May 03, 2013 | 4:58 p.m.
The release Friday of “Way of the Dogg” on Xbox Live Arcade is only surprising because something similar hasn’t happened sooner. It seems as if it were only a matter of time before Snoop Dogg became the animated star of his own branded product. Snoop, after all, has been something of a cartoon for a while now. The one-time gangsta rap star has had his own reality show, hosted a video-game award show, rewrote “Drop It Like It’s Hot” for a microwavable food item and will appear pretty much anywhere he’s asked, whether it’s Coachella, a porno, Wrestlemania or something that was called “Mac & Devin Go to High School.” He’s also now Rastafarian and has changed his name to Snoop Lion, and as players of “Way of the Dogg” are told, “Snoop will always be Snoop Lion.” What, exactly, is […]
April 30, 2013 | 5:00 a.m.
The first voice you hear in “Star Trek: The Video Game” is Capt. James T. Kirk screaming “ambush!” Moments later, Spock — Kirk’s familiar second in command and traditionally a more logic-oriented presence — hollers “grenade!” It doesn’t have the poetic heft of “space, the final frontier,” which opened almost every episode of the original series and its follow-up, “The Next Generation.” But that sort of thing is not part of the mission for this game, which begins with quick-cut glimpses of guns blazing, giant lizards and explosions. The goal here is not all that different from the J.J. Abrams-helmed film “Star Trek,” which rebooted the franchise in 2009. Co-publishers Paramount Pictures and NAMCO Bandai hope to reenergize the franchise by turning to one of the most successful gaming genres of the past decade: the third-person duck-and-cover shooter. “Star Trek: […]
April 29, 2013 | 2:05 p.m.
The industry-only Electronics Entertainment Expo will carry on this June without the presence of publisher 2K Games. The company announced on its site that it will not be bringing a booth to E3, the three-day media-focused showcase for video game products set to begin June 11 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. “At 2K, we’re excited for the new opportunities coming with the next generation of hardware, and are hard at work preparing our announced titles for release,” the company posted on its site one week ago. “While 2K will not have a booth on the show floor at this year’s E3 conference, we will have a lot of great news coming your way this spring.” For press attending E3 that means no massive presentation for upcoming third-person shooter “The Bureau: XCOM Declassified” or any major sneaks at downloadable content […]
April 24, 2013 | 2:25 p.m.
Microsoft will unveil the successor to the Xbox 360 at a press event at its Redmond, Wash., campus on May 21, pulling back the curtain on its home console plans just weeks before the June Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles. Media invites went out this morning, and Microsoft exec Larry Hryb posted a blog to hype the event, which will be live-streamed. “On that day,” Xbox programming director Hryb wrote, “we’ll share our vision for Xbox, and give you a real taste of the future. Then, 19 days later at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles, we’ll continue the conversation and showcase our full lineup of blockbuster games.” Microsoft is the last of the major home console makers to disclose its next generation system. Nintendo’s Wii U was released in late 2012 and Sony threw a lavish […]
April 23, 2013 | 12:48 p.m.
“Star Trek: The Video Game” hit shelves Tuesday, featuring an original story set between 2009′s “Star Trek” and this May’s sequel “Star Trek Into Darkness.” The game, three years in the making, allows players to step into the roles of Starfleet officers Spock and Capt. James T. Kirk. Game developers aimed to create a cinematic experience for gamers, recruiting “Star Trek” composer Michael Giacchino to create custom music and actors from the film, including Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto, to lend their voices to the game. “This had to feel like it was a ‘Trek’ adventure that could have been a movie but happened to fit the gaming space better,” Brian Miller, senior vice president of Paramount Pictures and the game’s executive producer, told Hero Complex writer Todd Martens last month. “We would not have made the game unless we […]
April 23, 2013 | 6:00 a.m.
Indie action-adventure “Guacamelee!” makes an early promise to players. “This,” says a matchmaking, wine-obsessed monk in the game, “is better than watching my telenovelas.” It’s rare if not unprecedented for a telenovela to be referenced in a video game, but it subtly reveals a truth about interactive entertainment in North America. Games are wonderful at creating crazy, colorful universes full of vampire killers and interstellar space pirates, but they are less good at delving into the various cultures that populate the real world. “Guacamelee!” is a colorfully humorous game centered almost entirely on the customs surrounding Day of the Dead. It’s a simple stylistic conceit that seems so obvious that it’s puzzling it hasn’t been done with any regularity. Who needs zombies and vampires when there’s an entire holiday steeped in calavera (skull) imagery? Perhaps not since LucasArts’ 1998 Day […]
April 17, 2013 | 4:20 p.m.
A new “Legend of Zelda” series video game is on the way for the Nintendo 3DS hand-held console. The game, set in the world of “The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past,” was among more than a dozen new releases Nintendo announced Wednesday for the 3DS and Wii U consoles. Among the upcoming games are a new “Yoshi’s Island” installment, a new “Professor Layton” game and “EarthBound,” a fan favorite role-playing game that debuted on the Super NES in 1995. The new Zelda game, slated for launch this holiday season, aims to utilize the console’s 3-D abilities, allowing Link to “become a drawing and move along walls,” according to Nintendo’s news release. Players can download a video of the game from the Nintendo eShop for Nintendo 3DS. Check out some gameplay around the 36-minute mark in the Nintendo […]
April 05, 2013 | 6:00 a.m.
In the new PS3 apocalyptic survival game “The Last of Us,” an unlikely pair of survivors wanders through a future ravaged by zombie-like creatures. Joel is hired to smuggle a 14-year-old girl, Ellie, out of a quarantine zone, but their personalities clash as they traverse the once-familiar terrain of Boston, which has become all plant life and crumbling buildings. For months, the Naughty Dog title, overseen by Neil Druckmann and Bruce Straley (2009’s hit “Uncharted 2: Among Thieves”) has been generating intense interest among gamers, not simply for its sleek visuals or its end-of-the world action. What’s setting the game apart is the way it attempts to build intimate character moments between its two leads. “If a player doesn’t feel that a bond between Joel and Ellie has been formed, then we have failed,” said creative director Druckmann. Due this […]
April 01, 2013 | 7:55 a.m.
Unforgettably disturbing images populate “BioShock Infinite,” the most anticipated first-person shooter game of 2013. In the game, set largely in 1912, an interracial couple is nearly stoned by an angry white mob, a Chinese man is killed simply for being Asian, and Irish and blacks are relegated to separate bathrooms. Out for a week, the third installment in a series from famed game designer Ken Levine has already been decreed a masterwork, and on the surface it’s easy to see why. Its mechanics are nearly flawless, and the narrative promises to realistically grapple with issues of racism, religious persecution and inequality. As with its two predecessors, it seems entirely possible that this installment is evidence that games can be thought-provoking. “BioShock Infinite” is set on a magical floating city in the sky that seceded from the union around 1901. The city, […]
March 28, 2013 | 8:38 a.m.
Superman looks good for 75. The Last Son of Krypton’s 75th anniversary coincides with the June 14 release of “Man of Steel,” easily one of the top 13 must-see movies of 2013. Superman arrived on the scene in June of 1938 in “Action Comics” No. 1, one of the most coveted comic books in history. (If you see a dusty copy of the original at a garage sale, snap it up. Only a few dozen copies are believed to be in existence. An original netted $2.1 million for actor and collector Nicolas Cage.) Quiz: How well do you know Superman? In that debut issue, Superman was introduced as a mythic hero and champion of the oppressed. The brainchild of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster proved so popular with readers that he soon landed his very own comic series. In honor of Superman’s 75th anniversary, […]