PopWatch Entertainment Weekly's PopWatch Blog

Tag: Video Games (1-10 of 88)

The 5 most interesting facts about 'Super Smash Bros. for Wii U'

Super-Smash-Bros

Nintendo revealed over 50 facts about the latest version of its fighting franchise, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. While many of these bits of information are rather small, a few reveal just what will make the game worthy of a purchase after the recently released Super Smash Bros. for 3DS.

Here are the five most exciting revelations:

READ FULL STORY

Watch the trailer for Ridley Scott's 'Halo: Nightfall'

Halo.jpg

While Halo fans may never get a feature-length film, Microsoft is hoping to release the next best thinga Ridley Scott-produced digital series, Halo Nightfall.

READ FULL STORY

Despite occasional brilliance, 'Evil Within' falls short of its horror game predecessors

The-Evil-Within-2.jpg

My play sessions with The Evil Within unintentionally developed into a nightly pattern. I’d start up the game and play through two or three chapters, only to find myself facing an annoying enemy. That annoyance would give way to outright anger—halting my progress until the next evening, when I would make quick work of the foe that had bested me the night before. The cycle would repeat in waves, infrequent highs that kept being dashed by too frequent lows.

There’s a great game within The Evil Within, but a series of questionable choices and bizarre narrative elements hold it back from being that game.

READ FULL STORY

Read the 436-page 'Super Mario World' script from 'Chronicle' writer Max Landis

Super-Mario-World.jpg

If the one thought you had while playing Super Mario was that the game could really use some Game of Thrones-level of character development and story detail, Chronicle scribe Max Landis has you covered.

READ FULL STORY

BBC to release 'Doctor Who' game to teach children programming

While he won’t be going by The Teacher anytime soon, Doctor Who‘s 12th Doctor will now be helping children to learn how to code.

On Monday, the BBC announced a new game based on world of Doctor Who titled The Doctor and the Dalek. The game will be written by one of the show’s writers, Phil Ford, and it will tell the story of the Doctor as he teams up with one of his mortal enemies, a Dalek, to save all of creation.

READ FULL STORY

GamerGate is happening because we let it happen

Maybe you’ve heard of GamerGate.

Countless stories have been written about the controversy over the past two months—yes, it started that long ago—in outlets ranging from game-centric titles to our biggest national publications. GamerGate has gone mainstream in a big way, but it remains elusive and difficult to understand. If you’re someone who would like to know just what GamerGate entails, check out this exhaustive piece by Deadspin writer Kyle Wagner. It’s long, but it’s also evenhanded and nuanced. Anyone who tries to break the whole mess down in a bite-sized YouTube video or nifty imgur link is probably trying to mislead you.

READ FULL STORY

The 'I Am Bread' video game is exactly what you think it is

Bread.jpg

One of the best things about video games is how they allow you to experience things from truly unique perspectives—playing characters that come from an entirely different racial, religious, or socioeconomic background as yourself, allowing for deep insight and empathy when done right.

Now, you can also play as a slice of bread.

READ FULL STORY

Childish Gambino collaborates with Ubisoft for 'Far Cry 4' trailer

Childish-Gambino.jpg

Looking at the mountains of the fictional Himalayan city of Kyrat in Far Cry 4, players may not immediately imagine a hip hop soundtrack to set the scene. But that dissonance hasn’t stopped Ubisoft from recruiting Donald Glover as his rapping alter ego Childish Gambino to lend his talents to the game’s new trailer.

READ FULL STORY

'Alien: Isolation' delivers suspense, but not without annoyance

game-alien-isolation.jpg

Alien: Isolation is a slow burn. Most Alien games have mimicked James Cameron’s action-packed Aliens sequel (often to disastrous effect, as with last year’s Alien: Colonial Marines), but Isolation is slavishly devoted to Ridley Scott’s quieter, more terrifying 1979 original, which informs nearly every aspect of the game. Set 15 years after the first film, Isolation follows engineer Amanda Ripley as she seeks information on her missing mother, Alien heroine Ellen Ripley.

Much like the film, the game takes its time to get going, allowing you to soak in the rich atmosphere. Developer Creative Assembly has painstakingly recreated the look and feel of Scott’s sci-fi classic, from the chunky CRT monitors to the green monochromatic display of the motion tracker that quickly becomes your best friend and lifeline. Just like the movie, you don’t meet the game’s single alien for the first hour, so soak up the gorgeous atmosphere while you can. Once the alien shows up, you’ll spend most of your time hiding in vents and lockers, praying it doesn’t hear you breathe.

Isolation plays like the world’s deadliest game of cat and mouse. The alien can’t be killed and will hunt you relentlessly, relying on its senses to track you down and pierce your skull with its retractable inner maw (amongst other gruesome finishers). Ostensibly a stealth game with horror trappings, your only chance at survival is to outwit the alien using items that Amanda can craft from scraps found throughout the environment. If the alien sees you, chances are you’re already dead, so it’s best to stick to the shadows and tread lightly, slowly working your way to your next objective.

Get used to seeing the motion tracker, as it will inhabit a large portion of your screen for a large portion of the time. (If I had a plasma TV, I would seriously worry about screen burn-in.) Seeing the alien blip on your radar for the first time is a terrifying experience, as you know it’s near but you can’t be sure where. I recommend playing in the dark with a pair of headphones, as the sound design is among the best I’ve ever experienced, and you’ll actually use audio cues like the staticy beep of the motion tracker or the clanging of vents to help make your way through levels. The developer has rightfully touted the alien’s artificial intelligence, which dynamically adjusts to your actions. If it sees something move or hears a noise, it’s going to investigate. (The Xbox One version has an option that uses the Kinect’s microphone, so if you scream in terror, the alien could hear you. Um, no thanks.)

Initially, this tense game of hide-and-seek is exhilarating—your heart pounds as you hide under a table, holding your breath as the alien’s long tail slithers by. You never feel safe, as running or firing a weapon will cause the alien to come darting out of a vent and instantly kill you. Expect to die—a lot. The game requires you to manually save your progress at save stations, which is almost unheard of nowadays. I get what Creative Assembly was going for with the save system: it’s a nod to old-school games that were actually difficult, and it requires you to think constantly about the risks involved. But because Amanda is so vulnerable and death comes so easily, it feels unnecessarily punitive. The first time you play twenty minutes without seeing any save points and then die right as you reach one is incredibly frustrating, since you then have to repeat the entire sequence over again. There are times when this will happen repeatedly, and it get significantly less fun each time the alien gets in your face and murders you.

Alien: Isolation is also a looooooong burn. And worse than how frustrating it can feel to constantly live, die and repeat, it becomes less and less scary the more you see the alien. Part of what makes the original Alien so terrifying is that you rarely see the monster, who is on screen for just over three and half minutes of the film’s two-hour runtime. With horror movies, what you don’t see is often scarier than what is shown, and while Isolation follows this to a point, the game is so damn long (clocking in around 15 to 20 hours) that you’ll have seen the alien for hours by the time it’s over. By the end, whenever I would encounter the alien, I’d simply yell, “Get away from her, you bitch” at the TV and shoo it away with my flamethrower. However much Creative Assembly strived to recreate Alien, it couldn’t keep it from getting a little Aliens in the end.

Far from the travesty that was Colonial Marines, there are hints of greatness in Alien: Isolation, which is by far the closest we’ve ever gotten to living out our Alien fantasies. But I wish Creative Assembly had realized that when it comes to horror, less is more. As mixed as my feelings are on the game, I’m actually still looking forward to the “Crew Expendable” downloadable content that reunites Sigourney Weaver and the cast of the original film for what I assume will be a much shorter experience, which could prove to be the optimal way to enjoy the game’s many strengths.

Series based on 'Myst' video game enters development

myst

1993’s Myst was a video game phenomenon. Just read this EW article from October, 1994—even during a time when computer games were very much a sequestered entertainment medium, Myst got mainstream attention more than a year after its release. It was kind of like The Sims of the 90s—everyone had a copy, even if they didn’t know why. At the time, Myst was thought to be the future of storytelling—the beginnings of a bold new form of entertainment. That never really caught on, but much like Twin PeaksMyst is getting another shot.

According to Variety, Legendary Entertainment has just closed a deal with Myst creators Rand and Robyn Miller to turn the game into a new series, either for network or digital. The creators will be involved, and they hope to turn Myst into an immersive transmedia franchise, with a companion game and other apps expanding on the show’s story. Here’s the thing: it could actually work.

While most summaries of Myst will talk about how players take on the role of someone called “The Stranger” and solve puzzles to uncover a world of intrigue, that doesn’t really capture what makes Myst special. Myst was so captivating because it didn’t tell you a thing. You didn’t play as “The Stranger,” you played as yourself—the world was presented to you in the first-person perspective, and didn’t explain a thing to you. You were alone on a strange and beautiful island, and as you wandered around, you’d find strange things: trap doors and diaries and puzzles. Each discovery was more intriguing than the last, and throughout it all, you’d wonder, “Why is this all here?” And eventually, piece by piece, the game would answer your questions.

That sort of experience, where the act of watching and reading and interacting is one of discovery, where you’re presented with a beautiful world that doesn’t explain itself to you but invites you to figure it out—that’s a thing that’s ripe for reinventing from the ground up. And since the Myst games have been dormant since 2005’s Myst V: End of Ages, it stands to reason that those involved aren’t looking to cash in on a hot property, but choosing to adapt a story that has potential to be something new and interesting.

If you want to play Myst, you can get it on just about any platform (including iOS and Android) here.

 

Latest Videos

Advertisement

From Our Partners

TV Recaps

Powered by WordPress.com VIP