April 21, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Teens Review New Pearl Jam, Lego Marvel Super Heroes, Batman: Arkham Origins

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Pearl Jam’s Lightning Bolt topped the Billboard 200 after selling 166,000 copies in its first week. That makes “Lightning Bolt” Pearl Jam’s fifth number one record over the course of over 20 years of rocking hard. And in case further proof is needed that superheroes are here to stay, gamers can dive into two new releases featuring longtime favorites Super Surfer and Batman, which our reviewers find entertaining, challenging, and satisfying.

Lightning Bolt, Pearl Jam (Monkeywrench/Republic)

Pearl JamThis is the tenth studio album for rockers Pearl Jam, and as always, Lightning Bolt has a lot to offer. This album is full of emotional angst—lots of anger, brooding, and depression—but that is what Pearl Jam fans have come to expect. Part of their success and longevity is the band’s ability to continue to make great music that strikes a chord with the listeners. Pearl Jam is also not afraid to take risks with musical styles, and their collaboration with longtime producer Brendan O’Brien is a testament to this. The tracks on the album vary from high powered, stadium-style to mosh-pit punk rock and classic rock to slow-burning ballads. All feature genuine lyrics belted out by vocalist Eddie Vedder. Check out “Sirens,” “Pendulum,” “Future Days,” and “Getaway.”—Geena G., grade 11, Floral Park (NY) Memorial High School

LEGO Marvel Super Heroes (TT Games/Interactive)

Lego MarvelLEGO Marvel Super Heroes is the latest from the very successful LEGO gaming franchise. It features an original story that begins with an attack on the Silver Surfer which results in his surfboard being destroyed. This causes the scattering of cosmic bricks across the world that are being sought after by Dr. Doom and Loki to carry out their diabolical plan to build a Doom Ray. It is up to SHIELD and Marvel’s great superheroes to thwart their plans. With more than 100 playable characters (both heroes and villains) and about 15 story lined levels, this game makes for a great gaming experience. There is a wealth of content with each story mission as well as puzzles to solve that are inaccessible until you unlock a character’s special ability. This may lead a player to replay older missions, so it is a never-ending experience. LEGO Marvel also grants access to LEGO New York to explore between missions as well as hundreds of collectibles strewn across the game world. This lighthearted, kid-friendly adventure is definitely a must for LEGO and Marvel fans alike. Rating: E for Everyone. Platform: Xbox 360, PS3, PS4, Wii U, 3DS.—Devon C., grade 8, Floral Park (NY) Memorial High School

Batman: Arkham Origins (Warner Bros/Interactive)

Batman OriginsArkham Origins is like the Batman Begins for this gaming series. It shows us a new side of Batman that makes him a more interesting hero. He has never been easy to figure out—always part-mystery, part-daredevil and part-vigilante. The story begins in Gotham City, where the Black Mask has put a price on Batman’s head for one night only—Christmas Eve. As assassins arrive in Gotham, many who will be familiar to gamers—Joker, Penguin, Riddler—Batman not only has to defend himself, but is determined to find Black Mask and end the bounty. The combat is as intense as ever, very gadgets-driven, with an added feature, Shock Gloves. These allow brute force to be used over finesse, and players can rack up points with combo moves. The gameplay has you traveling around Gotham beating up thugs, investigating and thwarting crimes, solving Riddler puzzles, and earning upgrades that make Batman a force to be reckoned with. On completion of the campaign, the option to play in a multi-player mode is available. Here you can be part of the Invisible Predator, a three-on-three team death match where you are part of the Joker’s gang, Bane’s gang, or as Batman or Robin. This mode is a great addition and complements the already challenging gameplay. Any fans of Batman will want to take a look at this new installment with the promise of more installments to come. Rating: T for Teen. Platform: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360.—Will P., grade 12, Floral Park (NY) Memorial High School

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Empowering Teens: Fostering the Next Generation of Advocates
Teens want to make a difference and become advocates for the things they care about. Librarians working with young people are in a unique position to help them make an impact on their communities and schools. Ignite your thinking and fuel these efforts at your library through this Library Journal online course—April 24 & May 8.