Category: Video games

Lara Croft is back on the big screen. Is her latest adventure a trip worth taking?

The Good: There’s a lot to like here. First and foremost, Alicia Vikander is the highlight of the film. That may seem like it should be a given, but the energy and fierceness she brings to the film carries it.

The more gritty approach is definitely in line with the rebooted video game series, and is certainly a breath of fresh air compared to the two previous Tomb Raider films with Angelina Jolie.

Some of the early set pieces are fun and thrilling and director Roar Uthaug did a good job visualizing some of the puzzle elements that the series is known for. The film knows what it wants to do and does it in a concise, thrilling way without ever feeling like it was overstaying its welcome.

The Bad: While this film is enjoyable, it never quite elevates itself past being good enough. While Vikander showed why she should be a star, Walton Goggins seemed wasted. He wasn’t physically intimidating, evil or ingenious enough to seem like a real threat to Croft or sympathetic enough to feel like anything more than a missed opportunity. There was room to explore how Croft’s father and Goggin’s villain viewed the importance of family vs. the rest of the world, but sadly that was never fully fleshed out.

And while the early set pieces were fun and exciting, the climax was a let down, filled with glaring CGI and no real tension.

Similarly, Daniel Wu seems to just be there. There are hints at a deeper storyline, but it never paid off in a meaningful way. This isn’t a new issue, but it’s still frustrating.

If you prefer the older versions of Lara Croft, be prepared. There’s a little sass, but not nearly as much as the older games.

The Final Word: Tomb Raider is far away the best true video game adaptation to be released in recent years. There are thrills and laughs to be had, but don’t expect this one to be the game changer we’re all waiting for.

Big things are coming

This blog is back and in a big way. Look for a podcast and coverage from the Las Vegas Comic Con a few weeks ago, including an interview with Veronica Taylor, voice of Ash from Pokémon, and from the Rose City Comic Con in September. Also, look for movie reviews and thoughts on movie and video game news.


National Video Games Day

So with it being National Video Games Day and all just a few thoughts (and yes I know much more serious than the holiday is probably intended to be).

Games hold a special place in my life. It’s transported me to fantastic worlds and allowed me to have action packed adventures. As a child who liked to act out stories set in space, on a pirate ship and everything in between in my backyard, games allowed me to realize these stories in a whole new way. It was a way to connect with people. The rise of Pokémon gave us a common thread – something to overcome the awkward social encounters we had growing up in schools.

There was the immense pride I felt when I bought my Xbox, the first home console my family had. At the age of 13, I spent hours babysitting, doing yard work and selling snacks a local park to scrape every last penny. Unboxing that console was one of the coolest moments I can ever remember.

Games provided memories that will last a lifetime. Whether it was a team bonding night playing Halo or an epic night of Super Smash and Mario Kart with some of my best friends, games gave us laughter, bragging rights and nights that will always rank among my favorite from high school.

As games have matured as an art form, stories have become more emotional. Experiencing a game like “The Last of Us” was every bit as thrilling and emotional as any film I’ve seen or book I’ve read. Games can scare us, keep us at the edge of our seat, make us laugh and cry.

Lately, games have allowed me to stay connected to family, even when we’re in different parts of the world. A game like “Overwatch” has allowed me to play online and talk with my brother – who lives in Korea. It gives us common ground and something we can look forward to and to stay in touch much more than we ever would have without it.

I almost feel honored to see games grow and evolve as I have as a person. So yes, I know National Video Games Day is another one of the endless holidays that exist these days.

But it’s one that I’m glad is marked because without it, my world would be a lot less fun. Sometimes, a little fun is just what we all need.

Legendary Pictures’ Thomas Tull spoke with io9 on a variety of topics. One big one was the possibility of seeing “Hellboy 3” under the Legendary banner.

Seeing how we don’t own the rights to Hellboy, there may be lawyers that would get upset about that,” Tull said. “But you know, in Guillermo’s world, maybe he can make that go away. I don’t know. [Laughs]”

That’s a shame because Guillermo del Toro’s series is very good and I’d love to see Ron Pearlman as Hellboy one more time.

Tull also spoke about the “World of WarCraft” movie, which has Duncan Jones (“Moon”) directing.

For us, it’s that we don’t know how to make a movie out of Warcraft, the videogame. It’s the incredible story, the war, and these races, and everything these guys at Blizzard have come up with. They have 100 books, and just this incredibly rich world that they’ve created.”

“When the script is finished, and when we feel like, ‘Forget whether or not there’s a built-in audience. Does this stand on its own, and is it great?’ Then we’ll start filming.”

Of course del Toro’s “Pacific Rim” hits theaters soon and it looks like another winner.

Lukas Eggen can be reached at

In promoting his latest film “This is the End”, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg revealed they have been asked multiple times by Naughty Dog. Why? To write the “Uncharted” movie script of course! Both declined, saying they couldn’t figure out a way to make it different than Indiana Jones. At one point, an Uncharted film was close with Mark Wahlberg set to star, but that fell through.

Lukas Eggen can be reached at

Yep. After Sony thundered to a big E3 win, Microsoft is responding by removing requirements to be connected to the internet and used game restrictions. Here’s the full release from Don Mattrick:

Last week at E3, the excitement, creativity and future of our industry was on display for a global audience.

For us, the future comes in the form of Xbox One, a system designed to be the best place to play games this year and for many years to come. As is our heritage with Xbox, we designed a system that could take full advantage of advances in technology in order to deliver a breakthrough in game play and entertainment. We imagined a new set of benefits such as easier roaming, family sharing, and new ways to try and buy games. We believe in the benefits of a connected, digital future.

Since unveiling our plans for Xbox One, my team and I have heard directly from many of you, read your comments and listened to your feedback. I would like to take the opportunity today to thank you for your assistance in helping us to reshape the future of Xbox One.

You told us how much you loved the flexibility you have today with games delivered on disc. The ability to lend, share, and resell these games at your discretion is of incredible importance to you. Also important to you is the freedom to play offline, for any length of time, anywhere in the world.

So, today I am announcing the following changes to Xbox One and how you can play, share, lend, and resell your games exactly as you do today on Xbox 360. Here is what that means:

An internet connection will not be required to play offline Xbox One games– After a one-time system set-up with a new Xbox One, you can play any disc based game without ever connecting online again. There is no 24 hour connection requirement and you can take your Xbox One anywhere you want and play your games, just like on Xbox 360.

Trade-in, lend, resell, gift, and rent disc based games just like you do today – There will be no limitations to using and sharing games, it will work just as it does today on Xbox 360.

In addition to buying a disc from a retailer, you can also download games from Xbox Live on day of release. If you choose to download your games, you will be able to play them offline just like you do today. Xbox One games will be playable on any Xbox One console — there will be no regional restrictions.

These changes will impact some of the scenarios we previously announced for Xbox One. The sharing of games will work as it does today, you will simply share the disc. Downloaded titles cannot be shared or resold. Also, similar to today, playing disc based games will require that the disc be in the tray.

We appreciate your passion, support and willingness to challenge the assumptions of digital licensing and connectivity. While we believe that the majority of people will play games online and access the cloud for both games and entertainment, we will give consumers the choice of both physical and digital content. We have listened and we have heard loud and clear from your feedback that you want the best of both worlds.

Thank you again for your candid feedback. Our team remains committed to listening, taking feedback and delivering a great product for you later this year.

Does this change your mind about the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One? Or the Wii U for that matter?

Lukas Eggen can be reached at


Well, this is certainly interesting. Microsoft and Sony sought to steal the spotlight during E3 2013. Microsoft went first. After the debacle that was the Xbox One, Microsoft unveiled game after game. Titles included a new “Halo” game, “Metal Gear Solid V”, “Forza MotorSport 5”, “Titanfall” and “Killer Instinct”. Ir was an impressive array of games. Then the price was announced. $499. $499? That seems way too high. Microsoft wants the Xbox One to be an all-in-one entertainment box, but I can guarantee you that people like me, who aren’t hardcore gamers, are very hesitant to drop that kind of money for a new product like this.

Then, Sony was up. If all Sony did was reveal that you could buy, play and share used games the same way you always could, it would be a success. But Sony did that and more. It went after the jugular. The PlayStation 4 supports used games, doesn’t require an online connection to play games and will sell for $399. A full $100 cheaper. For customers like me, that makes a world of difference.

The news pleased fans so much, it’s easy to forget that there weren’t really any new killer games shown. But none of that mattered for Sony. It was mission accomplished. And for Microsoft, heck even Nintendo, I’d be squirming in my seat.

Lukas Eggen can be reached at

Well, here we go. Microsoft announced Xbox One. The console has instant switching which allows you to instantly switch between games, movies, music, web and now both Skype and live TV.
EA’s Madden NFL, FIFA, NBA LIVE and UFC are all coming to the Xbox One this year. Microsoft Studios announced that Forza Motorsport 5 is coming and that the company will release 15 new games in the first year of launch of which 8 are new franchises. Remedy revealed footage from a new game titled Quantum Break.

Also revealed is a live action Halo TV series from 343 Industries and Steven Spielberg. What do you think? Are you excited?

Lukas Eggen can be reached at

Target is selling the basic version of Nintendo’s Wii U for $239.99, that’s a full $60 off the regular price. I’m not surprised by the move, actually. The system’s been a weak seller, thanks in part to a weak software lineup and, well, the gaming landscape is changing. And while I found the Wii fun, it’s been a while that I’ve seen a console launch and so many people not care. The system badly needed a price cut, especially with Sony and Microsoft gaining momentum again.

Lukas Eggen can be reached at

Hot on the heels of “Ratchet & Clank”, news comes that a “Heavenly Sword” movie is on its way. Here’s the voice talent attached to the planned animated film (from IGN):

“Fringe’s Anna Torv will voice Nariko with Alfred Molina as King Bohan, and–Punisher himself–Thomas Jane as Loki. Todd Farmer, writer of Jason X, My Bloody Valentine and Drive Angry, is handling script duties, with Brad Foxhoven and David Wohl producing for Blockade.”

Obviously, having Farmer’s involvement is very worrisome. But maybe he’ll surprise me.

Lukas Eggen can be reached at