(Photo by courtesy of HBO)As this year s Marvel s Spider-Man proved, games based on popular film and television properties are best served when they don t attempt to retell the same stories we ve already seen on the big and small screens. Following in Spidey s spandex footsteps, a number of new and upcoming games have adopted similar approaches, cleverly expanding on existing universes rather than retreading them for the interactive entertainment medium.From blockbuster film franchises (Fast Furious) to streaming serial hits (Game of Thrones), more and more of our favorite fictional universes are offering fresh, original opportunities for fans to interact with their characters, live in their worlds, and even shape their stories.Whether you re a gamepad-clutching Potter fan, a Ghostbusting smartphone geek, or a virtual reality enthusiast with a superhero complex, these 12 titles include some that should keep you busy between TV binge sessions and movie marathons this holiday season, a few great video games to give as gifts for Christmas, and others that you can look forward to in 2019.How to give mobile games as gifts: iOS | AndroidOut NowREIGNS: GAME OF THRONESDeveloper: NerialPublisher: Devolver DigitalSystems: iOS, Android, SteamRelease Date: Available nowGame of Thrones doesn t return to HBO until next year, but winter has already come in the latest game based on the Seven Kingdoms-conquering series. Offering a fun twist on the high-fantasy franchise, Reigns: Game of Thrones puts players under the capes and crowns of would-be rulers — from Sansa and Tyrion to Cersei and Daenerys — and lets them live out potential alternate futures and fates based on Melisandre s mysterious visions.GHOSTBUSTERS WORLDDeveloper: Next AgePublisher: FourThirtyThree Inc.Systems: iOS, AndroidRelease Date: Available nowA new take on the location-based, augmented-reality genre that saw millions of players capturing Pokemon in their local park, Ghostbusters World puts players behind a Proton Pack. Well, fans will actually wield their smartphones, but they ll barely notice the difference once they re using the smart-devices to suck up Slimer, battle the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man in their backyard, and bust hundreds of other ghosts in real-world locations.THE EXORCIST: LEGION VRDeveloper: Wolf WoodPublisher: Fun TrainSystems: PlayStation VR, HTC Vive, Oculus RiftRelease Date: Available nowThanks to the immersion-cranking effects of virtual reality, The Exorcist: Legion VR subjects fans to scares more terrifying than those that defined the classic horror franchise. Beneath the reality-ratcheting headset, players assume the role of a demon-hunting detective who — over the course of five nerve-fraying episodes – explores creepy tombs, investigates ritualistic killings and, of course, raises a few crucifixes in the face of demonic possession.CREED: RISE TO GLORYDeveloper: SurviosPublisher: SurviosSystems: PlayStation VR, HTC Vive, Oculus RiftRelease Date: Available nowBased on the rejuvenated Rocky franchise, Creed: Rise to Glory isn t just another mindless, button-mashing boxing game. Brought to face-pummeling life in virtual reality, the experience not only puts you in the gloves of Adonis Creed — while training with the Italian Stallion himself — but its physical gameplay offers a workout that d make Ivan Drago break a sweat.MARVEL POWERS UNITED VRDeveloper: Sanzaru GamesPublisher: Oculus StudiosSystems: Oculus RiftRelease Date: Available nowMarvel fans who ve dreamed of smashing foes from behind Hulk s fists or webbing-up baddies with a flick of Spider-Man s wrists will want to suit-up for Marvel Powers United VR. A fan-pleasing mix of virtual reality and Marvel s massive roster of heroes and villains, the game lets players unleash all the powers and weapons — from Thor s hammer and Cap s shield to Deadpool s katanas and Wolverine s claws — from a first-person perspective that feels incredibly real inside the Oculus Rift headset.LEGO HARRY POTTER COLLECTIONDeveloper: TT GamesPublisher: Warner Bros. Interactive EntertainmentSystems: Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PS4Release Date: Available nowWhether you ve adventured through the LEGO Harry Potter games a hundred times or you re a newcomer looking to bust some bricks in the Wizarding World, this definitive, remastered edition provides the absolute best way to kick Voldemort s block-y butt. This Hagrid-sized compilation, which features both games and spans all eight films, includes enhanced graphics, environments, and visual effects, as well as a pair of magic-expanding DLC packs.Coming SoonSTAR TREK FLEET COMMANDDeveloper: DIGIT Game StudiosPublisher: Scopely/CBS InteractiveSystems: iOS, AndroidRelease Date: Nov. 29, 2018With Star Trek: Discovery prepping to beam up for its second season and Jean-Luc Picard s return confirmed, there s never been a better time to be a Trekkie. The fan service continues with Star Trek Fleet Command, a multiplayer mobile offering that combines role-playing elements and real-time battles to deliver story-driven, deep-space skirmishes that should please fans of any faction.FAST FURIOUS: TAKEDOWNDeveloper: SMG StudiosPublisher: Universal Games, Digital PlatformsSystems: iOS, AndroidRelease Date: Late 2018The next Fast Furious film has been delayed a year, but fans needn t wait till 2020 to satisfy their need for speed. Fast Furious: Takedown puts players behind the wheel of 60-plus licensed rides, including favorites from the films — like Dom s Dodge Charger and Hobbs’ tank-like truck — before letting them tear up the blacktop in missions guided by the movies popular cast of speed limit-breaking characters.CRIMINAL MINDS: THE MOBILE GAMEDeveloper: Blue GiraffePublisher: FTX GamesPlatforms: iOS, AndroidRelease Date: Late 2018This mobile-game take on the long-running CBS crime drama puts fans behind the case-cracking skills of a Behavioral Analysis Unit agent. Alongside favorite characters Rossi, Prentiss, Reid, J.J., Garcia, Lewis, Alvez, and Simmons, players race against the clock to profile suspects, analyze crime scenes, and follow the clues that ll ultimately help the BAU team put the country s most twisted criminal minds behind bars.Coming in 2019DRAGONS: TITAN UPRISINGDeveloper: LudiaPublisher: Universal Games, Digital PlatformsSystems: iOS, AndroidRelease Date: Early 2019Ahead of next year s How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World from DreamWorks Animation, fans are invited to reunite with their favorite fire-breathers in a match-3 mobile offering based on the animated fantasy franchise. Titan Uprising puts a fresh spin on the popular genre, challenging players to build the ultimate team of winged creatures by hatching, nurturing, and creating powerful dragon hybrids to conquer nearly 800 puzzle battles.HARRY POTTER: WIZARDS UNITEDeveloper: WB Games, NianticPublisher: Warner Bros. Interactive EntertainmentSystems: iOS, AndroidRelease Date: 2019The clever folks behind the Pokemon GO phenomenon are applying their augmented-reality magic to a new, Wizarding World–themed take on the genre. Of course, it s the fans who will be casting spells, as they wield their smart-devices like wands in the real/muggle world to interact with the Potterverse and its populace of menacing creatures and mysterious characters.LOONEY TUNES: WORLD OF MAYHEMDeveloper: Aquiris Game StudioPublisher: Scopely/Warner Bros. Interactive EntertainmentPlatforms: iOS, AndroidRelease Date: 2019With Space Jam 2 headed to the big screen, it s the perfect time for Looney Tunes fans to reacquaint themselves with their favorite friends and foes from Warner Bros. stable of animated stars. Looney Tunes: World of Mayhem invites players to do just that, as they build a dream team of toon brawlers, from Yosemite Sam and Sylvester to Tweety and Taz, to take on opponents in epic, explosive, over-the-top displays of cartoon violence.
John Rambo. John McClane. John Wick. The last one joined the other two in the Action Hero Hall of Fame with just his first movie back in 2014. Now he’s up to a trilogy with John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum heading to theaters this month. The question is, will this threequel match Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 in the eyes of critics (87% and 89% on the Tomatometer, respectively) and fans? From the first reactions on social media, it sounds like yes to both parties. If you love this franchise, its intense action, and its love for dogs, sounds you shouldn’t be disappointed.Here’s what the critics are saying about John Wick: Chapter 3 Parabellum:So, is it as good as the first two John Wick movies?“Action wise, it’s the best of the franchise with a great mix of gun and hand to hand combat.” Josh Tapia, Screen Junkies