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LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens

 

There has been an awakening …

Yes, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” was just the shot in the arm that the “Star Wars” film franchise needed after the much-maligned prequel trilogy. And in a similar fashion, “LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is exactly the kind of effort developer Traveller’s Tales needed to deliver in order to get its family-friendly video game series back on track after a string of so-so offerings.

As such, “LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is easily the most enjoyable LEGO-branded game since “LEGO Marvel Super Heroes” way back in 2013.

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While it may not be the new “Batman” game from developer Rocksteady I was hoping for, the announcement of a remastered collection of the first two installments in the acclaimed Arkham trilogy is nonetheless a welcome one.

“Batman: Return to Arkham” bundles the Game of the Year editions of “Arkham Asylum” and “Arkham City” along with all of the DLC released for each game. The titles are being remastered by Virtuos using Unreal Engine 4, which allows for improved graphics like character models, environments, lighting and effects.

“Batman: Return to Arkham” launches July 26 for $49.99 on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

A look inside April’s ‘Quest’ Loot Crate

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My sons are back again to unbox another Loot Crate, this time the April 2016 “Quest”-themed package.

This month’s box features items from Harry Potter, “Uncharted 4,” “Vikings” and a pretty sweet “Labyrinth” T-shirt that had my kids stumped — of course, considering the film came out roughly 18 years before they were born, it’s easy to see how that could happen. A 20-sided die ice mold and the obligatory collector’s pin, also featuring a 20-sided die, round out the box.

IMG_5078The highlight for me was definitely the Harry Potter socks, which feature the various horcruxes (horcruxi?) Harry must track down and destroy in order to stop Lord Voldemort. Yes, that was a pretty serious spoiler but if you haven’t read the books by now you have only yourself to blame.

The “Uncharted 4” poster was a little underwhelming but the Viking drinking horn will definitely look cool sitting on my desk at the office.

For more on Loot Crate, check out their website at www.lootcrate.com.

By the Hoary Hosts of Hoggoth, Marvel has finally given us our first look at Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr. Stephen Strange.

Set for release on November 4, “Doctor Strange” is certainly shaping up to be the most … unique film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but I’m curious to see how casual fans will respond to the Sorcerer Supreme. Let’s face it — despite his prominent role within the pages of the Marvel Universe, Strange remains a far less recognizable character than any the publisher has brought to the big screen thus far.

Of course, one could argue that neither the Guardians of the Galaxy nor Ant-Man were household names and I seem to recall those films doing OK at the box office, so clearly Marvel knows what it’s doing. We’ll have to see if that magic continues this fall.

“Doctor Strange” is directed by Scott Derrickson and also stars Tilda Swinton, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Rachel McAdams.

 

Disney and LucasFilm today gave fans their first glimpse at the next feature film set in the “Star Wars” universe — “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.” And it looks amazing.

“Rogue One” is set before the events of “A New Hope” and tells the story of a band of rebels who attempt to steal the plans for the first Death Star. The ensemble cast is led by Felicity Jones, who plays lead protagonist Jyn Esro. “Rogue One” also stars Forest Whitaker, Diego Luna and Donnie Yen, among others.

Directed by Gareth Edwards, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” is set to open Dec. 16.

 

Major League Baseball’s Opening Day is nearly upon us, but fans looking to experience America’s Pastime on the digital diamond needn’t wait any longer.

Whether you’re looking for a no-frills pick up and play title, an insanely deep text-based sim or a highly detailed virtual recreation of the sport, there’s a video game for that. Here’s a look at this year’s offerings, peanuts and Cracker Jack not included:

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Review: ‘Layers of Fear’

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layers of fear

When it comes to horror games, I have no problem dealing with hordes of zombies or twisted creatures ripped straight from someone’s nightmares. It’s the unseen terrors, those things that go bump in the night and lurk in the dark corners of the mind, that make the hair on the back of my neck stand on end.

And that’s exactly the kind of horror you’ll find in “Layers of Fear,” the recent release from independent development studio Bloober Team.

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Unboxing the March Loot Crate

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Today we’re taking a look at our first-ever Loot Crate!

For the unfamiliar, Loot Crate is a monthly subscription service that delivers a box full of exclusive themed goodies to your door. T-shirts, action figures, comics and collectibles are just a few of the things that have been known to pop up in previous Loot Crates.

A look at the contents of the March 2016 Loot Crate.

Our box, the March 2016 “Versus” edition, contained a 4.5-inch vinyl Alien vs. Predator figure, a sweet reversible Daredevil/Punisher beanie, a Batman vs. Superman wallet, a Spock vs. Spock T-shirt and a cool Harley Quinn comic. We also got an exclusive Alien vs. Predator Loot Pin.

As my first experience with Loot Crate, I have to say I’m impressed. Everything included in the box was high-quality and I especially liked the Daredevil/Punisher beanie, though I’m pretty sure I’ll be sharing that with my kids. Speaking of which, be sure to check out the video above to see Nick and Logan unboxing the Loot Crate and giving their take on its contents.

For more information on Loot Crate, visit their website at www.lootcrate.com.

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In a post on the PlayStation Blog, Hello Games’ Managing Director Sean Murray announced that “No Man’s Sky” will launch June 21 on PS4 and PC.

After wowing gamers at last year’s E3, the ambitious “No Man’s Sky” has flown relatively under the radar, with little information leaking out about the game.

That changed this week as sites such as IGN and Giant Bomb revealed their hands-on impressions. While I’m still not quite sure exactly what kind of game “No Man’s Sky” actually is, I do know that I can’t wait to play it. Thankfully the wait is almost over.

sullest

Fans of “Star Wars Battlefront” can look forward to exploring two new locations in the upcoming “Outer Rim” expansion, announced today by EA on the game’s official website.

The two new settings are Sullest, an industrial hub surrounded by lava flows, and Jabba the Hut’s palace on Tatooine. Two new heroes are also being added to the mix, Greedo and Nien Nunb. New weapons and Star Cards are also being introduced. A new game mode, Extraction, is also included. In Extraction, the Rebel team looks to successfully deliver a valuable shipment to their transport ship while the Empire tries to stop them.

The “Outer Rim” expansion is included as part of the game’s season pass. No release date has been announced.