Sicario: Day Of The Soldado Review: The Most Unlikely Sequel

The first Sicario was a triumph of thrilling tension and grounded action focused on the government and cartel conflicts taking place on the border between Mexico and Texas. It didn’t exactly scream “franchise starter,” but unnecessary as it may be, Sicario: Day of the Soldado (don’t call it Sicario 2) proves to be a worthy follow-up.

Like the original, not-Sicario-2 stars Josh Brolin as CIA operative Matt Graver and Benicio Del Toro as the mysterious Alejandro, a former lawyer with a vendetta against the cartels. Unlike Sicario 1, it has no Emily Blunt, who in the first movie served as an audience proxy. She spent the entire film perpetually two steps behind the other characters, deliberately kept in the dark to maintain her deniability. From a practical standpoint, it had the effect of keeping viewers guessing, since we only knew as much as the protagonist, and she knew absolutely nothing. And it helped us identify with her.

It was an extremely neat trick, but Sicario: Day of the Soldado doesn’t try to repeat it. Instead, it plays Del Toro and Brolin’s considerable talents against one another. And it works really well.

Soldado once again sees Graver hiring Alejandro for a clandestine job that, like both characters, exists outside the bounds of law, morality, and international diplomacy. In the worldview these movies espouse, it’s impossible to deal with organizations as ruthless, violent, and powerful as the cartels unless you throw all the rules away. Case in point: When terrorists attack a toy store in middle America, Brolin’s character doesn’t hesitate to coerce information from a source by calling in air strikes that take out his family members. The movie doesn’t necessarily pass judgment on acts like this, although it does eventually show the toll they might take.

And it turns out even characters as seemingly merciless as Graves and Alejandro have limits. The new job evolves into destabilizing multiple Mexican cartels by kidnapping one leader’s daughter and implicating a rival organization. When the job goes south, Alejandro winds up on his own, forced to protect the young girl, played with an impressive mix of defiance and vulnerability by Transformers: The Last Knight‘s Isabela Moner.

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If you’ve seen the original Sicario, you’ll know that the deadly Alejandro has no qualms about cold-blooded murdering women, children, and anyone else whose death furthers his revenge. His struggle to protect a girl who part of him wants to kill is Soldado‘s main dramatic conflict, and it transforms Alejandro into a sympathetic–if not exactly likable–character. It more than makes up for Blunt’s absence.

Although he falls on the other side from Alejandro, Brolin’s character struggles too. Seeing the two of them play against one another while dealing with their own distinct external conflicts is thrilling.

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Sicario: Day of the Soldado is just as violent, tense, and relevant as the original. Without the masterful talents of Denis Villeneuve directing and Roger Deakins on cinematography, it does look and feel a little less special than the original. But director Stefano Sollima and cinematographer Dariusz Wolski do a more than adequate job shaping this sequel in the original’s style and form, and you’ll easily become engrossed in the movie and stop thinking about who directed what. Besides, writer Taylor Sheridan is responsible for both scripts, so narratively and thematically, Soldado feels perfectly consistent.

With a gripping climax that focuses on the danger faced by migrants as they risk everything to cross the border, Sicario: Day of the Soldado couldn’t possibly feel more relevant. A b-plot involves a Mexican-American teenager recruited into Cartel service by his sleazy cousin; by the end, not unlike in the first movie, you won’t even know who to root for anymore, much less who to trust. Soldado is well written, well acted, tense, topical, and complex, and in every way a worthy follow-up to Sicario–even if it wasn’t needed to begin with.

The Good The Bad
Well acted all around Feels slightly unnecessary
Gripping and tense as the original
As topical as can be
Complex themes will make you think

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Author: Michael Rougeau

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EA Reveals NHL 19 Details And Release Date

EA has revealed more details about the latest entry in its long-running hockey franchise, NHL 19. The publisher gave fans their first look at the title during the 2018 NHL Awards, which included the reveal of this year’s cover athlete: Nashville Predators defenseman and Olympic gold medalist, PK Subban.

NHL 19 features a roster of more than 200 current and legacy players, including legends such as Wayne Gretzky. This time, in addition to the professional arenas, players can compete on outdoor rinks for the first time in the series. Players can also create their own character using more than 900 customization options, among them new “lifestyle apparel inspired by pond hockey.”

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Along with the returning EA Sports Hockey League and NHL Threes modes, NHL 19 introduces two new modes called NHL Ones and Pro-Am, which are housed together under a “unified progression hub” dubbed the World of CHEL. Players can progress their custom character, unlock rewards, and refine their avatar’s appearance and style by playing in any World of CHEL mode.

NHL Ones is a 1v1v1 competition in which three players face-off in free-for-all games. These contests feature no rules or stoppage, making them harder-hitting and more chaotic than standard modes. Players will rank up to new outdoor rinks by winning NHL Ones games.

In addition to the new modes and outdoor rinks, NHL 19 introduces new playstyle classes and player traits. The game is slated to launch for PS4 and Xbox One on September 14. Those who pre-order either the Legends or Ultimate edition will get access to the game several days early, on September 11.

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Author: Kevin Knezevic

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Westworld’s free Alexa game is like a radio drama crossed with a quiz show

Westworld is known for slipping elaborate story hints into its viral marketing material, giving fans an early look at upcoming plot developments. Westworld: The Maze, a short game released today for Amazon Alexa devices, does the opposite. It’s a clever tie-in narrative that draws on players’ existing knowledge of Westworld lore — or at least their skill at navigating the Westworld wiki.

The Maze follows a voice-controlled “choose your own adventure” format that other Alexa games have used. You play a host who’s just beginning to wake up to the nature of Westworld’s true reality, thanks to some cryptic advice from a mysterious character in Westworld’s Sweetwater saloon. Your goal is to find the center of a metaphorical maze, but to…

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Author: Adi Robertson

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Bethesda Has No Plans For Battle Royale, Pete Hines Says

Battle royale is big, and E3 2018 had its share of battle royale announcements. During EA’s press conference, DICE revealed a battle royale mode for Battlefield V, and Nintendo revealed Fortnite on Switch without its original Save the World mode. Bethesda, on the other hand, did not mention anything about battle royale modes for any games during its E3 2018 press conference.

Bethesda did announce DLC for last year’s Prey that introduces a new multiplayer mode. Called Typhon Hunter, it pits five Mimic players against one human player. In the spirit of new modes coming to existing Bethesda games, we asked Bethesda Global Senior Vice President Pete Hines whether the publisher had any battle royale plans up its sleeve. Short answer: no.

“We definitely have nothing battle royale-related,” Hines said. “We tend never to want to follow anybody else into a space; we didn’t go chasing after Facebook gaming when that was the big trend. Just because battle royale is popular doesn’t mean it’s a good fit for us or our studios.”

He continued, “If somebody comes up with a thing that’s battle royale or battle royale-esque that they think is unique or different or cool, it’s probably something we’d consider, but we tend not to go chasing after trends. We want to be pushing ourselves to offer different experiences and do new things.”

That means the upcoming Rage 2, which releases Spring 2019, won’t be getting a battle royale mode any time soon (if ever). For the full interview, watch the video above, and for more on Bethesda, see our roundup of all the news out of Bethesda’s E3 2018 press conference.

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Author: Kallie Plagge

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Microsoft says it’s no longer planning VR support on Xbox

Microsoft has completely pulled back on plans to support virtual reality headsets on the Xbox. In an interview with Gamesindustry.biz, Microsoft’s chief marketing officer of gaming Mike Nichols said that “we don’t have any plans specific to Xbox consoles in virtual reality or mixed reality.” Nichols goes on to say that the PC is “probably the best platform” for virtual and mixed reality, and that for the Xbox, “our focus is primarily on experiences you would play on your TV.”

This basically completes the slow decay of Microsoft’s console VR plans, at least for now. In 2016, Xbox chief Phil Spencer said that the upcoming Project Scorpio console would support “high-end VR” like that available on Windows PCs. Since Microsoft had previously…

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Author: Adi Robertson

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PUBG Mobile Update Out Now, Adds First-Person Mode And More

PUBG Corp. and Tencent have released a new update for the mobile version of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. The update is available to download now for both iOS and Android devices, and it introduces a handful of new features to the game, including an additional mode, emotes, and other content.

Among other things, update 0.6.0 adds the ability to play Classic Mode in PUBG Mobile in first-person. It also introduces a chaotic new Arcade mode called Mini-Zone. In this mode, players are dropped onto a smaller map that contains three times as many weapons as usual, making for more intense and much shorter matches.

Beyond that, the update adds a Royale Pass, a new type of progression system that’s similar to the upcoming Event Pass for the PC version of PUBG. The Royale Pass features an assortment of daily and weekly missions to undertake. By completing the challenges, players will increase their rank and earn crates.

In addition to unlocking items, Tencent says the player who has the highest Royale Pass level will be able to choose the starting plane’s finish before parachuting out at the beginning of the match. The developer has also introduced a number of new weapon finishes to earn and customize their characters with in PUBG Mobile.

Rounding out the update are various new emotes and items. Players can also now see a weapon’s stats and how it compares with other weapons when browsing the Armory. You can read the full list of changes in update 0.6.0 in the patch notes–as taken from the App Store–below.

PUBG Mobile Update 0.6.0 Patch Notes

Royale Pass

  • This is a brand new feature! Complete daily and weekly missions to earn points and increase your rank. Complete a certain number of missions every week for additional crates.
  • Reach a new Royale Pass rank to unlock its rewards. Players with a busy schedule have the option to purchase ranks directly to unlock rewards.
  • An elite version of the Royale Pass is also available. Purchasing the Elite Royale Pass unlocks elite missions to earn more points and collect additional rewards for each rank.
  • Season 1 of Royale Pass starts in mid-June. It will be available for purchase for all players.

First-Person Perspective (FPP)

  • Added first-person perspective variation to Classic Mode.
  • FPP has its own tier system.

Mini-Zone

  • 100 players, smaller map, three times the resources and air drops!

Weapon Finishes

  • Added weapon finishes to the game.
  • New finishes can be obtained in the game and applied to your weapons.

Airplane Finishes

  • Added airplane finishes to the game.
  • The player with the highest Royale Pass rank in a match can change the plane’s finish before parachuting.

Armory

  • Added an Armory where you can view all the weapons in the game and add attachments to see how effective they are.

Pistols

  • Pistols now get their own slot on the match UI and in the backpack.

Melee Weapons

  • Melee weapons can now destroy tires on vehicles.

Voice System

  • Players can now mute individual teammates.
  • Improved voice chat system during matches.

Results

  • Added a new post-match results screen.

Tier Protection

  • Added a tier protection system to protect players from being demoted.

Characters

  • Added Asian characters.
  • Added character profiles.
  • Added simple emotes so players can interact with one another. More emotes are available via the Royale Pass.

Social Network Link

  • Players can now link one additional social network, for a total of two.

Room Cards

  • Added room cards, which can be used to start rooms. They are available via Royale Pass.

Shop

  • Added parachutes, weapon finishes, avatars, avatar frames, and other new items.
  • Items can be gifted to friends.

Miscellaneous

  • Added career results screen.
  • Added a character customization page, accessible from the profile screen.
  • Added different sound effects for the winner and runner-up at the end of the match.
  • Added a reminder tone for the last five seconds before boarding.
  • Added a marking feature for quick chat. Players can now mark loot locations or dangerous spots.
  • UI and sensitivity information is now saved locally.
  • Added a Shop for trading Silver Fragments for Outfits.
  • Added background noises for some zones, such as the sound of waves crashing when you’re near the shore.
  • Added more customizable buttons.
  • Added Miramar to Arcade Mode.

Fixes/Improvements

  • Vehicles no longer deal damage to teammates.
  • Improved throwing animation, grenade explosion, and smoke grenade effects.
  • Fixed 8x scope and vehicle camera bugs in Spectator Mode.
  • Fixed choppy voice chat bugs and Bluetooth headset disconnect bugs.
  • Improved UI and vehicle sound effects.
  • Improved sound mixing when firing indoors.

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Author: Kevin Knezevic

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FIFA 19 Pre-Order And Release Date Guide (For The US)

FIFA 19 is coming to Xbox One, PS4, PC, and Nintendo Switch on September 28. The title marks the first game in the franchise to hold the official Champions League license since the 2007 spin-off UEFA Champions League 2006-2007, giving FIFA a near monopoly over the world’s major soccer licenses.

Whether that news has you looking to get into the franchise for the first time, or you’re a long-time fan who buys the newest edition each year, you might be wondering what editions of FIFA 19 are available, how much they cost, and where to pre-order. We have you covered below.

FIFA 19 Standard Edition

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Suggested Retail Price: $60

This is the standard version of the game. Pre-ordering the Standard Edition nets you five Jumbo Premium Gold Packs (one per week for five weeks), Cristiano Ronaldo as a loan item for seven FUT matches, and Special Edition FUT kits designed by FIFA soundtrack artists.

Where to buy the Standard Edition:

FIFA 19 Champions Edition

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Suggested Retail Price: $80

The Champions Edition costs $20 more than the standard edition, but it gets you everything in the Standard Edition, plus a number of extras. Buying the Champions Edition bumps your FIFA Ultimate Team Jumbo Premium Gold Packs up to 20 (one per week for 20 weeks), nets you a UEFA Champions League Gold Player Pick (choose one of five 80 to 83 rated gold players from qualified teams), and adds Neymar Jr. loan items for seven FUT matches.

Like with the Standard Edition, pre-ordering from Best Buy gets you a $10 reward certificate redeemable at Best Buy. And regardless of where you pre-order the Champions Edition, you’ll get access to the game three days early (September 25).

Where to buy the Champions Edition:

FIFA 19 Ultimate Edition

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Suggested Retail Price: $100

The Ultimate Edition is the most expensive version of FIFA 19 but it offers the largest collection of loot. With the Ultimate Edition, players get everything from the Champions Edition, but their FIFA Ultimate Team Jumbo Premium Gold Packs is upped to 40 (two per week for 20 weeks).

Like the Champions Edition, if you pre-order the Ultimate Edition, you get access to the game three days early (September 25). The Ultimate Edition is not available for Nintendo Switch.

Where to buy the Ultimate Edition:

  • OriginPC: $100
  • Microsoft StoreXbox One: $100
  • PlayStation StorePS4: $100

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Author: Jordan Ramée

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