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REVIEW: Rockstar Games Achieves Next-Level Greatness With 'Grand Theft Auto V'

The highest budgeted, most creatively publicized game of the current console generation has raked in $1 billion dollars in just three days after release. Is that due to consumer habit? Or is the game just that damn good?

The hugely successful gaming franchise has spawned two different schools of thought within the gaming industry. You can take the Activision / Treyarch approach, and, annually churn out a brand spanking new cash cow right on time for the holiday season. Or, what seems to be the more rewarding approach, you can take a page out of Rockstar Games' playbook, develop your IP to new heights, and deliver the best game in the entire marketplace.

After the meteoric rise of the Grand Theft Auto series, due to the fourth installment redefining open-world, it has been awhile since the third person shooting and driving game has impacted gamers around the globe. Rockstar returns us to the Los Santos area, which was a great place to wreak havoc in during Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Expanding on the environment finds gamers playing as three anti-heroes in the biggest playground a sandbox game has ever provided. The scope of Los Santos is grandiose this time around. Players are treated to a huge landscape as they are able to travel into urban and rural areas, can explore the seas, play recreational sports and visit familiar Los Angeles landmarks like the Santa Monica Pier and the Chinese Theater.

As Michael, the retired bank robber whose ends is only the beginning; Franklin, the young hustler with ambitions of being an honest businessman; and Trevor, one of the craziest characters in the entire history of the series, you're tasked with completing multiple missions that tie these three together for an enjoyable single-player campaign. Their intertwining stories represent Rockstar Games (and Rockstar North) attempt at creating a more mature narrative for players who want more from their characters. But as game scribe Leigh Alexander notes in her incredible op-ed piece, Grand Theft Auto V "recites the same old gangland fantasies," instead of pushing the envelope as the critically acclaimed company has been known to do.

In addition to not establishing a definitive, rebellious anti-authoritarian female lead, Franklin, equally, gets the short end of the stick with a weakly developed story. As the company decided to create unique features and experiences, showing off their only minority character with little-to-no changes from the San Andreas motif they created stinks. As a whole, Franklin, Michael and Trevor don't have any interest in capturing turf or squabbling with gang members. Grand Theft Auto V does tread the line between safe execution and unique gameplay, but in the end, gamers are rewarded with countless hours of excitement, random occurrences (learned from the success of Red Dead Redemption), and a healthy online mode that is poised to make them another billion dollars.

For gamers on the fence about that whole "mature narrative" situation, don't let it fool you into thinking it is so serious. Sure, people may try to compare their life to Grand Theft Auto, but how many people you know can pull people out of their cars with reckless abandon? Rockstar Games' title is categorically very tongue-in-cheek and you'll find yourself in some sticky situations, but it's a video game! Don't expect Saints Row level type of parody. The game's unique transitioning system, where you can play as each individual, allows gamers to gain insight into (in single-player and online) a violently rich and satirical experience.

Another great addition to the title are the improved driving and special abilities. Borrowing from past hits like Max Payne and the aforementioned Red Dead Redemption, each character has a different ability. Franklin, with the improved driving, can slow down time while in motion, allowing for improved accuracy to avoid nasty collisions with oncoming traffic. Michael can also slow down time to make sure his shots are hitting all the right targets. Trevor, meanwhile, can do something similar, only he inflicts some unusually brutal retaliation on his opponents.

Add into the mix those loaded radio stations, the removal of those vigilante missions, and a good range of activities to take part in—when you're not causing ruckus—and you have Grand Theft Auto V.

Don't believe us?! You can watch the trailer for yourself below:

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Jaleel White To Reprise His Role As Steve Urkel In New 'Scooby-Doo'

Steve Urkel is making a comeback!

Jaleel White has reportedly signed on to reprise his role as Steve Urkel, nearly 20 years after Family Matters went off the air. Only, Urkel will not return to the series reboot, but to a forthcoming Scooby-Doo series.

Television's favorite nerd will reportedly be a nosy neighbor to Scooby and the gang.  "Walked in that booth after 20 years and voiced him like it was nuthin," White wrote on Instagram. "To be on screen with Scoob and Shaggy solving a mystery is #Bucketlist stuff 🙏🏽 Enjoy!"

White will serve as one of many guests to lend their voice to the animated series. The series will also include appearances from Kenan Thompson, Wanda Sykes, Halsey, Sia, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Bill Nye, Chris Paul, and Mark Hamill.

You can catch Urkel and Mystery Inc. on Boomerang on June 27. In the meantime, check out the trailer above.

 

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WAiT! ZOOM IN 😳 Scooby and Who?!? Yup. Walked in that booth after 20 years and voiced him like it was nuthin #SteveUrkel #UrkelBot @boomerangtoons Premieres June 27 ~ Hanna Barbera once gifted me an animation cell I have til this day. To be ON screen with Scoob And Shaggy solving a mystery is #Bucketlist stuff 🙏🏽 Enjoy! And my daughter STILL thinks she cooler than me 😎🤨

A post shared by Jaleel White (@jaleelwhite) on Jun 21, 2019 at 10:36am PDT

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Samuel L. Jackson To Portray George Clinton In Forthcoming Biopic

Samuel L. Jackson is set to portray George Clinton in a forthcoming biopic on record executive Neil Bogart, Deadline reports. The film, Spinning Gold, will feature music from an array of artists on Bogart’s Casablanca Records imprint including The Isley Brothers, KISS, Parliament, Bill Withers, Gladys Knight and Curtis Mayfield.

The upcoming production also features Kenan Thompson as Barry Gordy, while his former Saturday Night Live cast member, Jay Pharaoh, plays WBLS radio DJ Frankie Crocker. Jason Derulo portrays Ron Isley, D.L. Hugely signed on to play Bootsy Collins, and Jazmine Sullivan will take on the role of Knight. Steven Strait and Sam Harris, frontman of the rock band X Ambassador, plays KISS leaders Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley. The band's co-manager, Bill Aucoin, will be played by Neil Patrick Harris.

Bogart, who was born in Manhattan and raised in Brooklyn, began his career as a singer in the 1960s before becoming a record executive at Cameo-Parkway Records and Buddha Records. Bogart founded Casablanca Records in 1973 and singed KISS to the imprint that same year. He became known for promoting funk and disco artists like Donna Summer, the Village People, and Clinton’s Parliament, whom he signed to the label in 1974.

Bogart died at age 39 from cancer and lymphoma.

Production on Spinning Gold, which is written and directed by Bogart’s son, Timothy Scott Bogart, will begin in Montreal on July 16.

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Cindy Ord

50 Cent Says 'Power' Will Not End After Season 6: "I Changed My Mind"

Fans were shook after Starz announced that its popular series, Power, would end after its sixth season.  Nearly two months after the initial announcement, however, 50 Cent suggested the hit series is far from over. In fact, in a post on Instagram on Tuesday (June 25), Fif said more seasons are on the way.

"I Changed my mind. POWER is not going to be over after season 6," 50 captioned a post of himself. "This sh*t is too good."

Although 50 as acted as an executive producer on the series, his statement likely comes as a shock to the cast as well as its co-creator, Courtney A. Kemp.  Carmi Zlotnik, Starz's president of programming, also released a statement in May 2019, confirming the show's end.

"Season 6 brings us to the end of what we know is just the first chapter of the 'Power' story. However, as one chapter comes to an end, another will begin," Zlotnik said in a statement. "Courtney Kemp and 50 Cent have created a world rich with complex and dynamic characters and there are a number of stories we plan to tell as we continue to explore and expand the 'Power' universe."

All things considered, this is probably just another one of 50 Cent's trolling stunts. Nonetheless, it doesn't hurt to dream.

 

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I Changed my mind POWER is not going to be over after season 6. This shit is to good 🤦‍♂️#lecheminduroi #bransoncognac #starzplay

A post shared by 50 Cent (@50cent) on Jun 25, 2019 at 3:44am PDT

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