DID YOU READ

Uncharted 3 Multiplayer Beta Unveils Co-op Campaign

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A few weeks back, Sony opened up the multiplayer beta for this fall’s hotly-antcipated “Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception.” For the last fortnigh or so, PS3 owners have had a chance to test drive two initial maps and a variety of modes for Nathan Drake’s third globe-trotting adventure.

IFC’s Matt Singer and I teamed up last week to try out the beta and both came away very pleased with the preview. Multiplayer plays much like the single-player portion, with cover and tactical traversal being key to any kind of success. Anyone taking a run-and-gun approach in the wide-open areas of, say, the Chateau map will just be doing the die-and-respawn tango, even if you have a buddy trying to provide cover fire. After some frantic Team Deathmatch to get warmed up, Matt and I moved on to Team Hunter one of the new “Uncharted 3” multiplayer modes. If you play as the game’s heroes, the goal of the mode is to place treasure on certain areas of the map. Meanwhile, those playing as the villains Heroes get the benefit of both pistols and long-range weapons while villains get only pistols. That inequity’s balanced out by the extra AI bots who’ll also be working to stop the heroes from achieving their objectives. After playing either side for a few hours, it seemed like, at this point, things in Hunter are weighted more towards the heroes. Villains may have the advantage of numbers but being able to shoot from a distance felt more powerful. The maps all show much promise. The Chateau map comes packed with hidey-holes and parallel pathways, along with turrets which serve as both bait and super weapon.

The fundamentals of the multiplayer experience will be familiar to anyone who’s played online shooters in the last five years or so. You’ll get attacked by waves of thugs across a huge environment, but “Uncharted 3” adds some differentiated classes of enemies that will require co-op co-ordination. The Choker, for example, can only be punched from behind and, if he grabs one of your buddies, you’ll need to attack him before your partner suffocates. If you revive a partner, you also will get full health back, too. Taunts are another new feature that let you brag over the body of someone you’ve taken out. Aside from looking hilarious and pissing off the other guys, they’ll give you an extra added chunk of XP. Buddy Taunts, like high-fiving over a fallen foe, benefit both players the same way. You’ll also be able to respawn on a buddy’s position, a great little tweak that keeps the flow of the game moving. One new feature being added to “Uncharted” multiplayer are the power-ups called Kickbacks. Kickbacks buff individual elements of the game experience for a limited time, so the Militia Man gives you unlimited ammo and Power Hunter reveals the location of the deadliest weapons on the map.

Developer Naughty Dog’s added additional modes and maps as the demo’s rolled on. The latest of those–also the last to debut before the demo ends this Thursday–is the combo of Yemen and various Co-op modes. I played a bit of Co-op Adventure and experienced firsthand some of the new mechanics that the mode’s going to offer. Players inhabit with series hero Nathan Drake, mentor/sidekick Victor “Sully” Sullivan or girlfriend Elena Fisher, starting off in a submerged part of a castle-like structure. The first part of the mission involves hunting down idols in corners of the environment and planting on them specific pedestals, in classic Indiana Jones-style. Of course, you’re being shot at by hordes of bad guys as this happens and the best strategy tends to involve two partners providing cover fire for the person lugging the treasure around. Once specific tasks like that are achieved, everyone needs to gather at glowing red group checkpoints to move the mission forward. The other part of the Co-op Adventure mode shows off the vertical combat system which blends the climbing “Uncharted” games are known for with cover-based gunplay. As you ascend the outside of a parapet, thugs rain down gunfire on you and your pals. Picking the right timing to move and when to fire back made for extremely tense and satisfying moments.

“Uncharted 3” might deliver the most beautiful environments of any upcoming shooter. The jungles looks just as vibrant and lush as they do in the single-player campaign and the Yemen map feels like a real marketplace recreated from the other side of the world. Overall, the most impressive thing about “Uncharted” multiplayer is how it still manages to channel the Hollywood blockbuster energy of single-player but spreads it around so that everyone feels heroic. The quiet tension of the hunt combines with first-class derring-do and clever humor to make for a strong offering. If the beta’s any indication of the final product, “Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception” will be a great multiplayer destination for PS3 owners when it hits in November.

If you played the “Uncharted 3” multiplayer beta, what do you love or hate about it? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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Hard Out

Comedy From The Closet

Janice and Jeffrey Available Now On IFC's Comedy Crib

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She’s been referred to as “the love child of Amy Sedaris and Tracy Ullman,” and he’s a self-described “Italian who knows how to cook a great spaghetti alla carbonara.” They’re Mollie Merkel and Matteo Lane, prolific indie comedians who blended their robust creative juices to bring us the new Comedy Crib series Janice and Jeffrey. Mollie and Matteo took time to answer our probing questions about their series and themselves. Here’s a taste.

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IFC: How would you describe Janice and Jeffrey to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Mollie & Matteo: Janice and Jeffrey is about a married couple experiencing intimacy issues but who don’t have a clue it’s because they are gay. Their oblivion makes them even more endearing.  Their total lack of awareness provides for a buffet of comedy.

IFC: What’s your origin story? How did you two people meet and how long have you been working together?

Mollie: We met at a dive bar in Wrigley Field Chicago. It was a show called Entertaining Julie… It was a cool variety scene with lots of talented people. I was doing Janice one night and Matteo was doing an impression of Liza Minnelli. We sort of just fell in love with each other’s… ACT! Matteo made the first move and told me how much he loved Janice and I drove home feeling like I just met someone really special.

IFC: How would Janice describe Jeffrey?

Mollie: “He can paint, cook homemade Bolognese, and sing Opera. Not to mention he has a great body. He makes me feel empowered and free. He doesn’t suffocate me with attention so our love has room to breath.”

IFC: How would Jeffrey describe Janice?

Matteo: “Like a Ford. Built to last.”

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Mollie & Matteo: Our current political world is mirroring and reflecting this belief that homosexuality is wrong. So what better time for satire. Everyone is so pro gay and equal rights, which is of course what we want, too. But no one is looking at middle America and people actually in the closet. No one is saying, hey this is really painful and tragic, and sitting with that. Having compassion but providing the desperate relief of laughter…This seemed like the healthiest, best way to “fight” the gay rights “fight”.

IFC: Hummus is hilarious. Why is it so funny?

Mollie: It just seems like something people take really seriously, which is funny to me. I started to see it in a lot of lesbians’ refrigerators at a time. It’s like observing a lesbian in a comfortable shoe. It’s a language we speak. Pass the Hummus. Turn on the Indigo Girls would ya?

See the whole season of Janice and Jeffrey right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Die Hard Dads

Inspiration For Die Hard Dads

Die Hard is on IFC all Father's Day Long

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIPHY

Yippee ki-yay, everybody! It’s time to celebrate the those most literal of mother-effers: dads!

And just in case the title of this post left anything to the imagination, IFC is giving dads balls-to-the-wall ’80s treatment with a glorious marathon of action trailblazer Die Hard.

There are so many things we could say about Die Hard. We could talk about how it was comedian Bruce Willis’s first foray into action flicks, or Alan Rickman’s big screen debut. But dads don’t give a sh!t about that stuff.

No, dads just want to fantasize that they could be deathproof quip factory John McClane in their own mundane lives. So while you celebrate the fathers in your life, consider how John McClane would respond to these traditional “dad” moments…

Wedding Toasts

Dads always struggle to find the right words of welcome to extend to new family. John McClane, on the other hand, is the master of inclusivity.
Die Hard wedding

Using Public Restrooms

While nine out of ten dads would rather die than use a disgusting public bathroom, McClane isn’t bothered one bit. So long as he can fit a bloody foot in the sink, he’s G2G.
Die Hard restroom

Awkward Dancing

Because every dad needs a signature move.
Die Hard dance

Writing Thank You Notes

It can be hard for dads to express gratitude. Not only can McClane articulate his thanks, he makes it feel personal.
Die Hard thank you

Valentine’s Day

How would John McClane say “I heart you” in a way that ain’t cliche? The image speaks for itself.
Die Hard valentines

Shopping

The only thing most dads hate more than shopping is fielding eleventh-hour phone calls with additional items for the list. But does McClane throw a typical man-tantrum? Nope. He finds the words to express his feelings like a goddam adult.
Die Hard thank you

Last Minute Errands

John McClane knows when a fight isn’t worth fighting.
Die Hard errands

Sneaking Out Of The Office Early

What is this, high school? Make a real exit, dads.
Die Hard office

Think you or your dad could stand to be more like Bruce? Role model fodder abounds in the Die Hard marathon all Father’s Day long on IFC.

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Founding Farters

Know Your Nerd History

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs via Giphy

That we live in the heyday of nerds is no hot secret. Scientists are celebrities, musicians are robots and late night hosts can recite every word of the Silmarillion. It’s too easy to think that it’s always been this way. But the truth is we owe much to our nerd forebearers who toiled through the jock-filled ’80s so that we might take over the world.

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Our humble beginnings are perhaps best captured in iconic ’80s romp Revenge of the Nerds. Like the founding fathers of our Country, the titular nerds rose above their circumstances to culturally pave the way for every Colbert and deGrasse Tyson that we know and love today.

To make sure you’re in the know about our very important cultural roots, here’s a quick download of the vengeful nerds without whom our shameful stereotypes might never have evolved.

Lewis Skolnick

The George Washington of nerds whose unflappable optimism – even in the face of humiliating self-awareness – basically gave birth to the Geek Pride movement.

Gilbert Lowe

OK, this guy is wet blanket, but an important wet blanket. Think Aaron Burr to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. His glass-mostly-empty attitude is a galvanizing force for Lewis. Who knows if Lewis could have kept up his optimism without Lowe’s Debbie-Downer outlook?

Arnold Poindexter

A music nerd who, after a soft start (inside joke, you’ll get it later), came out of his shell and let his passion lead instead of his anxiety. If you played an instrument (specifically, electric violin), and you were a nerd, this was your patron saint.

Booger

A sex-loving, blunt-smoking, nose-picking guitar hero. If you don’t think he sounds like a classic nerd, you’re absolutely right. And that’s the whole point. Along with Lamar, he simultaneously expanded the definition of nerd and gave pre-existing nerds a twisted sort of cred by association.

Lamar Latrell

Black, gay, and a crazy good breakdancer. In other words, a total groundbreaker. He proved to the world that nerds don’t have a single mold, but are simply outcasts waiting for their moment.

Ogre

Exceedingly stupid, this dumbass was monumental because he (in a sequel) leaves the jocks to become a nerd. Totally unheard of back then. Now all jocks are basically nerds.

Well, there they are. Never forget that we stand on their shoulders.

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC all month long.

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