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Tag: Games (11-20 of 177)

'The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds' review: Link learns some new tricks

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Despite spawning nearly 20 titles since its 1987 debut, The Legend of Zelda series has seen surprisingly little innovation since fans first fell in love with its princess-saving, Triforce-collecting, Ganondorf-defeating formula. Sure, the graphics have improved and new narrative twists and gameplay mechanics have been introduced over the years, but the core dungeon-crawling recipe has largely remained the same. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds — the sequel to fan-favorite Super NES chapter The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past — finally tweaks the franchise’s tried-and-true template, and the results are as magical as a Fairy Fountain.

This 3DS follow-up to the 1992 classic retains many of its beloved predecessor’s elements — from enemies and environments to its top-down over-world — but doesn’t rely on simple nostalgia to draw players in. Instead, it builds on the appeal and personality of A Link to the Past with some of the series’ most clever and engaging design decisions to date. Toss in a vibrant, high fantasy-flavored presentation that benefits from the portable platform’s oft-criticized extra-dimensional tech, and this absorbing adventure may find some gamers abandoning their new next-gen home consoles for Nintendo’s comparatively underpowered mobile device.

Like most entries in the enduring action-adventure series, A Link Between Worlds introduces a defining feature that affects both story and gameplay. In this case, the Hyrulian hero can transform into a painting capable of navigating otherwise inaccessible areas; this could see him morph into a wall mural to cross a chasm or maybe turn into a 2-D painting to slip through a crack. An inventive mechanic that perfectly complements the franchise’s focus on puzzle-filled dungeons, it also looks damn cool every time Link goes from three-dimensional avatar to flat cave scribbling.
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Xbox One review: One box to rule the living room

Long before Sony’s PlayStation 4 landed on the front lines of the next-gen console war earlier this month, it was decided it would be a gamer-focused platform, while Microsoft’s Xbox One would be an all-in-one entertainment device. Due in no small part to the latter’s early — but later-reversed — unpopular policies regarding used games and an always-online connection, as well as Microsoft’s own marketing, this was, for better or worse, the defining distinction made between the two boxes.

It’s ironic, then, that I’ve had more fun with the Xbox One’s first-party launch lineup than I had with the titles that debuted alongside Sony’s dedicated gaming console. As with the competition, the Xbox One has no Halo-like killer app. Its trio of triple-A entries — Ryse: Son of Rome, Dead Rising 3, and Forza Motorsport 5 — however, make a more convincing case for the power of next-gen gaming than Sony’s pair of big-budget day-one offerings Killzone: Shadow Fall and Knack.
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PlayStation 4 fires a powerful first shot in the next-gen console war -- REVIEW

Back at their February press conference in NYC, Sony took the stage — almost tentatively — to reveal their next-generation PlayStation 4 platform. Having not released a new home console in nearly seven years, they were re-entering a competitive landscape that had changed considerably since the PlayStation 3 landed, rather ungracefully, in 2006. Having dominated the pre-PS3 era — putting 155 million-plus PS2s in living rooms — they were now facing an audience they no longer knew, one that’d become increasingly content to flail their limbs in front of Nintendo’s Wii and fling birds at pigs on smartphones and tablets. Couple this shift to more casual fare with PS3’s rough start, and their gaming-dedicated PS4 seemed like a risk.

By the time Sony’s E3 press conference rolled around this past summer, though, they weren’t just riding high on enthusiastic fan feedback and positive buzz, they looked like legit rock stars in light of Microsoft’s early Xbox One marketing missteps. In less than six months, their trepidation had transformed into a confident swagger, one that sticks with them as the PS4 arrives first to the next-gen war’s front line. As a gamer who’s been enjoying the pastime since doing so required tethering a TV to a Telstar — Google it, kids! — I’m happy to report the PS4 is well-positioned to deliver on its console-for-gamers promise.
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'Hollywood Game Night': Ranking the freakishly fascinating facial mashups

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On Thursday’s Hollywood Game Night, the teams (Max Greenfield, Ellie Kemper, Kal Penn, and plebian Jill vs. Kenan Thompson, Minnie Driver, Angela Kinsey and plebe Dipal) participated in a riveting round of Celebrity Fusion — in which two celebs with a common name had their faces smeared into each other and presented as art. (So basically, Conan’s “If They Mated,” but on a show with a different title.) I’m VERY ashamed of how long it took me to guess the above beauty, but at least I didn’t say “Boy George..Carlin?” like poor JIll.

Doesn’t take much to fascinate me on a summer Friday! I’m gonna rank these creatures from least horrifying to most:

MILDLY SCARY:

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Pamela Anderson Cooper (not not hot)

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Steven Tyler Perry (yikes, but pedestrian)

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Steve Martin Short (Tom Brokaw in a wind tunnel?) READ FULL STORY

'American Ninja Warrior': Play along while feeling utterly useless!

It’s damn near impossible to simultaneously watch American Ninja Warrior (airing Sunday nights on G4 and Monday nights on NBC) and feel like a respectable human being. Not only are you doing nothing indoors (and watching this of all things?), but you are no ninja. Can you even lift your TV? Don’t even try. What’s the point? You’re a disgrace.

Below are my ill-fated suggestions for “playing along” during ANW — the magnificent Upper Body Beastliness obstacle course quickly winning the hearts and guts of millions of Americans who have less hope than ever of executing a single pull-up in their lifetimes. Rev up your appetite and get ready to live vicariously through these tremendous beasts — and hate yourself more than ever!

OBSTACLE 1: QUINTUPLE STEPS

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Retrieve a snack from the kitchen. Repeat five times. Go easy on this one. There’s a lot left to be done, but it’s all downhill from here.

*

OBSTACLE 2: DOWNHILL JUMP

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Pfffft. Anyone could do this. Just ride a skateboard down any railing in your house, then grab whatever’s closest (chocolate?) for support. Move on. It gets darker. READ FULL STORY

NBC's 'Hollywood Game Night' makes you feel like a genius

Why go out and make friends when you can watch Hollywood Game Night? I checked in on host Jane Lynch and her stable of celebs — this week: Anthony Anderson, Rose Byrne and Stacy Keibler (pictured), Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Patricia Heaton, and Tom Arnold — and must admit I had an altogether good time. The people in my TV kept me company! It was not that sad!

The show’s as simple as it sounds: Two teams (three celebs plus one commoner) play various word-association games about Hollywood happenings. If you tend to feel like a brainless turd during Trivial Pursuit Entertainment, you will LOVE this show. I’ve never felt smarter in my life. So I guess the show was a LITTLE sad.

I still can’t believe anyone would attempt a game night sober. Hopefully they were toasted. Potent Notables below! READ FULL STORY

Microsoft will allow indie-game self-publishing on the Xbox One

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In the latest admirable attempt to radically alter the conversation around the terrifying Orwellian nightmare known as the Xbox One, Microsoft has confirmed that their next-generation console will allow indie developers to self-publish their own games.

The manufacturer has taken some serious flak for the Xbox One’s curious definition of ownership — and has already had to walk back some of the more controversial policies — but the news offers the possibility that the Xbox One will be a democratizing space in the videogame universe. Game Informer originally broke the news, and Xbox corporate VP Marc Whitten released a follow-up statement, proclaiming: “Our vision is that every person can be a creator. That every Xbox One can be used for development.”

Microsoft made a big push at E3 for its new game-creation software known as “Project Spark,” and it’s clear now that they’re serious about offering a space for self-expression in their new console. When the holidays roll around, we’ll see whether anyone will choose to self-express on a console that’s $100 more expensive and at least 35 percent creepier than the PlayStation 4.

Twister (board game, not 'nado): A pop culture timeline

Charles Foley, inventor of the board game Twister, died yesterday at 82. May he rest in peace in whichever socially awkward color-coded contortion was his favorite.

I always thought Twister was the greatest board game ever invented — in theory, anyway. In execution, I think I was playing it wrong. I have distinct memories of ending up with my face smushed onto my uncle’s stomach and my other little cousins’ bare toes (THEY were doing it wrong) wriggling under my butt as I tried not to fall. I almost always surrendered out of embarrassment. What I really needed to do was grow up, work out, and play with sexy peers so my strategy could become less “Avoid the body hair of relatives” and more “Whoops! I fell down and touched your whole body.” I can still do it! Twister is timeless and shall never be forgotten.

Below, a brief timeline of the button-candy board game in pop culture:
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Google Easter egg celebrates Atari arcade game 'Breakout'

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As if Google image search wasn’t already enough of a time suck, now it can pull you into playing games. Well, one game in particular: Old school arcade fave Breakout.

To commemorate the 37th anniversary of Breakout, created by Atari, Inc., Google is rewarding anyone who types “atari breakout” into its image search with a playable Breakout game, rearranging the search results into multi-colored blocks reminiscent of the 1976 game.

The hidden nod to Breakout follows Google’s recent Seinfeld-themed Easter egg that greeted anyone searching for “Festivus” last December.

Read more:
Incredible Google Doodle celebrates Saul Bass — VIDEO
Google doodle celebrates jazz legend Ella Fitzgerald
New Google Doodle celebrates Jackie Robinson

Review: Guacamelee! is a tasty mix of combat and platforming

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There aren’t many games that feature Mexican culture, and even fewer that do so in a positive light; they tend to focus on drug cartels and gang members (see Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel, where you basically blow up Mexico). So a game like Guacamelee!, a bright and cheery celebration of Mexican folklore, really stands out. The game stars Juan Aguacate, an ordinary agave farmer who sets out an epic quest to rescue El Presidente’s daughter after she is kidnapped by the evil charro skeleton Carlos Calaca.

It’s not really a spoiler to say that Juan as-we-know-him is pretty much destroyed right away, but he soon finds a magical luchador mask that grants him superpowers and the ability to hop between the world of the living and that of the dead, which looks like stunning dia de los muertos art come to (un)life. Guacamelee! is a love letter to 16-bit video games, with charming references to Mario, Zelda, and Metroid in particular, from which it takes its greatest inspiration but adds its own unique spin.

The game starts out simply enough with basic melee-based combat but quickly ramps up as Juan gains new wrestling moves that open up the game. Each ability is color-based and can be used to break corresponding color blocks that reveal new areas. Enemies also have color shields, so you have to fight strategically to break them down before you can do any damage. Additionally, some enemies and platforms exist only in the land of the living or the land of the dead, requiring you to switch to the appropriate dimension on the fly. This seems like a lot to manage, but the controls are so tight and perfect that you always feel in control, even as you’re using almost every button on the controller.
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