April 17, 2015 | 11:11 a.m.

Star Wars Celebration: ‘Battlefront’ gets franchise back in the game

"Star Wars: Battlefront" is the first major video game release since Disney dismantled LucasArts. (Dice / Electronic Arts)
THE PLAYER On Thursday morning “Star Wars” fans received a glimpse of the next cinematic episode in the fantasy saga. On Friday it was time to learn how to play in it. “Star Wars: Battlefront” took center stage as Day 2 of the four-day Star Wars Celebration fan expo opened in Anaheim. The game, the first under a 10-year pact between Lucasfilm and Electronic Arts, is due Nov. 17, about a month in advance of the J.J. Abrams-directed “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” Early glimpses of the game reveal it to be a sort of blaster-heavy “Star Wars” greatest hits collection. Want to play with lightsabers? Those are here. Want to shoot a blaster like Han Solo? You can do that. Want to pilot an X-Wing? Of course that’s a possibility. Want to play as Darth Vader on Endor, the planet […]
April 14, 2015 | 7:10 a.m.

Activision to rock ’n’ roll again with ‘Guitar Hero’

(FreeStyleGames / Activision)
Classic rock bands rarely stay broken up and once-dominant video game franchises aren’t likely to lie dormant forever. Activision is resurrecting its famed “Guitar Hero” brand, relaunching the franchise later this year with new gear and an updated look. Gone are digital avatars and rainbow-colored animations that marked the rhythm-based series’ rise to prominence in the mid-to-late 2000s. Instead, the upcoming “Guitar Hero Live” will seek to re-create the concert experience, giving players a first-person point of view and filmed concert sequences. A release date has not yet been set, but the FreeStyleGames-developed title will be available this fall for all major current generation consoles as well as the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The title will sell for $99.99, a price that includes a revamped guitar and access to an ever-evolving online mode dubbed “GHTV.” Activision’s reveal follows closely that of its […]
April 07, 2015 | 9:00 a.m.

TableTop Day: Felicia Day, Wil Wheaton urge you to ‘play more games’

Leslie Kim, left, and Ben Wright play Ticket to Ride during International Tabletop Gaming Day at Game Haus Cafe in Glendale on April 5, 2014. (Cheryl A. Guerrero / Los Angeles Times)
Settle into a comfy chair and break out your lucky dice — it’s time for the third annual International TableTop Day, brought to you by Geek & Sundry, and noted board game enthusiasts Felicia Day and Wil Wheaton. Not only will tabletop players around the globe celebrate their love of board games, but this year’s event — set for Saturday — has a charitable spin. Geek & Sundry is teaming with game publishers such as Looney Labs, AEG, Calliope Games and Steve Jackson Games to donate thousands of games to the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles and their affiliated chapters across the U.S. Last year’s Tabletop Day spawned over 3,000 events in 80 countries. This year, the event’s centerpiece will take place at L.A.’s Legendary Digital Network Soundstages, where Day, Wheaton and some 800 fans will be joined by  members of BBBSLA. The event will […]
April 02, 2015 | 8:42 a.m.

Xbox One’s sci-fi game ‘Quantum Break’ pushed to ’16

Quantum Break
Xbox One’s “Quantum Break,” which aims to marry games and live-action television, has been pushed to 2016. “We thank our fans for their patience,” said Remedy Entertainment creative director Sam Lake in a post on the company’s official website, The time-traveling game had been previously set to launch this year. “The team is taking advantage of this opportunity to polish and fine-tune the game to create the kind of standout entertainment experience they’ve come to expect from us,” said Lake. Remedy is best known for its work on “Alan Wake” and “Max Payne.” No definitive reason was given for the delay. “With so many Xbox One games launching this year, moving “Quantum Break” to 2016 extends our incredible portfolio into next year,” said Shannon Loftis, Microsoft Studios’ head of publishing, in a statement. The medium-busting sci-fi title will be released as […]
April 02, 2015 | 6:00 a.m.

It’s hip to be a square in Nintendo’s ‘Boxboy!’

Nintendo's "Boxboy" is a minimalist puzzle adventure. (HAL Laboratories)
THE PLAYER Maybe it’s as simple as putting eyelashes on a box. Or maybe it’s the way the box scrunches up and holds its eyes shut when it’s in a tight spot. Or maybe it’s the box’s tiny little stick figure legs. But Boxboy – his real name is actually Qbby  – has charisma. There are puzzles, too, yes, but it’s the small details that propel a player through “Boxboy!,” Nintendo’s charmer of a little game for its handheld 3DS device. Boxboy has a friend, a box pal with a bow, and Boxboy has superpowers, namely the ability to create more boxes, and it’s somewhat of a surprise that “Boxboy!” works at all. After all, Boxboy is just a box. On the surface, it’s the digital equivalent of giving a kitten a piece of cardboard. The feel is hand-me-down homemade. […]
April 01, 2015 | 6:03 p.m.

Nintendo Direct showcases new ‘Fire Emblem,’ ‘Splatoon’

A new 'Fire Emblem' is coming in 2016
A release is still a ways away, but Nintendo on Wednesday afternoon showcased some footage from the the latest release in its fantasy role-playing series “Fire Emblem.” It helps if you can speak and read Japanese to fully appreciate the trailer, but here’s the gist: The game is coming in 2016 for the handheld 3DS, and players will be asked to pick one of two differing sides. The trailer was unveiled during Wednesday’s Nintendo Direct, a semi-regular promotional vehicle in which company executives detail upcoming games for the its Wii U and 3DS  platforms. Among the games showcased were Nintendo’s wacky squid-like shooter for the Wii U, “Splatoon”;  Wii U creation title “Mario Maker”; and new 3DS game “Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer.” Hero Complex has its eyes on “Splatoon,” which Nintendo premiered at last year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in […]
April 01, 2015 | 8:10 a.m.

‘Dog Ace Attorney’? The April Fool’s joke we wish were true

'Dog Ace Attorney'
Advice: Stay off the Internet on April 1. It’s going to lead to disappointment. Example: “Dog Ace Attorney.” We want that video game. Overnight, Capcom unleashed a full Website and trailer for a mock game in its “Ace Attorney” series, this one starring canines. It’s cute, but also looks amazing. A dog in Sherlock Holmes gear? A ninja dog with a feline accessory? A courtroom full of dog bones? Forget “Ace Attorney” star Phoenix Wright — we want all of the above. And, with the help of Google Translate, we learned players will also get to play as a mouse. This game gets better and better. Listed under the genre “dog court battle” and available for the “Wantendo 1DOGS,” the fake game will sadly not be available today. Lesson? More games with dogs … in court. – Todd Martens | @Toddmartens | @LATherocomplex RECENT […]
March 31, 2015 | 2:21 p.m.

Turn famous movie locations into ‘Pac-Man’ maps

A new function on Google Maps allows you to turn city streets -- like those of Chicago, above -- into "Pac-Man" maps. (Google Maps)
THE PLAYER Here’s one negative about Google’s adorable “Pac-Man” overlay of its maps function: It’s not always easy to find locations for famous James Bond races. Sure, it’s cute to navigate the parking lot of Dodger Stadium with Pac-Man and his not-so-friendly pals, but we at Hero Complex wanted to relive the scenic chase of “The Spy Who Loved Me,” the one off the coasts of  Sardinia, Italy. It took a couple of tries for it to work, but we finally got the roads surrounding the Hotel Cala Di Volpe to be remade as a “Pac-Man” game (the first few times we were told there weren’t enough roads for a game). Whew. An important job, but someone has to do it. Earlier Tuesday, in what many believe is an April Fool’s joke 24 hours early (although there’s no joking around when it comes to a […]
March 30, 2015 | 4:45 p.m.

Google’s ‘Ingress’ and ‘Endgame': What’s next?

The view of downtown Pasadena, as seen via "Ingress." (Niantic Labs)
Lord Ogre — that’s not his real name — wanted to lose weight, so he started playing “Ingress.” Silussa — not her real name — wanted to better know Chicago after relocating from Portland, so she started playing “Ingress.” They were just two of the approximately 2,000 attendees who descended upon downtown Pasadena on Saturday for an “Ingress” meet-up. “Ingress” is a game-meets-social-experiment from Google, one in which players battle for the virtual control of real-world spaces such as a church, a mural or a Metro stop. A mobile phone becomes a sort of interactive game board, pinpointing a players’ real-world location and overlaying it with a game of alien warfare. “It’s like Risk,” said Andrew Krug, who flew in for the gathering from the Washington, D.C., area. “Except in real life.” For Google, “Ingress,” born in the technology giant’s Niantic Labs, […]
March 30, 2015 | 8:06 a.m.

‘Halo 5′ gets a release date, two new trailers

Halo 5
Two new trailers, each showing similar events from a different point of view, give a peak into the potentially opposing storylines of “Halo 5: Guardians.” The bad news? They’re live-action and don’t tell us how the game actually looks. The good news? “Halo 5: Guardians” now has a release date. “Halo 5: Guardians” is set to launch Oct. 27, and all indications are that it will showcase a more human quest for its stars. The teasers premiered during AMC’s finale for “The Walking Dead” on Sunday. In one, future solider Spartan Locke is seen walking toward a statue of “Halo” hero Master Chief, but the voice-over indicates that Master Chief is now viewed as a traitor. Toward the clip’s end, we see a wounded Master Chief as Spartan Locke raises his weapon. The other, below, flips the script, as Master Chief slowly […]
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