PopWatch Entertainment Weekly's PopWatch Blog

Tag: Games (21-30 of 202)

Team Deathmatch: EW argues the pros and cons of fall's biggest video games

fall_games_hdr.gif

We, as a nation, have apparently decided that we want most of our video games to come out at the same time every year. We, as a nation, should probably rethink that, because the time it takes to finish an average video game is something crazy like 40 hours. Even with the time off that comes around the holidays, taking on a few extra full-time-job’s worth of games is kind of bananas. Did we mention that this fall’s release calendar is what a “light” year looks like?

Fortunately, our own Natalie Abrams, Jonathon Dornbush, Darren Franich, Aaron Morales, and Joshua Rivera have opinions on how to best allocate those extracurricular hours. Game accordingly.

Disclaimer: This list isn’t comprehensive. It very obviously omits sports games (because we know jack shit about them) and indie games (because they’re made by commitmentphobes who don’t set release dates very far in advance). We’re very much looking forward to some of these games (hello, Ori and the Blind Forest), but this list is geared towards games with set release dates.

SEPT OCT NOV DEC
Disney Infinity 2.0: Marvel Superheroes Edition
Release Date: Sept. 23
Playstation 4
Xbox One
Playstation 3
Xbox 360
PC & Vita in 2015

Combining beloved Disney franchises with some of Marvel’s most recognizable faces, Disney Infinity 2 adds heroes like Iron Man, Rocket Raccoon, and Spider-Man to the menagerie of actual figurines you can zap into its game worlds. (No, really—the game comes with action figures that determine which characters players control.) Beyond that, it allows players to create whatever they would like in the game’s imagination-driven Toy Box, from tower defense games, to a Disney-themed house, to a raceway that’s part Guardians of the Galaxy and part Toy Story.

PRO: I’ve already said plenty about why Infinity is so special. Yes, the single player campaign’s mission design is a bit generic, but the marquee feature, the Toy Box, is a delight. By allowing players to create game levels, cities, raceways, houses—almost anything they want—and express themselves by employing memorable Disney and Marvel franchises, the game sucks users in for hours at a time. Infinity encourages imagination, and the sheer number of possibilities should send any child—and more than a few Disney-obsessed adults—into a creative frenzy. —JD

CON: This adult enjoyed playing with the toys that come with game more than the repetitive, simplistic campaign itself. Seriously, the toys are awesome. —AM

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter
Release Date: Sept. 26
PC
PS4 TBA

In the tradition of many quality cable dramas, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter takes place in an idyllic town in the middle of nowhere that’s full of terrible occurrences. As a detective with supernatural abilities, you’ll communicate with the dead in order to uncover whatever disturbing, hidden secrets lie in Red Creek Valley.

WHY IT’S INTERESTING: Some of the best games don’t give you much to go on. Myst is the classic example here, a game that dropped you on an island with no explanation and left you to stumble across an intriguing mystery. There’s a bit more context to The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, but development studio The Astronauts seem committed to mostly staying out of the way, letting players rely on their own observations to discover the game’s secrets. “Show, don’t tell,” is just as important in video games as it is in other media—and one of the greatest tricks in video game horror is giving you the freedom to creep yourself out. —JR

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
Release Date: Sept. 30
PlayStation 4
Xbox One
PlayStation 3/Xbox 360 11.18.14

You know how the first trailer for The Hobbit got you all excited? Because The Lord of the Rings films were great, so surely Hobbit would be, too? And then the movie was divided into like, 18 parts, each a year apart and all of them middling. That’s kind of what it’s been like for LOTR video games, except the bit about there being 18 parts isn’t all that hyperbolic. The pitch for Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor is simple: what if a LOTR game wasn’t just good, but great?

PRO: There have been some good The Lord of the Rings games, but fans have been waiting for a great one, and Shadow of Mordor looks to be it. Combining the best of two major franchises—Assassin’s Creed and the Batman: Arkham games—Mordor adds in the promising Nemesis System. With it, your enemies are no longer simple sword fodder—they actually matter to main character Talion. Players can alter the balance of power by taking out ruling Uruks or bending them to his will, and the game’s randomized Uruk creator means you’ll never see the same Uruk twice. With the third-person action space dominated by sequels this year and next, it’s nice to see a new franchise try to stake its own claim in the genre. —JD

CON: The last boss battle is an anticlimactic string of quick-time events. Everything else? Pretty awesome. —AM

That 'Tetris' movie you always wanted is finally happening

Tetris.jpg

Tetris, in many respects, is a perfect video game. You can learn to play in minutes, it is wildly addictive, and it has one of the greatest jingles to ever jingle. Everyone knows Tetris, as they should. Tetris is great. So of course Tetris is going to be turned into a movie and forever ruined.

According to The Wall Street Journal, which somehow managed to report the news with a straight face, the movie is being produced by Threshold Entertainment, a company you may know if you’re a big fan of Mortal Kombat and Mortal Kombat: Annhilation. According to Threshold CEO Larry Kasanoff, the planned Tetris movie has a story in place (the one thing the Tetris game doesn’t have) but no cast, crew, or director (all things a Tetris movie needs to have). But it’s okay, because the Tetris brand is the most important thing, and Threshold, with the Tetris Company’s help, has that in spades.

“Brands are the new stars of Hollywood,” said Kasanoff, probably with soul-crushing sincerity. He goes on to call Tetris (the movie) a “very big, epic sci-fi movie,” which is a very strange thing to say about a puzzle game gussied up in Russian iconography.

With language like that, it’s easy to be cynical about the Tetris movie’s fortunes. But maybe it’ll defeat the odds  with passion, talent, and a little luck, a good Tetris movie might just….fall in place.

'Bloodborne' continues to look terrifying, definitely has blood

BLOODBORNE.jpg

Maybe you’ve heard of From Software. It’s a studio famous for games with the word “Souls” in them. If you ask anyone about these games, they’ll probably describe them in one word: “hard.” (Or two words, provided there’s an expletive in there. People have strong feelings about these games.)

While that’s true—Demons’ Souls, Dark Souls, and Dark Souls II are far from easy—reducing the games to their difficulty sells them short. The Souls games are experiences—there’s nothing quite like them anywhere else. And Bloodborne, From Software’s latest game, looks like it’ll continue the trend. It also looks absolutely terrifying. READ FULL STORY

'Final Fantasy XV' has a gorgeous new trailer, might actually come out

Final-Fantasy-XV.jpg

Final Fantasy XV has been through a lot. First announced way back in 2006 as Final Fantasy Versus XIII (don’t ask), FFXV has been the Moby Dick of video games for both fans of the Japanese Role Playing Game genre and developer Square Enix.

After eight years of waiting with almost no word on the status of the game, it’s easy to get jaded. And then an amazing new trailer comes out and everything is exciting again.
READ FULL STORY

The makers of 'Borderlands' are back with another crazy genre mashup

BATTLEBORN.jpg

On paper, Battleborn—game development studio Gearbox Software’s big follow up to its successful Borderlands series of games—might sound like the studio is repeating itself. After all, Battleborn, like Borderlands, is a first-person shooter that freely grabs interesting ideas from other genres and repackages them into something with a distinct style and personality.

But that’s not very fair.

Games can be a lot like sandwiches—while technically, every sandwich is simply “bread with stuff in between,” there is a world of difference between a Monte Cristo and a PB&J, with plenty of room for experimentation in between. Similar to how the vast and interesting world of sandwiches can be terribly wronged by our desire to label everything, video games deserve a little bit more than a few genre descriptors. But don’t worry, the genre descriptors are coming.

READ FULL STORY

This 'Madden' ad with Dave Franco and Kevin Hart is absolutely bananas

MADDEN-COMMERCIAL.jpg

With a new season of football on the horizon, a new version of Madden NFL Football comes to video game consoles everywhere—just as it was in the beginning.

To celebrate this week’s release of the 2015 edition, Kevin Hart and Dave “I’m the Better” Franco star in what might possibly be the greatest or worst video game commercial ever made. You kind of have to judge for yourself.

READ FULL STORY

What's a 'Hohokum?' The origins of a strange, relaxing new game

hohokum-01

Out this week on Playstation devices, Hohokum is hard to sum up in words. It’s sort of like Snake—the cell phone game we played before anyone knew what a Candy Crush was—except you don’t ever lose, and it takes place in a 2D dreamland full of creatures and landscapes born from the mind of a graphic artist. It’s really quite pleasant even though it doesn’t tell you what you’re supposed to do. Also, it has a pretty sweet soundtrack.

It’s not every day that you see a game like Hohokum coming out on major consoles. So EW reached out to the game’s creators—artist and designer Richard Hogg and developer Ricky Haggett—to talk about their whimsical creation.

READ FULL STORY

The Mister Rogers of 'Minecraft' is headed for Hollywood

MINECRAFT-YOUTUBE.jpg

The newest voice in children’s entertainment is shrill, British, and very, very square. Thanks to the jaw-dropping success of the videogame Minecraft—a sort of online digital LEGO universe in which kids (and more than a few grown-ups) build their own worlds, play in them, and invite their online friends to join them—a 23-year-old former bartender from the south coast of England has become millions of kids’ onscreen BFF.

Operating under the Minecraft alter ego of stampylonghead (a.k.a. Stampy Cat)—a boxy orange character with a la-di-da voice and a rat-a-tat laugh—Joseph Garrett has attracted a legion of elementary-school-age fans into Stampy’s Lovely World, where he eats cake for breakfast, visits his friends iBallistic Squid and a bear called L for Leeeeee x, and embarks on often-silly adventures with dragons and aliens. “I never set out to make children’s content,” says Garrett, who boasts a mop of curly hair and the slight build of a man who spends most of his days in front of a computer screen. “It was more that I was enjoying making these videos, so these are the videos I’m going to make.” READ FULL STORY

Survey finds gender pay gap in games industry narrower than US average

A recent industry survey of game developer’s salaries has found that the wage gap between genders is narrower than the national average.

Conducted by industry publication Gamasutra, the survey was conducted in May 2014 and covered the entirety of 2013, with 4,000 participants. The survey found that men working salaried jobs in the games industry make an average of $85,074 annually. For women, the average annual salary was $72,882—that’s 86 cents on the dollar.

Of course, the wage gap between genders widened or narrowed depending on what position was being considered. Designers have the smallest gap, with women making 94 cents for every dollar men make, and audio professionals the largest—68 cents on the dollar. The outlier is in Quality Assurance, where women make four cents more than men on average. It’s also the lowest-paid job of those surveyed. READ FULL STORY

What it's like to attend a gaming competition that's as big as a rock show

One of the biggest events in competitive gaming is underway this weekend, and unless you knew where to look, you’d miss it entirely.

Organized by acclaimed game developer Valve for four years running, The International is the annual championship tournament for the wildly popular multiplayer game Dota 2. Abbreviated from Defense of the Ancients, Dota 2 organizes players into two teams of five tasked with defending their home base (the titular “Ancients”) whilst simultaneously trying to take down their opponent’s base on the other side of the in-game arena.

It’s a fast-paced genre mashup that reads like a greatest hits of video game favorites—equal parts Diablo, Warcraft, and any one of a dozen tower defense games—yet the result is something entirely new. What results is called a MOBA—short for Multiplayer Online Battle Arena. It’s arguably the most widely-played genre of video game, and tournaments like The International are a big reason why. READ FULL STORY

Latest Videos

Advertisement

From Our Partners

TV Recaps

Powered by WordPress.com VIP