from a games journalist aged in their 30s, we here at GameSpot decided to go straight to the target market for our next hands-on look: an eight-year-old kid.

In the video above, GameSpot EIC Randolph Ramsay lets his son Sebastian loose on Labo at a recent preview event held in San Francisco. Sebastian came into the event excited about the game after having seen its trailers, but would he be able to build and play with Labo on his own? Or is adult guidance still a prerequisite? Check out the whole video to find out.

Xbox Live Is Having Some Issues Again

[UPDATE] The Xbox Live Service Status page now shows that only Purchase and Content Usage is affected. Specifically, Xbox Game Pass is running into problems.

“Our engineers and developers are actively continuing to work to resolve the issue causing some members to have problems finding previously purchased content or purchasing new content. Stay tuned, and thanks for your patience,” Microsoft wrote.

The original story is below.

After last week’s widespread Xbox Live outage, the network is experiencing issues again today. The Xbox Live Service Status page shows that a number of services are running into problems right now, including Purchase and Content Usage, TV, Music, and Video, and Social and Gaming. Both Xbox One and Xbox 360 are affected.

Things like viewing achievements; browsing, purchasing, and viewing video content; and buying games, redeeming codes, and downloading purchases are all affected.

Core services like signing into Xbox Live and matchmaking are still up and running normally, so that’s good news. Last week’s outage prevented many players from signing in at all, which is obviously a big deal.

The dinosaur survival game Ark: Survival Evolved is one of the affected titles. The developer said players are reporting that some are having problems launching the game or, if they can, seeing any available servers.

As always, your mileage may vary with all service interruption. The good news is Microsoft is aware of the problems and is actively working on a fix. So keep checking back with GameSpot for the latest.

Fortnite Servers Going Down Before New PS4, Xbox One, And PC Update

You won’t have to wait much longer for Fortnite’s delayed v3.3 update. It was originally due out on March 14, but developer Epic discovered an issue and had to delay it. Thankfully, the wait won’t be long, as the patch is now scheduled to launch in the morning on March 15.

Server downtime related to the rollout will begin tomorrow at 5 AM ET / 2 AM PT, presumably on all platforms: Xbox One, PS4, and PC.

There is still no official word on what’s in the 3.3 update, but Epic did tease that players will be able to come across a Supply Llama in Battle Royale. The update may also include remote explosives, a newly revealed item that players will be able to detonate from a distance.

What we do know is that the limited-time Teams of 20 mode in Fortnite: Battle Royale is getting removed with the 3.3 update, so now is your last chance to play it.

Epic recently announced it is bringing Fortnite: Battle Royale to mobile. Those with iOS devices can now sign up for a chance to take part in an exclusive invite event. If you’re curious to see how the game runs on mobile, you can check out the first gameplay footage of Fortnite on iOS here.