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Way of the Dogg Review: Sadly Lost Its Way
I’m a child of the 90’s so I remember a time when Snoop Dogg, now Snoop Lion, was someone to be feared. That was when he was a scary gangsta rapper who despite his talent was most known for the trouble he got himself into. But some time in the mid 2000s he suddenly became this cuddly, friendly guy that everyone embraced. And I’m not sure how that happened. Was it his commercials or his sudden urge to collaborate with every pop star in existence? Regardless of how the transformation occurred, it did, and now Snoop Lion seeks to further his goal of insinuating himself in our lives with his new video game Way of the Dogg. And while I wish this was a sign that he’s going back to his old nickname, Way of the Dogg seems to show Snoop at his most lost.
I like the idea of Way of the Dogg, while you don’t get to fight as Snoop you do get to kick all kinds of ass to his music. In the game you play as America Jones and with that as his first name you know he’s ready to throw down. When the game starts, America as usual has to teach a punk a lesson and just when you think that you’ve got the fight in the bag, the punk turns the tables on you and America goes down like Fraiser. Oh and his girlfriend Sierra gets killed by um…magic? Anyway, after his humiliation and the death of his girl obviously America must seek revenge.
But in order to do that America has to step up and that’s when the D-O-G-G steps in to teach him kung fu. As you play through the game you end up facing off a bunch of stereotypes you’ll probably recognize if you’ve ever seen a Blaxploitation film. Like the racist, overweight white cop. Also, D-O-G-G lives in a temple and is high all the time. Way of the Dogg sets itself up as a parody Blaxploitation game that could be so good but never quite gets there.
The problems start with the visuals. There is way too much going on in the screen. Prompts are everywhere and they often blur with the background and so it becomes a way to miss something as there is no designated area for them.
The fun also doesn’t start with the commands. Sometimes you have to tap a button, sometimes you’ll have to press and hold, or you’ll have to combine buttons with the directional on the analog stick. The control scheme just seems jumbled like it’s trying to be a rhythm and a fighting game while not understanding the mechanics of either.
The graphics aren’t bad. In fact they’re quite stylish with a very comic book feel to them. But they are hard to admire because of the constant distraction from the interface so it’s hard to get sucked into the game.
Even the audio is a mixed bag. Yes, you’re listening to some of Snoop’s finest work especially from the 90s era. However, because Way of the Dogg is rated T for teen be prepared for a lot of bleeps which is just a shame — or as Snoop would say, shamizzle.
The campaign isn’t very long; you can get through it in a couple of hours and that’s even when playing the harder difficulty, so there’s no real value in replaying it. There is a multiplayer mode but it’s just single player with multiple button commands so you’re better off playing DOA or Tekken or whatever fighting game you’re into.
I wanted to love Way of the Dogg. I liked the idea of parodying Blaxploitation moves and combining it with Snoop’s music and personality but it just doesn’t work. In the hands of the right people this could’ve been great; it could have been another Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon. But at this point you’re better off just buying Snoop’s greatest hits and watching a Bruce Lee or Pam Grier movie, whatever floats your boat.
(Note: Way of the Dogg was reviewed after 10 hours of gameplay on the Xbox 360 and is also available on the PlayStation 3, Apple App Store and Android. This copy was purchased by the reviewer.)