The Surge illustrates how beautifully the good intentions of corporations pave the way to Hell

The Surge from Maximum Games and Focus Home Interactive has it all: A teaser that opens with a corporate spokesman explaining how their company is going to no only save the world but also the people- by MAKING THEM BETTER,  glitchy feedback, space, robots, a desperation that can only lead to the most dangerous kind of progress.

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Book review: Some Fine Day by Kat Ross

some fine day coverSome Fine Day
Author: Kat Ross
Genre: YA SF
Publisher: Strange Chemistry/Angry Robot
Release Date: July 1, 2014 (North America and digital); Jul 3, 2014 (UK)
Note: this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley
Blurb:

Sixteen-year-old Jansin Nordqvist is on the verge of graduating from the black ops factory known as the Academy. She’s smart and deadly and knows three things with absolute certainty.
She knows that when the world flooded and civilization retreated deep underground, there was no one left on the surface.
She knows that the only species to thrive there are the toads, a primate/amphibian hybrid with a serious mean streak.
Most of all, she knows there’s no place on Earth where you can hide from the hypercanes, continent-sized storms that have raged for decades.
Jansin has been lied to. On all counts. Faced with the truth in the form of a charismatic young survivor named Will, Jansin vows that her former masters will regret making her what she is…

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Book review: The Buried Life by Carrie Patel

the buried life coverThe Buried Life
Author: Carrie Patel
Genre: Dystopian, SF
Publisher: Angry Robot
Release Date: July 29, 2014 (North America), August 7, 2014 (UK)
Note: this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley.
Blurb:

The gaslight and shadows of the underground city of Recoletta hide secrets and lies. When Inspector Liesl Malone investigates the murder of a renowned historian, she finds herself stonewalled by the all-powerful Directorate of Preservation – Ricoletta’s top-secret historical research facility.
When a second high-profile murder threatens the very fabric of city society, Malone and her rookie partner Rafe Sundar must tread carefully, lest they fall victim to not only the criminals they seek, but the government which purports to protect them. Knowledge is power, and power must be preserved at all costs…

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5 Video Game Futures That Could Be Awesome

Sometimes the present is boring and the future takes too long to get here. No hover cars, no robots, not a single alien. In video games we get to see the possibilities for the future good, but mostly bad. But I don’t think the bad is really all that bad. If you look from the right angle, some of these video game futures are kind of awesome.

1. BorderlandsBorderlands2boxart3

If you’re a psycho or a bandit in the Borderlands future your life expectancy is probably not very promising.
However the Borderlands future is an entrepreneur’s dream. From magic powers to treasure chests everywhere you turn, it’s a wondrous place for those with plans and ambition. Would you like to run a bar like Moxie? Maybe have an army of brutes like Handsome Jack? Or, maybe you’d like to start a simple minion  operation like Claptrap? It’s all possible!
Sir Hammerlock is an anthropologist of sorts and even though he’s lost a limb or two, he’s having a ball. Of course there’s a constant threat of death an destruction and the wildlife is out to get you, but that just spices up life on Pandora.
What’s the fun in  just safely walking from point A to Point B with no threat of being stomped or devoured?!

2. Mass EffectMasseffectlogo

Ignoring the very end, Mass Effect was a damn good future while it lasted. Unless you were sick or enslaved or from a place that got invaded while no one was watching…
But! for people who live in the Citadel or on Commander Shepard’s ship life is pretty fun. There are so many different aliens to mingle with. Different planets are waiting to be mined for resources or treasure. There are bazaars for buying, discos for dancing, and beautiful views every which way you turn. And every time you want to go somewhere, you get to hop on a space ship.
Maybe (likely) a big draw for the Mass Effect future are the characters in it. Mordin, Garraus, Harrot… Any future that produces people like that, must be a wonderful place… aside from the constant threat of  interstellar destruction.
3. HaloHalo_Generations_by_Halcylon
Sure, life on the ground might be a bit chaotic with all the indiscriminate killing and various types of grenades being thrown at the suicide grunts and highly explosive vehicles but Spartans don’t live on the ground. Hopefully no one lives on the ground considering it’s pretty much razed except for the beautiful and indestructible buildings.
Oh and how beautiful are the buildings?! If there’s a dystopian, post-apocalyptic place to be stranded, one of the Halo colonies would be perfect. If there aren’t any Spartans or Flood or Covenant or other type of weapon-wielding juggernaut around, you could make yourself quite comfortable in one of the many abandoned buildings.
Hell, even if there are killer factions around, there are piles of weapons caches as well to help you defend your turf. Most buildings also have some kind of anti-air weaponry waiting to help keep your city beautiful.
4. Resident EvilResident Evil - Apocalypse (2)
Very few people will agree with this one because it seems like Alice is the only person who survives this future without being controlled by robot spiders or locked in a coma pod. …Actually Alice might have died and been a clone or two a few times.
All that aside– and also ignoring the the fact that the zombies in this future are psychotic, monstrous  beasts– notice that the zombie populations in the Resident Evil future are in massive hordes. Massive as in the entire population of California is gathering around this one building. That means everywhere else in California is empty and worry free.
Alice is a badass but she have a 50/50 save to loss ratio for her party member (at best). If your goal is to survive, avoid Alice.
Find a comfortable place outside a city to cal home and wait for whoever is fighting in this chapter to drop some bombs on the horde and know it’s not your problem. The skies (except in the one chapter there seemed to be vicious bird things…) are clear and the air is safe to breath.The pollution is no worse than it’s been and no one interrupts your shows to tell you a celebrity is having a baby. Even the bandits have to work hard to earn their keep.
5. Dead Risingscreenlg4
In Dead Rising 2 the zombie threat is mostly under control. Under control to the point where zombies are used in entertainment.
People choose to group up around zombies to watch them get their comeuppance. The uprising was quelled and now, instead of cleanly ridding society of zombies, zombies are props and the virus is a controllable condition. This sounds so great!
Maybe zombies feel pain, maybe they don’t but using them for violent entertainment is a bit barbaric. No worries, there’s even a group of activists that fight against that part.
All that nonsense aside, this is a future where you can find work on a zombie clean up crew, the malls are open, and the zombie virus can be kept at bay with pills. A boring lunch time walk requires a solid bat, just in case.If you’re spending a day at the beach, you pack sunscreen, towels, and a crowbar!
Who doesn’t want a world that’s mainly organized but has a bit of extra spice to kick things up a notch?

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Free Comic Book Day 2014: IMAGE Comics

Gasp! Not only will there be free comics on Free Comic Book Day but Image Comics  is using this wonderful geek holiday to allow even more newbies entry into the wonderful world of comics and stories with pictures.  Image Comics is launching $1 first edition first issues!
Comics are an investment and people want to know if there worth the price of a mediocre sandwich or nah. This way you can get a variety of stories from Sex Criminals to Lazarus to try and, maybe, like.
Check out the list of Image firsts below:

ALEX + ADA #1
A sci-fi drama set in the near future and perfect for fans of the TV show Fringe and the Spike Jonze film Her. The last thing in the world Alex wanted was an X5, the latest in realistic androids. But when Ada is dropped into his life, will Alex keep her? Image Firsts edition is available with Diamond code FEB148356.
BLACK SCIENCE #1
Grant McKay, former member of The Anarchistic Order of Scientists, has finally done the impossible: he has deciphered Black Science and punched through the barriers of reality. But what lies beyond the veil is not epiphany, but chaos. Now Grant and his team are lost, living ghosts shipwrecked on an infinite ocean of alien worlds, barreling through the long-forgotten, ancient, and unimaginable dark realms. The only way is forward. The only question is how far are they willing to go, and how much can they endure, to get home again? Image Firsts edition is available with Diamond code FEB148357.
DEADLY CLASS #1
Welcome to the most brutal high school on Earth, where the world’s top crime families send the next generation of assassins to be trained. Murder is an art. Killing is a craft. At King’s Dominion High School for the Deadly Arts, the dagger in your back isn’t always metaphorical, nor is your fellow classmates’ poison. Image Firsts edition is available with Diamond code FEB148358.
EAST OF WEST #1
He has been called Abaddon. The Reaper. Fool’s Bane. The Grey Walker. You speak his name in hushed tones, if at all. You fear him and all he represents. He is the ultimate state of all things. He is Death. But, in the past, Death found peace. For his betrayal, the rest of the Four Horsemen snatched happiness away from him forever. Now, Death rides with Crow and Wolf in search of those who wronged him. We would tell you to pray, but it wouldn’t do any good. You have earned what is coming to you. Image Firsts edition is available with Diamond code FEB148359.
LAZARUS #1
In a dystopian near-future, government is a quaint concept, resources are coveted, and possession is 100% of the law. A handful of Families rule, jealously guarding what they have and exploiting the Waste who struggle to survive in their domains. Forever Carlyle defends her family’s holdings through deception and force as their protector, their Lazarus. Shot dead defending the family home, Forever’s day goes downhill from there… Image Firsts edition is available with Diamond code FEB148360.
MANIFEST DESTINY #1
In 1804, Captain Meriwether Lewis and Second Lieutenant William Clark set out on an expedition to explore the uncharted American frontier. This is the story of what they discovered lurking in the wilds… Image Firsts edition is available with Diamond code FEB148361.
PRETTY DEADLY #1
Sandman meets Preacher in PRETTY DEADLY, where Death’s daughter rides the wind on a horse made of smoke and her face bears the skull marks of her father. Her tale of retribution is as beautifully lush as it is unflinchingly savage. Image Firsts edition is available with Diamond code FEB148362.
SEX CRIMINALS #1
Suzie’s a normal girl with an extraordinary ability: when she has sex, she stops time. One night she meets Jon… who has the same gift. And so they do what any other sex-having, time-stopping, couple would do: they rob banks. Image Firsts edition is available with Diamond code FEB148363.
VELVET #1
When the world’s best secret agent is killed, Velvet Templeton, the Personal Assistant to the Director of the Agency, is drawn off her desk and back into the field for the first time in nearly 20 years… and is immediately caught in a web of mystery, murder and high-octane action. Sexy and provocative, VELVET is a dark twist on the spy genre. Image Firsts edition is available with Diamond code FEB148364.
ZERO #1
Edward Zero is the perfect execution machine—a spy who breaks the rules to get things done. When a stolen device appears in the center of a long-running conflict, Zero comes to retrieve it. The problem is, the device is inside a living, breathing, bio-modified terrorist and there’s an entire army after it. Image Firsts edition available with Diamond code FEB148365.

 

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Why Didn't I play Crackdown 2 years ago!?

crackdown 2 - gameplayCrackdown 2 came out in July 2010 from Ruffian Games and Microsoft Game Studios and I never bought it. I played Crackdown and enjoyed it but didn’t feel a second game would offer me much more. Recently, I started to feel there was nothing new I wanted to buy or replay. So, while visiting a friend I raided his collection of games and found Crackdown 2.
The original game was about being a Peacekeeper in a city overrun with factions of gangs and violence. Depending on which area you were in, you’d have to fight a different gang. Through a series of missions and collectible power-ups you grown in strength, speed, agility, and other skills. Eventually you can leap tall buildings in a single bound and throw cars like they’re dishware. It’s awesome and fun. Unfortunately, once you level up it’s kind of just about running through the city being a nuisance savior.

In Crackdown 2 you again play as a Peacekeeper (I love that Peacekeepers are never good guy in SciFi), but this time you’re tasked with defending the city from the terrorist group, Cell and the mutants that come out at night, Freaks. Sure the naming seems a bit half-assed but that’s really one of the draws of this kind of game. It’s not about being deeply clever or building a elaborate world with a life-changing story a la Mass Effect. This is a game like Burnout or SSX where the reality that inspires the game is just inspiration.
crackdown2
After the city saw an extended time of peace post-Crackdown this new threat of terrorism and monsters is overwhelming the population and the police. Clones are created to combat the problem. You play as one of these clones, simply named Agent.
Your commander coaches you through a training simulation so you know how to use your sweet new body, agency issued weapons, and the world around you. It’s all a very awesome mix of machismo and goofy.
crackdown-2-terrorists
In the beginning of the game, while the commander is coaching you through the tutorial, basics, missions and whatnot it’s a little annoying how much he talks and points out obvious things and tries to get you to chase orbs while in the middle of missions. Fortunately, you can ignore a lot of the instructions until you’re ready to do things like chase orbs in cars.
Pretty quickly I was a carjacking Cell and Peacekeepers alike and running down Freaks with gleeful abandon. Crackdown 2 really is so much fun in the same nonsensical way that Burnout and SSX are.
Oh, what’s the point of the story? Well you want to save the city, obviously. And… Um. So the Freaks are underground and you have to turn on these UV light machines that bomb the area in light, frying the Freaks where they stand. You turn on three power supply things and then enter a Freak lair to turn on the big light machine. Then you do it again. … And again.
crackdown-2
The action and beat-em-up aspect stayed fun after the missions got redundant and I lost interest. I loved running across rooftops and punching hordes of Freaks to death.
There’s a good a mount of customization (not for your character, who is a clone after all) when you span. You choose your gun and vehicle and more. There are also a few other modes to play like the one where you have all the power-ups and weapons and just rampage through the city. Yay.
If you’re looking for a fun, dystopian game, you can get pretty cheap; Crackdown 2 is your answer.

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REVIEW: Wool by Hugh Howey

Wool by Hugh Howey is set in a post-apocalyptic world where people live in vast, underground silos.

In a ruined and hostile landscape, in a future few have been unlucky enough to survive, a community exists in a giant underground silo.
 Inside, men and women live an enclosed life full of rules and regulations, of secrets and lies.
 To live, you must follow the rules. But some don’t. These are the dangerous ones; these are the people who dare to hope and dream, and who infect others with their optimism.
 Their punishment is simple and deadly. They are allowed outside.
 Jules is one of these people. She may well be the last.

Review copy provided by Random House through NetGalley
A note: This is actually the Wool omnibus, collecting  Novellas 1-5 of the series originally self-published by Howey. I’m new to the wonderful world of Wool, which is shocking considering my status as one of the main reviewers at In Case of Survival. However, it has a lot of what I like in a series – a female protagonist, a post-apocalyptic world, an assault against oppressive regimes. These things are my catnip. So, how does it pan out for me?
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PAX 2012 | 3 Reasons FIREFALL is best consumed outside of the game

At PAX Prime 2012 I was able to spend time and have a great conversation with David, a Lead Desiginer at Red 5 Studios. Please understand, nothing bad has ever come from the level of enthusiasm, sincerity and thoughtfulness David showed. Firefall is a game created by people who love games and quality and science fiction and stories and badassary.
I watched the trailer and was slack-jawed in awe of this amazing story and design. These characters were compelling and this story was engaging. I saw designs that surpassed my science fiction, dystopian dreams. I read comics with narrative and dialogue that had me smiling to myself in public because that shit was AMAZING!
Unfortunately, I can’t say all of those loved and amazing things make it into the Firefall game. Firefall the universe and idea are expansive, exciting and brilliant while Firefall the game promises something far different.

At PAX Prime 2012 I was able to spend time and have a great conversation with David, a Lead Desiginer at Red 5 Studios. Please understand, nothing bad has ever come from the level of enthusiasm, sincerity and thoughtfulness David showed. Firefall is a game created by people who love games and quality and science fiction and stories and badassary.
I watched the trailer and was slack-jawed in awe of this amazing story and design. These characters were compelling and this story was engaging. I saw designs that surpassed my science fiction, dystopian dreams. I read comics with narrative and dialogue that had me smiling to myself in public because that shit was AMAZING!
Unfortunately, I can’t say all of those loved and amazing things make it into the Firefall game. Firefall the universe and idea are expansive, exciting and brilliant while Firefall the game promises something far different.

1. Firefall tells us stories in previews and theatrical trailers but we don’t get to experience those stories in the game.

This is not at all to say Firefall does not have a story. This is kind of hard to explain. Firefall as a universe has a great story, an exiting story. But, Firefall as a game… not so much. You don’t play as the people from the ship or even acknowledge them. Eh, you probably curse their names while you spend your days harvesting Crystite to push back The Medling (the poison cloud engulfing the Earth since they crashed their ship).
All this build up is like using The Old Testament to set up The Sims. So there was God and a great flood and serpents and… now we walk around and eat sandwiches.
Please read this set up story for Firefall, maybe if enough people are interested they’ll not only make a manga but also a novels or cartoons or a movie or a campaign mode…

The Arclight was going to be the greatest single leap in the history of technology – a starship that could fold space and turn the eight-year voyage to Alpha Prime colony into a stroll around the block.
Instead, in a vast and tragic dazzle of light, the Arclight broke in half and fell to Earth near Fortaleza, Brazil.
How the anti-technology commentators gloried in that fall! On and on they spoke of Prometheus, of Lucifer, of the Tower of Babel, of the hubris at the heart of Greek tragedy.
The most famous words came from a Brazilian newsman at the scene: “Construímos uma lâmpada de esperança, mas ela é morta, a luz apagada, a esperança quebrada.” (“We created a lamp of hope, but it has died; the light is out, the hope is broken.”)
But we are the people who had already endured the devastation of the Crystite meteor swarm. Three-fourths of humanity was destroyed – but we took the Crystite and turned it into a nearly miraculous source of energy. It was Crystite that took us to the stars in the first place – Crystite, which came from the stars and nearly destroyed us.
The Arclight broke, the Arclight fell, but we are not broken, we will not fall or fail. We will learn why spacetime, instead of folding, tore open; we will revise our plans and build again, and better next time; and we will stay alive long enough to do all this.
The real danger is not the strange and terrible thing that came through that rip in spacetime. The danger is that we might despair and cease to strive. For in that day we would cease to be human, and turn into another batch of dinosaurs, who failed to adapt and so became extinct.
Source

2. Our main characters have disappeared and been replaced with simple class characters with no history or motivation.

As mentioned above, Pilgrim Entwhistle, the star of the manga, Captain Whoever who was piloting the Arclight and chose to crash the ship on Fortaleza even though it’s where his family lives (these are the details you get when people are truly geeked about their game), or this badass chick from the trailer.
You have the ability to build and customize your character but they’re still more tools for you you use than characters for you to play.
There’s a heavy emphasis around eSports but no indication as to who or why you’re fighting. If you’re all trying to rebuild earth and no conflict has been laid out except for the allusion to something that followed the Arclight to Earth. So, what the fuck?
Firefall is not an RPG so this aspect is completely reasonable, your character shouldn’t be a fully fleshed out character. But with writing and world-building like this, I really wish it was and RPG.

3. You farm forever and fight other players in an eSports way but it’s not clear why, given the setting and back story.

Your long-term and short-term goal in this game is to harvest Crystite and build up the Arclight/FTL so you can push back The Melding until Earth is free of it.
SPOILER: This will take forever and there’s pretty much no intention of it being accomplishable… You’re a Forever Farmer and Earth is one giant community garden.
I don’t like longterm goals much less fake one that will only pay off when my grandchildren are on their death beads. Maybe, in real life I’m okay with that as a reason to recycle but in a game? No. I want to know I killed a faction of enemies or held the base until Noble Six could escape.
So you can wander about killing giant spiders on the beach or fighting your friends to the death for sport or harvesting because that’s what you do.

*. I Strongly Recommend Watching Firefall for out-of-game content

The have a manga that is BEAUTIFFULLY illustrated (I want it framed in poster size on my walls) and written by Orson Scott Card and Emily Janice Card.
The Cinematic trailer shows an ability to tell a silent story the way they should be told. It and Blizzard’s Mists of Pandaria trailer were the only two cinematic trailers that truly left an impression with me from PAX.
I’m excited for Firefall because I think people into this style of game will be pleased with what the game has to offer. The Firefall team was passionate proud to show where the game had evolved based on player input and what might just be disruptive innovations in the eSports arena.
I’ve tried the beta and have a few keys to give away if some of our readers are interested in the Firefall closed beta.

Leave a comment with your thoughts about Firefall (more than a single word or two, please) to be eligible for a beta key gift.

Author Feature: John Xero.

Long-time readers may remember John Xero from his brilliant short story Ragestorm Requiem. Well, those of you who liked it will be pleased to hear he has a book out. This is The New Plan is a collection of his short stories and flash fiction, and what’s even better, most of them are apocalyptic or dystopian in some way.
As for why I’m not reviewing this, John Xero is actually a personal, real-life friend of mine, so I don’t feel like I can. Still, taking that into account, I still think it’s a bloody good book. Just bear in mind I’ve known him for long enough that I pretty much have to say that. (No, seriously, it’s great.)
We asked him some personal questions, because we’re always secretly judging people by their answers.
 

 
 

1. Who are you, I mean, really?

Presumably this is where most people say, “I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you.” The truth is so numbingly boring you’d probably kill yourself just from hearing it…
And so I become this adventurer, I travel to worlds, chat with gods and spacemen, witness wars and births, dance with stars and mourn over broken cities. And do I send you back a ‘wish you were here’ postcard or a lame ‘I <3 the Multiverse’ t-shirt? No. I bring you back stories.
That doesn’t really answer the question, does it? 😉

 
2. What is it that you do?

When I’m not stumbling into timeslips, lunching with deities (minor and major), or practicing my interstellar cartography, you mean? 😉
Well, OK. I play games, I read comics, I sell books, I write. My day job is bookselling, I run the science fiction and graphic novels sections for a branch of Britain’s biggest bookselling chain. And I get up extra early every morning to write.
Writing is my great passion. I love stories and storytelling, and I just want to give back some of the excitement and thrills other writers have given me over the years.

 
3. When did you first realize you wanted to do that thing?

Ah, I kind of made this difficult to answer now, didn’t I? Let’s start with the bookselling…
I dropped out of university the first time round, struggled to find a job, and ended up in data entry. Yay. Then I applied for a job in this awesome little SF and cult shop called Kulture Shock, and I got it. Surrounded by the stuff I love, all day, and getting paid for it? Yes. OK. I can do that. And have, ever since.
I started writing in my late teens. Told myself it was worth pursuing if I could stick it out and write a book.
I wrote a book.
I daren’t look at it, I do have it somewhere, but I’m sure it’s awful. It started me on the path though. I fell in love with writing. I’m not in a rush to get anywhere, but I’m slowly getting somewhere, I think, and that’s fine.

 
4. Where are you from (and how do you feel about that place?)?

I don’t really know the answer to this. I’m mostly English with a dash of Scottish, but then English is a medley of so many things already. My dad built roads, so we moved around a fair bit. I guess you could say I grew up in East Anglia, I’ve settled in Norwich though, just about the most parochial city you’ll ever find, but it’s a beautiful place and I’m happy here.

 
5. Why would you make a good apocalypse party member?

Why do tribes need storytellers and shaman?
Do you want your party to be the one that descends into savagery or the one that sparks the rebirth of civilisation?
Need a modern set of moral and cautionary tales for living in a dark and dangerous new world, ones that maybe incorporate the ideas of a golden age and a bright future? Come to me.
So it probably helps that I’m a thinker and a problem solver. And I’m physically fit and capable, so I won’t slow folk down when there’s running to be done.
And basically, I’ve already walked the dusty grounds of a thousand apocalypses in my mind, you need my experience…
 
Blogs at xeroverse.com
Tweets at @xeroverse
Editor at 101Fiction.com

He is Judge, Jury, and Executioner | Dredd (2012)

Here at In Case of Survival we’re just just about the apocalypse, not we’re about dystopian futures too. One of the classic dystopian touchstones is Judge Dredd, both the comic and the movie, where a super fortified Judge (jury and executioner) gets to make his way through the city enforcing the law with deadly force.
Well, if you’re not into old things or Sylvester Stallone’s version of acting, you’re in luck! A new movie, Dredd, based on the old concept will be out on September 21, 2012. Check out the blurb and the video below:

The future America is an irradiated waste land. On its East Coast, running from Boston to Washington DC, lies Mega City One- a vast, violent metropolis where criminals rule the chaotic streets. The only force of order lies with the urban cops called “Judges” who possess the combined powers of judge, jury and instant executioner. Known and feared throughout the city, Dredd (Karl Urban) is the ultimate Judge, challenged with ridding the city of its latest scourge — a dangerous drug epidemic that has users of “Slo-Mo” experiencing reality at a fraction of its normal speed.
During a routine day on the job, Dredd is assigned to train and evaluate Cassandra Anderson (Olivia Thirlby), a rookie with powerful psychic abilities thanks to a genetic mutation. A heinous crime calls them to a neighborhood where fellow Judges rarely dare to venture- a 200 story vertical slum controlled by prostitute turned drug lord Ma-Ma (Lena Headey) and her ruthless clan. When they capture one of the clan’s inner circle, Ma-Ma overtakes the compound’s control center and wages a dirty, vicious war against the Judges that proves she will stop at nothing to protect her empire. With the body count climbing and no way out, Dredd and Anderson must confront the odds and engage in the relentless battle for their survival.